Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Australia gets Punk'd by Karl & Lisa

Is Channel Nine's 'Today' show faking YouTube "bloopers" for viral publicity?

Last week YouTube released a list of the top 10 most watched videos in Australia during 2011, and this moment from Channel Ten news Adelaide came in at number three:

Firstly - I'm going to take some of the credit for this, along with my former colleague Matt Gilbertson, as we were the first ones to get hold of the clip and feature it in our weekly "Sunday Bitch Slap" gossip video for Adelaidenow on February 12, 2011:

After the Bitch Slap got traction on news websites all over Australia and Heggen's gaffe made it on TV news all over the globe, Ten realised how funny the clip was and uploaded it to their own YouTube account - four days later - where it's now attracted more than 7 million views.

Heggen herself swore the gag wasn't a set up, but a genuine prank she decided to pull on Mark Aiston. The truth is immaterial now as the clip has been a viral success for Ten, which is all that really matters.

But this kind of free, fast-spreading publicity has clearly been too great for other networks to ignore. Whereas bloopers were once a source of great embarrassment for TV hosts and newsreaders, relegated to the in-house "Christmas reel" and hidden from the public eye at all costs, thanks to video sharing websites like YouTube and Buzzfeed they're now so valuable that networks are releasing them publicly.

And, I suspect in the case of Channel Nine's Today show, manufacturing them.

"Haw haw! I make $500,000 a year!" (source: Adelaidenow 2009)

Today launched its YouTube channel IWakeUpWithTODAY in January 2011, and since then has been steadily filling it with dubious on air "oops" moments like this one, from August:

Even Lisa Wilkinson looked like she didn't believe in that one.

Then there was this, from November, in which Karl Stefanovic "accidentally" steps into shot during Richard Wilkins' entertainment segment. And then stays there for the duration, laughing, like a true television professional would:

"I felt exactly like a rabbit feels when it crosses the road and they see the headlights and they know they can't do anything about it, I was frozen," he says.


Secondly - sure, I believe that a gold Logie winning presenter with 17 years of television experience would feel like a rabbit in the headlights when caught on camera. Sure, why not?

Oh hang on, I know why not - BECAUSE IT'S COMPLETELY FAKE, THAT'S WHY NOT.

Luckily Karl is so natural and convincing, which is why he was able to pull this on air stunt in April:

Admittedly, that's less of a faked-up blooper and more like one-minute-seventeen of FOR GOD'S SAKE, HAVE A COLD SHOWER YOU PATHETIC MANCHILDREN.

But hey, it's viral content, right guys? Clickety clickety click! Doesn't matter if it's offensive, stilted and dumb! Clickety click!

Here's another clip from February in which Karl, a father of three, manages to turn a discussion about breast feeding into a juvenile joke about tits, and then clumsily drops a blatant innuendo about the "long stabby thing" he keeps by his bed to fend off intruders:

Despite this "blooper" being about as manufactured as Lisa and Georgie's smiles during this whole segment, Karl's long stabby thing got coverage pretty much everywhere. Here. And here. And here. And - oh well, just Google it.

David Koch's attempts over on Seven's rival program Sunrise are pathetic by comparison.:

Kochie, Kochie, Kochie. You can't just TALK about number twos. Be more like Karl and actually PRODUCE them on air. THAT'S viral content.

Hopefully this trend will die soon and the networks will realise that bloopers are only funny when they're ACTUAL bloopers, not sad attempts at innuendo by presenters who can barely suppress their smirks, like toddlers pretending not to have eaten all the easter eggs you thought you hid at the back of your wardrobe.

Bloopers like this:

Or this:

Or these:

What do you think? Has viral video killed the blooper reel?


  1. I agree the local 'bloops' look anything but spontaneous. You can usually tell. I've suspected for a long time that many of the 'accidents' submitted to Funniest Home Videos are staged, too.

  2. I never thought of that before, but I reckon you're right. These look fake but also not even funny. It's so juvenile too - is this what Australians really want to see in the mornings?