Australian viewers react to Magda Szubanski as host of Weakest Link
I have to admit that when I saw an ad promoting Magda Szubanski as the host of the new Weakest Link reboot, I was a little puzzled.
Funny lady and Australian comedy queen of all time Magda Szubanski as quizmaster on the weakest link? Is this the biggest joke of all?
For those unfamiliar with the format, originally from the UK in 2000, the host is usually the star of the show who uses contestants as fodder between scenes.
The last host of the Australian show, the late and great Cornelia Frances, was a firecracker and truly turned out to be a big mirror for the UK’s most direct host, Anne Robinson.
Frances did the trick. Her characters were generally villains, so the “Queen of Wickedness” was an obvious choice.
My confusion is a shared experience. The decision to hire Magda was “surely a mixtureAccording to Andrew Hornery of the SMH.
“For millions of Australians, myself included, Magda Szubanski is anything but a bitch,” he said so succinctly.
Magda gave us a hint of what to expect when she said New that the show has an “Australian larrikin” vibe.
“You’ll see allusions to my old characters, no more jokes with the contestants. It’s more fun.
“I believe in changing traditions, and that’s not your mother and father’s weakest bond at all.
“There’s actually a lot at stake,” she said of the competition. But it looks like there’s a lot at stake for this new iteration.
Social media may have offered more appropriate alternatives; Gretel Killeen, Lee Lin Chin (my favorite).
So, after the show’s first episode, how did Magda rate?
It was like a weird mixture of trying to be what it was and trying to move on.
Magda is not Cornelia.
She had a few laughs. We got a glimpse of an old character, the iconic Lynne (“I said pet”). She tried the bad vibe. But did it work? You can’t help but love Magda but is that enough to support the series for such an iconic role?
As the weakest link moved through social media overnight, reviews weren’t so sure.
“She just shouldn’t have been tough on it. If she had done it like herself, it might have worked, ”said Rob McKnight, a television insider.
“I think I’m done.”
It looks like the show’s strength may lie in the eccentric contestants and their hugely embarrassing incorrect answers as they fight to stay in the game with the hope of winning a cash prize of up to $ 250,000. Laura Bingle, anyone?
Julia, below, is particularly cheerful, she’s a celebrant whose highlight was marrying a couple in … a hot air balloon.
Then there is the sassy Priscilla, pretty in pink.
And a few sassy jokes.
Magda said Media week that she “has no desire to be another Cornelia” and has deliberately not watched the Australian version. It is rather inspired by Jane Lynch, host of the American version of the series.
“Jane Lynch did a very different thing and that’s what encouraged me to do it,” she said.
“When the producers first approached me they sent me an episode of Jane Lynch doing it and I was like ‘ah, now that I get it.’
“So it’s not brutal like some of the previous iterations of the show, and it’s its own beast, which is appropriate. It’s as playful as it is severe, you know?
“And the competitors are ready for it. It’s hilarious. They want me to roast them, and I’m like “okay !!!”. “
She said A current affair that “the world is just a different place, you know, so it’s harsh but it’s not as brutal as English.”
Whether this will be enough to keep the weakest link at the top is another question.