Talkin’ ‘Bout ‘Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation’… Part IV

(L-R) Baby Boomers Captain Amanda Keller, host Shaun Micallef, Gen Y Captain Josh Thomas and Generation X Captain Charlie Pickering

Hello, and welcome to the fourth instalment of my patented HowToWinGameShows reminiscence about working on the original incarnation of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation (2009 – 2012).

Here’s the show’s theme, by the way….

… which was composed by Yuri Worontschak. How many different song snippets did you identify in it?

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  • INTERESTING FACT: Despite its name, the average ‘smart car’ has an IQ of just 89, and can’t complete even the most basic Sudoku.

I mentioned last week the joy of writing for the show with Michael Ward and Shaun. Quite apart from the fun of it, along the way, our writing also attracted some professional attention, earning Michael and I an Awgie Award nomination in 2010. Here’s the certificate;

The production kindly paid for our tickets to the event, but Michael and I came away empty-handed, losing to Good News Week. Cést La Vie. The show did pick up a few other awards during its run, though;  

  • The 2010 Logie Award for Most Outstanding Light Entertainment Program
  • The 2010 Logie Award for Most Popular Light Entertainment Program
  • The 2010 Logie Award for Most Popular Presenter (Shaun Micallef)
  • The 2010 AFI Award for Outstanding Achievement in Television Screen Craft (Shaun Micallef)  

And after 8 years, I’m still not entirely sure what that last one means.

  • INTERESTING FACT: Despite their name, most modern irons are made of plastic, aluminium and steel. Which means that although they’re not technically irons, they are technically ironic.

The show also attracted some controversy from time to time, but there’s one example of this that stands out above all others. It was Season 3, episode 5, which aired in March, 2011. This was one of our family-themed episodes, in which,

rather than being a celebrity guest from each of our three generations, each team captain’s teammate was a member of their own family. We did two of these specials; one in Season 2 and one in Season 3. And after the second one, I think I now know why we didn’t do any more…. 

For this episode, Josh’s teammate was his grandmother Mona, and at a certain point in the show, they elected to play Human Nacho, in which one team member is strapped into a chair underneath 3 buckets, while the other team member answers 3 questions. If the answering team member answers correctly, the strapped-in team member gets a corn chip; if they answer incorrectly, their team mate gets either a bucket of sour cream, guacamole or salsa dumped on them.

When this happened, I was at the side of the stage, watching it unfold with one of the show’s producers, Mel Harvey. But you can watch it unfold right now, in this clip

Mel and I watched the game on tenterhooks. Josh surely wasn’t going to let this happen to his Nana, was he? As the audience – and the panellists – roared with laughter, our hearts were in our throats. I remember thinking (at around the 4:55 point in the clip) “Wow! He’s really leaving it to the last minute to do the right thing and swap places”. Because of course that’s what he was going to do… that’s what anyone in Josh’s position would do; milk the suspense and laughs up to the last possible moment, and then step in and save the day. He’d take the fall, get good laughs, and come across as a decent bloke and a good grandson, into the bargain.

But he didn’t. And when the sour cream dropped onto Mona, Mel and I were horrified. Had we injured her? Would this give her a heart attack? She was a frail little old lady, and we – our show, all of us – were responsible for what had just happened to her. As we stared at in other in shock, my blood ran cold. We might have just been complicit in wilfully injuring this little old lady…. or worse. Not cool. SO not cool. In the clip, directly after the dumping, you can see Mona breathing rapidly… was she okay?

As it turned out, she was okay, although her outfit – and her hearing aid – were ruined. The production obviously compensated her for them, but the event really left a bad taste in my mouth. If it had gone wrong…. oh BOY would it have gone wrong.

What had we just been part of?

As the audience and panellists continued roaring with laughter, my fear and worry gave way to anger. How could our show do this? This was serious – she could have really been hurt, or even possibly killed. But there was also disbelief…. how on earth could Josh stand by and let this happen to his Nana?

I really had trouble comprehending his conscious decision not to step in and save her.

Still do.

As Josh says, struggling through his laughter, at the 2:38 point; “I’m the douche that put my grandma in a torture machine for television!”

Yep.

 

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