Let’s face it. You probably already know whether you like to comedy style of Paul Fenech or not. His raucous comic style as seen in Pizza isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it has its fans. As he moves into a new series, Swift and Shift Couriers, he is more empowered to follow the path he has charted –or possibly the road he has a delivery.
Set in a courier delivery company, the characters of this service are as inept as any you have ever encountered. Whether it’s the manager, the call centre staff, the drivers or the bloke in the warehouse, it’s impossible to believe anything is ever achieved. Pushing all reasonable logic, and possible a few genre boundaries, this is a comedy of terrors.
Ian Turpie plays the depot manager Keith, who partakes of a swig of booze whenever anybody isn’t looking. He spends a great deal of time yelling, being abused, and explaining himself to an executive from head office, sent to sort out the hapless, under-performing branch. In this school-marm role is Amanda Keller. Both Turpie and Keller jump into acting roles with a sense of fun.
In the call centre room are any number of caricature roles: they range from midget to obese to flamboyantly camp and everything in between. Melissa Tkautz, rarely seen in a regular role on television these days, sashays as the company vamp. Strutting through the office and causing male heartbeats to flutter, she looks rather fabulous and perfectly cast.
Fenech, who serves as writer / director / producer, is one of several courier drivers who mismanages every delivery they are ever issued. They are boastfully charmless as blue collar staff -as is the comedic terrain for which Fenech has become successful. The warehouse is equally a disaster, run by a trio of lazy Pacific islanders.
As a follow on from Pizza, there is little that surprises in Swift and Shift Couriers, save for some ironic casting and a confidence to fill out the screen with even more over the top characters and visual gags. There are a gazillion roles in the pilot episode, making it impossible to makes sense. But nobody ever said you were supposed to. It’s arguably easier not to fight such an onslaught. Besides, everybody on screen is having such a fun time who am I to argue?
Swift and Shift Couriers airs 8:30pm Monday on SBS.