Just A List Of The Most Cringeworthy Moments In Australian Television History

Most of them are racist!

Australian TV

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Not all Australian television is bad — it’s more that bad things tend to happen on it.

This year the Logies really did us proud with some horrifyingly awkward moments — we had Grant Denyer taking home the Gold for no good reason, a lacklustre performance by Kelly Rowland, and ol’ Moonfaced Bert Newton slinging some homophobic zingers.

But that’s all amateur compared to Australia’s rich televisual history of deeply cringeworthy moments. Some of our big TV blunders are the sort of funny, embarrassing scenes that make us say “glad that wasn’t me!” Others are things that make you literally want to die while watching it.

Also, because this is Australia, a bunch of them are awful because they’re just plain racist.


2000: Madison Avenue’s Water Glass

Remember Madison Avenue? They gave us such iconic noughties songs as ‘Don’t Call Me Baby’ and ‘Who The Hell Are You’, the latter of which is very relevant to this story. They are also most famous for the bizarre ARIAs ‘water glass’ performance.

Part awkward choreography, part dry throat, and part accident of camera-placement, the water glass performance is beloved because it truly looks like a popstar is doing a sexy dance around a stationary water glass. Its impact as piece of iconic Australian performance art cannot be overstated.

Skip to 2:38 to see our hero to be placed on stage.

2009: Chk Chk Boom

Once again, Australia’s ambassadors are deeply upsetting. The Chk Chk Boom girl was a viral sensation and is mostly cringeworthy in retrospect, now that we know she was lying and also very racist.

For a while, she was more famous than Chris Hemsworth, no joke.

2010: Australia’s Next Next Top Model

This video straight up gives me a panic attack. In 2010, host Sarah Murdoch just totally fucked it and announced the wrong winner of Australia’s Next Top Model. It’s horrible to watch. The good news is that both the winner and the fake-winner are both totally people we still know.

2010: Barking Dog Man

Why is the barking dog man so embarrassing? Sure, it’s deeply cringe watching a man lean way too far into his suburban dispute with some dogs on A Current Affair, but for me it’s the soul-destroying lack of reaction from the man’s long suffering wife that destroys me.

2011: Fishing Goes Wrong

Breakfast television is a long glass of horrible at the best of time, but watching a weird dude kill an innocent duck during a story about an imaginary shark is prime cringeworthy.

2013: Six Point Plan

I’ve tried to keep politics off this list, because frankly all Australian politics is inherently cringeworthy, but this is a long six-point descent into true and irredeemable awkwardness. Oh my god.

2013: Chicken Man

Truly one of the greatest moments that’s ever happened on any television, it’s actually so beautiful it may transcend cringe? Well, for everyone except the journalist who was truly terrified by the large black chicken I guess.

2015: The Onion Prime Minister

Remember when our Prime Minister was filmed on television eating an entire raw onion as some kind of weird demonstration of masculinity and oddness? Remember how after that went viral, he did it again, as if doing the world’s worst thing TWICE somehow made it better?

Well, that was a deeply embarrassing time to be Australian.

2017: Jacketgate

Three news anchors cannot all be wearing white, it looks ridiculous. If you’ve forgotten Jacketgate, it’s just an incredibly awkward discussion about getting a jacket on Julie immediately.

My favourite thing to do is to watch the woman on the far right, whose face reflects the journey we’re all on.

There is of course, a thousand more cringe moments from Aussie TV that we could reference. But for now we’ll just fondly remember these ones, and look forward to our next horrifying racist scandal, because ‘Straya.