So­cial rules

Townsville Bulletin - - TV GUIDE -

Man­ners, eti­quette, po­lite­ness – these things are the glue that hold any civilised so­ci­ety to­gether.

We’re in tricky times to main­tain a per­sonal code of con­duct, though, aren’t we? We’re con­stantly en­cour­aged to be true to our­selves, ex­press our­selves openly and hon­estly, but at the same time you never know who might take of­fence at your be­hav­iour, even if you have the best of in­ten­tions.

It’s enough to leave even the most con­fi­dent among us a lit­tle con­fused.

Luck­ily, the ABC is here to help. With the new 15- episode pro­gram How Not to Be­have, based on a Swedish pro­gram ti­tled So Not OK, so­cial bound­aries will be set and so­lu­tions to some of life’s stick­ier prob­lems will be of­fered, all with a spoon­ful of comedic sugar to help the medicine go down.

While com­edy sketches will il­lus­trate the more awk­ward sce­nar­ios we face ev­ery day – for ex­am­ple, just how naked is too naked in a gym change room? – the task of es­tab­lish­ing eti­quette guide­lines is in the ca­pa­ble hands of the show’s two some­what- qual­i­fied hosts.

As host of the orig­i­nal Aus­tralian ver­sion of Big Brother for seven years, Gre­tel Killeen has had plenty of ex­pe­ri­ence with ex­tremes of be­hav­iour.

And along­side her is stand- up co­me­dian and ra­dio pre­sen­ter Matt Okine, who freely ad­mits he has spent most of his life “per­fect­ing the ar t of not know­ing how to be­have”.

“Co­me­di­ans are gen­er­ally the most so­cially awk­ward peo­ple on the planet, so you can be sure this show’s in ex­per t hands,” he ad­mit­ted.

Killeen, how­ever, claims to be a stick­ler when it comes to con­duct­ing one­self well.

“Un­like Matt, I’m tak­ing this host­ing role ver y se­ri­ously,” she said. “I think man­ners make the world go round and I’m de­ter­mined to change the world to suit me.”

In all se­ri­ous­ness, there’s clearly a great deal of mu­tual re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion be­tween these two, with Okine claim­ing Killeen will of­ten sur­prise him – and the au­di­ence – with her take on a par tic­u­lar topic.

“When­ever we’re hav­ing these dis­cus­sions, Gre­tel and I will have var ying points of view, and Gre­tel’s will of­ten be the more out­ra­geous,” he said.

“On the whole, though, she brings ex­pe­ri­ence and I bring naivety.”

That said, Okine is no slouch when it comes to the in­tri­ca­cies of hu­man in­ter­ac­tion ei­ther.

“It’s right up my al­ley as a topic,” he said. “And a lot of the sketches and the dis­cus­sions Gre­tel and I have as hosts re­volve around ob­ser va­tions on so­ci­ety, which is where much of my com­edy stems from, so the whole con­cept hit a pos­i­tive ner ve for me.”

And he an­tic­i­pates that How Not to Be­have will do like­wise for its view­ers.

The top­ics range from the right way to ap­proach split­ting bills at a res­tau­rant – “there’s al­ways some­one who or­ders cham­pagne and lob­ster and then in­sists on ever yone pay­ing an equal share, even if you only had sausages and tap wa­ter” – to the best tac­tic in han­dling those oh- so- cheer­ful “char­ity mug­gers” who ap­proach you on the street to in­form you about their wor­thy cause.

“I was sur­prised to learn they’re the most prof­itable form of fundrais­ing in the countr y,” Okine laughed. “Col­lec­tively they make $ 200 mil­lion a year! I walked past one say­ing, ‘ Sorr y, can’t stop, I’m feel­ing sick’, and she said, ‘ So is the Great Bar­rier Reef’. What the hell am I sup­posed to say to that?”

In­deed, there’s been no shor tage of is­sues that need ad­dress­ing, and the How Not to Be­have team has had plenty of fun in un­ear thing them.

“Gre­tel had a great stor y about a guy who lit­er­ally turned around and walked through a hedge to avoid hug­ging her. That’s a bit much, I thought. But then I knew a guy who greeted peo­ple by kiss­ing them on the neck! Those kinds of sto­ries be­came great top­ics for dis­cus­sion, and that’s what we look at on the show.” How Not to Be­have, Wed­nes­day, ABC at 8pm

Eti­quette class: Gre­tel Killeen and Matt Okine dis­cuss the dos and don’ts of mod­ern­day man­ners in How Not to Be­have.

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