It’s not that I didn’t want to like Out of the Question, though it did pitch itself as a hybrid of various other shows we have already seen on the box.
I like Glenn Robbins. On The Panel, Kath & Kim and way back to “Uncle Arthur.” I certainly came to this feeling like I could sit down with some TV mates.
But last night’s premiere episode felt like a pilot that should have been pitched to network execs. There were lots of problems in its first outing.
Robbins almost forgot to mention the show’s title and format before introducing his panellists. Wandering his way through a show that has deliberately called itself “loose around the edges”, Robbins joked that he should have read the questions before the show. That might have helped him know ‘Amy Whitehouse’ is really Amy Winehouse and know what an MP3 player actually is. He also seemed to be looking a lot to off-camera crew (although Daryl did that for years and made it work), and trying to remember to update scores.
One of the gags at the expense of Wayne Carey saw Robbins joke that a security guard had been flogging CCTV footage around to some TV network. It was Seven, but that was overlooked.
Based loosely around trivial news questions (as in the NZ show Out of the Question) Robbins’ guests seemed as unclear of the format as the host. There were a few funny answers here and there. Ed Kavalee continues to prove an encouraging emerging talent. Fifi Box is either perfecting an act of being daffy, or merely is daffy. So far she fooled everyone that she deserved a Logies co-hosting gig, so good for her.
The team were stuck behind a Panel-style desk that lumbered the show with a decided lack of visuals or movement. Instead it was left to a camera bordering on vertigo to provide slow dollys in and out. Have the producers seen that Spicks and Specks manages to get its team out from behind the desks?
Many of the questions on Out of the Question mirrored the style of questions once used on Good News Week: “Here’s a question, which multiple choice answer is right?” So what is the point of difference with Seven’s new show? And more worringly, how will they compare when GNW returns?
Like The Panel this is essentially radio on television, which to return to my earlier point, might work in a later timeslot. Were this on at 10:30pm when we settle down for the night, or tune in for some light entertainment before dozing off, it might build a following. Better yet, consider it for the alternative HD channel (curiously the show was also “available in widescreen” -what for?).
And can we replace the cheap buzzers before next week?