TV Review: Jono and Ben


Jono and Ben: TV3, 7.30 Fridays


By Doug Coutts

Jono and Ben earlier than ten …  If I weren’t approaching my seventh decade on the planet, I’d probably say it was choice – if indeed that’s what 12-year-olds say these days when they think something’s rather amusing.

To be fair, I don’t think I’m in the target audience – I’m too old for prank after prank after prank. I’d like a bit of substance – that, however, is thin on the ground, rather like the budget.

You can tell there’s not a lot of money to throw around with the miserly three rows of audience and the presence of cast members of other TV3 shows who have to appear on this one for contractual reasons. They call it cross-promotion, I call it being cheap … but not nasty, on account of the early time slot.

With a dozen or so writers getting credits you’d think there’d be a lot more than variations on a prank – there’s the annoy the shoppers prank, the annoy the TradeMe buyers prank, the annoy the famous people prank (two of those in this first episode) – they even prank the audience.

As it stands, Jono and Ben could be a segment in a smarter end-of-the-week show, or it could be a 30-minute show on its own. But an hour of lightweight japery is, for this curmudgeon at least, quite a bit too much. Pranks but no thanks.

What other critics said (or predicted):

  • “The opening song was funny, the walking in on a P Lab was funny, their bit where they try and out-gag each other was funny. More hits than misses, which is tough for an hour. In a media landscape barren of humour and satire, this is a tiny oasis, but under National with their desire to crucify all public TV, a tiny oasis is the best we’ve got.” — The Daily Blog.
  • “I have it on pretty good authority that the writing team have been working exceptionally hard to push the edgiest boat they can into the 7.30pm shore … Tonight’s premiere episode promises more hilarious sketches than a drunk life drawing class, a Vin Diesel interview and some luxury studio chairs from Freedom Furniture.” — NZ Herald.

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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2 Responses to “TV Review: Jono and Ben”

  1. It would be nice to see “edgy” Koiwoi telly pushing the boundaries rather than borrowing from Ashton Kutcher. We have a unique culcha, and we should be exploiting it. Time for the scriptwriters to sit down, preferably with a good strong brew of tea, maybe a packet of Gingernuts, and do some brainstorming.

  2. Definitely 30min fodder. Jono is just as funny voicing Road Cops.

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