Alas, poor Julia–or why I ENJOY “At Home with Julia”

I am in a minority, it appears, but if I told you I didn’t at least smile, and indeed laugh out loud, during  last night’s At Home With Julia I’d be lying. And that was even before I discovered the Sydney High (probably  class of 1990) connection in writer Rick Kalowski who, it appears, got his start in the UNSW Revues from which, it seems to me, the line of descent of the current series is fairly obvious. But along the way he was with Channel Seven.

I am quite amazed at the number of knickers in knots over At Home With Julia. I’m not saying it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen, but it’s not nearly as sharp or even as cruel as The Chaser could be at times.

And then we have one of my all-time favourites:

But the grandmother of them all has to be this from the 1980s. Sadly it really is more than a bit cringe-making now, or is that just that we have advanced so far since in the relevant technologies?

Rick addresses some of the issues people raise here.

What about the voice? How long does it take for her to get into the Gillard voice?

Amanda knows the voice so well now she can just lapse into it. She’s had a lot practice.

When did she start doing it?

She started doing it for the Sydney Theatre Company Wharf Revue in 2008. One day, we were working together on a comedy sketch show for Channel 7 and were talking about things the cast could do. Amanda mentioned she could do a great Gillard impression. She started doing the voice and I thought it was just hilarious.

So, then another writer and I came up with a song called ‘Nine-to-Nine’. That song was quite well received when it went to air, but it was really only a year after the show that it went viral on YouTube…

Some say that people focus on the way Gillard talks and looks because she’s a woman. Do you agree?

I think some of those concerns, that people are tougher on Gillard because she’s a woman, are well-founded. There are things said about Gillard they would never say about a man.

But that’s not what animated this show. If anything, we might actually cop it for being too fond of Gillard. You have to love your characters to really do them justice – even the ones you don’t like. You have to see things from their perspective. So, the last thing we want to do is do a mean-spirited hatchet job on Gillard. It’s very critical of some of the policies but we don’t go there personally.

We aren’t doing the show because she’s a woman. We’re doing the show because Amanda does a wonderful impression of Gillard and she’s an interesting character and her personal circumstances are objectively unusual.

Hawke had his silver coif, Howard had the eyebrows, Rudd had the glasses – what’s the trademark Julia look?

It’s the combination of that voice and that hair….


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