To Auckland… by bus

Travelling to Auckland on the bus at the last minute doesn’t have to be a horrifying ordeal. It doesn’t specify so on the ticket. Unfortunately, there are people out there who have no concept of personal space, no idea how to behave in public, and are just, well, plain jerks.

The buses aren’t cleaned between trips anymore. The driver insisted on playing music throughout the night. He put Elton John’s greatest hits on repeat. If I hear ‘Someone Saved My Life Tonight’ again, I will snap.

There was a disturbed woman sitting in front of me who was either schizophrenic or on P. She spent the entire trip clawing at my leg and scowling “What the fuck are you looking at?” Me? I was asleep! When she dropped a can of hair spray on my head, I handed it back to her, and then she threatened to spray me in the face! Fortunately, she got off at Palmerston North. Poor Palmerston North.

The bus wasn’t crowded, but a women sat next to me for the rest of the trip who gradually oozed over to my side and used me as a pillow. I was trapped against the window, overheating on one side and freezing on the other. Later I found fleabites up my right side – it looks like they wrote a dirty limerick on me in braille.

I didn’t sleep much. It was a relief to be spat out eleven hours later onto a damp Auckland street at seven in the morning.

So! Is anyone still watching Radiradirah? I am, and I’ve learnt several things from this… fourth… episode:

In a sketch show, when your characters laugh hysterically about how funny the previous sketch was, it has two results: it fails to make the previous sketch seem funny through mere power of suggestion, and it fails to make the present sketch funny. The best way to make the sketches seem funnier is to write funny sketches.

When your sketch show has recurring sketches which are going to be on screen for a couple of months, it helps if the sketches are worth developing. The first episode was okay because we were seeing these characters for the first time. By this fourth episode, most of them have run out of anything interesting to say.

If you’re going to have a programme with the brilliant Madeline Sami in it, it might be a good idea to give her something to do. Anything.

Saying “fuck” isn’t inherently funny. Fart jokes are only slightly funny. Doing the fingers isn’t funny unless you’re five. A pelican painting a whale is surprisingly funny. Emo Hitler still isn’t funny. Speeding up the dull bits (like in Green Wing) isn’t funny.

It’s easy to bitch and criticise, but this is really turning out to be a dreadful and unambitious series, insulting to the audience in its laziness and mediocrity. This particular episode was quite bafflingly unfunny. The talented people behind it should be ashamed of themselves – this is supposed to be their job.

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3 Responses to “To Auckland… by bus”

  1. David Thomsen Says:

    I remember reading Terry Jones talking about the Black Knight scene from The Holy Grail. Originally they had filled the scene with all sorts of background noise, the wind blowing, birds tweeting, that sort of thing, and the scene came across as utterly flat. It wasn’t until they took all that noise pollution out that the scene became funny.

    I felt that Green Wing suffered from a similar thing, where every moment where no one was talking was either sped up or slowed down, and a little bit of music thrown on top of it. It made it impossible for me to engage with the show on any kind of humorous level at all.

    I haven’t seen Radirah yet, but I’ve seen all the YouTube clips that anyone has bothered to put up. It doesn’t inspire me to seek out more.

  2. Just be thankful your bus trip didn’t involve anything like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_Tim_McLean
    I have just got back from Canada (amazing trip!) and I’m catching up on your blog entries. Anyway, I used Greyhound buses to get around over there. My last bus trip was from Banff to Edmonton, with a stopover in Calgary. I was really surprised by the security procedures at Calgary. We were all frisked and had to pass through metal detectors. The young man who sat next to me mentioned it was because of “what happened a couple of years ago”, but he didn’t want to elaborate. So naturally I googled it that evening, eek! I actually had pretty pleasant bus trips over there though, mostly because the scenery was fantastic.

  3. Wow, I think I remember that… just because it was so damn awful!

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