Why Laid is a better example of Australian comedy than its films

Last night ABC1 aired the season two finale of Laid, the show about Roo and her death-trap vagina.  Roo (Alison Bell) finally had sex with Marcus (Damon Herriman) as he admitted to having a little schoolboy crush on her.  Plus, the whole penis-healing thing was very much of interest to her.  After much pestering she gave in and he was kind enough to do the gentlemanly thing and make her promise to exclusively date him for this, ahem, privilege.  Dumping him immediately afterwards – way to go Roo! – the curse was removed and she was free to be, well, normal. This may sound like ridiculous plot points if you’ve not been following the second season (or even the first) to which I ask, why not?  A successful collaboration between Marieke Hardy and Kirsty Fisher, Laid has been a shining beacon of light in the occasional doldrum that is local television.  Blake, a writer here at GWP.net wrote an earlier piece asking where is the local tv renaissance?  Admittedly you do need more than one show to make it a renaissance but this is certainly a starting point.

What makes Laid stand out even more is that it’s funny.  Fucking hilarious even.  The first step to being a comedy is to be funny is a fair argument, yes, but considering the quality of films that we’re currently premiering with the ‘comedic’ tag, this suggests otherwise.

A Few Best Men has just been released on disc and if you’ve seen it, you’ll know it’s a pitiful attempt at a local Hangover-type film, minus good humour.  Red Dog was fun but it’s a kid’s film.  Any Questions For Ben?, the latest from comedic titans Working Dog Productions received very mixed reviews that generally steered towards the negative.  I refuse to ever witness a screening of Wog Boy 2 and I think we all know how well I Love You Too went down (hint – like a lead balloon).

Local drama on the other hand is arguably at an all-time high – Animal Kingdom; Wish You Were Here; Snowtown and Samson & Delilah, plus more.  Even Tomorrow When The War Began, for all its faults, was fun and the upcoming The Sapphires (bought by the goddamn Harvey Boys) is opening the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival and hints at very good things.  We’re still making the mistake of producing movies like The Cup but damned if we’re not learning quickly.

Where Laid succeeds is the focus of its characters as human beings, not citizens of Australia.  That element is still definitely there but it’s through puns about sausage rolls, not let’s-see-how-many-cutaways-to-the-Opera-House-we-can-do.  A major character arc has been Zach (Toby Truslove) and his utmost conviction that he is Jesus Chris that fortunately does away with Biblical passages and ties into the healing power of Marcus’s willy, for example.

Through Laid we’re portrayed as a misunderstood culture that’s just trying to do our best to get by and not offend too many people of the opposite sex.  There’s no great big neon sign flashing JOKE HERE (unlike the aforementioned films) thanks heavily to the writing and the great chemistry between the two stars, Alison Bell and Celia Pacquola.  Fisher and Hardy need to run a comedy screenplay camp and educate this (and past) generations on how to keep things tight and smooth and, most importantly, funny.

And this is all why it’s a disappointment to declare that at the time of writing, Laid is yet to be renewed for season 3.  Hardy has announced this today on her blog and is asking us all, if we care enough, to email the ABC and demand a third season.

I sure as hell do.  I don’t want my great humour to come mainly from America or Britain.  I want to see us up there too.

Follow Nicholas Brodie on twitter @fodusempire