Thursday, 4 June 2009

New Shaun Micallef Programme!

There’s a new Shaun Micallef programme! There’s a new Shaun Micallef programme! Here’s a screen grab of him playing chess against a toaster from it!


Sadly however, it’s not a new Shaun Micallef P(r)ogram(me). Instead, it’s a new primetime panel-based game show, transmitted every Tuesday at 7.30pm on the Ten network (in Australia, as we’d hope you’d all know by now). It is called Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation.


The format runs thusly: three teams representing the three generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Y) must answer a series of pop culture related questions, and undergo a series of culture-related tasks. Whichever generation has the most points by the end of the show is the best for a whole week.


We’d sooner a ‘proper’ comedy show, but hey, it’s a comedy panel show, and it’s hosted by Shaun Micallef. What’s not to like. Here comes our extensive review, using our time-honoured “good things get points, bad things see points deducted” system.

GOOD: It is hosted by Shaun Micallef. +5 points.

GOOD: Due to the pre-watershed timeslot, Shaun vows to “subtract points for filth”. This means Shaun gets to be all schoolmasterly when banter slides into smut, which is always a good chance for him to be amusing. +2 points.


GOOD: Some of the guests are people we recognise, like Arj Barker from Flight of the Conchords. +2 points.


BAD: Despite many of the panellists being comedians, much of the show is run along strict quiz-based lines. So, if someone buzzes in with an amusing but clearly wrong answer, Shaun has to quickly move on and ask someone else, instead of riffing with them on the likelihood of the Qantas logo being a farting dog (or whatever) in the ‘identify a corporate logo after seeing just a tiny bit of it’ round. –2 points


BAD: While it’s a nice idea for a round (especially as we’re graphic design sluts who can’t get enough of rounds based on corporate idents), Ofcom would surely frown on such things being shown over here without going into Pizel Frenzy mode. Not that there’s more than a 0.0005% chance of it getting shown in the UK anyway. –0.0005 points


GOOD: Even in the 7.30pm timeslot, Shaun still finds time to indulge in plenty of avant-garde tomfoolery. Such as: introducing an episode while playing chess against a toaster (see top image), and holding the clue cards at strange angles for the contestant at the easel in the “sketch the TV show’ round. +3 points


GOOD: Also, Shaun announces that while Ten aren’t offering any prizes, he’ll give one of his own awards to the winning team, such as the Aria received for his ‘Expurgated Micallef Tonight’ DVD ,or his prize for winning an edition of Thank God You’re Here. This is good, because it reminds us of the high esteem in which Micallef is held in his native country, and hopefully he’ll keep getting work. +3 points

HOWEVER: It also means that he’ll be kept too busy to try his luck on UK television, which is a crying shame. –2 points

MIND YOU: The bit where Shaun announces the final round is worth a ‘secret number of points’, then reels off a load of examples as to what that secret number could be (“it could be worth five points, could be worth five thousand points. It could be worth seventeen points. It could be worth three hundred and eleven points. It could be worth three hundred and twelve points”). To move on, an envelope is lowered down on a piece of titanium wire by some 'especially blinded monks', containing the number of points that the round is worth. REDEEMED. +2 points.


GOOD: The final round is a Generation Game (hey, that could be another name for the… oh, you’ve guessed) type affair, with the teams asked to do cross-generational tasks like wallpapering a room…


…or building sandcastles. This might be a bit generic, but it’s helped along by Shaun reading out some relevant ‘facts’ (“In England, by 1806, falsification of copyrighted wallpaper stamps was punishable by death”). Plus, the cackhanded jobs done by the teams also add to the fun, much as in The Generation Game When Jim Davidson Wasn’t Doing It. +2 points


GOOD: Harold Bishop! +3 points


GOOD: No credits at the end, just a message and a URL of where the credits can be found. This prevents annoying broadcasters from ‘credit squeezing’ and doing annoying voiceovers along the lines of “You like Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, so we’re assuming you’ll also like Horne & Corden”, so we are in favour of it. +1 point.


BAD: It’s a Granada show. By the final episode, this is likely to have become an ‘ITV Studios’ show, which isn’t as impressive. –2 points

GOOD: But then we think about how good Granada used to be, in the good old days of Bob Greaves being sexually assaulted by an elephant on Granada Reports. +2 points.

BAD: And then we remember how long ago that was, and how age has withered our once youthful looks. Damn. –1 point.


While it’s certainly a bit of a disappointment as a Shaun Micallef vehicle because there’s not really enough of him in it, we’re nothing if not optimists. It’s a moderately entertaining game show in its own right, and on top of that, it’s hosted by Shaun Micallef. That’s a good thing, if you’re asking us. As long as the full series of Inspektor Herring isn’t too far away, that is.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation is possibly available to watch online here (we’re not sure, as our install of Firefox hates Ten’s webplayer). Failing that, is your best bet.


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