Friday, August 22, 2014

Australia is Bonza Mate

The Inbetweeners are hitting our screens with their second movie instalment. Personally I was a great fan of the television show but the original movie was too long and way too predictable, and lets be honest the main cast are no tactually that likeable and 97 minutes is a long time to watch people you do not like.

My concern that the cringiness of the second movie will not only result from the boy’s antics but will also be weighed down by the burden of cultural cringe.  This might be time to bring out your “Australian clichés” bingo cards.
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Kangaroo
  • Koala
  • Beaches
  • Uluru
  • Great Barrier Reef
  • Poisonous animals
  • Outback
  • Aboriginal dance
  • Australian movie star
  • Qantas (almost a given as the national carrier usually sponsors these productions)
  • Sydney Opera House
  • Melbourne Tram
  • AFL
  • Cricket
  • Oka Aussie slang.
All crow barred into the semblance of a storyline.

Playing cliché bingo in Modern Family’s Down Under was just too easy. There were three people shouting “BINGO!” in my house before the first advert break. They crammed every possible cliché in to just over 20 minutes. The only one they missed was getting Ty Burell’s character Phil Dunphy to stand on a rock wearing holding a spear resting one foot on the other knee all whilst wearing nothing more than a loin cloth.

There is always an agreement between the writers/producers and the audience to suspend disbelief for certain scenarios to work.. Modern Family wanted its viewers to disbelieve geography. For the record the land mass of mainland Australia is roughly the same as mainland USA, except unlike the USA Australia only has a few major cities with often hundreds if not thousands of kilometres of nothing between them. So when the show moves seamlessly between Sydney, the Blue Mountains and what appears to be the Great Barrier Reef with all the cast effortlessly meeting up for dinner, that is a lot of frequent flyer points.

If an Australian show was to do the same in the United States they would be based in New York, but head off to Miami for a swim in the morning off to Colorado for a bit of a hike after lunch before settling down for a dinner and a show on Broadway.

Having said that, the geographical errors were also levelled at the movie Australia which was directed by Aussie Baz Luhrmann. He also delved into some Australian clichés for his epic story.

Bringing a show is an increasingly popular thing to do, Ellen brought her daytime talk show to Australia hot on the heels of her nemesis Oprah. I am not complaining, on the contrary my Melbourne based tourism company has financially benefitted from Ellen's trip with some of her  audience joining a tour. Check it out yourself

The Simpsons have visited Australia’s animated shores. Something about really bad accents and a koala hitching a ride back to the states on the outside of the plane.

My earliest memory of a television show having an Aussie movie was when Blair, Jo and Natalie from The Facts of Life along with the others girls no-one really cared about or now remembers headed south to go walkabout and help capture a jewel thief. Unfortunately Mrs Garrett did not join them as the actor Charlotte Rae died the year before their trip.  Even in the 80’s producers concept of space was poor with Natalie getting lost in the outback whilst the others were solving crime in the city.

Oh if Only Mrs Garrett was alive to steer them away from this sort of trouble.

If only Mrs Garrett could steer the Inbetweeners away from trouble and their producers away from the clichés.

As an Australian I am tired of the exaggerated clichés used to depict life in Australia by every production company. Its not like when visiting Europe that every cast needs to be seen riding a bicycle and eating a baguette with the Eifel Tower in the background  or if in USA they lose money in a Las Vegas casino whilst donning a cowboy hat only two win it back gain when a feather-topped showgirl high kicks past – just before they fall in love ever after…

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