TV

I Decided To Review A Week’s Worth Of ‘Sunrise’ And Oh God What Have I Done

We watched a week's worth of The Bad Show so that you don't have to.

Morning television, hey? You can’t live with it, you can’t demand it be taken off air for being racist, or really racist or really really racist.

I don’t watch morning television. I’m a freelance writer, which means I only get out of bed before 11am for two reasons: 1) Somebody’s offered to buy me breakfast; or 2) Somebody’s offered to buy me brunch.

So, there I was, living my best life, when I got an email asking if I’d watch a week’s worth of Sunrise, Channel 7’s daily breakfast colonic, and write about it for Junkee.

“Easiest money I’ll ever make,” I said aloud to my cat.

But oh, oh how wrong I was.

My first mistake was agreeing to watch a week’s worth of Sunrise. My second mistake was binge-watching it in one weekend.

Friends, I’ve survived many hardships: breakups, deaths, an ill-advised fringe. But in consuming over 15 hours of Sunrise in two days, I believe I hit my nadir, my mental rock bottom. I am a shell of a woman, an extinguished flame, a ghost. Elton John should rewrite a song about me.

This was not the easiest money I’ll ever make. This was cruel and unusual torture.

The Format

Breakfast television is exactly what it says on the box: you watch it while you eat your Coco Pops. It’s on for 3.5 hours per day, but most viewers probably engage with it for 30 minutes each day, max.

Most shows in the genre are therefore produced as a 20 to 30-minute content loop. The same news, entertainment segments and discussions recur frequently each episode, with slight differences and added information as news items unfold.

Watching five episodes of 3.5 hours of this loop in one weekend near killed me. One page of my notes just says, “HELP ME” over and over again.

The Talent

Like 90 percent of Australian television, Sunrise is hosted by a pretty blonde lady and a moderately goofy dude.

The former is noted Aryan princess Samantha ‘Sam’ Armytage, and the latter is David ‘I-Honestly-Can’t-Remember-Why-He’s-Famous/Kochie’ Koch. They’re a likable double act, her playing straight man to his non-threatening larrikin. She’s the Martin to his Lewis, the Halpert to his Schrute, the Wilkinson to his Stefanovic (RIP).

Here she is, dancing to Billy Ray Cyrus

Armytage is charismatic and relaxed, and I might even like her if it wasn’t for all the, well, y’know. And Kochie is, well he’s Kochie. He’s also kind of Ice T on Law and Order: SVU, in that he sometimes struggles to understand things. I contend this is because, like Ice T on SVU, he’s acting as a vehicle through which the audience can grasp complex issues. But he could also just be a mad stoner.

Examples are when he blurted “just like on Homeland” during a segment on cyber-security, when he couldn’t comprehend how legalising cannabis could possibly have any positive outcomes, and when he didn’t seem to know what mental illness is.

Sam and Kochie are joined by an endless supply of attractive white people. There’s pretty brunette newsreader, handsome roving reporter, other handsome roving reporter, pretty roving reporter, multiple silver foxes in expensive suits, and occasionally, Larry “Heartthrob” Emdur.

Lots of very symmetrical faces on ‘Sunrise’.

Oh, and there’s also sometimes Alan Jones. Yup.

The Content

Each episode zeroes in on a few key news items and current affairs, discussed ad nausea throughout. A few weeks ago, these included the much-maligned Commonwealth Games closing ceremony, shark attacks, female Anzacs and servicewomen, a woman being sucked out of a plane, and a fatal house fire that prompted Kochie to ask if drugs were involved based on no information whatsoever.

Another recent piece involved a pig who went to the beach.

Also this.

My Favourite Moments

Discussing Beychella

It was like watching your parents discuss Beychella, if your parents are basic white talk show hosts who probably haven’t listened to Lemonade or have but think it was about a soft drink. At one point Kochie said, “It’s like a modern fancy Woodstock,” so now Coachella is cancelled forever.

$7 Toast

I’m rubbish at maths and have lived in inner-city Sydney for too long, but the team’s OUTRAGE about a café charging $7 for vegemite toast seemed excessive. Sure, it’s probably too much to pay for something you can make at home for half the price, but you didn’t make it at home for half the price, so shut up and pay for your breakfast.

Pictured here: outrage.

Talking Weddings

Sunrise was running a competition for a $100K Fiji “dream wedding,” which I considered entering, despite being single and allergic to tourist braids.

Whenever there was a promo for the comp, there followed a few excruciating minutes of unironic zingers about how weddings aren’t just about the bride anymore, and how men are from Mars and women like shoes or something I don’t know I dozed off.

The Many Microsleeps I Had As My Body Railed Against My Life Choices

Mood.

Harry And Megs

Though the fact my ginger knight is marrying another has been a bitter pill to swallow, I’m totally here for royal wedding news.

I’m especially here for an hour of hype about the Prince “gushing” about his future wife during a speech, only to discover he said her name once followed by something like, “she’ll come on official trips with me sometimes but not always.” Ah, young love.

The 30 Seconds Yothu Yindi Were On The Screen

What could have been at least a tiny diverse jewel in a giant colonial crown – footage of Yothu Yindi playing ‘Treaty’ at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony — was ruined by the panel repeatedly calling it “THE Treaty”. They had one job, etc.

Man Caves

A lot of airtime one episode was devoted to “Australia’s best man cave,” a grossly extravagant penis extension that some dude built in and is now selling. It has a pool, arcade games, beer on tap and a virtual golf course, and sometimes the dude lets his wife and her friends hang there.

You: “What?!”

Me: “I know! Zany right?”

That’s it. That’s literally the whole story.

Many Minutes Spent Trying To Decide If I’d Give Kochie A Go

Could do worse?

A Hipster Festival In A Castle

There was a segment about a food festival in a castle in South Australia, during which Kochie kept blurting out “hipster” as if he was fingering a murderer in an old-timey detective show. This was because the dude running the festival had a top knot, there was a dog, and they were serving Mary’s burgers. I’m not saying he was wrong.

Drunk Shoes

One day there was a sports item about Formula One. The winner was shown drinking champagne out of a shoe, and then making his mate/runner-up/butler/who cares drink out of the same shoe.

Sam, Kochie and the generic white people on either side of them were AGHAST. Then Sam said she’d drink out of her own shoe but not someone else’s, and everybody seemed to buy this as an acceptable thing for a human to say. (Sidebar: how hard is it to hire even one presenter who didn’t attend a Sydney Uni residential college?)

The Verdict

Sunrise is white-washed lifestyle porn for basic boomers. Do not watch this show.


Nadine von Cohen is a Sydney-based writer. She can usually be found on Twitter, swearing in capitals and refusing to punctuate.