It’s a rare TV series that causes me to burst out in spontaneous laughter alone in my apartment, but the new show from Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney had just that effect in each of the five episodes I previewed for this review.
Get Krack!n, a satire on morning and lifestyle TV, features some of the funniest writing I’ve seen on TV for years and is an exciting new step from two of our most exciting comedic talents. The Kates demonstrated their extraordinary ability to unpack the ludicrous, hypocritical and hysterical hype surrounding food trends on their breakout cooking webseries The Katering Show, and they apply the same critical lens and laser-sharp satirical skill in Get Krack!n.
But the world of this new show is significantly extended and expanded. While The Katering Show episodes ran somewhere between seven and 12 minutes, Get Krack!n is made up of eight 30-minute episodes, to premiere on ABC TV.
The pair return to the same fictionalised versions of themselves honed in The Katering Show — McCartney with her snide, straight-talking deadpan, and McLennan with her overt enthusiasm and desperate attempts to make a wildly successful program — as they struggle to throw together a morning news and lifestyle show.
But unlike most successful formats, Get Krack!n has been given a 3am slot — “an hour usually reserved for pissing with your eyes closed” — and only a bare bones, and barely experienced, production crew.
“We’re going to show you how to do stuff, make stuff, buy stuff, ingest stuff, avoid stuff, and best of all, fear stuff.”
There are plenty of recognisable tropes from morning TV, including a “Street View” window (although it looks out onto an alley at 3am, so the sights aren’t always entirely wholesome), a Kash Kock giving away thousands of dollars to lucky viewers, and a beautiful weather girl who’s objectified by the hosts (played by Adam Briggs). Every time a guest starts a segment by chirpily saying “Hi girls!”, McCartney reminds that they’re in fact 37-year-old women.
Problems pop up very quickly in the first episode, from difficulties with the set, to technical glitches, to guests who threaten to derail the program.
The Kates take aim at the way lifestyle TV, with its seemingly breezy presentational style, places extraordinary pressure on women in a socially dictatorial fashion. In the first episode, they announce to their audience: “We’re going to show you how to do stuff, make stuff, buy stuff, ingest stuff, avoid stuff, and best of all, fear stuff.”
They take a “sassy swipe” at infomercials, lifestyle trends (de-cluttering proves to be an extraordinarily stressful experience), and the supposed medical experts who get a showing on lifestyle TV. Did you know that turmeric can cure literally every human ailment?
The biggest question hanging over the series is whether or not the shtick of The Katering Show can sustain a full half hour episode.
They also manage to satirise recent headline-grabbing news/lifestyle TV segments, including Katy Perry’s Sunrise appearance, Sonia Kruger’s comments supporting a ban on Muslim immigration, Nine host Amber Sherlock’s demand that a journalist “Go and grab a jacket!“, and Karl Stefanovic’s apology for making transphobic jokes on the Today show.
The biggest question hanging over the series is whether or not the shtick of The Katering Show can sustain a full half hour episode. I’m not entirely convinced that it does; it’s essentially still a format and comedic style built for short webseries. Although each episode has a satisfying arc and the various guests add some comedic variety, it can feel a little like a sketch drawn out to a full series.
But looking for strong narrative development or richness seems churlish when there are more laughs per episode of Get Krack!n than most contemporary comedies could hope for across a whole season. The gags reach laugh-out-loud, cringe inducing, and sometimes gut-busting levels of funny.
The precision with which the Kates are able to deconstruct and demolish social anxieties and prejudices is astonishing and consistently funny. On top of that, their dynamic as a double act is spot-on, and despite their mocking segments about “relatable” couch chats, they remain two of the most “relatable” personalities on TV.
Their concerns and failures range from the domestic to the global, and are the concerns and failures of millions of Australians — particularly women. The only difference is, they’re far funnier than most of us could ever hope to be.