TV Preview: The Fixer

The Fixer: TV1, 9.30 Wednesday


By Doug Coutts

Alex Polizzi likes to go round helping people run their business better, whether they want her to or not. Actually, that’s not true– they’ve asked her in, or at least applied online, so you’d expect they’re desperate for advice, even the sort Alex is happy to dish out.

She comes from a long line of successful business people – her family runs a chain of hotels don’t you know – so Alex knows what she’s talking about. And what she doesn’t know, there’s an expert or two on hand to fill in the grey areas. (There’s one running the length of her scalp that needs some attention, just saying.)

This is the second series of The Fixer, which means that businesses all over Britain are still struggling to stay afloat. Luckily for them, and Alex’s producers, she’s ready to come in and share her knowledge – code for bully and cajole but mainly bully.

The first show features a drapery that has been in the family for generations. It’s not doing too well at the moment and the three brothers running the shop seem to have different ideas on which direction they should go. Dad, who still has 50% of the shares, also likes to share his knowledge – code for etc – and the business is going to go down the gurgler unless something happens, and soon.

Alex pulls out all the stops, first by pulling in a team of trendy shopfitters to really annoy the bruvvers and then a team of trendier marketers to finish them off.

But the bruvvers haven’t spent all these years in the trade, innit, to roll over without a fight, which is handy because it’s an hour show and an early capitulation would mean Alex would have to resort to Border Security-style recaps and I Took Time Out To Visit padding tactics a la Escape to the Country to get past the third commercial break.

Still, as reality television goes, The Fixer isn’t bad. Sometimes you have to wonder if the show itself is fixed, so stupid is the behaviour of the bruvvers. I mean, as Alex herself says, she’s put a lot of time and effort into identifying the problems and working out solutions so why wouldn’t you take the advice on board?

The answer is you would and by show’s end the family business has had a makeover, dumped its existing clientele and looks like every other made-over business that will probably go belly up in six months because the existing clientele was probably the only thing keeping it going.  Hopefully Alex will be making a new series, The Fixer Revisited, by then.

One annoyance, and it’s a biggie – when Alex is talking to us the viewers, for some reason she’s addressing us off-camera, even though that’s not where we are. There’s been a bit of this looking the wrong way nonsense and obviously someone thinks it’s clever.

It’s not, it’s annoying as hell and a sure sign that the director thinks of TV as a stepping stone into the film business and has a drawer full of unoptioned screenplays back at the home office on Waiheke. If you have something to tell me, look down the barrel.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years.  He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at: Weakly Whirled News.

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