TV: At Home With Julia—Funny or Disrespectful?

 

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?

Related: Not Quite Out of the Woods: The State of Australian Politics.

Elsewhere: [The Punch] Why is the ABC Screening This Crap?

[MamaMia] At Home with Julia: Love or Loathe?

Image via News.com.au.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

 

“If Male Superheroes Posed Like Wonder Woman.” [The Bleeding Cool, via Jezebel]

“An Open Letter to Fred Nile”, member of the Christian Democratic Party, who said the baby being expected by Federal Finance Minister Penny Wong and her partner, Sophie Allouache, has “human rights” and should not be brought up in a home with two mummies. [MamaMia]

The anti-child-model argument. And it’s a good one. [The Guardian]

The navel-gazing of the Gen Y writer. [Harvest Magazine]

Latoya Peterson “On Being Feminism’s ‘Ms. Nigga’”. [Racialicious]

The old Hollywood deception that was Rock Hudson. [The Hairpin]

The case for spoilers. I’ve been guilty of giving away the ending of movies and TV shows, saying things like “Oh yeah, and then it grows back” about Jessica’s broken hymen in her first sexual encounter—as a human or vampire—with Hoyt on True Blood, when I asked a friend which episode they were up to. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Whoops! [Jezebel]

The (Real Life) Help. [Jezebel]

And if The Help, the DSK case and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child have taught us anything, it’s that domestic workers are treated like shit. But hope may be on the horizon… [The Houston Chronicle]

As per Beyonce’s suggestion, a new word for feminism: equalism. Though one suggestion seems to have been submitted by Voltron… [Jezebel]

Where have all the good men gone? Not posting on Twitter thread #reasonstobeatyourgirlfriend and not being all “Post Gender Normative”, that’s for sure! [Tiger Beatdown, McSweeney’s]

Reproductive rights, consent and organ/egg donation. [Feministe]

Feminism and superheroes conference in Melbourne? So wish I was there! [The Age]

Six myths about terrorists. [MamaMia]

It’s (not) all about popular(ity) at Girl with a Satchel.

Rachel Hills on motivation and the fear of failure. And success! [Musings of an Inappropriate Woman]

Classism on True Blood. [Tiger Beatdown]

Caroline Da Costa on why we need RU486 (the “abortion drug”). [MamaMia]

A step in the right direction to welcoming asylum seekers to Australia. [MamaMia]

Still with asylum seekers, along similar lines as my post this week. [The Punch]

Larry David as “feminist hero”? [Jezebel]

“Revolution” is what we call riots we like:

“… Guilt ridden white first-world bloggers… love protests in Syria and Iran and elsewhere because they can cast those people, members of an alien culture, race, and religion, as the perfect representations of resistance while totally stripping them of the actual thorny reality of political rage. Theocratic preferences are stripped away; violent behaviour… is ignored; the re-instantiation of sexist Islamic doctrine within the structures of protest movements are conveniently elided. This is the way of all patronising attitudes from the overclass towards resistance: in order to preserve its romanticized view, it has to occlude the particular grievances and goals that make the protest meaningful in the first place….” [L’Hôte]

In the wake of the death of a toddler attacked by a pitbull, The Punch’s Anthony Sharwood decrees “pitbulls should all be killed. Every last one. It really is as simple as that.” Hmm, not sure I agree…

Do zoos have a place in 2011? [The Punch]

This profile on 2012 Republican presidential frontrunner Michele Bachmann makes me want to pray to the God she so staunchly believes in that there’s still a little bit of sense and belief in President Obama left in the U.S. [The New Yorker]

Image via Jezebel.