Wednesday, 29 July 2009

'The 7pm Project' Reviewed - Part Two of Two


July 2009
Part One - Part Two - 

Check out Part One Here

Unfortunately negatives continued to stack up as I watched both episodes (Friday’s last week and Tuesday’s this week) of Network Ten's new current affair's vehicle - 'The 7pm Project'.

As discussed in Part One - the biggest negative is sacrificing quality for speed but here’s a quick list of what else doesn’t work.

> Not steering clear of applying stereotypes. 
In the very same segment that Bickmore was crying foul over the lady who was asked to remove her niqab before boarding a bus, she labelled all bus drivers as having terrible BO…
That’s the spirit, defend one and have a go at another. Dangerous ground, especially without a trace of comedy amongst it.
> Dave Hughes.
... Ok that’s a little harsh given Hughes can be funny.
The thing is, don’t expect quality comedy from him in seventeen different segments in 23 minutes.
While he can deliver a one liner, he can also produce some clangers with the likes of ‘only old and deranged people send letters’ to ‘the English should be immune to swineflu because they’ve endured the bubonic plague’ aren’t exactly home runs there Hughesy.
What struck me – again we return to the tight schedule ruining potential quality – with Hughes was he was given no freedom to explore the comedic possibilities of his meeting school kids in the park before Friday’s show.
He brought it up and then BAM! we’re off to gloss over reasons why people dump partners for being fat. There had to be some fertile territory for Hughes to work off with the school kid bit but the show moved on and we missed it.
> Ruby Rose and a Cardboard Cut-Out = split hair between which inanimate object could offer more to the show.
> Refusing to give on-air guests decent face time.
On Thursday’s show they threw to Gyton ‘The Fisherman’s Friend Ad Guy’ Grantley and Nathan ‘Snakes on a Plane was good but the highpoint of my career was my 14 episode stint on The Saddle Club’ Phillips at the red carpet movie premiere of ‘Balibo’.
They spent what felt like only 30 seconds saying hello, got a quick rundown of the movie and then said goodbye to wrap up a segment they’d plugged heavily at the start.
If you’re going to spend the money on getting a camera crew out there, get more than 30 seconds worth of airplay out of it, and secondly – Grantley’s star is pretty bright at the moment (but has he done anything as good as his turn as a truck driver getting hit by a giant tuna?) and his presence on the show was wasted. Engage your guests – especially the higher profile ones!
Run overtime if you have to but open the floor and let your ‘exclusives’ make an impact.
> Skype callers.
Wow… cannot state anymore plainly how pointless this part of the show appears to be. 

Is the show all bad though? 
Well no.

Having just had the website video player allow me to watch the final segment of Friday’s show, getting a number of moderately funny people to rehash their best bits from their radio shows that week really works in the whip-around segment.

And please more Kitty Flanagan!

Charlie Pickering is the standout of the show's early days and not least because he touched on the kind of subjects that really matter.

No I’m not referring to being forced to work until you’re 70 or showing us how to suck up to Dr Phil – I’m talking about his appreciation for the little things.

Like how the mail system works.

Not only was he spot on declaring there was something magical about being able to send something anywhere in Australia for 55 cents (soon to be 60c!) but let me go one step further - some kind of magic must be behind a  person finding the motivation to send a letter via the post rather than the computer.

Tony Moclair and Lucy McDonald were the standout guests of Friday Night.

Moclair showed no fear delivering his comedy in a ridiculously short segment and McDonald had probably the best prepared joke of the night, by identifying lolly pop ladies as the new drug lords on the streets of London in the wake of swine flu.

Ratings wise the show started with the customary bang of a new Australian offering, with 1.2 million nationally (or as Peter Rowsthorn so elegantly puts it ‘nasch’) tuning in on the Monday Night premiere but this had fallen to under 700,000 by Friday’s show.
The second week has remained unspectacular with Monday (764,000) and Tuesday (786,000) showing just minor gains on Friday’s drop.
Even this week as this review goes up the whispers are getting louder that Channel Ten executives are looking to tweak the show, but remain committed (for the time being) to giving the show a decent run.

Anyhoo to wrap up this rather frank and beans review of ‘The 7pm Project’, let me be brutally honest with you the discerning viewer.

Consider this following paragraph the part of the review where I tell you what I really think.

Sure you probably could’ve read it first and saved yourself 1500 words of repetitious nonsense that was saying pretty much the same thing all the time… err which is in fact repetition, but here goes:

‘The 7pm Project’ which launched nationally last week is a rigidly tight program, that squeezes out what room there could be for quality television. The panel has a mix of charm, larrikin and monotone newsreader skill, which promises little and delivers less within the confines of the show’s current structure. Lacking the flexibility to flesh out segments (especially with guests) to allow natural comedy to happen, is unforgivable and leaves a very disheartened feeling within as you wonder what could be if the producers would just let the show flow. With Australian Idol just around the corner and coming to every other weeknight, ‘The 7pm Project’ may not be long for this world (or at least in its current daily format). However in saying all that there is reason to believe that ‘The 7pm Project’ could work. This is because Australian TV still needs something topical (which is at the same time loose and humorous) for the very demographic Channel Ten is targeting.”


In case you were wondering I never got more than a B for my country in focus projects in primary school, so clearly what the heck do I know?
Other than Russia had a Net Material Product (NMP) of $712,530,000,000 in 1983. Source World Book 1988 and my project on the USSR in 1989 – which incidentally was pasted on a glorious red sheet of cardboard.

 The 7pm Project Reviewed: - Part One - Part Two - July 29, 2009

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