With two and a half weeks to polling day in Australia I have officially had enough of this general election. It’s hard to feel inspired when the best outcome to hope for is that Labor can somehow compress enough of their gaping wounds and haul their political corpse over the winning line without having haemorrhaged every last drop of credibility. This combined with the media’s pretence that they wouldn’t treat Julia Gillard any differently to other candidates for the top job whilst explaining that they just have to talk about her hair, clothes, accent, femininity and her unmarried, childless status has used up all my rage and now I just want it to end.
Still, when people look back at this election the big question they will ask is surely this: what idiot decided to suspend the ABC’s run of The United States of Tara for six weeks in favour of a Chaser Election Special and a referendum-related adaptation of Wil Anderson’s Gruen Transfer? I appreciate that Gillard’s decision to call an early election might have changed a few people’s priorities but did the ABC really need to go all Channel 7 and just turn it off mid-run? Well, apparently, yes. Ratings for the Chaser’s Yes-We-Canberra and Gruen Nation have been through the roof, which just goes to show that people get what they deserve and that I’ll never get a job at the ABC.
I suppose I’d mind less if either show were as inspired or intelligent as say The Colbert Report, whose US election highlights included host Stephen Colbert’s on-off-on again presidential campaign, recognition of the Colbert Bump as a genuine influence on public opinion and a beautifully childish three-way punch-up with Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart over who ‘made’ Republican nominee Mike Huckabee. The Comedy Channel’s coverage of the Obama-McCain election as Indecision '08 (subtitled by The Daily Show as Clusterf@#k to the Whitehouse and by Colbert as Don’t F@#k This Up America) actually made the most historic election in US history even more enjoyable.
Lest we also forget Saturday Night Live and Tina Fey’s Sarah Palin tour de farce. It’s fair to say our Tina played as big a part in reinforcing the public’s view of the Alaskan Governor as a gun-toting simpleton as Spitting Image did in ensuring David Steel and David Owen would never be elected in the United Kingdom. If you’ve seen enough of Fey’s impressions check out this slice of genius by an eight-month’s pregnant Amy Poehler on SNL’s Weekend Update, with Palin clearly clueless about what she is condoning whilst trying to look cool on TV.
Elsewhere this year’s Alternative Election Night on Channel 4 in the UK sounded great in theory. I’ve no idea if it was (feel free to let me know) but just the idea of Charlie Brooker, David Mitchell and Lauren Laverne on a show together excites me more than watching the past-their-best Chaser boys asking Julie Bishop to stare out a gnome.
So because I miss it already, and in the absence of anything better (Micallef, please stop messing around with Talkin' About Your Generation and use that brain for something important...) and because the ABC dropped their end of the bargain it looks like I'm going to have to take up my friend's offer from earlier this year of a downloaded copy of the United States of Tara. Sorry ABC; you can't say I didn't try. Your turn now...