Chaser boys’ new spin-off is a funny show . . . in­all­but name

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page -

WELL, I laughed. I’m just a tiny bit vague about the ham­sters, though. The one The Chasers were lean­ing on as a desk last Wed­nes­day looked like the wom­bat from A Coun­try Prac­tice.

That was the only thing I wasn’t en­tirely happy about. The name. Ham­ster Wheel. I had higher ex­pec­ta­tions — I mean, Yes We Can­berra was so great, so right for the zeit­geist, per­fect, re­ally, they were prob­a­bly never go­ing to come up with a name as bril­liant and in­ci­sive as that again.

But the con­tent. No prob­lem there. There were a range of re­ac­tions af­ter that first episode last week. Such as: the rat­ings should have been higher. My stan­dard re­sponse is al­ways that the rat­ings have no re­la­tion­ship to qual­ity.

And the other thing is, peo­ple maybe just don’t want to watch some­thing they think is a foren­sic look at how the me­dia works. Or even a show that maybe con­firms ev­ery ter­ri­ble thing they think about the me­dia. Some of it was like that.

But to

that,

I say

this: ev­ery­one stabs To­day Tonight and A Cur­rent Af­fair and their al­legedly low-rent jour­nal­ism. Yet, night af­ter night, both have view­ers flock­ing to them.

They do the yarns peo­ple want to see. A lot of peo­ple love look­ing at a cute sausage dog, as newsreader Ron Wilson called them af­ter mak­ing sure he’d also used the word dachs­hund.

So yeah, Ham­ster Wheel is look­ing at the me­dia, but the me­dia is only a re­flec­tion.

The Chaser’s play­ing a good game so far. Us­ing YouTube cat videos to de­brief us on the Fed­eral Govern­ment’s asy­lum seeker pol­icy was Re­ally, re­ally clever.

Plus they’re just funny. It’s not like Gruen, or Me­dia Watch, or any other show that’s been wheeled out dur­ing the course of whack­ing Ham­ster Wheel last week.

Some of those fake tweets were gold (Ve­g­ans Aus­tralia: We want to thank the AFL for dra­mat­i­cally re­duc­ing the pop­u­lar­ity of Meat Loaf). Not all of them were daisy fresh, but I

ge­nius. feel con­fi­dent they will ad­dress that. These peo­ple aren’t id­iots. Un­like Stephen Con­roy. I’m glad he was sin­gled out for his ap­palling singing. Some­one had to. Karl Ste­fanovic couldn’t, he has to keep these peo­ple com­ing back.

This is why the ABC ex­ists. It should be able to do things com­mer­cial me­dia can’t. The Ham­ster Wheel, ABC1, Wed­nes­day, 9.35pm

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