Ep 268: Lawrence Leung, Winners & Losers

Winners & Losers

This is a massive show with Lawrence Leung telling us all about his new show Unbelievable.

For the last few months, Channel 7 has had a new show on air called Winners & Losers. We thought it was about time we reviewed it. So we do that. We also watched it.

In news we talk about homophobia and ask who is looking after the children. There’s some Crap TV, One Thing and Toby Halligan is back with Trotters.

It’s a good one and you’ll kick yourself for missing it.

Want to tell us about some outrageous thing we said but shouldn’t have on the show? Go ahead and send us an email.Here’s a sneak peak at Lawrence’s new show. You can see the whole thing on ABC1 at 9:30pm on Wednesday or pick it up on iView.


  1. Daniel B says:

    Hey guys, the mp3 link in this post links to the last weeks episode

  2. David Boxcutter says:

    I don’t think you can place the blame for the 7PM Project’s malfeasance on comedians alone. Jon Stewart has shown that a comedian can produce and host a journalistically rigorous news show. In fact, it could be argued that The Daily Show has higher journalistic standards than 90% of its TV News peers. So, there’s obviously something else going on.

    Brett’s mind functions in a truly bizarre way. Oh, those poor footballers, being put on a pedestal. Please don’t put footballers on a pedestal! But we should definitely have legislation that puts football on a pedestal, exempting the sport from market forces, because football is such a precious snowflake that should be treated by different rules than everything else.

    Is “The Amazing Johnsons” a show about trapeze artists who travel the Pacific Northwest looking for fame and fortune?

  3. Cheers Josh.

  4. Adam D(oxcutter) says:

    I haven’t even got halfway through the episode yet but I really desperately need to say this: that Winners & Losers dialogue is everything that’s wrong with Australian commercial free-to-air television. How many minutes of dialogue? All they do is say the same thing over and over and over again. That could have been done in 10 seconds with effective direction and a couple of well-planned glances.

  5. David Boxcutter says:

    Also, in what world does $2 million “not even buy a decent house”? If you don’t expect to live in a mansion or a trendy inner suburb, you can buy several nice houses with that money. Brett Cropley, crusader for the common man and his crappy $2 million home. Don’t let your monocle fall into your caviar.

  6. @Adam – this made me think, is it the FTA or is it us? (not you and I, or a Boxcutter family member for that matter).

    Can the (maybe I’ll just focus on this show) Ch7 audience not be considered intelligent enough to get those glances?

    I don’t disagree with you, just wonder if it is the TV making us dumber, or TV having to be dumber so we can ‘get it’? Is winners just Today Tonight with 4 chicks?

  7. Good episode, people.

  8. An excellent show. A would like to point out that Lee Mack was not, however, in The Fast Show, but in the somewhat lamer The Sketch Show (and the appalling Not Going Out).

  9. Adam D(oxcutter) says:

    @Bolden – I reckon it’s them. Huge chunks of the Australian audience are not too stupid to understand wordless narrative or subtext. There are plenty of successful imported shows (not the best ones, obviously; those are jammed into a 3 am slot and never given a chance) that rate well. On the whole, I think we just lack confidence and are cack-handed.

    Have you seen The Tunnel? It’s a brand new Australian film that was released free (yes, legally) on torrent sites a few weeks ago. It’s an absorbing combination of wonderfully effective cheap fright tricks and the worst script editing I’ve seen since the ’80s. Every single moment is meticulously explained through talking heads and dialogue three or four times, like a high school kid who pads a 2,000 word essay to reach the word limit. It’s like watching an audiobook.

  10. @Adam, Bolden: I have to agree that the clip played from Winners & Losers seemed to go on forever and just had the same point repeated again and again. I actually don’t think that would be a problem if the dialogue itself was funny, witty or at least clever (the repetition reflecting an aching sadness in the hearts of the characters or some shit). But it just sounded like filler.

    Is it possible this is television being made for people who aren’t actually watching television? Most of the team mentioned they were doing other things while watching (ironing, self-harming, etc) so is it deliberately a show you can watch while checking facebook, cooking the tea and masturbating? I’m not saying that makes it morally any better than just being all-out crap, but is it at least planned?

  11. I would watch Winners and Losers if they added a couple of Norse Gods and a Time Lord.

    Toby – Thanks for bringing up the “Stkilda Girl” issue on the 7pm Project. The way they handled the issue has really lowered my respect (for want of a better word) for the show. I can see them becoming a ACATT type show soon.

  12. Adam D(oxcutter) says:

    @John: That’s a really good point. Perhaps Australians are such a clever bunch that they can do six things at once while they’re watching television, and that’s why every line of dialogue is repeated four times.

    @dlutchy: Since Murdoch Jnr and Rhinehart took over, the whole network’s become an ACA/TT type show. I’m amazed Brooker and Hughes haven’t already been replaced by Bolt and Price.

  13. Adam D(oxcutter) says:

    Not Brooker! What’s his name? Pickering.

  14. @John and @Adam I wonder if that isn’t an accident. *Are* people actually doing six things while watching TV? I know that it’s a rare show that gets my undivided attention now. Could the production be geared towards people’s actual behaviour rather than labouring under the fiction that everyone hangs on every second of a TV show?

    Not that I’m standing up in any way for that terrible, terrible show. I just think they may have some market research, or “insights” to use that horrible phrase, that’s informing their bad script writing.

  15. Lyndal Boxcutter says:

    @John @Adam @Ben – Isn’t that people are in and out and doing multiple things the argument the Master Chef producers initially used for endlessly repeating bits of information? I feels as if they are doing it less this year but I do watch the show with my finger over the FF button so I miss most of the waffle

  16. Hi everybody – Brett Cropley here. You might know me from the Boxcutters podcast…

    @Adam Speaking of Charlie Brooker, did you happen to catch any of 10 O’Clock Live? The chick was a bit nothing as far as bringing content but the other 3 were great.

    @John Considering who was on screen during that clip we played, I’m wondering who you have in mind when you mention masturbating. Putting myself in that place, I wonder if Scotty would be more shocked or chuffed.

    On the doing multiple things question, could it be that channel 7 realise that they are cramming so many ads into so many breaks in their programming that there’s actually no way for a person not in a coma in front of the telly to resist getting up and doing something productive with so many pauses? Not that 7 are Robinson Crusoe – evidence channel 9, killing the massive goodwill of Top Gear by playing Russian Roulette with non-repeat shows and ad breaks in the middle of their ‘films’ – but I haven’t heard a single person say they have enjoyed Downton Abbey without mentioning being abused with the commercials.

    From the outset with the St Kilda girl, I’ve found the whole saga unremarkable and the product of a sad little girl wanting attention or just some real help – not help like being put up in hotels for a couple of weeks by the AFL and/or the Herald-Sun – but some sort of emotional balm. And still it’s no surprise that various elements of the media have been beating it all up by running the latest salacious “details” across the front page or top of the bulletin – this kind of titillation alone gets enough lowest-common-denominator eyeballs or copies sold to carry the whole day.

    Because there’s AFL players involved, the media get to point and shout about how they’re all out of control because these players are ‘real heroes’ and role models to the nation’s youth and for some reason are supposed to be superhuman in avoiding all the usual things that boofhead boys do between 17 and 26. It’s only because of the unrealistic expectations that the media project onto the players that anyone is surprised at all. It’s probably for the same reason that the players have people throwing themselves at them so they might have some of the celebrity rub off and they can possibly have the chance of five minutes of ‘fame’ without having to do anything to earn it. Much like Big Brother contestants, really.

    I may be mistaken, because I don’t care about any of the story and I haven’t seen any footage from the interview, but I think Charlie Pickering was fucked as soon as they had her in at all. Saying, “Oh, no, I don’t agree with airing what she said after we finished recording the formal interview because it was off the record, even though she was still miked up and had cameras pointing at her”, is pointless because you’re already sucking the tabloid TV cock and if you gag once or twice in the process it’s neither here nor there because you chose to suck it in the first place and that’s what tabloid TV cock owners do.

    @dlutchy & Adam: When the buy up was fresh and Jamie and Lachy were just getting onto the board, a friend who works in an organisation associated with the protagonists explained that Jamie didn’t have any real interest in doing anything particularly radical with news at Ten from any particular perspective but that Lachy would LOVE to create his very own Fox News downunder. Given Jamie stomped off in a huff and Gina has a history of creating theatrics in order to effect change that adds to her already massive wealth to the detriment of the rest of the country, I would suggest that people start to consume Ten’s ‘news’ content with at least an awareness that what is reported as fact isn’t necessarily the truth. Remember: it is Fox News that’s primarily responsible for 21% of all Americans believing absolutely that Barack Obama was not born in the USA and 25% of them believe absolutely that Obama is a Muslim.

    On the W&L writing: We have heard (possibly off-air so I’ll be a bit cagey) about how appalling a great deal of the writing is that is submitted for assessment by certain tertiary students who are well into their studies in writing. I haven’t led the angry mob to find out who is responsible for the travesty on screen in W&L, yet, but if it’s anyone under 30 I think they may be doing really well for the system they lived through.

    In all seriousness, I fear that we are at just the beginning of a generation of content producers who have missed out on the absolute fundamentals of the required knowledge to generate quality product. I also think that the issue at the root of the problem is not being addressed at all, either because those in a position to be able to change it really aren’t aware of the disastrous consequences of how things are done or they are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the task to steady the course and undo 20 years of institutionalised damage.

    That’s all just too much light and happiness to contemplate – sorry everyone.

    I was talking to one of the friends of Boxcutters after the show on Monday night, mentioning that we had reviewed W&L. He happens to be a personal friend of the creators. He was telling me how he is totally dreading the moment when the show comes up in conversation between them. I know where he’s coming from – I’ve had friends in weak productions and films – but nothing as bad as W&L that had so much hype of being 7’s next great triumph that may even overtake Rafters in the place in Australia’s hearts. That’s just too embarrassing.

  17. David Boxcutter says:

    “Remember: it is Fox News that’s primarily responsible for 21% of all Americans believing absolutely that Barack Obama was not born in the USA and 25% of them believe absolutely that Obama is a Muslim.”

    I thought it was the gullibility and racism of stupid Americans that is primarily responsible for that.

  18. @Brett. In light of some other things I’ve been reading lately, just want to say, great post, agree with your thoughts.

  19. Adam D(oxcutter) says:

    @Brett: I saw the first couple of episodes of 10 O’Clock Live. A valiant attempt, but it had the same credibility problem all comedians-as-reporters shows have, and on top of that it was boring. Last I heard it tanked in the ratings.

    FTA in Australia seems to be all about the quick wins. The same could be said for FTA in many countries, I know, but it’s especially poisonous here. I don’t know whether it’s due to unreasonable pressure from shareholders, a lack of self-confidence in the whole industry or simply an old habit that has refused to die, but they’ve all been living week-to-week for a very long time; every so often they pause for breath and (disingenuously?) wonder aloud why they don’t have a hit, shortly before blaming the nearest market trend or outside influence that they can get their hands on. The 7 pm Project bucked that trend under the previous owners, but now that the network’s strategy seems to be all about giving Foxtel a free pass, that probably won’t ever happen again.

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