Again ABC3 have done something incredibly entertaining that, unless you’ve got young kids, will have gone largely unappreciated – the ABC3 Smackdown Games.
For the fourth time ABC3 presenter Kayne Tremills invited a bunch of his mates over for an Australia Day BBQ that involves a bit of fun that inevitably leads to a bit of sport getting out of hand… This year being a series of games instead of the usual tennis or beach cricket or soccer. Sure, they’re competitive, but they’re also caricatures of themselves that allow the assembled throng to turn it up for their audience. And somehow something is always blown up.
Studio 3 regulars James Elmer, Amberley Lobo, Joel Phillips, Olivia Phyland, Scott Tweedie and Tremills, along with Good Game SP’s Stephanie “Hex” Bendixen and Stephen “Bajo” O’Donnell have proven the scripted chaos of the Smackdown can be a lot of fun in the past – this year it was even more fun with Steam Punk’s Paul Verhoven (no, not the director of Robocop – the other one) and TWO ACTUAL LLAMAS.
Writer/Director Dave Cartel delivers double barrelled humour: silly and self-effacing, along with a number of great visual gags and slapstick, and all of it is lapped up by the pre-teen/tween market this lot are pitched at. The inclusion of Verhoven (no, not the director of Showgirls – the other one) adds extra joy as his trademark brand of seriously weird intensity and outrageous humour only offers better opportunity for comedic beats and his role as commentator/narrator who self-injects into the story plays to his over-the-top left-of-centre strengths. O’Donnell continues his self-parody for excellent comedic effect.
It’s simple, enjoyable fun that gives these performers a chance to very obviously have a great time. It doesn’t talk down to its target market rather includes them in the chaos through the kind of comedy kids just love – adults being stupid. The Smackdown Games is a great addition to an already very broad ABC schedule and further reveals the strong commitment by the network to deliver strong programming in each of its channels defined markets – something the commercial networks struggle with, not least of which to this age group.
Watch it with your kids and have a belly laugh this Australia Day long weekend.