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First impressions of The Joy of Sets

Misunderstood Triple M radio show Get This was cancelled in 2007, and since then, the fans have remained strong (and it needs to be said, just a little bit scary). I’m sure there have been nights where Tony Martin has woken up in a fevered sweat, having been chased through a nightmare by people wanting ducks… and now its come to this. The Joy of Sets airing for the next eight weeks on Channel 9.

Full disclosure though, I am an unashamed fan of Get This. Sure, maybe not a cape-wearing one, but I stood amongst many at the Get This rally back in 2007, took my guitar into the studio, and played a ballad to the great (and sorely missed) Richard Marsland. So to some extent, I’m already going to be sold as a fan of their new television venture.

The Joy of Sets (last I heard, that was a working title…) is a look at the elements of television shows. I’ve heard it described as being inspired by The Gruen Transfer, and given their common parentage of Zapruder’s Other Films I can appreciate where that’s coming from. It’s smart, funny, and interesting all at once. It’s well scripted, and Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee are entertaining hosts.

But… and here’s a but… it’s a bit static. Two guys sitting in chairs talking for the duration of the program sounds sneakily like radio. Tony and Ed reciting script to camera for half an hour makes a pretty stilted program to watch, and the only attempt to break it up was to bring out a guest (I’m sorry, I can’t recall his name…) who was pretty much there as an underused prop to facilitate a few clip gags. Commercial breaks seemed disruptive, and I couldn’t help but feel that it would be more ideal on a different network.

The good news is that people are probably going to find the show funny, regardless of their preconceived notions. Tony Martin is as you would expect him to be: knowledgeable, nerdy, and engaging. Ed Kavalee has an appealingly goofy nature about him, and together they have great chemistry. They mightn’t be the most well-known comedians on the Nine Network, but surely there’s plenty there to like, even if you aren’t the cape-wearing, venga bus driving, Nick Kershaw loving, Nickleback bashing, duck hoarding, cockney knees-up enthusiast that this duo usually attract. The few deviations to reenact television opening sequences were great, probably because they were used sparingly. They also contained just the right amount of Warrick Capper – it’s interesting to see what the guy will do for exposure.

The show has real potential, and I look forward to seeing it flourish over the next seven weeks. Scheduled after Two and a Half Men isn’t a bad deal, but on the same time as Packed to the Rafters is a weird way for Channel 9 to give this show the chance that it deserves.

Update: Helped along by a huge lead-in watching the Kutcher-enhanced Two and a Half Men, The Joy of Sets pulls in 1,165,000 viewers! The girl’s happy!

The Joy of Sets is on Tuesdays, 9pm on Channel 9.

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  • 1
    Gerry Hatrick, OAP
    Posted September 21, 2011 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I saw the filming of the first EP, and I must say that the editing did make it look stilted. Hilarious though on twitter seeing the average 2.5 men audience being completly baffed at it, I don’t think that anyone would agree that the two audiences overlap at all. Although, the shots of mechanical gears from twin peaks is about as funny as the average 2.5 anyway….

    Note: When the “ratings spike” comes on, I so want an overdub of “The Girl’s Happy!”

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