If you truly love your television, you should cast your eyes Ed Kavalee’s way this Thursday night. Sure, it’s a clip show with gags, unapologetically. Sure it’s a format ripped from the UK. But boy do we have some bad telly. And it’s Ed’s job to remind us.
TV Burp, as Kavalee explains, is not out to critique television. It’s an affectionate look at the week in TV. It’s an absurdist time capsule of the last seven days, slicing scenes out of context, giving them inappropriate set-ups, and letting the shows provide the punch lines.
“We look for gaps, such as something that happens with the storyline where we can get in and show it in a different context,” he explained to TV Tonight. “So it’s not about good or bad but whether we can have some fun with it.
“We’re more a Lover’s Guide to Television, but it’s not all just promos.”
Kavalee sits on a brightly coloured living room set, cheerfully reminding us of some of the obscure moments we might have missed on Neighbours, Airways, Rush, Home and Away, Recruits, Hot Seat, Ready Steady Cook, Gardening Australia and Dancing with the Stars.
If the grabs weren’t already funny in their original form, they will prove more so out of context. The idea stems from Kavalee’s unashamed passion for TV which he took to Seven programme developer Brad Lyons.
“I said, ‘Brad I’ve got an idea.’ And he said ‘Before you say anything, look at this DVD,’ and he put TV Burp on the table in front of me. So it was one of those fortuitous ‘right place, right time’ deals.”
Seven had been sitting on the UK series Harry Hill’s TV Burp for a while, but hadn’t found the right home or the person to front it.
“Harry Hill is a legendary stand up in England. It was his idea and he’s now 8 series down,” said Kavalee.
The other successful format is the US TV skewer, The Soup, which airs in Australia on E!
“I like The Soup and Joel McHale, but it’s a bit more ‘critiquey.’ I don’t want to attack anything because I don’t want to see them taken off. I want True Beauty to run its course and find its audience.”
Although it is looking back at the week in television, TV Burp avoids politics. It sticks like glue to drama, reality, light entertainment and factual television. News and current affairs are off limits, left to the domain of Media Watch, The Chaser and The 7pm Project. Comedy is also off the list.
“We have a lot of shows that deal with current affairs or gags on panel shows and they’re great. But we want to turn the comedy light towards things that we perhaps take for granted. All Saints, Home and Away, Neighbours, Packed to the Rafters, Underbelly when it was on, Airways, World’s Strictest Parents, things like that.”
It effectively means Gordon Ramsay v Tracey Grimshaw, The Chaser‘s “Make a Realistic Wish” sketch or Karl Stefanovic the morning after the Logies are not typical targets.
“The Karl that we’re interested in? We’re interested in the Karl who hosts Random Acts of Kindness,” he explains. “We’ll leave others to look after Karl after he’s allegedly had a few after the Logies.”
Kavalee says Channel Seven has been very embracing of the show featuring programmes from rival networks.
“I said to them during the pilot, ‘Ok, let’s just say I love Farmer Wants a Wife. Are we going to get in trouble if I want to have some fun with that?’ To their credit they said, ‘No we don’t mind that.’ And let’s be honest our first show we’ll be talking about MasterChef. That’s the biggest show.”
The first episode tackles almost all the networks, including getting stuck into Seven shows. Before a studio audience Kavalee introduces comical moments, including putting himself into some scenes. Foxtel makes a brief appearance, SBS seemed absent -perhaps when its big sporting events are over it will provide plenty of mirth. There were several scenes from earlier weeks, no doubt included for the first week.
Kavalee admits he’s now watching relentless chunks of programming along with the show’s researchers. But it’s all coming from a place of devotion.
“We’re not reviewing, we’re not critiquing, we’re a celebration,” he said.
“I don’t want to be harsh for the sake of it. I just love telly.”
TV Burp premieres 9pm Thursday on Seven.