Get Krack!n

Only Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney could parody morning television at 3am in the morning, but in the bizarre nether regions of overnight television their ‘show-within-a-show’ apparently screens live to Australia and America at the same time.

That leaves Get Krack!n as a kind of demented Quizmania meets The Morning Show where inane chats about diets, celebrities, pets, trends and fashion are skewered together when nobody is watching, the hosts go off-script and the crew are possibly fulfilling community service.

McLennan & McCartney, who hit a sweet spot with The Katering Show, continue their tug-of-war comedy in this half hour series, all of which takes place on a brightly-hued, deliberately-vacuous studio set. They again display a chemistry that can’t be manufactured with McLennan (pictured, right)  smiling mercilessly through every misfortune and McCartney (pictured, left) bringing her back to earth with a dull thud every time.

As things veer from car-crash segment to car-crash segment, there are various industry gags and asides about cameras, earpieces, teleprompters, auditions, wardrobe, dull guests, competitions, advertorials, Twitter and more.

They reject TV’s perception of femininity in a genre that makes a living by pandering to it, telling one guest, “We’re not ‘Girls’ we’re 37 year old women.” But the F-bomb is dropped (too) frequently and beware the vagina becoming a cliché punchline….

McLennan monstrously keeps the ball in the air as if her career depends upon it, or possibly because the thought of actually admitting presenter mistakes is more terrifying. If you’re confused about whether I’m referring to her on-air persona or real-world self, I’m not really sure. Part of the gag is that lines deliberately blur. Everything is real. None of it is real…

Along the way there are ‘expert’ guests in kooking, dekluttering, medikate, beautifikation, krafting and more. Anne Edmonds is grotesquely funny describing 5 ways to wear a sarong. Sam Neill gets cut off after making the effort to visit the studio. There are cameos from Emily Taheny, Adam Briggs, Sam Simmons, Aaron Chen, Nazeem Hussain and an empty ABC News desk that hasn’t started the day yet.

But this is also a show with no room for stragglers. Like a sketch stretched to a half hour format, it could benefit from bigger character arcs, more behind the scenes and indeed more playing spaces. Instead we power from segment to segment with maniacal mirth, and no time to take a breath. The single set offers no relief. I struggled with the parts making a whole, and suspect this will divide its audience into devotees who could watch the Kates read the phone book, and those who aren’t in on the joke at all.

Get Krack!n is nothing like the dark, narrative work of the challenging Bleak, which is an area I would encourage them to pursue. But with a couple of red wines you could be equally aghast and elated that such inanity has been unleashed on broadcast television (that’s a compliment, incidentally) or nodding profusely when Kate McCartney knowingly sighs, “Sometimes it feels like we’re creating content without any thought towards an end game…”

Get Krack!n airs 9:30pm Wednesday on ABC.

6 Comments:

  1. I have tried and re-tried with these two, however their “appeal” eludes me. Very good friends have urged me to try again, and I reluctantly did so. After 30 seconds I was torn between frustration and despair that anyone would find it entertaining. Even being in on the morning show joke does not help.

    Like fingernails on a chalkboard combined with a song that will get on your nerves – and I should know – I’m a teacher.

  2. I generously gave this 18 minutes. I have enjoyed most of their previous work but this was just too much. On the 9th of August on their Airdate article I did say that I didn’t know how long they could keep this joke going. Now I know.

    Not only is it essentially the same joke repeated over and over again but it’s the same joke and characters from everything they’ve ever done. It doesn’t help that McLennan’s character, in particular, is irritating. Deliberately so but nonetheless, relentlessly irritating.

    I think this would work brilliantly as a regular skit within a larger show with other characters and, more importantly, other jokes.

    A little more subtlety wouldn’t do it any harm either

  3. I was hoping to love it but thought it really fell flat. It felt like one joke stretched across the entire running time with no variation in pace or pitch. Comedians such as French and Saunders, Victoria Wood and (in a similar way) Magda & Marg Downey’s “Chenille” skits have given us takes on this style in a way that was much more nuanced and funnier. A shame.

  4. “suspect this will divide its audience into devotees who could watch the Kates read the phone book
    and those who aren’t in on the joke at all.”
    For sure – I’m definitely amongst the former.
    But I understand why many viewers out there just don’t “get” the Kates and find them painful.
    That’s part of their Shtick – they’re the queens of awkward, guache and annoying.

  5. I’m a recent convert to the two Kates (love them) – but only in small doses. They can be tiring to watch at times 🙂 I do wish they’d control the profanities though. Foul language can be funny when used unexpectedly (remember Noni Hazlehurst’s Go The F To Sleep?).

    Great insights in your review, David. I think the two Kates are showing promise as an enduring and definitely talented comedy duo if they can tame their wilder instincts – and perhaps slow down a bit – so they ensure that the audience is with them at all times. They’re almost a neo-Kath and Kim, albeit a more cynical version.

  6. I definitely am not in on the joke with these 2. They are supremely untalented, their iview promo a case in point. Plus I find their characters very one note & always the same.

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