Rob Sitch, front centre, with the cast of ABC-TV comedy Utopia. Photo Hwa Goh
Rob Sitch, front centre, with the cast of ABC-TV comedy Utopia. Photo Hwa Goh

Utopia brings back the D-Generation

I CRINGE writing this, but I had expected Utopia (ABC, Wednesdays 8.30pm) to be bad.

The Working Dog production team featuring names like Rob Sitch, Jane Kennedy, Tom Gleisner and Santo Cilauro have been idols of mine for decades.

My own sense of humour was hugely impacted by their shows like the D-Generation, The Late Show and Frontline.

But that was the 90s, I thought. Not yesterday. The cruise ship carrying that brand of comedy, no doubt seen swilling champagne in a gold lame loungesuit while Barry Crocker and Bob Downe duet the Captain and Tennille classics on a splintery stage, has surely sailed?

Oh how I was happy to be corrected.

The Nation Building Authority, the fictional department setting for this show, is a sharp piss-take of every inept, inefficient public service unit in our country.

Sitch is main man Tony, seemingly trying to get some actual work done, but hampered at every turn by time-wasting logo changes, report drafts and mood board meetings.

Celia Pacquola is excellent in the role of chief firefighter battling constant social media firestorms (not her official title).

The scene in the first episode where she parried back and forth with a consultant on the location for a community garden was superb.

Utopia shines a surprising light on the acting talents of some well-known comedians.

Lehmo is a stand-out as government liaison Jim, one of those people who seems busy at nothing. All the time.

Luke McGregor is hilarious, even though he is playing it very straight, and Kitty Flanagan is perhaps the weaker of the three, but still effective.


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