The world is full of idiots, and someone needs to point it out to them or they will never know.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hungry Beast? More Like Starving Idiot

Tonight, I'd narrowed what I was going to do down to three options:
  1. Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion on Channel Nine (ironically, on a Wednesday night)
  2. Some Deep Space Nine that I downloaded (completely legally, of course...)
  3. Or Hungry Beast on the ABC
In the end, I went with Hungry Beast, as it's the new (sexier?) title of Project Next, developed by Zapruder's Other Films, who are probably most famous for introducing us to The Chaser boys and creating The Gruen Transfer (that's the show, not the transfer itself). In case you weren't paying attention last year, Project Next was designed to find new talent in Australia and let young people have a say in the media. I had high hopes for this project, so I tuned in at 9:00pm tonight eagerly.

Thirty minutes later I felt like I should have just gone to bed.

Firstly, what the hell was Dan Ilic doing on the show? He's not hugely famous, but he did feature in both seasons of The Ronnie Johns Half Hour on Channel 10 back in 2006-2007. I thought this show was supposed to feature new talent? You know, people we haven't seen before?

But I digress. First, we have an obnoxious story where we learn that the Hungry Beast team created a fake study that said Sydney was the most gullible city in Australia. It was picked up by news outlets across the country, but in the end, Media Watch (bless them) noticed it was bullshit. Tonight on Hungry Beast we saw how they put together the stunt, followed by five minutes of them saying how clever they are and how dumb everyone else is. Their conclusion? The media doesn't fact-check it's stories thoroughly. Well, congratulations, dipshits, I could have told you that! However, I hardly think this was a fair test, the scoop, "Sydney stupider than Melbourne!" is the kind of article you'd read in Mx, not in The Australian. Sure, it appeared on's website, but did it show up on the six o'clock news?

"WHO CARES?!?" screams the Hungry Beast. "We fooled the media, and we're awesome, BITCH!"
No, I'm afraid you completely missed the point here. If you'd done a real news story, that everyone picked up, then you certainly demonstrated the fallibility of our news system. All you managed to do was appear on a few websites and the radio, then look like a smart-arse kid to everyone when they found out the truth.

Here's a tip, kids, free of charge: don't start a new TV show with a demonstration of how up yourself you are. The Chaser, for all their immature pranks, usually made an excellent point - sneaking into APEC didn't just show the ineptitude of the guards, it also pointed out that for all this time, money and effort, a man dressed as Osama Bin Laden could get right outside George Bush's house. All Hungry Beast showed us was that people like to read silly, inconsequential news stories and believe them.

Ironically, throughout the show, Hungry Beast threw random facts at us, like "THERE WILL BE 150 MILLION CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES IN 2050!" and "THERE ARE 10 000 CCTVs IN SYDNEY!", which we were probably supposed to scream "OMG!" at. Although they cited their sources, I wonder whether they diligently checked their sources like they suggested Australian news outlets should.

I'm sorry if this is taking a while, so bear with me. The remainder of the show features a stupid sketch about an old lady and a cat, an interview with a war widow where we learned that the soldier liked noodles (this is prime time TV?) and a discussion on whether pandas deserve to become extinct. Essentially, Hungry Beast said that "it's survival of the fittest, BITCH! Panda's are fat, they do nothing, they should die."

Hmmm. Where have I read this before?

Yes, Maddox was talking about whales, but it's the same argument, whales/pandas don't really do anything remarkable, so they should die. Still, it's obvious what Hungry Beast was trying to do here: create controversy. Going back to The Chaser, they got a HUGE amount of press every time they did something controversial - Chris swearing on Sunrise, the APEC prank, the Eulogy Song (eventually they crossed the line with the "Make a Realistic Wish Foundation" skit), so Hungry Beast obviously is looking for people to yell, "YOU CAN'T SAY THAT ABOUT PANDAS! WE NEED TO PROTECT ALL OF GODS CREATURE'S YOU DUMB KIDS!"

Then Hungry Beast will obnoxiously high five each other and say on the next episode (a) "LOL, you fell for our 'get free publicity' trick!" or (b) "Well, we can say what we want, as we represent the young generation!"

No, you do not.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this show supposed to show stories that weren't being shown by the rest of the media? To pick two topics that have received little coverage: the internet filter and the banning of Left 4 Dead 2. Or, to pick something more recent, the stupid name for the new Vegemite: iSnack 2.0, which anyone under 25 will tell you is lame beyond words. Just browsing through my friend's Facebook status updates, I see this actually is a touchy matter for some people.

So, here's Hungry Beast in a nutshell: a TV show created by a marketing team for the "young" crowd by being hip and controversial, that instead ends up being a TV show that's hypocritical, pretentious and unfunny.

As I said a long, long time ago:
"...trying to be cheeky is likely to alienate more [people] than attract them. The small percentage of people who like the cheekiness are likely to hit their sixth birthday soon, and will just look at [you] as unprofessional and trying too hard to be cool."

I mean, The Chaser boys worked because they never tried to be cool, they just were. The Gruen Transfer is great because we have people with experience and credibility lending their opinions. Top Gear (the UK version) works because it has three genuinely funny bloke driving around cars and having a good time. None of them tried to be cool, they just were.

Don't watch Hungry Beast. Just... don't. I could have done a better job, and that's saying something.

UPDATE 8/10/09: I watched Hungry Beast again last night, and the second episode was just as bad as the first. I've finally figured out where this show belongs: with Behind the News in the middle of the day. The whole program feels like an attempt to get "cool" kids to watch the news - particuarly teenagers. All they'd need to do is drop the few F-bombs they had and hey presto, kids show.

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