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October 24, 2009 9:41 AM   Subscribe

Jewish-Australian John Safran is (in)famous for his outrageous style of comedic television documentary, including the AFI award winning "Music Jamboree" and "John Safran vs God" (previously). His latest effort, "Race Relations" has already been described as the "lowest point in the history of Australian television". Including a "sniff test" comparison of Eurasian and Jewish panties and a scene involving a plastic cup and a copy of Obama's "Audacity of Hope" inside a Palestinian sperm-bank, episode one (of eight) aired last Wednesday to a buzz of controversy, and there's plenty worse to come.
posted by moorooka (102 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
What's a Eurasian? And why does it matter?
posted by KokuRyu at 9:46 AM on October 24, 2009


"lowest point in the history of Australian television"

I've seen Neighbours and Prisoner from Cell Block H so I'm not buying this hyperbole.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:58 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


He crucifies himself? Jesus Christ.
posted by Falconetti at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Australians? Racist?
posted by Sys Rq at 10:08 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


What? I really enjoyed Everything is Illl...WAIT WRONG GUY. NEVERMIND.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:14 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wowsers, someone who almost makes Sasha Baron Cohen look like slightly less of a self aggrandizing, attention-whoreing ass. We could have just saved time and given them Tom Green.
posted by mikoroshi at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


"lowest point in the history of Australian television"

The Sullivans? Pugwall? Round the Twist? Sons and Daughters? Blue Heelers?
posted by fire&wings at 10:36 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


"He crucifies himself?"

"I really hate to lay this one on you, man, but you can't crucify yourself. I've tried it hundreds of times. There's no way you can hammer in the last nail."
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 10:40 AM on October 24, 2009 [15 favorites]


what, worse than skippy the bush kangaroo?
posted by pyramid termite at 10:43 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It doesn't seem thet bed.
He's like the illegitimate love-child of Tom Green and Louis Theroux.
posted by Flashman at 10:46 AM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Round the Twist?

Oh, you bugger; do you know how many years of therapy I needed to get that theme song out of my head? Many. Many years.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:50 AM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought it looked awesome. For the first time in my life, I actually wished I lived in Australia.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:09 AM on October 24, 2009


for a second. And actually, only so I could watch the full episode online.
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:10 AM on October 24, 2009


moorooka : Including a "sniff test" comparison of Eurasian and Jewish panties

At the risk of outing myself as a heterosexual male (Or a lesbian female - The world will never know!) - Yes, you largely can tell race by the... ahem... "scent of a woman".

Not to say doing so on TV makes it any less tacky, but in his defense, it at least works.

posted by pla at 11:19 AM on October 24, 2009


episode 2 looks amazing - John Safran "becomes" a black American, naturally sparking the metafilter question: is it blackface?
posted by pick_the_flowers at 11:26 AM on October 24, 2009


Falconetti: "He crucifies himself? Jesus Christ."

What a Christ asshole.
posted by The White Hat at 11:42 AM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Flashman: It doesn't seem thet bed.
He's like the illegitimate love-child of Tom Green and Louis Theroux.


Those two things you said there.

They do not go together.
posted by koeselitz at 11:42 AM on October 24, 2009


So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck? Maybe the one that features the guy who wanders around telling people to 'harden the fuck up'? That one looked pretty good.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:54 AM on October 24, 2009


So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck?

Kath & Kim was good enough to be remade for the US, where it lasted 17 episodes before getting the axe.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:00 PM on October 24, 2009


I think Kath and Kim screens here, but I've never watched it.

I was always a fan of Bluey though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:04 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


This sounds disgusting, putrid and very racist.
From the Brisbane Times article:

Further into the series, he dons blackface to confront African-American political activists and black churchgoers in Chicago, masquerades as a "ladyboy" and as the Elephant Man in Thailand, takes part in a voodoo death ceremony in Africa and makes a visit to his mother's grave, in the dead of night, armed with a shovel.

It's almost satanic. Why would any rational being want to watch this?
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 12:12 PM on October 24, 2009


For someone who was "crucified" he seems to have a notable lack of scars in this photo taken after the incident.

I know this has nothing to do with his status as a media personality but stunty stunts like fake crucifixions kind of get my dander in a ruff.
posted by Avenger at 12:15 PM on October 24, 2009


Actually real crucifixions would make me angry too, now that I think about it.
posted by Avenger at 12:17 PM on October 24, 2009


Actually real crucifixions would make me angry too, now that I think about it.

Why so? I personally believe in nussink, but devotional crucifixion, as long as it is voluntary and safe (Well, as safe as nailing someone to a beam can be), is a pretty impressive expression of one's faith*.

*Not quite on par with divesting one's self of earthy possessions and traveling the earth and performing good works, but still, it's super-cool.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:29 PM on October 24, 2009


Avenger- to properly crucify someone, you go in between the ulna and the radius. Otherwise it'll just rip through all the little bones in the hand. Not exactly what you want to happen. The marks should be on his forearms, not his hands.

Yes, this means that all the depictions of Jesus are wrong. As are all the stigmata bleeding from the hands.

Check out a video of the guys who get crucified in the Philippines as a devotional act. Watch where they actually drive the nails in.
posted by Hactar at 12:30 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Check out a video of the guys who get crucified in the Philippines as a devotional act. Watch where they actually drive the nails in.

Well, uh, in Safran's case it was the palms of the hands.
posted by Avenger at 12:33 PM on October 24, 2009


--So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck?--

Summer Heights High.
posted by peacay at 12:33 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's almost satanic. Why would any rational being want to watch this?

huh? Wait, do you think any comedians who tackle racism are funny?
posted by pick_the_flowers at 12:48 PM on October 24, 2009


I always liked A Country Practice.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 1:01 PM on October 24, 2009


I wonder what the BNP would make of this?
posted by Solomon at 1:10 PM on October 24, 2009


I wonder what the BNP would make of this?

Bloody Australians, coming over here taking our pub jobs.
posted by biffa at 1:20 PM on October 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


pick_the_flowers: huh? Wait, do you think any comedians who tackle racism are funny?

There is a sizeable difference between 'tackling racism' and 'bumping into racism on the bus, hugging like long lost school chums, joyously reminiscing over old times, going out for a beer that turns out to be nine or ten, and waking up next to each other the next morning.'
posted by koeselitz at 1:21 PM on October 24, 2009 [6 favorites]


pick_the_flowers: ... naturally sparking the metafilter question: is it blackface?

'metafilter question'?
posted by koeselitz at 1:26 PM on October 24, 2009


I always liked A Country Practice.

I preferred The Young Doctors myself.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:30 PM on October 24, 2009


I'm prepared for an insightful conversation to emerge in this thread from a bunch of people who won't have watched the show.
posted by skullbee at 1:42 PM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metafilter doesn't like John Safran. What a shock.
posted by Ritchie at 1:47 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


I seem to recall that John Safran's material was somewhat more intelligent some 6-8 years ago. Has he succumbed to the forces of mass-media dumbing down, or was his shtick always stupid?
posted by acb at 2:07 PM on October 24, 2009


huh? Wait, do you think any comedians who tackle racism are funny?

Sounds like a strange use of the word "tackle"
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


This actually looks like a great show. Full of shocks. Enough so that people will call it satanic.
posted by alteredcarbon at 2:36 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks funny to me. I will not be jumping on the THAT'S RACIST! bandwagon. Some of what he does seems over the top, but I am not of the opinion that talking about race is the same as being racist. I also am not of the opinion that one person dressing as another person is omgthemostterriblethingintheworlditstheexactsameasblackface. I love Eddie Murphy as a white guy. I love Dave Chappelle as a white guy. I even love Scott Thompson as a straight man! And I liked Robert Downey Jr. as a black guy in Tropic Thunder. I didn't like Charlton Heston as a Mexican in Touch of Evil, but even then it was in no way comparable to blackface. It was mostly because Charlton Heston was kind of a shitty actor in that movie.
posted by molecicco at 2:46 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter doesn't like John Safran. What a shock.

Metafilter? Well I'm a MeFite and, damn it, I like him a lot. Who's with me?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:56 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Ahhh, I was waiting for this. And moorooka, something is telling me you're not a fan. I watched it, and I thought it was typical Safran, it made me squirm and it made me laugh.

But then again, I am a racist
posted by mattoxic at 3:02 PM on October 24, 2009


Gah. Just when I thought Britain had ceased the racism Ashes by putting an actual Nazi on telly.
posted by Artw at 3:06 PM on October 24, 2009


my reaction was the same as yours mattoxic. but it turns out that you can only watch the full episode on the ABC website if you're in Australia, and I perfectly understand how somebody who didn't actually watch it might assume it was just about the worst thing ever judging from the descriptions.
posted by moorooka at 4:08 PM on October 24, 2009


I like him a lot. Who's with me?

Oh, I am, definitely. I've been following his stuff ever since Race Around the World. His humor has this going for it: imagine a man taking a double-barreled shotgun and loading it with shells marked Tactlessness and Satire. The man then puts the muzzle of the shotgun in his mouth and blows his own head off. That's John Safran.

The only thing about him that really bothers me is that he has to have the most annoying voice in the world.
posted by Ritchie at 4:56 PM on October 24, 2009 [5 favorites]


From the Brisbane Times

These segments and others have led the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) to condemn the show as the latest example of why the self-regulation of TV content is inappropriate

"Footage of John Safran masturbating in front of an image of the US president and stealing and sniffing what are supposed to be unwashed underpants should never be hitting our screens," ACL managing director Jim Wallace said.


Australian Christian Lobby - I demand you regulate my viewing
posted by mattoxic at 5:18 PM on October 24, 2009


Safran blue?
posted by smoke at 5:33 PM on October 24, 2009


A friend introduced me to Safran's videos. There was one where he went to a mosque to get a fatwa issued against an Australian TV personality?

The question he posed is, how hard is it to get a fatwa issued by a leading cleric. The answer: pretty easy.

Safran recanted at the end of the episode in order to have the fatwa rescinded.
posted by zippy at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2009


Kath & Kim was good enough to be remade for the US

Why do programs need to be "remade" for US TV? Is it when they are "good enough" - it's like some sort of award? "Congratulations Mr Cleese, Fawlty Towers was so good that we're now going to make a shit version of it for the US. You should be very proud"
posted by mattoxic at 5:51 PM on October 24, 2009 [9 favorites]


Why do programs need to be "remade" for US TV?

Language barrier.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:57 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Humour barrier.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:19 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let me just say, from the outset, that I dislike John Safran - or, at least, I dislike his TV persona.

That said, I think he's very funny and, in a strange way, very necessary.

He's very good at what he does, which is to take the term "nothing is too sacred", grab it by the balls, run very hard and way too far with it, and show you that, indeed, nothing is too sacred to be dealt with by comedy.

At his best he can take a subject, find a childishly-stupidly humorous angle to it, take it way beyond comedy into unpleasantly uncomfortable territory, then turn it right back on you and make you think "why do I find this extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable - yet funny?".

Yes, you'll probably find it outrageous when he does it to one of your favourite hobby-horses - but it's hard to stay angry at him when he'll then immediately turn around and do exactly the same to something you disagree with. You end up questioning "well, I though it was funny when he did it to them, why don't I think it's funny when he's doing exactly the same thing now?"

He's an equal-opportunity arsehole. Each series he picks a theme, then sets about skewering everything around it. This is a man who in one series picked on Judaism, Islam, Christianity, the KKK, the LDS, Hinduism, Vodoun, Shamanism, Wicca, and the CoS. Nothing is left out; nothing is too sacred to escape. It's that best form of comedy; the kind that not only makes you laugh, but makes you think as well.

That said, based on the first episode, Race Relations isn't as funny or as good as his previous stuff. The second episode looks pretty bad, from the previews, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he pulls a rabbit out of the hat and turns it into something worthwhile, thought-provoking, and funny.

In short: He's an arsehole, but a necessary arsehole. He's the epitome of the old adage "if you're upsetting everybody, you must be doing something right…"
posted by Pinback at 6:54 PM on October 24, 2009 [3 favorites]


Safran vs the Mormons - one of his best.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 8:19 PM on October 24, 2009


Its sort of a shame that the adjective "outrageous," when combined with the word "comedy," usually actually means "crappy."
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:54 PM on October 24, 2009


Its sort of a shame that the adjective "outrageous," when combined with the word "comedy," usually actually means "crappy."

And when you put the word "new" in the middle, you get "sitcom due for cancellation within three weeks."
posted by decagon at 9:22 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Safran has to exist. TV needs to be shocking and IRL Tr0ll. People need to be shook up. Certainly in Australia where many people are mentally torpid and apathetic, it can become very conservative. This is what happens in a country with a high standard of living with very little sacrifice for it, imho.

That is why you get Hey Hey It's Saturday and the like, which intelligent Aussies abhor. It's representative of a certain mindset, such as the worst of British TV (remember Terry and June?) is a representation of a certain type of mind.

So we need people like Safran to put the willies up straight people. Having said that, I don't watch him, cos I get the joke, and I don't need to keep being told it, over and over. But that's just me.

Safran is less precious than Cohen. Sacha Baron Cohen is desperately self aware, which breaks the mood, for me, whereas Safran is right up in it with no artifice.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:44 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hm a lot of people piling in here without really having any idea what the show is like.

Safran is very funny, and he is the most dangerous man on Australian TV because he is prepared to make himself look very very stupid.

He's probably the only person in Australian media who regularly talks to people of faith from religions other than Christianity (via his Sunday night radio show - podcast available).
posted by awfurby at 9:48 PM on October 24, 2009


A friend told me that when interviewed about the show on Triple J, he said that people shouldn't tune in until the 2nd episode, because the first one wasn't as funny as he'd hoped it'd be. He's right, it wasn't all that funny, but it wasn't really as offensive as the description makes it sound.

Safran usually shows the disgusted or annoyed reactions people have, and leaves open the question of whether you should be siding with him or with them. Unlike the Hey Hey debacle, where the producers expected that we'd find blackface hilarious and seemed genuinely surprised that anyone would object to it, Safran knowingly treads the line between acceptable and flat-out wrong. He doesn't dictate what you should laugh at and what you should be offended by, he asks you to have a think about it yourself. Given how little TV asks anyone to think, his shows are always welcome to me.

Agreed with Henry C Mabuse and Pinback - Safran is a necessary part of Australian media, forcing the questions about race, religion and other "you can't make fun of that" topics.
posted by harriet vane at 9:59 PM on October 24, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm of two minds about Safran - on the one had, he can be either deadly serious or hilariously funny (sometimes at the same time). However, I think he sometimes crosses over a line that even most Australians won't go past. The panty-sniffing thing was one of those times. Sure, he came to some sort of conclusion, but what the fuck did he prove that was of any use?

Some of his comedy work and pretty much all of his serious work is good. The problem is that his worst material more or less cancels that out. Overall, he's pretty much a 0 for me.
posted by dg at 10:02 PM on October 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually he did an interview on RRR-FM last week which was all about the show - really worth a listen. This is the podcast link - get the lastest episode of the Breakfasters - his interview is up first in the episode.
posted by awfurby at 10:37 PM on October 24, 2009


I thought the Jellystinian sketch was quite inventive, and showed what Safran is really good at - holding a mirror up to prejudice and hypocrisy.

The fact that he had to wank in a room that had no wanking material - and the only reading materiel he did have was Obama's book, meant that he was always going to go there, any comedian would.

The Ray Martin exercise will ensure that Safran has a special place in my heart.
posted by mattoxic at 11:41 PM on October 24, 2009


-I'm of two minds about Safran-

Yeah, that's about my take although I'd probably score him just above zero. I'd rather he did his thing than didn't. What he needs is an editor. I do think he's genuinely got a tin ear for how some of his antics are judged by the audience.

He's also unlikely to find his fortune in the States: we locals know he belongs to that kind of traditional genre of smart-shock-quirk that has a few decades worth of tv history that provides a sort of innoculant backdrop to play against. We can still find it tasteless or over the top, but it's probably less abrasive than when it's sprung on a foreign viewership that don't have the wider cultural context.


---He's probably the only person in Australian media who regularly talks to people of faith from religions other than Christianity---

You need to catch Geraldine Doogue's long running Compass on ABC on sunday nights: a whole lot less provocative (at least in the shocking sense) but a whole lot more informative than Safran (although I've not heard his radio show - I'm just going off past prejudices)
posted by peacay at 11:51 PM on October 24, 2009


Keep up the good work, John.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:07 AM on October 25, 2009


You're note seriously comparing Safran to Geraldine Doogue? That's like comparing bridal wear to the Weimar Republic. When has Geraldine Dooge ever been funny? (OK Apart from her Britney Spears) but seriously, they are in a different league. Yes, Safran did do two series about religion, and that's where the comparison ends.
posted by mattoxic at 1:26 AM on October 25, 2009


It's almost satanic. Why would any rational being want to watch this?

I love Safran's stuff (even while I find him irritating), and I totally knew that if his latest series showed up here, there'd be some Americans getting their underpants in knots. No surprises here! Hail satan!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:47 AM on October 25, 2009


Well, not just Americans, but especially Americans, if you get me.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:20 AM on October 25, 2009


It's almost satanic. Why would any rational being want to watch this?

Why would any rational being believe something can be "satanic"?

Comedy is a good outlet for exploring uncomfortable topics like race relations. Comedy is also great when it makes fun of religious beliefs, which are uniformly ridiculous (yes, yours particularly so, whatever it is). It's a shame the first episode of Race Relations wasn't very funny. Maybe it'll pick up.
posted by cmonkey at 2:39 AM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's almost satanic. Why wouldn't any rational being want to watch this?
posted by Hastur at 2:53 AM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey mattocic, the mention of Doogue had nothing to do with comedy; it's only about media figures who address non-Christian religions, as the pullquote to which I was responding, shows.
posted by peacay at 3:05 AM on October 25, 2009


So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck?

Underbelly
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:22 AM on October 25, 2009


I found the first episode compelling and a measured part of what I suspect will be an intellectually respectable exploration of race in societies. Don't be deceived by his provocations, he's quite serious. He really uses wanking to a picture of Obama in a Palestinian sperm bank to promote peace and understanding. Of course, he likes to make his points in the most provocative way he can.
posted by hawthorne at 3:36 AM on October 25, 2009


I think john safran is great,
what he does is often awkward, crass, unpleasant, half baked and not quite as funny as it was meant to be, it can be profound and infantile at the same time, but i love it.

safran loves exploring the pettiness of human behaviour, selfishness, bigotry, and often turns the focus on his own flaws and vanity. Unlike bruno he doesn't hide behind a character to ridicule other people, he offers himself up for public humiliation.
anyone who might have the idea that his humor is racist, is terribly way of track.
listen in to his radio show, which you can find here: http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/safran/
what you'll find is a messy person, who judgment is sometimes questionable, but you won't find an ounce of racism, instead you find someone who drags societies bigotries out into the light of day. I think his contribution to society is more positive and profound that the summaries of his childish sounding skits might lead you to expect
posted by compound eye at 4:02 AM on October 25, 2009


Hey mattocic, the mention of Doogue had nothing to do with comedy; it's only about media figures who address non-Christian religions, as the pullquote to which I was responding, shows.


I get that, but the two are hardly in the same league - also Geraldine really just tops and tails a documentary- it's not like she is the writer/producer of the content.
posted by mattoxic at 4:52 AM on October 25, 2009


So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck?

Underbelly
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:22 PM on October 25 [+] [!]
Hey, I tried clicking the little exclamation mark, but there wasn't a category for "not quite wrong enough to be funny".

Underbelly, however, was stupid enough to be funny. Underbelly 2 sucked balls, and was fuckin' hilarious. Overacting, underacting, a cliché-a-minute script, gratuitous titties within the first 10 minutes of every episode, and the underlying knowledge that the average Channel Nein Two and a Half Men / A Current Affair / 60 Minutes viewer thought it was so gritty, so realistic, and such important and unmissable television, made me come back week after week just to see how bad it could get. It never failed to disappoint me in new and hilarious ways…

And did I mention the titties? My girlfriend and I had a little pool going on how many minutes in before the first set would pop out.

Seriously, I cried a little tear when it finished. Unintentional comedy like that is hard to come by. I can only hope Underbelly 3 lives up to the previous two in crapness.
posted by Pinback at 4:57 AM on October 25, 2009 [2 favorites]


What about Wildside? I remember that series chiefly because when it first came out there were a bunch of articles about the innovative new filming techniques it used where it was all shot on handycam, then transferred to film, then back to videotape, then film, then somebody wiped their ass on it, then it was buried, then exhumed, then bombarded with gamma radiation, then sequestered in a hotel room for a few weeks, then shipped to Korea to be animated, then lost, then recreated using offcuts from other police series, then one more transfer to videotape, then erased.
posted by Ritchie at 5:28 AM on October 25, 2009


Oh Wildside was sooo terrible - they were all so fucking earnest

Remember Phoenix / Blue Murder / Scales of Justice
posted by mattoxic at 5:46 AM on October 25, 2009


And did I mention the titties? My girlfriend and I had a little pool going on how many minutes in before the first set would pop out.

But you say that like it's a bad thing
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:54 AM on October 25, 2009


For those of you outside Australia and unable to view the full program, here's the segment where Safran sows the seed for a Jalestinian (with some help from his sound guy).
posted by Pranksome Quaine at 6:07 AM on October 25, 2009


==Geraldine really just tops and tails a documentary- it's not like she is the writer/producer of the content.==

I'll agree to disagree on this. Doogue has done TONS of interviews and it's very obvious that she has enormous editorial input on Compass. So while I agree that she and Safran are 'hardly in the same league' - with respect to delving into pan-religious philosophy - doubtless it's because you and I have diametrically opposed viewpoints as to the cumulative contributions by each of them. Anyway, this is all beside the point here.
posted by peacay at 7:20 AM on October 25, 2009


peacay, I do take your point
posted by mattoxic at 2:02 PM on October 25, 2009


Yes, you'll probably find it outrageous when he does it to one of your favourite hobby-horses...

With my voracious appetite for interracial panty-sniffing, he has indeed made it a difficult subject for me to broach at social gatherings.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:12 PM on October 25, 2009 [1 favorite]


So is there any Australian TV show that doesn't suck?

The Circuit. Season 1 available on DVD, Season 2 starting soon. It takes the UK style of having 6 quality episodes rather than half a year of mediocre plots. I really enjoyed season 1 - many of the non-actors playing bit parts aren't brilliant, but it's well-written and paced, the main characters aren't simple good/evil, and the northern landscape is like another harsh and beautiful character. Plus, although it's a drama, there's a good laugh in every episode.
posted by harriet vane at 8:45 PM on October 25, 2009


Oh, and it also addresses the issue of race relations in Australia. No panty-sniffing though.
posted by harriet vane at 8:46 PM on October 25, 2009



With my voracious appetite for interracial panty-sniffing, he has indeed made it a difficult subject for me to broach at social gatherings.

Actually, I think it's finally an acceptable topic for police gatherings, thanks to Safran.
posted by dg at 2:11 AM on October 26, 2009


polite gatherings, anyway. It's always been suitable for police gatherings.
posted by dg at 2:12 AM on October 26, 2009


It's almost satanic. Why would any rational being want to watch this?

Because Music Jamboree was very good and John Safran vs God was some of the best television ever made.
posted by rory at 3:18 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And he was robbed on Race Around the World. Who remembers the other guys today? (Although one could argue that by not winning he actually won.)
posted by rory at 3:27 AM on October 26, 2009


Rachel Kohn regularly talks to people from every religion and denomination. And she's a scholar. And she's not the raving lunatic uber-Catholic that Geraldine Doogue is.
posted by taff at 3:29 AM on October 26, 2009


Aussies did a great send-up of the Olympics called, IIRC, "The Games."

What was especially amusing is that a lot of the cock-ups in the show ended up actually occurring in real life, like the 100m dash being a bit shorter than it should have been.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:37 AM on October 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


-the raving lunatic uber-Catholic that Geraldine Doogue is-

Glad to see that we have teenagers in our ranks.
posted by peacay at 5:37 PM on October 26, 2009


Okay, watching episode two now. Passing himself off as a 5% - accepted, but suspect "you look like a white man with a tan", but you're from Australia, so okay.
posted by tellurian at 3:55 AM on October 28, 2009


Now there's a confrontation at the American equivalent of Harry's Cafe De Wheels, but I didn't really get it. Drunkenness, arguing, it's universal, yes?
posted by tellurian at 3:58 AM on October 28, 2009


Speed dating. Picks up.
posted by tellurian at 3:59 AM on October 28, 2009


Preaching (he's good at this)… wins everyone over.
posted by tellurian at 4:01 AM on October 28, 2009


Conclusion: More confused than ever.
posted by tellurian at 4:02 AM on October 28, 2009


"Glad to see that we have teenagers in our ranks."

What's that supposed to mean peacay?



And tellurian.... I had a big squirm when he was in the pulpit. What did you think about that part?
posted by taff at 4:11 AM on October 28, 2009


I had a big squirm when he was in the pulpit
I have big squirms throughout the whole programme. Squirming and laughter, a delicious combination.
What's that supposed to mean peacay?
I don't presume to speak for peacay but I think that he's saying that Geraldine Doogue is as far removed from being a 'raving lunatic' as you can get. You'd be hard put to name a more reasoned social/religious commentator. Quite how that makes someone who calls her a raving lunatic a 'teenager', I'm not so sure.
posted by tellurian at 3:43 PM on October 28, 2009


-What's that supposed to mean peacay?-

With hindsight I apologise for my statement. It was patently unfair of me to imply that all teenagers consider a baseless petulant outburst to be a substitute for a persuasive argument.

tellurian has it: "Geraldine Doogue is as far removed from being a 'raving lunatic' as you can get. You'd be hard put to name a more reasoned social/religious commentator."

If you were to say something like:
-"Doogue is a devout catholic and I'm of the belief that she uses Compass to further that cause"-,
then I might consider your viewpoint worthy of contemplation, if not actually valid to some degree or another.

But it's just plain false and rhetorically outrageous to call her a 'raving lunatic'. You are of course entitled to your opinion, but your statement here holds no water whatsoever and I think you'd be hard pressed to find a dozen people out of 21+ million who would agree with you. If Doogue has been pushing a barrow of any sort for the last 20 years on Compass, it's that people should be more in tune or mindful of their spiritual life.
"Presented by Geraldine Doogue, Compass explores the interface between religion and life as experienced by individuals and communities - including ordinary Australians, public leaders, religious thinkers, ethicists and philosophers. Compass avoids restricting itself to religious institutions only; also illustrating the liveliness of public debate encouraged by religious issues."

posted by peacay at 9:03 PM on October 28, 2009


He did pick up - lots. That'd be the "being actually interested in who she is and what she thinks" thing.

I was not much taken by the episode until he tied it together at the end. The deception is a bit of a worry - although it's notable that everything he said in his church address was true. The stuff in the hot-dog joint was hard to watch and I don't know that it added anything.

End credits suggest tug-ahoy action next week [shudder].
posted by hawthorne at 4:43 AM on October 29, 2009


Mea culpa then, I guess peacay. I find her Catholicism insidious and pervasive and unnecessary. But if that may well be more about my feelings towards Catholicism and extreme disappointment in her on a personal level. A long time ago I had an enormous amount of respect for her as a secular journalist. Now she's a devout Catholic and it's all over for me.

You're right... bad choice of words... and probably an outburst. But not baseless and not any more petulant than anyone disappointed in the loss of a good journalist to a dreadful denomination (to my sensibilities).

Again, I'm sorry if my unfortunate choice of words riled you. But I hold to the thought that her Catholicism is a problem. Not especially for Compass. Just generally.
posted by taff at 3:14 AM on November 1, 2009


It's ok taff.

Although I don't know why you see an either/or situation between being a catholic and a good journalist; to many people she is both.

I don't watch Compass that much but what I do catch is always interesting and thought provoking. Again, I have never felt that I was being lectured to or proselytized : I just see it as a show about spirituality which is, let's face it, a very hard sell in a media like tv. That's why I spring up in defence of Doogue; it's about the honoured place she holds in journalism because she tackles a subject are that 99 times out of 100 wouldn't float in normal tv programming. I defend her turf but not her individual viewpoint, if that makes sense. I really don't know what I would agree or disagree with her on. But if you want to denigrate her go right ahead, I don't care. I was riled up (we're talking in a v. minor way) by the mischaracterisation of her role, not the person.
posted by peacay at 9:25 PM on November 3, 2009


err...subject areA
posted by peacay at 9:26 PM on November 3, 2009


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