‘It’s like any relationship. Who walks the dog? Who puts the bins out? Who sends the troops to Afghanistan? These are just some of the questions facing PM Julia Gillard and boyfriend Tim Mathieson.‘
At Home With Julia‘s first episode had its share of problems, but it was far better than I had expected. I was hoping that the second episode might do away with the obvious humour and build on the show’s strengths, but was sadly disappointed.
I don’t think that I really laughed properly once during this episode. Rather than getting rid of the really obvious jokes, they seemed to be the only thing that the show was relying on. As comedian Tim Ferguson is so fond of saying, in comedy – the punchline comes at the end. It seems like a really obvious concept, but it’s surprising how many people get it wrong. In this show, almost every joke was obvious right from the get go, and it felt like we’d already been told the joke before we were forced to watch it again. This sucked what humour there was in the jokes right out of the show.
Rather than using the sitcom format to tell a political story, the second episode could have been about any random couple. The only thing to tell us that this was a political show was the shallow gags that are dropped all over the place in the hope that some of them would stick. This is a real step backward, and the episode feels like it has missed the entire point of the show. This sort of show is supposed to be all about the subversive political humour. Sure you can put the gags in there as window dressing, but the core story needs to have a political focus. The first episode did a reasonable job of this, hopefully the remaining episodes will return to that formula.
The performances in the show are all still fairly solid, and Amanda Bishop seems to have settled into the role of Julia Gillard, but there is nothing that stands out. The awkward performances by the security detail should have been a lot funnier than they were, but they lacked conviction. There was nothing necessarily bad about them, I just didn’t buy into the performance. The lack of the three independents also hurt the show, hopefully we’ll see them return next episode.
Overall, At Home With Julia has gone downhill fast. I didn’t intend for this review to be so negative, but the more I thought about the episode, the more disappointed I became. With only 4 episodes in the season (I believe the creator turned down a 6 episode season on ABC2 in favour of a 4 episode run on ABC1) the show will really have to pick up its game if it’s going to be remembered at all in a couple of months.
What I Liked – Amanda Bishop’s performance was much better. A few good digs at Canberra.
What I Didn’t Like – Very little to laugh at. Lack of political content.
Rating – 1.5 out of 5 (Really Bad)