Anarchic. Chaotic. Hilarious. Together, those three words sum up Channel Nine’s reinvention of the live comedy game program Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation (TBYG).
If the title sounds familiar, it’s because this is TBYG Mark II—the original show went to air between 2009 and 2012.
TBYG is nominally a game show, with teams, quiz questions and challenge activities and a trophy for the winners to take home. But that’s where any similarity with a serious game show ends. For a start, the trophy for the first show was a recycled low-grade amateur basketball trophy from a year long gone.
The focus is on comedy, witty one-liners and improvised fun, an area where quizmaster Shaun Micallef has cornered the market.
While his usual ABC gig hosting Mad As Hell continues to be a must-see show for its political parodies and commentary, Micallef is equally comfortable in the role of anarchic host, complete with distinguished-looking grey-white hair and beard that give him the look of a Down Under George Clooney.
The structure of TBYG is three team captains who lead two-person teams according to age and stage. The oldest team is Gen X, captained by actor and comedian Robyn Butler, followed by the next age group down, Gen Y, led by radio and TV host Andy Lee, with the young whippersnapper, actor Laurence Boxhall at the helm of Gen Z.
Each team captain has a different partner each week—in the first episode Butler was joined by music theatre whizz Eddie Perfect, while zany Kate McLennan of the internet sensation The Katering Show completed Gen Y and actor Brenna Harding made up the rest of Gen Z.
The quiz questions are really a method by which Micallef can do almost anything that occurs to him on the spur of the moment including, for instance, taking an amusing fake phone call from Eddie McGuire. All team members have enough performing smarts to go with the flow and contribute to the general hilarity.
When the physical challenges start the show becomes quite ridiculous in the best sense. In the first week buckets of goo were tipped on McLennan in the hot seat when time ran out for questions to be answered—a nice variation on dunk-the-teacher- in-a-tank-of-water that was always a popular fundraising activity at school fetes.
The teams start to clean tractors by hand, hoping to be declared the winner. But the fun is the fact that the tractors are set in a mini animal farm, with real pigs running around while the teams try to sabotage each other by ‘helping’ through drenching other contestants and their tractors.
TBYG is definitely one of the silliest shows on television, but in a world that can be tough at times for many of us we all need something that can help us to laugh. These fun times can often help us gain a renewed positive perspective—and that’s something worth talking about.