Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hamster Wheel's relentless, laugh-killing, left-wing bias

Watched The Hamster Wheel again last night. I have watched it this week and last because I want to work out exactly why the Chaser team's work is so consistently awful. They just seem to have a reverse Midas touch when it comes to comedy.

I can sit there watching their sketches and not crack a chuckle for ten minutes flat. As I wrote before the political subtext is not the sole cause for the show's lameness. Still, its relentless, right-on bias is a big part of what makes it so cringeworthy. (There are other, er, qualities contributing to this effect. But I'll just write about the ideological subtext for now.)

Predictably, they go in hard and nasty at the commercial media, but avoid mocking the ABC. And if they do include the national broadcaster as a subject in sketches, it's all really chummy and self-referential. For example last night they had a tragically unfunny segment utilizing some of Australia's most well known TV journos who were past or present employees of the ABC. It was uni review level bathos that had them all gushing about the classic work on the Zoot Review.

So even when they're trying to be balanced the Chaser boys reveal their prejudice. Take last week's episode in which they did a skit about the absurdly high number of terribly bad things that can be caused by climate change. It fell short of questioning the warmist dogma of course -- that would have been a big no-no. It was more of a jibe at media sensationalism. But even that missed its mark because the hacks who've been splashing these terrifying prognostications across the font pages have been citing scientists -- many of whom have clearly been playing politics themselves while purporting to remain objective.

As well as missing the real target the sketch was several years out of date. I can recall bloggers remarking on the sheer number of catastrophic consequences linked to climate change from about the middle of last decade. (Here's one such list. Clearly, the project has been going for quite some time.)

Another example from last night: The Hamster Wheel had a sketch about News Ltd's sledging of the Greens, as if the party were a bunch of cute wittle pixies who were being outrageously monstered by the "hate media". Bob Brown himself could have written it.

Again, they tried to show "balance". Also in the show was a piss-take of Robert Manne's domination of The Monthly. But this just mocked Manne's obvious pomposity. There was no condemnation of the nanny-statist perspective that pervades the magazine itself.

Actually, I don't know why they bother with these feeble attempts at fairness. But they've been trying it on for years. (The title of the Chaser team's old show comes to mind here -- it was not a "war on everything", just some things.)

If they just ditched this pretence then they'd still be about as funny as cot death. But at least they'd be genuine. And you'd have to give them a few cool points for that.

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