I’ve long argued that a blood sports reality TV show has long been missing on the Australian television scene.
Well, the good news is that a potential pilot for one lobbed unexpectedly earlier this week and a word of warning for those who missed it and want to catch it up on iview: it’s terribly graphic and could chill even the most hardened of viewers to the bone.
It wasn’t pretty but it was riveting, and I’m referring to Sarah Ferguson’s interview on the ABC 7.30 program with Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles on Monday night.
It was about the worst cat-and-mouse display you could image, with Ferguson toying repeatedly with Marles, tossing him in the air and letting him get half way to the studio door before sadistically clawing him back. She all but ate him alive by the show’s end.
How Ferguson has not been fined $50,000 by the RSPCA for cruelty to dumb political animals is beyond your veteran industry correspondent’s comprehension.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Marles is a nice enough guy. You could see that by the way he foolishly let Ferguson interrupt him when he had finally started to get a waffle on.
But you don’t get to be a deputy PM if you’re too clued up. Or charismatic. And let’s face facts: Marles makes post-match interviews with golfer Adam Scott sound rivetting.
So why did Monday night’s savage dismemberment of Marles take place?
It wasn’t rocket surgery on Ferguson’s part. She simply thought up a question she knew Marles couldn’t or wouldn’t answer. And ran with it. She ran and ran and ran.
I’m paraphrasing here but the question’s general thrust and intent – despite the words she chose -went basically like this: Silly sleepy old Joe Biden has ditched any ambiguity over Taiwan and now says World War 3 is inevitable if China invades Taiwan. You agreed with Biden’s new stance the other day and do you still agree with it?
To his credit, even Marles spotted the obvious yet unspoken gotcha follow-up: And that means Australia will join in on the USA’s side too?
Much waffling was needed, and Marles waffled on and on about how commendable is was that Biden was taking an interest in things. He could not execute a snappy salute and simply say: “Yep, Sarah, you’re spot on as usual. We’d be off to war with Uncle Sam!” even though all of Australia knows that would be the case.
Ferguson smiled away cattily, sharpened her claws and asked the same basic question a few more times before finally filleting the hapless prick before Aunty’s national television audience.
I’m not saying any other Albanese minister would have fared much better but at least Bob Hawke or Paul Keating might have told Sarah to fuck off.
Still, it was engrossing TV and I’m going to be very surprised if an enterprising commercial station doesn’t lure Ferguson and Marles across to star in their own weekly series of bloody encounters that will appall yet enthrall viewers who will know the decent thing would be to look away immediately before the red stuff starts pumping but simply won’t be able to!