Television Review: The Yearly with Charlie Pickering

After its first week on the air, The Weekly with Charlie Pickering got criticism for not being as good as Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell. Ignoring the fact that the shows are doing completely different things and are in different categories at the AACTA’s, that comparison is unfair. By the time Charlie Pickering had gotten his show to air, Shaun Micallef had already filmed five seasons of Mad as Hell. Charlie Pickering’s career has been a bit of a strange one. It’s completely ridiculous to compare the two shows. If Charlie tried to do what Shaun did, he’d be criticised for not being as good. He was criticised for not being as good as Shaun even when he decided to do his own thing (which was much more in the vein of late night shows in the US) anyway. Also, it’s only the very best of the best television shows that know what they are from the start. If your first episode is perfect, you have a lot to live up to. Also, as The Age reported earlier this week, The Weekly consistently performed better than Mad as Hell in the ratings. Charlie Pickering most likely attracts a younger demographic, possibly people who discovered him through The Project and followed him to the ABC. That’s not a bad thing.

I didn’t watch every episode of The Weekly this year, but one of the best decisions I made was to go down to Gordon Street for a taping of the show in July. 70% of that decision was made by the presence of Amy Schumer, the remaining 30% was intrigue to see how the show was made. Amy and Bill’s spit take was a highlight, but there were other great bits, including Tom Gleeson in a helicopter with Anthony Callea serenading him on ‘taxpayer money’ (it turns out that helicopters are pretty cheap when they’re owned by the ABC and are parked on the roof of DFO in Essendon), following the Bronwyn Bishop scandal. Kitty Flanagan was great on camera and off – when she was off camera, she was explaining that the lack of a dishwasher came between her and her last boyfriend.

Kitty Flanagan: There are two kinds of people in the world. People who own dishwashers, and dickheads.

The Weekly’s greatest strength is that it knows how to use all its parts, and aside from some jokes that seemed to be a bit too much (why would you ruin a beloved children’s show like that?), and it showed in The Yearly, which was a great way to wrap up the year in Australia. We relived the onion incident, watch Karl Stefanovic lose it over the size of Richard Wilkins’ (Matt and Alex’s ‘Crumb of the year’) head, and Kitty Flanagan cook an omelette in a dishwasher. It was smart and funny, and even though some terrible things happened this year, you need to remember to laugh every once in a while, even if it is because the person sitting opposite you is making fun of your colleague’s (according to Charlie, the c-word you can say in public) head for being so big. Was it the best thing I’ve ever seen on television? Of course not, but over 2015, The Weekly (and by extension The Yearly) has become a good television programme, and I’m looking forward to its return in 2016.

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