I have a feeling that The Ex-PM might have worked better as a television movie than a sitcom. Weeks 1, 5 and 6 were quite good, but there wasn’t anything remarkable about weeks 2-4. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me. When I reviewed Mistress America last weekend, I referred to A.A. Dowd’s review at The A.V. Club. In that review, Dowd posited that the first two thirds of the film were leading up to a farce in the final act, and that’s how I feel about The Ex-PM. I love a good farce, and Shaun Micallef is obviously a fan of the form as well. The finale of The Ex-PM was unexpected, but made perfect sense for the show. The ABC aren’t having their upfronts until next week, so we don’t know if they’re thinking of ordering more of this show, but I’d be surprised, especially since Shaun Micallef will be doing a show on SBS. In its absurdity however, Episode 6 was a great way for the show to wrap up.
Given that John Clarke was just about the worst business manager of all time, it’s no surprise that he had some Russian creditors after him. The best part of the whole thing is that they were creditors who were experts in global economics. Anyway, while Andrew, Curtis and Ellen were talking about something, the audience saw John Clarke get kidnapped. Andrew didn’t think that anything was wrong, but a call to the police confirmed that he had breached his house arrest. Since our gang couldn’t do anything, they went back to the Dugdale estate, where they found his car, and of course our favourite dodgy businessman was locked in the boot of his own car.
Meanwhile, the Russian creditors were holding Andrew’s family hostage so that Andrew could pay his business manager’s debt. Who would think that a former world leader would have overdrawn accounts and three mortgages on his own house (although given the size of the house, that’s quite understandable). So the Dugdales and Sonny are being held hostage in the living room, while Ellen and Curtis manage to find John Clarke locked in the boot of his own car. The question whether Miles has anything to help break into the car, and the least effective security guard shows up sipping a slurpee. He would have been back earlier, but he stopped to play paintball on his way home.
I started to write down the events, but it’s better if you watch it yourself. I think The Ex-PM ended well, but the middle section had a lot to answer for. Episode 5 was the highlight of the series, as the show gets into Andrew’s procrastination and his desire to be completely in control of his own image. There were things from Episodes 2-4 that were good, but the show could have been at least one episode shorter. Given Australia’s propensity for removing Prime Ministers from office before they have a chance to lose elections, this was a good idea for a show, but unfortunately it didn’t always work.