A few laughs hid­den among the dumb bits

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

TAKE the third word off the ti­tle of this show and it pretty well sums it up: stupid. As a first- time viewer of this so- called com­edy set in the of­fices of a men’s mag­a­zine, I’m sur­prised it made it through an en­tire first se­ries, much less into a sec­ond, which pre­mieres tonight.

Hav­ing said that, it’s not as though the show is en­tirely with­out merit. First, it’s an Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion, and any lo­cally made television show is to be ap­plauded th­ese days.

Sec­ond, it’s an Aus­tralian com­edy, and any at­tempt to make lo­cal comic TV is to be sup­ported.

We are a na­tion with a sense of hu­mour and a his­tory of funny TV. Norman Gun­ston still re­duces view­ers to tears of laugh­ter.

Kath & Kim is won­der­ful satire and of course the Chaser boys are al­most a na­tional in­sti­tu­tion.

Stupid, Stupid Man also fea­tures some fine Aus­tralian ac­tors, from Deb­o­rah Mail­man and Stephen Cur- rie in tonight’s episode to Mar­cus Gra­ham, Jac­que­line McKen­zie, Ge­orgie Parker and Terry Se­rio in later episodes. Reg­u­lar cast mem­bers in­clude Matthew New­ton, Leah Van­den­berg and Bob Franklin.

Some of the ideas are even funny. Mail­man is cast as a white su­prem­a­cist. Cur­rie plays an an­gry para­plegic who wreaks havoc, de­mand­ing a ramp be built through the mid­dle of the of­fice so he can reach the pho­to­copier. Still the show falls flat, seem­ing to hark back more to Ted Bull­pitt in Kingswood Coun­try than any­thing more re­cent and so­phis­ti­cated.

The mag­a­zine the show is set around is called Chaps Own Quar­terly or COQ. ( Get it?)

Nick ( New­ton) is the fea­tures writer who can’t keep his COQ in his pants. He has whis­pered asides seek­ing the ad­vice of Dave ( Franklin), who is the mag­a­zine’s un­shaven and un­kempt ad­vice colum­nist, pre­sum­ably the last per­son in the world any­one should seek ad­vice from.

Nick’s at­tempt to sort it out is to be in bed by 10pm ev­ery night or go home. Then there’s the scene in which COQ ed­i­tor Carl Van Dyke ( Wayne Hope) in­ter­views Chris Dun­stall ( Cur­rie) for the job of fash­ion and groom­ing writer. It owes much to the Fawlty Tow­ers Don’t men­tion the war’’ scene, with Van Dyke re­fer­ring to Dun­stall’s wheel­chair in ev­ery sen­tence. It could be funny but it isn’t.

Which also sums up the show. It could be funny, it should be funny with the tal­ent and ex­pe­ri­enced scriptwriter Tim Pye ( Black Jack , Wild­side , Fallen An­gels , White Col­lar Blue , SeaChange ) at the helm. But it just isn’t. It’s stupid.

Echoes of Bull­pitt: The Chaps Own Quar­terly team strain for com­edy in Stupid, Stupid Man

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