3 Oct 2016

Funny Girls hasn’t changed one bit – and that’s not a bad thing

1:47 pm on 3 October 2016

Rose Matafeo and Laura Daniel are back with more sketches, more meta, and more mic-dropping punchlines.

Jackie van Beek, Rose Matafeo and Laura Daniel.

Jackie van Beek, Rose Matafeo and Laura Daniel. Photo: TV3

Season one of Funny Girls ended much like it started: Rose Matafeo sitting in a boardroom full of suits while the direction of her show hung precariously in the air. Unlike the opening scene, however, the final shot contained a line-up of women, with not a single full-blooded male in sight. Was this the sign of a new and improved era?

Season two’s boardroom seems to suggest so. Pauline (Jackie van Beek) is at the helm this time, sporting a look straight out of the handbook of Joan Crawford’s Mildred Pierce. Matafeo, having recently returned from a stint in England, is a vaping, wide-brimmed-hat wearing West End actress with a questionable English accent, while Laura Daniel is the host of “the most critically hated show in the country”, Hottest Tween Model. Pauline, who claims to have gotten better at producing thanks to a magazine she found at the dentist, declares that “this year, everything’s going to be different. Better!”

But as the show goes on, it seems there are a few too many familiar faces: the incompetent cameraman, the face painting make-up artist turned costumer, that creepy girl who drifts around and has no concept of personal space. “It’s all the same,” shouts an anguished Matafeo. “IT’S ALL THE SAME!” Which, quite frankly, is good news for us.

When the show premiered last year, it (naturally) attracted derision from many corners of the country’s armchair experts. Matafeo and her pet project were assumed to be nothing more than a damp squib. Besides, how funny could it be if Shortland Street’s Kimberley Crossman was in it?

But Funny Girls is no sub-par summer chick flick, proving itself to be a well-functioning mix of observational sketch comedy and meta-sitcom dramedy. Season two is as raucous as ever, delivering the same wry and witty female-driven entertainment that many thought impossible for our wee nation to produce.

The sketches remain as cutting as ever, critiquing everything from advertising to politics without being too on the nose. There’s a hilarious mic-drop moment from a pregnant woman ordering at a restaurant, and even the seemingly aimless man drought sketch makes up for things at the end with a subtly relatable punchline to savour.

There is one significant point of difference though, and it’s behind the camera. Super City’s Madeleine Sami has stepped into the ring to direct the show, and along with a skillfully talented of cast of ‘funny boys’, including Nic Sampson, Eli Matthewson, Chris Parker, and Hottest Tween Model judge Julian Dennison, it seems that Funny Girls is giving its own unique weight to the term ‘comedienne’.

Funny Girls is available to watch On Demand.