Attila the Pun
Thursday, December 30, 2004
Listen to Moi

On a lighter note, the SMH has a debate on the merits of Kath & Kim. Michael Idato, speaking "For", fires a shot across the bow:

Kath and Kim, cartoonishly drawn but performed with breathtaking brilliance, aren't a criticism of Australia, or Australians, they are a celebration of it and us.

Not the polished, play-acted Australia pushed by the "cardonnay"-drinking, eastern suburbs bourgeoisie who, between air-freighted issues of Vanity Fair, sermonise about the cruelty of the characterisations.

Then goes into bat for them:

Kath and Kim are real Australians, like the rest of us who regard world affairs and our waistlines with an equally cautious eye and aren't afraid to own up to our suburban roots - a world of over-the-back-fence conversations populated by permed, polyester mums and aunties who cast a loving, but disapproving, eye over everything, and G-strung cousins and sisters who truly understand the slimming power of the cigarette.

Bruce Elder, speaking "Against", just comes across as a tosser:

Anyone with a modicum of taste should know that when it comes to satire of Australian suburban life, Barry Humphries's early work - Sandy Stone, early Edna Everage - is still a benchmark. As Clive James observed: "The force of intellect Humphries brings to the seemingly worthless minutiae of everyday Australian life depends absolutely on his studious immersion in European culture and his readiness to measure his work by its standards."

This ignores the fact that Barry Humphries' early work was 30 years ago. It was snobbish then, and now it is just hopelessly out of date and snobbish. Elder only makes one good point:

Further, a comedy that relies so heavily on malapropisms (such as "effluent" for "affluent") is relying on a one-dimensional joke and the assumption that suburban women of small pretensions would use (and confuse) such terms.

My thoughts? I think that Kath & Kim is not particularly amusing (and does rely unduly on the malapropisms mentioned above) and is basically a piss take of what the latte set think lower middle class Australians are like. It fits very well with the similar mockery in the Castle.

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