Pop Culture #668

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Pop Culture #668

“Why do some people pull off band-aids quickly, while others do it slowly and make the pain last forever?” “Why do ugly people make better bosses?” Why am I watching the first episode of Seven’s new panel game show Behave Yourself? Oh wait, that wasn’t one of the questions was it?

It’s a little surprising it’s taken Seven so long to get back into the comedy game, as up until relatively recently comedy was one corner of the market Seven dominated, and it’s only in recent years when the focus has shifted to comedy game shows rather than sketch comedy that Ten has pulled away.

For a long, long while there Seven was the network for mainstream Australian comedy: Fast Forward was a bonefide classic (just don’t try to watch an episode today) and spin off Full Frontal launched the careers of both Eric Bana and Shaun Micallef. Even into the 21st Century Seven was still giving comedy a red hot go: Seven was the first network to give Chris Lilley a shot on sketch show Big Bite; they were the first to give Hamish & Andy a show with (surprisingly) The Hamish & Andy Show. And yet those guys had to go elsewhere to find fame; Seven’s last real attempt at traditional comedy came with sketch show Double Take back in 2009 (paired with a local version of UK hit TV Burp, hosted by Have You Been Paying Attention regular Ed Kavalee), and after the flop that was game show The White Room Seven largely left comedy alone, a few attempts at panel shows like the Chaser-produced and hosted The Unbelievable Truth aside.

But now with Behave Yourself they’re back in the game – and it is a game (show), despite what the presence of Shane Warne as one of the guests might have you thinking. Whatever you might think of Have You Been Paying Attention, one thing you could never accuse it of being is slow, so when Behave Yourself gets into the questions after only a couple of minutes of pointless chat it’s off to a good start. Unfortunately the first question gives Warnie a chance to let us know he’s on all manner of dating apps and it’s downhill from there.

For a show pitched as “A show where we attempt to find out why we do the weird things that we do”, most of the weird questions being brought up were along the lines of “why are they smelling bottled farts?” and “why are they having tennis balls fired at them?” Nobody expects this kind of show to be remotely highbrow, but you’d think there’d be decent laughs to be found in actually exploring quirks of human behaviour rather than the kind of wacky pranks that most comedy game shows phased out a decade or more ago.

As for the segment about guessing the fears and obsessions of other panellists… who cares? To be fair, it took Have You Been Paying Attention a long time to find its feet; to be realistic, Seven isn’t going to give Behave Yourself anywhere near as long to get good. And at the moment, good is a long way off.

Written by Anthony Morris