Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Sideshow: Axed By A Biased ABC Board

Bias at the ABC. Yes, it exists. But no, it’s not left-wing bias — it’s bias well to the right, courtesy of the changes to the Board of Directors that Howard instigated. The Sideshow with Paul McDermott has gone the way of The Glass House before it. Both were popular shows, regarded with great affection by many, and both were relatively cheap to make. In both cases scheduling changes preceded the final deathblow. And both shows included political satire that was damaging to the Government and its allies:

G’day folks. Welcome to The Glass House, the program that asks the question ‘Even though today’s anniversary of JFK’s death is sad, isn’t it good at least one American President showed a bit of brains?’ — Wil Anderson, The Glass House, 22/11/06

John Howard has finally said ‘sorry’. Well, not about the Stolen Generation, Children Overboard, Iraq or making us a terrorist target. He’s sorry interest rates have chundered all over his re-election chances. — Paul McDermott, The Sideshow, 10/11/07

The Sideshow also regularly ridiculed right-wing religious fundamentalism. In this moment from the ‘New Moods in Intelligent Design’ series, we discover why God didn’t design The Pyjamadillo, a pyjama-wearing nocturnal armadillo:

Nylon PJs and open flame — recipe for disaster
for three young Pyjamadillos!

The skit ends with the phrase ‘Ergo: God is Smart’ (for not designing such impractical creatures), but the real message is pretty clear: The excellent design of the real armadillo can be perfectly explained by evolution and it’s the concept of Intelligent Design that’s ridiculous.

Conservatives are typically against the avant-garde and risqué, and would have all sorts of issues with the burlesque spirit of The Sideshow, especially on the State’s TV channel, where it would be endowed with a level of legitimacy. What was The Guru’s TV moment of the year, Imogen Kelly frolicking with a cream gateau, would have the John Howards of this world protesting vehemently:

How to lose calories on gateau!

In fact, with many of the musical numbers having a political message, there wasn’t much about The Sideshow that wouldn’t have rubbed a staunch conservative up the wrong way. But it seems to have been the eponymous Paul McDermott himself who’s become public enemy number one with the ABC management. He revealed on the show that some crew’s IDs had been seized and replaced with visitor passes, including himself — now Visitor V3035.

“The star of the show is the A-B-C!”

In what, if the current Board of Directors have their way, will be the last ever Sideshow, the talented team of regulars sang a satirical song with the chorus “The star of the show is the A-B-C!” Over some 30 episodes the artists had put their hearts and souls into The Sideshow, and created something very special — a world in which free thought, progressiveness and creativity came together with a sense of community to engender optimism. “How beautiful is living?!” exclaimed Paul at the end of one ep.

Make no mistake, for the time being it most certainly is not Your ABC.

Images: ABC TV

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear.
We've been working to show our support ever since the decision was announced last month. There's a petition, several groups and a letter-wiriting campaign underway at Sideshow_Fans on LiveJournal. Sign the petition
write to the ABC Have Your Say page
or via their Contact Us form
and join us on LiveJournal, MySpace, MSN, Facebook, Yahoo and everywhere else people with a few brain cells meet to discuss their love of comedy.
It's not my ABC, because I'm in Scotland. But it should be yours.

12/02/2007 9:22 pm  
Blogger Al Cad said...

Hey there, Anonymous,

(Wow, you really get around — I’ve seen your comments all over the web! :-p )

It’s certainly good to let ABC management know that what they’ve done doesn’t sit well with their viewers. But I would suggest that it’s even more important to move to change the structure of the board and the manner of it’s appointment, as outlined in the Friends of the ABC article linked above. A letter to your local MP would be one method. (Well, not so much for people in Scotland!) Good luck with your rallying!

12/04/2007 3:24 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for that and good luck with your restructuring proposal. Sorry if I'm butting my nose in. There's nothing much on TV over here, you see. :)

12/04/2007 6:27 am  
Blogger nailpolishblues said...

Update already.

2/12/2008 12:05 am  
Blogger Al Cad said...

What? Is it a leap year or something? (Oh, right, it is.)

Yes, I guess I have let the weeds grow a bit round here. Do you have a particular question for me, Nails? I have all the answers to life’s big questions – guaranteed, or your money back!  :-)

2/12/2008 1:16 am  

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