tip off

Julia undeserving of At Home with … and so are we

All prime ministers have suffered at the hands of satirists but the ads for At Home with Julia promised that this was going to be something else again.

As I watched it, my discomfort flourished, bloomed and became generally exponential.  By the end I was craving for Clarke and Dawes, for Max Gillies, for any intelligent satire.  To be honest, it’s unclear who actually will enjoy the show. It’s not actually very funny, give or take moments that illicit a wry smile. It’s too affectionate towards Julia to please those who don’t like her. It certainly fails to offer any political critique of her style and offers no real analysis of why it might be that Gillard is not the PM we hoped for.

On the other side of the coin, if you do have a soft spot for Prime Minister Gillard, you wouldn’t be caught dead watching it — there certainly aren’t enough laughs to make that a guilty pleasure.  As Peter Craven put it yesterday in The Drum, “You may think that she has presided over the demise of a once great political party out of nothing but a lean hungriness for power and that she believes in nothing … Even so, taking the dimmest possible view, Julia Gillard did not deserve this and nor did the nation.”

Which brings us to the S word. Sexist.  Yes, this show just felt a bit, well, wrong.  It belittled Julia Gillard in a way that no male prime minster has been, and it belittled her partner Tim Mathieson.  There is no doubt that being the PM’s partner is a tough gig but Matheison has bought as much dignity as he can muster to the role — as his predecessors Therese Rein Jeanette Howard, Anita Keating and Hazel Hawke did. (Though for me, Hazel was a real stand out first partner).  It’s not inherently funny, or pathetic, that Tim might have to do the household tasks or that he has a partner  who works long hours. Even if relationship clichés switcheroo-ed don’t offend you, they’re just kind of, well, meh.  If I was on Twitter I’d type *shrugs shoulders*

At Home with Julia is a symptom of the relentless drive towards trivialising politics and politicians, a trivialisation politicians themselves have certainly contributed to. The PM and Mathieson have helped this along by giving interviews about the state of their personal life, and whether or not they plan to marry. And despite my comments about sexism, I’d say it’s not just Gillard who’s belittled like this.

Bob Hawke suffered similarly in Channel Ten’s telemovie Hawke. That movie had good actors in it, including Richard Roxburgh and Asher Keddie and, in theory, much to commend it.  But, despite being called Hawke, it was really about Bob and Blanche. Instead of getting extended sequences about Hawke’s time in the unions, or his run-ins with Paul Keating, or, indeed, any scenes that dealt with issues of political complexity, we had to endure the sight of government policy being discussed after a good shag, in a range of hotel rooms.

I don’t think I’m alone when I say I’m really, really uninterested in my Prime Minister’s sex life.  It’s like parent sex times a million. It’s also, well, not the point.  I want to know how these people’s brains work, not their other bits. The endless quickie jokes in At Home with Julie, or the gag about her perving on the hot tradesman just seemed stupid.  As Tony Wilson (@byTonyWilson) tweeted, possibly too succinctly on Wednesday night, don’t remember too much publicly consumed imagining of Jeanette riding John…

No, they did not. And for that I give thanks.

38
  • 1
    beachcomber
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The ads were bad enough. Prefer to watch the kettle boil.

  • 2
    LisaCrago
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Oh com on Sophie, now if Gillard saw it in advance, approved, and said it was darn funny what is your problem, lost your funny bone. I doubt Gillard feels she has ‘suffered’ at all as this kind of satire is a compliment. Not to be sent up at all is an insult.

    Phil Loyd is just 150% hysterical as T-Bone as many of the reviews have noted.
    The first show actually made more fun of everyone except Julia; how do you think Mr Shorten feels. I bet even he laughed his head off as would have katter, windsor and oakshot.

    You have broken the golden rule of political satire - you have taken it seriously.

  • 3
    Edward James
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    I watched part of it, in fact I recall switching off just as the hat of Bob Katter came to the door! Bored with waiting for something entertaining! We are really scraping the bottom of the barrel with this garbage. No wonder we are being “yanked off” by TV and Movie offerings from overseas, to such an extent we are starting to speak with overseas accents and colloquialisms. Strine is dying and I believe not enough Australians are noticing! Edward James

  • 4
    Jaryd Fletcher
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Personally I enjoyed it.

    Similarly to the Independents Four Corners piece last year it goes to highlight for the general public that people occupying positions of power are ultimately just normal people trying to get along with things. This is not a bad message to have.

    Even though I have a bit of an irrational dislike for John Howard but I still recognise that he essentially is some guy basically trying to do what he thinks is right even if I don’t agree with it or the consequences.

  • 5
    JonoMatt
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    It certainly fails to offer any political critique of her style and offers no real analysis of why it might be that Gillard is not the PM we hoped for”

    Honestly, what did you expect? It’s a comedy, not an analysis.

    I didn’t mind it at all.

  • 6
    Michael Duffy
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe that someone described as ‘author and editor’ would write ‘illicit’ when they clear mean ‘elicit’. Wake up the subs desk, please. I didn’t even bother watching this lightweight tripe; the ads were quite enough for me.

  • 7
    granorlewis
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Yes Sophie - you are absolutely right. And it was really unbecoming of the writers and the producers, to say nothing of the illustrious organisation that put it to air

  • 8
    The Peak Oil Poet
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Silly little Julia, peculiar is Julia
    she thought that she could be a star
    prime mover and Prime Minister
    but stabbing and her grabbing
    power hasn’t seen a happy hour
    plunging popularity mistakes almost hilarity
    stupidity and perfidy and everyone can plainly see
    her enemy is is you and me
    when it should be the big money

    Silly little Julia

  • 9
    John Bennetts
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    What Michael Duffy said.

    Please, at least change the on-line spelling of the word.

  • 10
    David
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    ……………..imagining of Jeanette riding John……”

    That is really not fair. If I have bad dreams tonight and am forced to give myself a lobotomy with a dessert spoon to get that thought from my mind, I’ll be coming after you.

  • 11
    tinman_au
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t mind it personally. Probably the first time I’ve actually thought about Julia as a person, with a “real” life and all…

  • 12
    Kerryn Goldsworthy
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    And I can’t believe that Michael Duffy would write ‘clear’ when he clearly means ‘clearly’. Isn’t there a law of the internet stating that in any post ridiculing someone else’s spelling, grammar, usage or proofreading, you’ll make at least one of your own?

  • 13
    taz
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I was going to say something about the lack of proofreading of the article (‘bought as much dignity to the role’?) to the role, but I shall take Kerryn’s point and resist.

    I knew from the ads that this show was going to be bad. Now I like satire, but I this wasn’t satire. And I didn’t think it was a particularly ‘affectionate’ depiction of the PM. It lampooned her, and denigrated her partner. I guess she agreed to it. Why? But then apprarently she has done an interview with 60 Minutes, exposing her private life. Why?

    I agree with Jonnomat. I don’t think it was part of the show’s brief or intention ‘to offer any political critique of her style and offers no real analysis of why it might be that Gillard is not the PM we hoped for’. Why would it? It was supposed to be comedy/satire. But it was very badly and tastelessly done. And a complete waste of time. I shan’t be watching another episode.

  • 14
    Coco
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    boring as batshit - watching grass grow in a drought is rivetting in comparison!

    ok, I admit - great name for a Jack Russell :) but that’s about it

    this was neither quality comedy nor satire - some of the program offended me very, very mildly, but I don’t remember laughing once - so fail in my book …

  • 15
    Robert Jensen
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    When I first started watching it I thought it was going to be a bit tame and boring but I thought it picked up towards the end. I loved the scene in the butcher when Tim was trying to buy Australian meat in Canberra. I’m looking forward to next week’s episode. Hope they have Abbott in it.

  • 16
    geomac
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I,m with a few other people , the ads put me off. Gillies was good at satire portraying many characters and I enjoy Clarke and Dawes . From the reviews I,ve read this is tripe like a afternoon soap trying to be funny. Soap was the only show that I can recall that achieved that aim. Who said or suggests that the PM previewed or endorsed it ? Where did that come from ?

  • 17
    Blair Martin
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Big tick to Phil Lloyd for his work as “Tim”, that was about all I could say I found totally praiseworthy. (Yes, @Lisacrago, we DO agree on something!) Reasonable ideas and characterizations for the trio of independents (but the pedant in me was saying, “Why Katter? He doesn’t support the Government, where’s Wilkie?” Maybe in a future ep, along with Adam Bandt and Bob Brown perhaps?)
    (And, yes, stylistically I “know” why Katter…)

    The rest, yes, rather like Sophie’s imagined tweet *shrugs shoulders*. Personally, I like my political satire much more Clarke & Dawe, “The Hollowmen” and Max Gillies with huge helpings of “The Thick of It”. (And from times before and places far away, “Absolute Power” and “Yes, Minister/PM”)

    Won’t make a point of staying in or recording future bits, but if I remember will look in on other eps via iView just to see if anything changes and gives me a chance to reconsider. Shame if I can’t, Australia needs more quality comedy production along the lines of the above mentioned and last year’s stand-out “Lowdown”.

  • 18
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    And I can’t believe that Michael Duffy would write ‘clear’ when he clearly means ‘clearly’. Isn’t there a law of the internet stating that in any post ridiculing someone else’s spelling, grammar, usage or proofreading, you’ll make at least one of your own?

    Google: Skitt’s Law

  • 19
    Zeke
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    @Robert Jenson: “I’m looking forward to next week’s episode. Hope they have Abbott in it.”

    You’ve got to be kidding. I’m sick of seeing and hearing about Abbott. The MSM seem to have a love affair with him at the moment. Why is that? (how’s that for satire?).

  • 20
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as someone who finds Gillard about as unpleasant as Abbott, I still won’t be watching the show. This is an insult to everyone’s intelligence. Perhaps the ABC is trying to win over the Alan Jones audience, whose grasp of politics puts an equals sign between sneering attacks on people’s voices and body types on the one hand and politics on the other.

    Really, this is a return to the humour of the 1950s — misogyny, emasculated men suffering existential crisis — all we need is somone to deploy Gleeson’s famous catchcry for the redux to be complete.

  • 21
    taz
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Did the PM agree to it? Do we know? The ABC would have had it ‘legalled’ but for me, there is something really off about lampooning the home lives of real people, be they politicians or not.
    Did Gillies do that? Do Clarke and Dawes? I think not. Their blows are aimed at the political personas, not at people’s ‘little lives’.
    Having said that, I think Gillard has perhaps been too overly willing to expose her ‘human’ side to the media, and it’s coming back to haunt her.

  • 22
    Rhod McDonald
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    I liked the show - I am not sure why there is complete loss of sense of humour by Sophie, Peter etc?

    In short - it’s a joke, Joyce! (it’s humour!)

  • 23
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I caught the last half of the show and thought it pretty lame. ‘Julia’s’ dialogue was the least amusing. However, the characterisations of Katter and Oakeshott raised a smile. And I liked Bill.

    But this is not the ABC’s finest (half) hour.

  • 24
    taz
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    What did I say at 5.08 that was controversial? It’s not been posted.

  • 25
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    Clunky and banal. As is Gillard herself, but two banalities do not a comedy make.

    Phone John Mortimer next time. Or Andrew Denton.

  • 26
    Tom Jones
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    The Manuel type character “Jesus” was not funny either. Some of those who don’t like Ms Gillard will think it is a good show but others will notice the outdated cliches and the tedious scripting.

  • 27
    cannedheat
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    As a parent I’m all in favour of parent sex times a million…

  • 28
    taz
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Did the PM agree to the show? Do we know? The ABC would have had it ‘legalled’ but for me, there is something really off about lampooning the home lives of real people, be they politicians or not.
    Did Gillies do that? Do Clarke and Dawes? I think not. Their blows are aimed at the political personas, not at people’s ‘little lives’.
    Having said that, I think Gillard has perhaps been too overly willing to expose her ‘human’ side to the media, and it’s coming back to haunt her.

  • 29
    geomac
    Posted Friday, 9 September 2011 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    LISACRAGO
    Oh com on Sophie, now if Gillard saw it in advance, approved, and said it was darn funny what is your problem, lost your funny bone.
    I thought that comment was odd and now I wonder why you said it.
    the Hun 8/9/11
    “Some Labor figures have hit out at the program but Ms Gillard did not criticise it, although she is holding judgment until she sees it.”

  • 30
    Roquefort Muckraker
    Posted Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    a low point in what passes for Aussie comedy

  • 31
    Phil L
    Posted Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    for further illustration of the trivialisation of politics and to be honest the prevailing nastiness of it all look at the cartoon is the weekends Australian:

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/cartoons

  • 32
    kookla
    Posted Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    In contrast to so many above, I really enjoyed this first episode and look forward to the next. I found the humour subtle, and the signs showing the consequences of “ordinary Australians” playing out the role(s) reversal of PM and ‘First Lady’ in The Lodge were intentionally overstated and to good effect. I laughed at the Kevin 0 7 mug, Bill Shorten dog, the “quickies” (a la Kath & Kim), the three independents etc. I much prefer this kind of humour to that of irony, or even some types of satire which embeds contempt for the subject. There was no contempt for Julia or Tim in this program. In the best of Australian traditions it was “taking the mickey”!

  • 33
    avon cologne
    Posted Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Dear Author and Editor,

    illicit or elicit?

  • 34
    abarker
    Posted Saturday, 10 September 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was pretty good. Very silly, but pretty good.

    Then again I used to laugh at the Kevin Rudd P.M. skits on Rove, so…

  • 35
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Sunday, 11 September 2011 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Oh dear, political satire without the politics … what a waste of talent and opportunity.

    Great voices, nice costumes but entirely devoid of content … like a fast food diet.

    The people fronting this show - Biggins et al - have great talent as impersonators but they need some decent writers with a capacity to put some bite into it or we just end up with banal parody rather than satire with teeth.

    Is this all we have to say when we don’t dare offend anyone other than the characters we are sending up?

    Deeply disappointing … Hope you get better. Quickly.

  • 36
    Policeman MacCruiskeen
    Posted Sunday, 11 September 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Larf! I near busted me strides. The consensus here on Mutton Bird is that we’ve not had nearly so funny a night as that there first show o’ ‘At Home With Julia’ since the Community Nurse Raewyn taught the DIAC staff conference how to remove the sutures from refugees mouths the special Mutton Bird Island way and that’s by pullin’ the knot backwards through tha’ lip. There’s room for more dog flatus jokes if you’se don’t mind some constructive comment. But that show was so funny it even made Phil Ruddock smile.

  • 37
    AR
    Posted Monday, 12 September 2011 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Imagine if it had been written and made by the Working Dog group. Their FrontLine hadn’t a wasted line or word, was sharp, taut, mordant and gut bustingly funny.

  • 38
    LisaCrago
    Posted Monday, 12 September 2011 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Hey Policeman MacCruiskeen it may surprise many but Phil Ruddock has one of the best eyes for political satire and is known to own one of the best political cartoon collections in the land. I seem to remember he was a bit jilted that The Chaser team did not ‘do’ him enough. Being lampooned in australian politics is often seen as a form of flattery that you have really made it in politics. Unlike some other western politicians, aussies don’t take themselves too seriously. Too many people can’t find their funny bone anymore and it is a shame. I like many others will be marching off to the ABC shop to purchase the DVD when it is released.

Womens Agenda

loading...

Smart Company

loading...

StartupSmart

loading...

Property Observer

loading...