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Series / The Weekly with Charlie Pickering

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L to R: Tom Gleeson, Charlie Pickering, Kitty Flannagan

The Weekly with Charlie Pickering is an Australian satirical television news program presented by comedian Charlie Pickering. It originally co-starred Tom Gleeson and Kitty Flannagan. In series 5, Kitty left and was replaced by Judith Lucy. The show premiered on the ABC on 22 April 2015.

The show starts with a cold open which consists of a short introduction to the guests and main stories coming up. The program's format has been compared to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, following a similar structure. Charlie Pickering delivers a selection of the past week's news stories interspersed with jokes. Similarly to The Daily Show, most episodes feature a cross to a specialised correspondent (including Adam Briggs, Loyiso Gola, Jonathan Pie, Tiff Stevenson, Zoë Coombs Marr and Wyatt Cenac), and/or an interview with a guest. A previously prepared sketch, story or interview is usually presented by Tom Gleeson and Kitty Flanagan/Judith Lucy.

Tropes used in The Weekly with Charlie Pickering:

  • Artistic Licence – History: A segment on the media coverage of shock jock Kyle Sandilands' wedding takes several barbs at his more controversial moments, inevitably including the 2009 incident where he "hooked up a 14-year-old to a lie detector and grilled her about her sexual history in front of her mum, live on air." While broadly accurate, this summary rather blatantly ignores that the girl's mother chose to bring her into the studio and that she was the one who first asked her if she'd had sex, having misled the producers about what she was expecting to find out.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: Annie Louey's report on funeral costs opens with her attending her own funeral in spirit form and being shocked at how badly everything has been organized.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In the April 5th, 2023 episode, Charlie brings up a landmark court case which threatens to put the US legal system itself on trial. It turns out that he's talking about Gwyneth Paltrow being sued over a collision while skiing. Of course, the episode does cover Donald Trump's indictment later.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: After it was announced that the celebrities attending the coronation concert for King Charles III would include Tom Cruise and Winnie the Pooh.
    Charlie: Yeah, both great gets. A beloved figure from our childhood who lives in a land of make-believe, and Winnie the Pooh.
  • Banana Peel: During her piece on the gig economy, one of the gags that Zoë performs as part of her "Uber Gags" gig is stepping on a banana peel and doing a pratfall on to her back. She then adds that, as contractors, gig economy workers have no coverage for workplace injuries.
  • Bankruptcy Barrel: Charlie is reduced to wearing one while doing a report on social casino apps. He wanders off wondering "Where do you put your phone in these things?"
  • Blatant Lies: After fundamentalist Christian Brian Houston accidentally Tweeted the phrase "Ladies and girls kissing", he claimed his account had been hacked. Charlie went along with it, condemning Twitter hackers who make one scurrilous Tweet or Like, and then run away, leaving no trave for the police to find, never to be seen again.
  • Bound and Gagged: A sketch in the aftermath of the controversial raid by the Australian Federal Police on the ABC headquarters has Charlie waking up in a basement tied to a chair with a bag over his head. He is interrogated by three shadowy figures silhouetted by a bright light. After Charlie vows not to tell them anything, it turns that his interrogators aren't anything to do with the AFP or intelligence. They are actually Tom, Lucy and Adam, and they were just bored.
  • Buried Alive: In response to the controversy over Roald Dahl's work being edited for offensive content, Charlie plays a clip of UK commentator Nana Akua claiming that "If Roald Dahl were alive today he'd be turning in his grave." Naturally, Charlie points out that this creates the image of Dahl in a coffin, banging on the lid and demanding to know why they've put him in a grave.
  • Confirmation Bias: Discussed by Charlie, in response to Senator Pauline Hanson encouraging parents to do their own research about vaccinations:
    Charlie: I agree: Pauline and her supporters should do their own research. If, by "research", they mean "carry out large scale observational studies and get them published in peer-reviewed academic journals". By all means, replicate the study of all children born in Denmark between 1991 and 1998 that found no association between autism and the MMR vaccine. But if by "research" you mean "have a bit of a Google and cherrypick what confirms your biases", that is the opposite of science. And while you're cherrypicking on the Internet, remember that science brought you the Internet. And the cherrypicker!
  • Digital Piracy Is Evil: Discussed in detail in a segment which included two clips of then-Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull making contradictory arguments - in one he argued that piracy would stop if Australians could get their media on time and affordably, in the other, he argued that the entertainment industry needed to get aggressive about suing individual downloaders (while pointing emphatically at the camera).
    Charlie: But which Malcolm is right? Happy Malcolm, or Pointy Malcolm? And isn't there some sort of Malcolm in the Middle?
  • Dramatic Drop: While explaining the 5G/Corona Virus conspiracy theory, Charlie has a sudden moment of clarity where it makes sense and he drops his mug of bone broth and it shatters on the floor. It then cuts back to Charlie who points out why none of it makes sense.
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Film critic Margaret Pomeranz did a review of the mini-golf program Holey Moley, treating it as if it were an art house film and comparing it to a Guillermo del Toro horror movie, including the frightening leathery creation 'Greg Norman'. The scene then cuts a clip of an interview with golfer Greg Norman, and then back to Margaret who shudders and says:
    "Terrifying. Thank goodness it's not real."
  • Exact Words: Charlie looks at how Sunrise covered a story about a helicopter normally piloted by Prince William almost colliding with a drone. They clarified fairly early that the Prince wasn't even on board, but they continued to refer to it as "Prince William's helicopter" for the next two hours, claiming that he had "narrowly avoided" the crash.
    Charlie: Yeah, William narrowly avoided the helicopter crash, by being somewhere totally else, that wasn't in a helicopter.
  • Fire Hose Cannon: A promo for the 2023 season describes attempting to keep up with the constant flow of news as like "drinking from a fire hose". The ad then attempts to show Charlie as the man for the job by having him actually drink from a fire hose. A second before they turn the hose on, Charlie realises what a bad idea this is and tries to to get them to stop, but it is too late, and he is blasted out of his chair by the high power jet of water.
  • Flag Drop: Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been known to appear at press conferences surrounded by as many as ten Australian flags, leading Charlie to conclude that he awards himself two extra flags every time he believes he's made Australia safer. Charlie then examines a series of gaffes regarding the enquiry into the Lindt Cafe siege, penalising him two flags at a time until there's none left.
    Charlie: Failing to immediately correct the Parliamentary record despite your office knowing Parliament had been misled? You're out of flags, Prime Minister. (The remaining flags are removed in the graphic.) Luckily, he doesn't pay attention to the poles.
  • Forklift Fu: In episode #8.2, comedian Luke Heggie explains how he got into a fight with someone at work who made the mistake of "bringing fists to a forklift fight", and then cuts to a shot of him running the other guy over with a forklift.
  • I'll Take Two Beers Too: When Charlie, Tom and Judith sit down to watch the 2019 election, Judith deposits 4 or 5 bottles of booze on the table then says "Well, I'm set. What are you boys having?".
  • Inside a Wall: A Running Gag in 2021 was Zoë Coombs Marr being fired after her first episode, but refusing to leave. A later episode reveals that she is living in the walls of the studio.
  • Jar Potty: In the final episode of 2020, Charlie picks up a Liberal Party 'Back in Black' mug and takes a sip. He then immediately spits it out, and comments that that's the mug he's been pissing into because they've been locked in studio for months due to COVID-19. He then picks up an identical mug and takes a sip of tea.
  • Lampshaded the Obscure Reference: While making fun of the government's inept handling of evidence involving the Lindt Cafe Siege, stemming from someone's failure to click the second tab of a spreadsheet, Charlie admits that Excel has been tougher since Microsoft got rid of Clippy the office assistant.
    Charlie: Now, I know that Clippy is a slightly dated reference, but it's better than our original Tab joke.
    (cut to clip from a Tab Cola commercial from 1982)
    Charlie: Mm, refreshingly topical!
  • Literal Metaphor: A promo for the 2023 season describes attempting to keep up with the constant flow of news as like "drinking from a fire hose". The ad then attempts to show Charlie as the man for the job by having him actually drink from a fire hose. A second before they turn the hose on, Charlie realises what a bad idea this is and tries to to get them to stop, but it is too late, and he is blasted out of his chair by the Fire Hose Cannon.
  • Metaphorgotten: In a season 7 episode, Frank Woodley is interviewing a scientist about the urban heat trap effect. On being told that one way to alleviate the effect is to plant vegetation on buildings. Frank likens this to a 'hobbit house', which the scientist agrees with. However, Frank then attempts to expand the Tolkien analogy and ends up totally derailing himself, wondering if Tolkien elves can interbreed with Santa's elves while the scientist looks on blankly.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: In "The Murdoch Bunch" song, Charlie summarises Rupert Murdoch's press holdings thusly:
    He owned outlets round the world, watched by millions.
    He also owned Sky News.
  • Namesake Gag:
    • According to Charlie, the Rod Laver Arena is named after tennis legend Rod Laver and Young Talent Time star Tina Arena.
    • In another segment, Charlie talks with Kitty about the number of people who want to see the Margaret Court Arena renamed, due to tennis legend Margaret Court being an outspoken Heteronormative Crusader. Kitty mentions that she's wanted the name changed for years because it's more of a court than an arena, so it should really be the Margaret Court Court or simply the Margaret Court. She then goes off on a tangent about how she'd like to see an arena named after Tina Arena for the same reason, before rambling about a hypothetical same-sex marriage between Margaret Court and Tina Arena, which would result in the Margaret Court-Arena Court and the Tina Arena-Court Arena.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Kitty returned in March 2021 to promote her new comedy series Fisk, and complained about the commercial that had been made for it, saying the editors hadn't understood the tone of the show. The trailer features a few clips from the series shown out of context, intercut with gratuitous fireballs, and narration that tries to present it as a gritty drama.
  • Pun-Based Title: One of Rhys Nicholson's recurring segments is called "Rhysearch".
  • Rake Take: During her piece on the gig economy, one of the gags that Zoë performs as part of her "Uber Gags" gig is stepping on a rake and having it hit her in the face.
  • Screw Yourself: Zoë sends a robot of herself to be interviewed by Charlie while she goes off to do a piece on the gig economy. As she leaves, she comments to camera that she originally built the robot so she could have sex with herself.
  • Something We Forgot: A sketch involving Tom, Lucy and Adam interrogating Charlie because they were bored ends with the three of them wandering off to get dinner, leaving Charlie still tied to a chair and calling plaintively after them.
  • Spin-Off: Tom Gleeson's quiz show Hard Quiz was spun out of his segment Hard Chat, though Tom would later claim otherwise on the show itself.
  • Spit Take: During his segment on aged care, Luke states how much money the government has pledged to invest in the sector and then takes a sip of beer. When the pensioner next to him asks if it that is enough to solve the problems, Luke spits out the beer in disbelief before saying it is nowhere near enough.
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: In Zoë's segment on LGBT discrimination, she's made to deliver the line, "This is particularly unfair on lesbians, who have heaps of knowledge to share on everything from hardware shops to car maintenance." She then sarcastically adds "Yeah, and we're all bald and ride broomsticks." The segment ends with her pulling off a wig and riding off on a broomstick.
  • The Talk Show with Host Name
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: According to the intro of the 12 May 2021 episode, Charlie's oldest son is named "Nintendo Robocop". Luke queries this at first, but then admits that is an awesome name.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Zoë is forced to present a segment on discrimination against lesbians in the workplace, the script having been written by three ill-informed straight white middle-aged-men. Zoë gets increasingly exasperated by their use of stereotypes, ignorance of N-Word Privileges, unconvincing Not That There's Anything Wrong with That remarks and misinformation, culminating in this:
    Zoë: "Lesbians are also discriminated against for their cuisine, mainly Tabbouleh," - that is Lebanese! - "their pots of gold" - Leprechauns, seriously?! Who wrote this?!
    (Two of the writers start pointing the finger at each other)