After watching last Wednesday night’s third episode with my hard-to-please comedy-wise housemate who hadn’t seen the previous installments, it certainly wasn’t funny.
I did enjoy the first two episodes though and, as Mia Freedman mentioned on MamaMia TV a couple of weeks ago, it did make the Prime Minister seem more “human” and relatable, if that’s even possible coming from a scripted, comedic version of Julia Gillard.
But why is a comedy show that mocks her living arrangements with her de facto partner Tim Mathieson, amongst other things, being made about a prime minister in office? Would this shit fly if John Howard—or even Kevin Rudd—had a show made about them whilst in office?
Sure, there were comics of Howard with his bushy eyebrows and his morning walk, and Rove had a weekly segment about K.Rudd and Wayne Swan’s prime ministerial faux pas, which came to be my favourite part of the show. But they dealt with their public lives, not their personal ones, which seems to be all the public can focus on since Gillard ousted Rudd.
Gillard has been disrespected in the past because of her gender. She is constantly referred to as “Julia” instead of the courteous “Prime Minister”, was berated by Alan Jones for being a few minutes late on his talkback radio program (which, incidentally, was the same day she was also called “Ju-liar” by the shock jock), and cops it in the press for the way her hair is styled and how she dresses.
On that, there is a heavy influence on At Home with Julia about Tim’s “house-husband” status and how he’s a sad hairdresser who just wants to marry the independent Julia. While I’m not sure the show seeks to contribute to the status quo, but rather critique it, I do have a problem with the fact that in this society, an unmarried couple is an unhappy one.
Despite my problem with the fact that there is a comedy show about a sitting prime minister, it is an accurate and (mostly) funny satire of Gillard’s time in office. I voted for her, and regret doing so because of the way she’s blundered the carbon tax and the asylum seeker issue. I hope At Home with Julia seeks to delve more into these issues, instead of portraying sex—an act the show asserted it would never do—under the Australian flag in the Prime Minister’s office. As Anthony Sharwood wrote on The Punch:
“Yet somehow, it was deemed OK to make sexual jokes about an incumbent prime minister in her late 40s, whose love life has never had the tabloid quality of, say, Bob Hawke’s. Even if you dislike Labor and Gillard, the nookie scenes were cringeworthy and savagely inappropriate.”
What do you think? Much ado about nothing, or wildly inappropriate and disrespectful?
Image via News.com.au.