It’s pretty obvious that the media is always in danger of disappearing up it’s own arse in self analysis. Well now, the hamster’s beaten them to it.
Last night brought the first episode of The Hamster Wheel to ABC1, a new show from The Chasers, who have narrowed their field of vision from a war on everything, to just a war on the news. The format was familiar for anyone whose seen their previous programs, but that comfortably comes within ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, just put a giant hamster in there’.
On that note, the set was spectacular. Recreating a giant hamster cage was a bit inspired, it gave the impression that the Chasers had had a nasty run in with Rick Moranis. While lovingly recreated, it did seem a bit awkward to present a show from. I think it was worth the awkwardness.
As for the show itself, it was pretty standard Chaser fair. Turning a critical eye to the increasing tabloid nature of the media, and the shakiness that has become media ethics, for a large part their stories were outdated and old news, which makes me wonder where they’ll go for future episodes. Rupert Murdoch gags are funny, but probably would have been funnier a few months ago. Kevin Rudd making a comeback? Closer, but you’re a couple of weeks too late. A Schembri award? Does anyone outside of Crikey’s own Luke Buckmaster remember who Jim Schembri is?
A few more current and timeless things worked well, I particularly like the instruction manual on crime reporting. I found the tweets more distracting than anything (and again with more outdated gags – too late for the St Kilda Schoolgirl sorry, guys).
I could go on at this point, but let’s be honest: Dan Barrett over at Crikey blog White Noise beat me by fifteen minutes, so you might as well go and read his review of the show. I will echo him by saying that it’s good to see The Chasers back, the show is a good laugh, and I’m cautiously optimistic. Will they have enough content, or will they just be mining reruns of Media Watch? Maybe ABC could combine the two?
ABC1, 9:30pm, Wednesdays.