As Shaun previously spoke to us about, series four of Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell continued to move from a “news show” to more of a editorial or commentary on the week’s news. Along with the expert characters and sketch-show snippets, it was a brilliant season, and rated very well for the ABC.
Here are the top 11 moments from this season, as un-democratically not voted by you:
11. The Feisty Award
After Emma Alberichi had a particularly difficult interview on Lateline with someone who wouldn’t denounce terrorism, she was complimented by Tony Abbott as being “feisty”. Shaun wanted to help reclaim the word for all women, so it couldn’t be seen as sexist, and dedicated The Feisty Award – “for excellence in a man’s recognition of a sassy lady who says something he agrees with.” Shaun was the inaugural (and only) winner in Episode 4, for retweeting a tweet from Sarah Hanson-Young about how much she enjoyed the show.
10. Dolly Norman, Jacqui Lambie’s advisor
With Jacqui Lambie making plenty of headlines with her political stances and dispute with and eventual exit from Palmer United, her “chief advisor” Dolly Norman (Roz) (first in Ep3) was on hand to… explain… Jacqui’s stance on many issues. It was certainly grass-roots advice Dolly was giving, with a lunch lady vibe to go with it. (Video)
9. Shaun scamming a dating site victim (Ep 2)
With the ACCC noting that online dating websites were becoming a hotbed of scammers, Shaun interviewed Pauline O’Grady (Emily) who was herself a victim, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a scammer. We soon got another side to Shaun’s character, as he took the opportunity to gain Pauline’s trust and exploit her kindness for his own financial gain. It was very cleverly written, as we were slowly taken down the garden path to where “Shaun’s” mind was at.
8. Media Sasquatch
Shaun tried to use “Media Watch” as his segment name to talk about the death of community TV (Ep 1) and Fairfax regional papers (Ep 7), but Paul Barry was having none of it. It makes no sense, but it’s absurd enough to be perfect.
7. Our/Their ABC
Only a few months before the season began, the ABC updated their idents to the theme of “#ourABC”, often with graphics of a person doing something they love, labelled as being “their ABC”. Could the Mad team help themselves? Thankfully not.
Henrietta and Walter’s ABC (Ep 2) – a retired couple sitting in their comfy chairs, reading
Colin and Angie’s (Ep 3) – two youths stealing a television
Kaylie’s (Ep 4) – throwing up after a big night out
Adam’s (Ep 6) – stranded and injured rock climbing, à la 127 Hours
Ali’s (Ep 9) – heavy metal band performing
6. Two Ronnies
Amongst all of the brilliant monologues and interviews, Mad As Hell still has the time for a few single story word-play jokes. As a full stop to these punch lines, long time Micallef fans got a treat starting in Episode 6 – a cut away of Shaun and Francis as “The Two Ronnies”, originally from The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) (and before that, real people with many punch lines in the same vein), was brought out of the archive, achieving exactly the same purpose as it had done in that show.
5. A Day in the life of Caspar Jonquil
Caspar (Tosh) has been popping up on Mad As Hell for a while, long the voice of the AM radio talkback callers. He finally got his own biopic in the final episode, and we got a insight into his life – spying on his neighbour Spakfilla Vole, frequenting the business of Chloris Webbler and Gwen Cribbage, and having neighbourhood watch shoot-outs with Larry and Evagnie Sideburns – all favourite characters who have been part of the show since the beginning. (Video)
4. Shaun’s Hair Whispering
One of the strangest phenomena to surface recently, “whispering videos” are used by a select group of people to ease tension by watching people perform quiet, repetitive tasks such as hair brushing. The head of light entertainment used the method to also inform Shaun of the show’s reduced budget for next year, and Shaun tried it himself.
3. AFP Officer Tony
The series included a number of nods to the recent increase in national security, with the opening titles being prefixed with the terror threat indicator. To aid with the security at the ABC, Tony from the AFP (Stephen Hall) kept an eye on proceedings, initially fan-boying with Shaun over his previous roles (Milo, Fabio, Poida?).
He then prevented Shaun from talking to his Hypothetical panel of people with head coverings (in the interest of national security) (Ep 3) (Video), cut the string of a Yo-yo champion, in case she “garotted” Shaun (Ep 7), and tasered more than four people (including Shaun as Christopher Walken). (Video)
2. Darius Horsham
First appearing last season, Darius had a staring role all season, as Mathias Cormann’s spokesperson (and impersonator) as a number of economic reforms were pushed through. His line “don’t be an economic girly man”, taken from Arnie himself, was picked up by Mathias in an interview, putting Mad As Hell at the centre of the very zeitgeist they were satirising. (Video)
1. Bill Shorten’s Zingers
Shaun first noted the “burn” of Bill’s pithy press conference one-liners in the second episode, but as the season progressed, and Bill kept dishing them out, Shaun treated each with the finger guns they deserved. By the last episode, even Bill was defending “Shaun Mick-alifs” right to air “Bill’s Zingers”, again completing the referential circle. (Bill later made up for mis-pronouncing Shaun’s name by purposely doing so as “Shane Mcaulif”, like in The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) and throughout his career.) (Video)
A shout out to the War Is Hell segment, which was worth the expensive graphics to see Shaun lip-sync along with Edwin Starr’s song each week, once with dancing okra.