In Australia: Wednesdays, 9pm, ABC
These days, Australian comedy alternates between three genres. You have the traditional sitcom, although thanks to Patrick Brammall and Trent O’Donnell, the situation of the sitcom is now typically “stuck in a car“. You have the sketch show. And then you have the comedy of the grotesque, typically a ‘bogan’ grotesque at that. What’s a bogan? That’s Australian for ‘chav’.
Sando is such a chav-oriented comedy. It sees Sacha Horler playing Victoria “Sando” Sandringham, who took her parents’ boutique store and got rich by turning it into a cut-price furniture warehouse empire. Unfortunately, she based it all around her family and when she ends up pregnant by her daughter’s soon-to-be husband, her family aren’t that inclined to spend any time near her.
Fast forward 10 years and Sando’s about to be thrown out of her company by its board. Her only chance? Get the family back on side. Unfortunately, even if they’ve changed, Sando hasn’t.
Trouble is that there’s not actually that much that’s funny about Sando, unless you happen to find any of the following intrinsically funny – screw jokes, these things have to make you laugh in hysterics just for occurring:
- People being dicks to one another
- Women behaving badly
- Families arguing
- People shagging people they shouldn’t
- Failed careers
- Bad music
- Would-be stand-up comics with bad jokes
- Women on horseback
- Children being given horses as gifts
- People being tasered
All of these Sando throws at us in the first episode. But not jokes. Not a one. I smiled a couple of times, but that was it.
To be fair to the cast, Sando‘s failings aren’t theirs. Horler offers a great performance as the grotesque Sando, while the others fit their low-key roles very well, Rob Carlton doing well as Sando’s ex-husband and a man perpetually framed in everyone’s minds as the other of an advertising jingle, rather than a proper musician.
But for all the effort – and horses – that the writers throw the audience’s way, the simple lack of any real jokes sinks it. It basically comes down to whether you find chavs/bogans intrinsically funny.