Every­body’s got an opin­ion

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television Free To Air - Com­mon Sense

Gog­gle­box Aus­tralia, a meta-re­al­ity show where view­ers watch peo­ple watch­ing — in the main — other re­al­ity shows, is a true suc­cess story. The com­bined au­di­ence, split be­tween Fox­tel’s Life­style chan­nel and free-to-air chan­nel Ten, has topped the one mil­lion mark on oc­ca­sion.

Lit­tle won­der, then, that Gog­gle­box’s creators at En­de­mol Shine have de­cided to cre­ate a spinoff along the same lines: Com­mon Sense, start­ing this week.

It fea­tures a cast of ev­ery­day Aus­tralians across 10 work­places dis­cussing news, cur­rent af­fairs, sport and pop­u­lar cul­ture (while they are sup­posed to be work­ing). They are hair­dressers, re­moval­ists, re­tirees, real es­tate agents, veg­etable ven­dors, bra sales­women and butch­ers. It’s quite bril­liant.

In this first episode, we see ev­ery shade of opin­ion about Mal­colm Turn­bull’s im­pres­sion of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at the re­cent press Com­mon Sense gallery Mid­win­ter Ball in Can­berra, re­ac­tions to the class-ac­tion set­tle­ment for the Manus Is­land de­tainees, and the dilemma of the par­ents of an al­leged armed rob­ber who turned him into the po­lice.

Their re­ac­tions to these events are hi­lar­i­ous, sur­pris­ing and very hu­man. Not only is it en­ter­tain­ing but you could well imag­ine it could be seen in time as an un­of­fi­cial fo­cus group on im­por­tant is­sues, one to which our politi­cians in par­tic­u­lar might be­gin to pay close at­ten­tion.

It takes the in­no­va­tive for­mat of Gog­gle­box, which is un­der­mined by the loath­some na­ture of the re­al­ity TV shows its sub­jects are watch­ing and dis­cussing, and el­e­vates it.

In time, Com­mon Sense may even be­come more pop­u­lar than its pre­de­ces­sor. Thurs­day, 8.30pm, Ten. (Wed­nes­day, 7.30pm, Life­style.)

Two of the ev­ery­day par­tic­i­pants who con­trib­ute their views to

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