WELL, that’s official then. At Home With Julia isn’t funny. Worse, it is an example of the ABC wasting public money, abandoning quality control, displaying both contempt for the office of the PM and scant regard for the sort of entertainment Australians really need and enjoy.
Don’t by any means take that as a Bunyip’s opinion, as it is not a view endorsed at the Billabong, where there is nothing but admiration for a show that pulls off the notable theatrical coup of satirising a farce -- the latter being the slapstick misadventures of our real-life PM, who daily demonstrates a talent for plot twists no comedy writer could match. From ancient pillow talk with a swindler to her about-face on the humane treatment of refugees (2007: “Australia should deal with its own case load”. 2011: “…you've risked you're life at sea and you will be at real risk of ending up in Malaysia”), the poor woman must be so preoccupied with her oscillations that availability to serve as an assistant birthing coach for Penny Wong’s baby is in serious doubt. That joyous event, by the way, would make a wonderful AHWJ: Craig Thomson donating sperm with the help of union-financed carnal consultants. Bob Brown standing ready with the euthanasia needle if the infant’s toes don’t quite add up to ten. Greg Combet nibbling dutifully on the placenta, which his Climate Change department has certified as low-carbon, locally grown, organic produce.
Alas, it will not happen. Tragically, the series is being squeezed out of existence by both left and right, neither side entirely sincere.
On left, where a sense of humour has never been much in evidence, opinions range from that of Sophie Cunningham, who professes to believe the series is anti-woman, to Peter Craven, who dismisses it as “inane drivel”.
And on the right, it is disrespect for the office of PM and our flag that constiutes the alleged bone of contention.
Well pardon a Bunyip’s cynicism, but no one is telling the truth here. The left don’t like it because the ABC, by its reckoning, should not be adding to a beleaguered Labor leader’s many woes. We hear not a peep about inanity or bad taste when Hungry Beast is shouting “motherf---er” at Middle Australia, nor when that show assembles climate scientists to rap about “sucking d—k in Copenhagen.” But AHWJ goes beyond the pale. What the left lacks in humour it makes up in hypocrisy, as we all know.
And the right? Well, while reports from the coalition party room speak of outrage, one can only suspect it is confected. What Liberal or National could not delight in seeing the PM reduced to a laughingstock, to know that she has reached that point of political no-return when all respect has vanished and her only public use is to be the butt of mockery?
Yes, yes, Abbott’s crew will profess their disgust, but the real agenda is to seize and set aside another cudgel for beating the ABC, ideally to a pulp, when our current government is turfed out.
This flap over At Home With Julia, you just have to laugh.
UPDATE: Not very funny last night, not at all. If a scriptwriter begins a series by drawing inspiration from Moliere, tossing a bit of Eugene O'Neill into the mix is a dreadful mistake. As for the flag, it wasn't its use as a post-coital coverlet that provided the greatest offence. The subsequent mention of needing to have it dry cleaned was worse.