There are so many factuals around these days (Seven, we’re looking at you) that this is a genre that has reached saturation point. How many more times we can we swallow another series about police / animals / customs / medicos with another star narrating them? Where is the point of difference on these things?
So it’s with some relief, pardon the pun, that Shane Jacobson has decided to flush these out with his own unique brand of storytelling. As something of an under-achiever, Kenny is perfectly at home with a documentary / travel series about toilets. Talk about a contrast.
The character of Kenny is true blue Aussie. It remains to be seen if he will achieve the same longevity of icons like Norman Gunston, Paul Hogan and Aunty Jack, yet where else but Aussie telly would you find someone like this? And who else would have the hide to pitch an entire series about the dunny and get away with it?
As Kenny, Shane Jacobson, never forces the comedy. He’s a battler with unassuming charm.
In the first episode his Splashdown team are planning a Pope Pooper for the forthcoming tour by the Pontiff. After a few initial gags, somehow we fast forward Kenny to Japan.
Here he stumbles onto an array of bizarrely decorated toilets, and cultural differences between Japanese and Australian bathroom habits. The Japanese even have a “toilet temple” where they sell ‘Golden Poo” and, remarkably, soiled underwear…There are numerous facts and figures and a quick lesson on the benefits of squatting over sitting. Riiiiiight.
Jacobson and his director brother Clayton deftly combine scripted moments with improvisation. Unlike all those other factuals, Kenny is actually on screen as tour guide. It isn’t just post-production voice overs and an introductory link.
Added to this are cute little animations to break up the various stories that unfold. Collectively, these touches from the Kenny team show there are other ways to produce this kind of material instead of just sticking to formulas. Credit must go to the researchers, who must have been faced with a major headache.
Oh, and it’s pretty funny too.
Kenny’s World premieres 8:00pm Wednesday on TEN.