Monday, March 16, 2009

Big Ted Is Still Big Ted, Isn't He?

The best thing that happened to Australian politics last year was The HollowMen.

In a new clip, The HollowMen deal with the always contentious issue of just how much funding the ABC should get, and what they should be expected to deliver :

Working Dog, the team of actors, writers and producers behind The HollowMen, equally skewered Australian tabloid current affairs TV back in the 1990s with Frontline. The strange thing is, producers of Australian tabloid current affairs TV appear to have spent much time watching host Mike Moore working his tragedy-magic on Frontline, and took lots of notes. Today Tonight and A Current Affair are as reminiscent today of their own parody Frontline, as Status Quo are of Spinal Tap.

From Frontline, episode 11 :
BRIAN: Our audience simply doesn’t have the concentration span.
MIKE MOORE: (playing with a bit of stationary) …
BRIAN: Mike?
MIKE MOORE (looks up) Sorry.
BRIAN: We’ve got three minutes to do a story. Five if it involves nudity.
Did Frontline actually become a training video for Australian current affairs presenters and producers?

It only just occurred to me how much the office scenes from Frontline remind me of Ricky Gervais' The Office. There's obviously big differences, but the cast of characters is vaguely similar, it's mostly set in office of course, it's shot like a documentary, and Mike Moore is just as ignorant and self-obsessed as David Brent.

There's plenty more Frontline here if you need further convincing that Ricky Gervais saw the show in England (Frontline was screening on cable when I was there in 1997 and 1998) and thought 'Brilliant! I can do that!'