I first started to sense something was very wrong when, as the Logies began on Sunday night, the only people I seemed to be able to spot on the red carpet were former Married at First Sight contestants.
‘Surely,’ I thought to myself, ‘this isn’t…. it.’
Everyone knows Married at First Sight's Davina should not be allowed within a 20km radius of a) the man she fake married, b) the man she tried to run off with while she was fake married, and c)... anyone. SO WHY WAS SHE WALKING THE RED CARPET IN A HOT PINK DRESS. She made at least three people cry and that is a fact.
Approximately seven hours later, the actual awards ceremony began, and if the Logies are meant to give some idea of where Australia's television industry stands in the current social climate, Hughesy, we have a goddamn problem.
Dave Hughes' opening monologue
I believe in my soul that when Dave Hughes was asked to open the 2018 Logies, he was given just three rules:
- Don't say you love Don Burke
- Don't joke about Aspergers
He broke all of these rules.
In the second half of his monologue, Hughes tried to add a punch line to his shout out to Tracy Grimshaw's commendable A Current Affair interview with Burke - the 70-year-old TV personality who has been accused by multiple women of being a "high grade, twisted abuser".
But there was no punch line. Because abuse in the entertainment industry isn't that... funny. As a result, Hughes just repeated, 'Nah, I love Don Burke,' over and over again as the audience wondered why Australia's attempt to be woke for literally five seconds had suddenly turned into a tribute to a man who is currently facing allegations of sexual assault.
Bert Newton's 'trio of insults'
When presenting the Graham Kennedy Award for most popular new talent at the Logies, it's likely no one thought they needed to give Bert Newton a set of rules.
Because surely, they thought, he won't make a joke about Graham Kennedy being a sexual predator. BECAUSE WHO WOULD MAKE THAT JOKE IN 2018.
But the 79-year-old chuckled about Graham Kennedy "mentoring" young people in his dressing room with the door locked, and the room didn't erupt with laughter, because no.
Like if that's true, Bert, pls, tell the police. Not the drunk audience at the Logies.
Newton then acknowledged that he didn't know many of today's TV stars personally, and joked, "You might be thinking who's this old poof" - except no one was thinking that, because surprisingly few people think in homophobic slurs.
It all culminated, however, in a reference to Waleed Aly's wife Susan Carland converting to Islam for her husband (she didn't), just like Patty Newton has converted to Newton's faith of drinking and gambling. HA!
Ahhh, the best jokes are ones that are founded on a slightly racist but also false premise and have a completely predictable punchline - amirite!?
Julia Morris'... performance
The Golden Globes had women wear black to shine a light on gender inequality, the Oscars had Ashley Judd shouting "Time's Up!" on stage, Cannes film festival had a powerful silent protest, and the Logies had this:
As a hat-tip to the Me Too movement, Julia Morris danced to 'Can't Touch This' on stage with back up dancers dressed in gold bikinis, who she literally pointed to and said, "you can't touch this".
Then she stood in the middle of the stage and started rubbing her own body intensely while making sexual (???) noises.
I don't know.
If you were Christie Whelan Browne or Susie O'Neill or Caroline Wilson and you had spoken up about Craig McLachlan or Don Burke, and the only way the television industry acknowledged it on their 'night of nights' was to a) repeat the words 'I love Don Burke' four times, and b) perform a comical dance to 'Can't Touch This', I can't imagine you'd feel all that great - particularly when one of the allegations brought forward by these women actually happened at the Logies.
Australia's inability to take anything seriously has always been part of our shtick, but last night, it felt tone-deaf, it felt cruel, and it felt cowardly.
There's a way to use comedy as a device to cleverly tell the truth about topics that are taboo and painful, but the Logies didn't even come close to getting there. With awkward jokes, archaic stereotypes, and a bizarre performance, the show took the unwavering approach of making light of everything - a decision that made their message loud and clear:
We stand for nothing.