By Simon Band
Do you now know they play Angry Boys twice a week now? Australian viewers missed out on an old but loveable episode of QI in their regular time slot to see an almost week old episode of Angry Boys. Because of this, my mood towards the show is down (if I don’t get enough Stephen Fry a week I get stabby), but the critical thinker inside me is intrigued by this.
The numbers are down, I talked about that last week, and I would dare suggest that this reflects a wider audience lack of interest in the program. So do the various people who schedule a network think we will accidently watch an episode of Angry Boys that is halfway through the story arc when our regular viewing goes missing without notice? Do we not watch it at the regular time/online/pirate it/digital multichannel replay because those options are too inconvenient? I think this is part of the problem with a show that is so heavily promoted from an artist (Chris Lilley) that has a cult following, and what is meant to be a flagship comedy: there isn’t enough of a payoff or reward from watching the show that makes it appointment television that you take even 22 minutes out of the time we have left slowly dying on this planet. I still think of this show as art and Chris Lilley as an artist, regardless of how I feel about the show, the portrayals of all the different characters is amazing, and the ethos of the show is still an interesting social issue.
The first year university economics mantra is kicking in about “throwing good money after bad” sinking resources into a bad investment. This is an object of art and is promoted that way by a national broadcaster rather than a commercial product, so I can sort of compromise my aversion to sunk costs, but still I don’t know if this product is really worth this extra investment. This all being said, it picked up almost a quarter million people in the repeat, and episode 7 is up seventy thousand (although I don’t think this is an increase because of the repeat boosting interest, I think this is more that the rugby wasn’t on). This quarter of a million was at the loss of three quarters of a million who would have tuned in for QI. Why am I going on so much about the ratings for this show? A: The broadcast context of the show is integral to how the show operates and the sense of desperation about making this very expensive show more popular is very telling about the text and the current environment of broadcast TV, and B: The show’s content as bound within the events of the program, doesn’t normally give me four hundred words of material to talk about.