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.
Andrew Dugdale: I don’t know about being played by a comedian
The big mystery on this week’s episode of The Ex-PM is of course who the man on the ABC with the grey hair and glasses is. It’s not Tony Jones, it’s some funny guy, who may or may not be Shaun Micallef himself, but then Andrew wants Tony Jones after the Lachy Hulme fiasco. Other options discussed for the two part miniseries based on ‘Drew Dug’ (as Lachy liked to call him) included George Clooney, as well as the one who plays Thor – or his brother.
I find it really hard to write about The Ex-PM, because there’s not a lot to say outside of giving a basic plot summary. What we do get this week is to meet Andrew’s greatest political rival, former Governor General and future attache to the Middle East. We also learn that Andrew is a pretty shrewd political operative. Meanwhile, Sonny and Catherine still seem to be on the outs, Andrew is getting ready for the funeral of a former MP, and that book is nowhere near written. I assume the last episode is going to be about the book’s publication, but given that Andrew is even worse at writing a book when someone else is writing it, this show could go on forever.
Andrew Dugdale: Revenge is a happy byproduct.
This is going to be an incredibly short review, because my life has quieted down a bit since Tuesday, I spent most of last night playing Ocarina of Time and forgot to watch The Ex-PM, and it’s now 10pm on Thursday and this is my first chance to watch it. About to press play on iview now. This week Andrew is hosting diplomats from Israel and Palestine so that he can get some sort of posting out there because his greatest political rival is slated to get the job. He buys kosher and Halal meat, and as expected, it’s a disaster. Meanwhile, budget negotiations are at a standstill, which means the government isn’t paying for his staff, so they have an unpaid day off.
Andrew Dugdale: I blame the ABC.
The Ex-PM is a fun show, but not particularly easy to write about every week. I didn’t take notes as I was watching this time, which I did on iview because I was out last night. Between work and some things I need to study for next week, I haven’t had a lot of time to watch or write about television, which is a shame, but I also don’t want to wear myself out. This week on The Ex-PM, Andrew Dugdale played with the idea of being a handyman, went and spoke at his grandson’s school for Grandparents’ Day, and complained that ex-Prime Ministers don’t get the same amount of respect as ex-Presidents of the United States.
Ellen: Do you like it being a bit like an Aussie sitcom?
Andrew Dugdale: Yes, but I don’t think the characters are quite as broad.
Shaun Micallef is one of Australia’s best comedians and an incredible actor (he believably played the most boring person in the world on SeaChange). Given the nature of Mad As Hell, he’s the perfect person to be at the helm of a show called The Ex-PM. Australian politics has been all over the place lately, since Prime Ministers aren’t even lasting a term, and with so many new Ex-PMs in the country, we need to know what happens to them after they leave office. It’s only natural. Some of them, like John Howard, go on to write biographies of their heroes. Julia Gillard went and spoke at the UN. I have no idea what Kevin Rudd’s up to, but Tony Abbott is sitting in the back bench at the moment. I haven’t watched a minute of it yet (it’s starting in a few minutes), but The Ex-PM is the show Australia needs right now. In true Shaun Micallef fashion it’s over the top, and the jokes are both meta and great one-liners that relate to Australian politics.