The BIG News It’s a promising premise, timely, topical and loaded with avenues to explore. But, like variety of the ABC’s non-fiction programs in recent years, Reputation Rehab (Wednesdays, ABC, 9.05pm and iview) suffers from trite treatment and miscalculations of tone. once more , Auntie’s determination to confect something upbeat, instead of simply playing it straight, has trivialised a promising project.
Presented by Kirsten Drysdale and Zoe Norton Lodge, former contributors to The Checkout, the six-part series intends to look at how and why people become the main target of ugly headlines, the target of trolls and even the recipients of death threats. consistent with its publicity, Reputation Rehab aims to “tackle public-shaming head-on and break through the outrage cycle with comedy and empathy”. The show invites us to “meet real people behind the headlines and determine what really happens after the outrage storm passes”.
Tennis “bad boy” Nick Kyrgios (centre) is that the subject of Reputation Rehab, presented by Zoe Norton Lodge (left) and Kirsten Drysdale.
Tennis “bad boy” Nick Kyrgios (centre) is that the subject of Reputation Rehab, presented by Zoe Norton Lodge (left) and Kirsten Drysdale.CREDIT:ABC
At a time when social media can magnify a flicker of bad press, an episode of unfortunate behaviour or unflattering gossip into a wildfire of worldwide proportions, that looks like a worthwhile endeavour. What causes such a heated reaction? What does it desire to be at the centre of such a tornado? And, for spectators, what is the nature of our fascination?
Back within the days of the late and lamented consumer-affairs show The Checkout, Drysdale and Norton Lodge presented segments that took a playful approach to the themes being examined. Their contributions were hit and miss, but the series had the advantage of substance: albeit the comedy misfired, the knowledge was useful.
Here, the humour misfires and therefore the development of the subject is flimsy. The series’ early subjects are tennis “bad boy” Nick Kyrgios and Abbie Chatfield, who was cast because the horny villainess within the Bachelor’s seventh season. For those that do not know their honey badgers from their tattooed adventure guides, that was the 2019 bout featuring Matt the astrophysicist because the object of desire.
Abbie Chatfield made a memorable entry within the Bachelor, but ditzy humour eventually turned to public shaming.
Abbie Chatfield made a memorable entry within the Bachelor, but ditzy humour eventually turned to public shaming.CREDIT:NETWORK TEN
Chatfield made an early impression when, during the introductions, she skilled his explanatory “I’m an astrophysicist” by brightly exclaiming, “I’m a Gemini!” therefore the first impression was of a ditzy blonde who had no clue about the difference between astrophysics and astrology. because the season went on, the opposite women were shown bitching about her. Then came the clinch on the beach, when she revealed that she wanted to possess sex with The Bach. A brutal backlash followed.
However, Chatfield and Kyrgios emerge from their respective episodes as more thoughtful and knowing than the hosts. Chatfield’s recollection of the exchange in her introductory scene, before its editing, is illuminating. But overall, as her episode shifts direction to specialise in the workings of reality TV, it fails to reveal anything new about the genre.
Episodes also are padded out with fluffy nonsense. An assortment of “real people” – ostensibly ordinary folk identified by their first names – offers opinions. The plan to manufacture a tennis bad boy from one among these real people and have him perform at a news conference is dull, as is that the protracted staging of a clumsy reality-show date. These clumsy segments add nothing to the topic , nor do they provide the fizz of sunshine relief.
The slightly more satisfying upcoming third episode looks at COVID-shaming, revealing how photos can lie on the other hand mounting a misguided campaign designed to shame pangolins so as to spare bats from their bad rap.
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Reputation Rehab is not the only ABC entertainment production lately to suffer like this. the good Australian Bee Challenge, which screened last year under the Catalyst banner, ostensibly as a science show, was arguably the nadir. It saw four households competing to nurture the happiest hives. Duelling apiaries: bizarre.
The series was essentially about how bees live, what they require to thrive and therefore the dangers that threaten them. But it came dressed up as a contest. Auntie seemed reluctant to form a straight science show, instead choosing a silly gimmick.
Then there’s shake the town , which has now, unbelievably, moved into its second year. Taking a potentially noteworthy movement – people seeking to swap urban life for the country or the coast – the producers have reduced it to a real-estate advertisement.
As well, there’s Growing Up Gracefully, during which Hannah and Eliza Reilly rediscovered the 1950s teen-advice book of the title, which prompted them to contrast past and present mores. Again, a potentially good idea was undermined by the straining for a jolly tone because the sisters attempted all kinds of attention-grabbing stuff – visiting a sex dungeon, attending a spirituality retreat – that deviated haphazardly from the premise.
There is a variety of areas that appears to form Auntie uneasy. Science and humanities are among them, along side popular culture and social trends. Whenever programs venture into them, there is a prevailing mindset that the fabric must be tricked up. It’s as if the national broadcaster is reluctant to require non-fiction seriously if it falls outside the domain of straightforward news and current affairs.
Though The Checkout was hit and miss, it filled a much-needed gap with its information about consumer affairs.
Though The Checkout was hit and miss, it filled a much-needed gap with its information about consumer affairs.CREDIT:ABC
Gruen got the balance right, setting a tone and a template that has endured for years. Some editions are stronger than others, but it aims for lively, informed discussion of the powerful and pervasive advertising industry. The Checkout, the sole show of its kind and one that filled a big gap, also managed to make a buoyant tone because it delivered a wealth of useful information.
But too many other efforts within the area are disappointing and Reputation Rehab fails to enhance the scorecard.