At Home With Julia – Citizens’ Assembly Review

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

At Home With Julia has been rating fairly well for the ABC, and has certainly sparked some discussion, but as a show it never really worked. The controversy created by the show’s marketing team has been the main selling point, and it is debatable whether anyone will remember in a year that it was anything more than the first satire of a Prime Minister at home on Australian TV.

After last week’s improvement with the show’s political one-liners, it seemed odd that they were only used very sparsely in this episode. The show seemed to rely more on the physical humour, and the tired old joke of Kevin Rudd wanting to take the top job back. While it was amusing the first time, no joke gets better with repetition. The political humour in general was pretty absent from Citizens’ Assembly, even the ripe target of Alan Jones got off with barely a scratch.

This episode dived right into the sitcom format, and played out as a classic romantic comedy. Surprisingly, it worked fairly well. This was more down to the writers sticking solidly to the rulebook of a rom-com than anything unique to the show. We know the characters by now, so seeing them pining away for each other is bound to have some impact, especially when backed up by the appropriate musical cues. This was the most solidly constructed episode of the season, which made it easy to watch, but like the rest of the show, there wasn’t anything to make it stand out.

If At Home With Julia had been about any other couple, I probably wouldn’t have nearly as much of a problem with it. But for a show that’s supposed to be about the Prime Minister, we don’t really see all that much of politics. I certainly wasn’t expecting The West Wing, but something more along the lines of Hollow Men would have been nice. I know that negates the ‘At Home With’ part of the title, but why do I care about the Prime Minister’s home life? I would imagine that Julia Gillard is much like any other woman at home, it’s her job that makes her worthy of a TV show (no insult intended). I have to ask again whether or not a show would ever be made about the home life of a male prime minister, however unpopular he was.

Overall, At Home With Julia was an interesting experiment, and it certainly generated a lot of discussion. But most of the discussion around the show has been about whether or not the show should exist at all rather than the content. There was nothing to make this show memorable other than the news stories surrounding it, and I don’t think many people will be lamenting the lack of a second season. There are plenty of worse shows around, but there are also plenty of better ones. Unless you just have to see what all the fuss is about, I would recommend skipping At Home With Julia.

You can watch the episodes over at the show’s website, or on ABC’s iView.

What I Liked – The relationship story worked reasonably well.

What I Didn’t Like – Predictable and forgettable. Joke repetition.

Rating – 3 out of 5 (Average)

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