Peter Helliar’s latest adventure in broadcasting (his second this year) hit the airwaves last night with The Trophy Room, and good for him it didn’t suck. But it wasn’t quite awesome either.
We’ve all had our fill of ‘parlour games/panel question shows as television shows’. The ABC almost own the genre with repeat quality like Spicks And Specks & the imported QI. Channel 10 have even weighed in with their superb Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation. The Trophy Room has a little way to go yet.
Helliar delivered what everyone was expecting – the cheesy grin & dad jokes by the bucketful. It’s inoffensive fun but it’s not gonna set the world alight. Team captains Adam Spencer and Amanda Shalala did their job in answering questions and involving their team of guests – although Shalala did seem a little forced in her “relaxed, non-competitive vibe”. I wouldn’t face off against that woman at the annual ABC staff picnic in the three legged race as she’s likely to rip your leg off and beat you to death with it to win.
First episode guests in Jane Saville and James Courtney seemed to enjoy themselves (and having Courtney fresh of his V8 Supercar season win is a coup) and threw themselves into the spirit of the show. Samuel Johnson and Sam Simmons (as the token entertainment component) both seemed a little out of place – like they were both trying too hard. I think that’s being overly critical though.
I did have some random thoughts during the episode:
- Opening monolugue not bad, but pretty standard.
- A pork pie hat is never good, Sam. EVER.
- Amanda & Adam both good as team captains. It’s just Spicks & Specks with sport (and what happened to Helliar’s Ch7 promised show?) Amanda’s a little bit “I’m too cool”.
- Not changing your undies until a show is over – might be changing them quick, Pete.
- It’s not without it’s charm… but we’ve seen it all before on TAYG or S&S.
- It’s absolutely Pete’s standard schtick.
Off-ratings is a pretty smart place to start this – in the midst of Australia’s fascination with sport over Summer, The Trophy Room has the capacity to capitalise on this and offer some light entertainment consistent with the theme. It’s only the first episode, so it should get better once it gets out of first gear (Helliar’s a seasoned entertainer from his time on Rove), so once he finds his feet the show should improve from a pacing point of view. It just seemed to drag a little. Don’t get me wrong – I really want to see this succeed, for us as much as Peter. It’s got a little warming up to do first though.
UPDATE: The ratings for the show last night weren’t great (about 460,000). Lots of room for improvement. Let’s hope it does (improve, that is).
The Trophy Room – Wednesdays 8:30pm, ABC1
Image/Video sources – ABC.