Newstopia, episode 9 (aired 26 nov)

It’s hard to review newstopia as it’s a sort of fast paced collage. What stands out to you? There’s a stab at token funding of electric cars at about 1:16, but the movie ‘Australia’ gets a jab before that, and even before that Heather Mills McCartney, and lamo police training actors (just run through the damn capsicum spray and wack him, for christ’s sake!)

Not that it stops there – the wave of small jokes is kind of like a continual carrier wave of amusement to quickly pay you off for plonking your arse down and focusing. Hell, all entertainment really needs to maintain a carrier wave to assert its ‘definite’ enjoyability. Sadly, focus actually is a resource that is spent, not something that’s on tap for free.

But yeah, moving on you get a piece about global warming, bank collapses and less fuel/cars being bought. Then some deliberately spurious footage of a super car (carrier wave!). The whole thing ends in a bit of a lame dog eat dog pun. It essentially ping pongs the ideas involved back and forth a bit in front of you with a thin trail of absurdity there to keep it something you want to do rather than typical ‘you have to deal with it, like it or not’ news.

In some ways I’d describe it as being like ‘Behind the news’ for adults. You know the ABC program ‘Behind the news’ (Also called BTN) that describes current news for kids/young teens, explaining the base situation more and rounding it out in a, again, well paced environment.

Is that a slap or a accolade? God knows!? I just write this stuff!

Then there’s a piece on the Lemur hosting the APEC conference…with extreme prejudice, apparently. I think it was Lemur, anyway. Newstopia has a sort of running gag of taking real, horrible events that don’t get much (if any) time on the regular news, then spin some humour after them. However this piece rather quickly got onto some light hearted gags about the chaser team dying horribly. So I don’t quite know what event Newstopia was bringing to my attention. Little overbalanced, that one. Anyway, at a entertainment level its an interesting one – I think MiCallefs muttered line at the end is both a compliment to the chaser team and perhaps self depreciation about his ratings? I don’t know. Curiouser and curiouser!

Oh, I do like the next bit about political jargon language. I’ll get political and ‘edgy’ for a moment. I’d love a sketch where you see some caveman bellow loudly when a sabre tooth tiger appears, alerting all the rest of the tribe to the danger. Then see a politician sent back in time, observing the sabre tooth tiger approaching, and going into allot of diplomatic bullshit words, entreaties, bargaining, then his bloody death…wow, could almost light a cigarette after that one! Perhaps showing that chart where you see mans evolution, from ape, through various figures rising up to straight standing homosapiens. Then the estimate diagrams for what it’ll take for us to survive – the figures collapsing over again, becoming more like the caveman. Seriously, words are dying – their used by politicians like they have some inherent meaning to them. But it’s just like crying ‘Wolf!’. The meaning of the word dies because it’s not inherent – there actually has to be a wolf demonstrated to be there.

Okay, long moment, but it’s over now! Zimbabwe! A parody of the ‘Australia’ movie, it comments on Zimbabwe’s political situation and does a rather good example of how with the right emphasis and spin, you can make a brutal dictator look the heroic protagonist! And hell, why not – history is written by the winners…assuming they can spell. Or decide to write any history at all. Hmm, I suppose any arrising conflict actually kills the very assumption there will be history after it at all. Anyway, a must see!

The next bit with the ‘false bottom’ joke, is something I mentally skip. Really, tacitly accepted rape in prisons by state and populace alike isn’t funny. If we want prisoners randomly raped, we should make it a clear out and out law that they must be raped, or get rid of rape in prisons entirely. Well, get rid of rape everywhere…but as you can see its a big issue, so getting explosive about one joke wont do much except tire me out in the long term.

And then Jessica the teen school girl is back! I was wondering when she’d turn up again, after a previous appearance. She’s actually a pretty dead on rendition of a teen girl. Though I have to say, if she saw a sabre tooth tiger I bet she’d yell ‘FUCK!’ really loudly. I hope the program doesn’t just use the Jessica character as a kicking bag and recognise that the directness is atleast a form of honestly and clarity.

The next thing about drug testing

Micallef “How do we know there’s no need to test them? There might be more need if we tested them more frequently?”

“What, they might need to be tested more frequently if they were tested more frequently?”, said with a disparaging grimace.

Damn, this is what I’ve seen over and over in various forums. You say something that makes sense and then the other person makes an absolute dogs breakfast of the logic and then looking at the dogs breakfast they made they look at you as if that’s what you wanted and are you stupid?

Then there’s man in time. I’m always a little skeptical about the man in time segment – I always think the bit of footage before it is a bit of easy filler. I almost expect to hear them add a voice in over the back of it self referencing that. Anyway, made me laugh – short and punchy one this week.

Oh, and I love the little mechanic they use where Micallef introduces something they will show ‘latter’ in the program, and they cut to a ‘sample’ of it. It’s not going to be shown latter, it’s just that small bit. But it really cuts straight to the chase of the setting of an interview and the primary gag of it. Brilliant bit of design, that one!

Then there’s the obligatory bunnings warehouse joke. Tis good! BUT when they pan out with the multiple images, it always reminds me of the ‘Alert, not alarmed’ campaign where they pan out with multiple images of potential terrorism. I’ve been waiting SOOOO long for them to tie the two together! Will it ever happen, or will my heart be broken?

Ah, there’s more, there’s more. But I’m becoming tired, sleepy, a little despondent and wondering how the potato plants are doing in the back yard. Hope this informed you and helped discuss it all a bit. The episodes rush by so fast on often deep topics, it seems a shame they don’t get further investigation.

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