We learnt only last week that Turnbull described as the member for Leafy Suburbs and Post-Copernican ideas by Clarke and Dawe has been sidelined and is forced to read about new policies in his portfolio in the newspaper.
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Utopia is topical and delightful. The opening sequence treats us to grabs from various politicians announcing their infrastructure credentials against a tableau of drawings, plans and blueprints as Dean Martin croons. This Nation Building Authority NBA with its garish, copyright-infringing new logo and bullying marketing people could be any government organisation with a big budget and high-profile activity. In episode two, which screened last night, the harried Nat Celia Pacquola highlights the second airport for Sydney in reality, a running sore as one of the major projects for the NBA.
It will be interesting to see if this one comes under further satirical scrutiny in the series. Tony reluctantly agrees to appear on camera to announce the aims of the nation-building leviathan for the new sonically-branded website. At times the sketch-like scenes are hilarious: in the first episode we had Tony setting off the fire alarm and locking out a delegation of visiting Chinese businessmen, and then performing a dance of low bows followed by a series of translated excuses for the unprofessional behaviour of the hosts.
Utopia is also poignant at times. The gormless Hugh Luke McGregor suffers many indignities because of his honest approach to work and his failure to understand the realpolitik of the office.
So, it is a welcome pleasure to see Sitch and his writing partners back with a new comedy series on television, puncturing the absurdity and grandiosity of Australian nation-building excesses. Utopia is screening on ABC1, Wednesday nights at 8. Play catch-up on ABC iview. A contemporary Robinsonade — York, York.
Rob Sitch says reality outpaced satire during the making of season two of comedy series Utopia
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A massive new project for the NBA is jeopardised by the discovery of a rare grass on the proposed site; Rhonda decides the NBA website needs a dramatic overhaul, enlisting Karsten and his film crew to do it. Jim pushes Tony into investigating the feasibility of a very fast train connecting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane despite nearly 50 years of studies positing its lack of viability. Amy audits the office's safety protocols. An in-demand residential developer asks the NBA to step in and help him to add 35 more stories to his proposed apartment building.
A new employee asks Nat to conduct a performance review of him, which creates tension between Nat and the human resources department.
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A government initiative to commemorate the completion of a new road by installing roadside art creates a host of problems for Nat and Hugh; Tony is asked to visit a local primary school, which somehow puts into motion the possibility of Australia's first space program. Jim fields complaints that the Authority's developments have largely ignored Tasmanian interests, so he sends Tony, Katie and Scotty to Tasmania to host a series of community suggestions for a new project.
Rhonda and Amy organise an internationally-renowned motivational expert to conduct a week-long incursion at the NBA offices. Disillusioned by the modus operandi of the NBA — announce big projects and then do nothing to actually complete them — Tony reflects back on his first week on the job: a mess of angry cyclists, teething problems and plumbing issues. The complete and utter failure of the Northern Food Bowl project leads Jim to ask Tony to take a look.
A comic and writer addresses the last taboo of female sexuality.
Nat deals with delays in a Perth freeway upgrade and the Western Australian public relations departments. Jim announces a big shake-up at the NBA. Back with a vengeance, Tony is determined to kick off the newly expanded NBA with efficiency, however is foiled at every turn by office distractions, fitness initiatives and tech issues. Tony is excited to finally get started on a tunnelling project on the verge of construction, however Rhonda's insistence on a fanciful launch event jeopardises the entire project. Exhausted from constant commuting back and forth from the NBA's Adelaide office, Nat asks the human resources department to hire a colleague as a manager there, but HR have other ideas.
Faced with questions about why a new parkland project has no parkland, Tony and the Authority have no answers.