All Aussie Adventures


All Aussie Adventures

infobox television
show_name = All Aussie Adventures


caption =Title Sequence
format = Mockumentary, Satire
runtime = approx. 0:25 (per episode)
creator = Glenn Robbins & Tom Gleisner
starring = Glenn Robbins
country = AUS
network = Network Ten
The Comedy Channel (Repeats)
first_aired = 2001
last_aired = 2004
num_episodes = 13, and one TV movie
imdb_id = 0290111|

"All Aussie Adventures" (full name: "Russell Coight's All Aussie Adventures") was an Australian television series; a parody of the outback-adventure television genre. Starring comedian Glenn Robbins as the host of the show, Russell Coight, the series follows Coight's disastrous travels through outback Australia, spreading misinformation and causing accidents.

Season one aired in 2001, with a second season following in 2002 and, in late 2004, a telemovie "Russell Coight's Celebrity Challenge", featuring minor (fictional) celebrities joining Coight in the outback. Episodes were initially shown on Network Ten in Australia, and later the series ran on the cable television station Comedy Channel.

Genre

The outback-adventure genre is a television genre achieving some success in Australia, beginning with the iconic series of the Leyland Brothers in the 1970s. The format generally involves a host travelling throughout the outback and meeting "characters" of outback life, while providing insight into the flora and fauna of the country. Perhaps the most famous exponent of this genre would be the "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin (although Coight's activities are usually closer to the activities of The Bush Tucker Man, Malcolm Douglas, Harry Butler and Alby Mangels). The closest comparison, however, is certainly to Troy Dann, host of the similarly titled "Troy Dann's Outback Adventures."

The genre is often the target of cynicism. Much of this comes from the stereotypically "blokey" culture of the outback portrayed by the hosts, such as Irwin's frequent usage of Australian slang. The focus of most of these shows is on the male aspect of the outback, with drovers and farmers being the major characters met.

Additionally, the narration (typically provided by the host) often verges on hyperbole. This is primarily because the hosts are not often experienced television personalities, and are unsure of how to handle themselves on the screen. Attempts at having more experienced personalities front these shows often results in incongruous appearances of hosts more well-known for hosting quiz shows or news programs, such as former "Sale of the Century" host Glenn Ridge.

Format

"All Aussie Adventures" follows a relatively predictable format. Coight greets the audience and explains his latest reason for needing to travel through the outback as a tour guide, often his need to help out a "mate", and introduces the episode with the tagline "So let's get started on another "All Aussie Adventure". The delivery of this line is designed as a parody of the "sincerity" of television hosts and has become something of a catchphrase among devotees of the series.

The remainder of the show consists of Coight's travels. He meets friends, encounters animals, sets up camps and provides information on the history of the area through which he is driving. He eventually arrives at his destination and ends each show with the line "We've seen some pretty special places and met some pretty special people", another catchphrase of the series.

The episodes generally end with a collection of "out-takes", although the point is often made that there is very little difference between these and what made the show.

The Russell Coight character

Perhaps the kindest adjective for Russell Coight is "accident-prone". Invariably, if something can go wrong for him, it will. Coight is a naturally outgoing man who, unlike many of his colleagues in the genre, is reasonably comfortable in front of the camera (he even showers in front of the camera). The name "Coight" is Australian slang for asshole.

Often one may unintentionally get a personal insight into Coight. He is single, although he had a wife who while he says is "completely over her", is obviously missing her dearly. A disclaimer at the end of the particular episode tells her to log onto bigcoight.com to regain contact with him. One, by watching the episodes, also discovers some dubious qualities, such as his card for the local Adult Video store, and that he is known to frequently bring some 'blue' magazines into the bush with him.

He has a sister, Meredith, who is unseen, although is credited for everything from being a Crocodile tamer to stunt-coordinator. In one episode, "Daintree", she is heard singing dreamily a somewhat dubious song, "Daintree", apparently off her album "Daintree", from the Daintree label.

The series is presented as if Russell Coight were a real person, eschewing on-screen credits for his portrayer Glenn Robbins. Following the success of the first season, comedian and talk show host Rove McManus interviewed Russell Coight, who provided information on his (fictional) background (An apparent big fan and co-host, one Glenn Robbins was not present that night). The only mention of Robbins in the series appears at the end of the credits, when he is thanked "for his assistance".

"Wallaby Jack", a similar character from "The Late Show", is thought to be a precursor to the Coight character. Tom Gleisner, a writer for both series, points this out in "The Late Show" DVD audio commentary.

Parody aspects

Sight Gags

Much of the humour of "All Aussie Adventures" is contained in the sight gags. Coight attempts to set up camp in most episodes, which gives rise to some or all of the following situations:

* The tent falls down (either as it is being erected or with Coight in it)
* The camp stool falls over (generally with Coight either in it or attempting to be, however see below)
* The fire burns out of control (frequently burning either Coight, his clothes or his tent)
* A tree-branch falls onto something (generally either the car or the tent, occasionally Coight)
* Coight attempts to jump into a body of water, only to land on a very hard surface.

Anything worse than this is generally only hinted at. One episode features Coight making a camp stool out of wood by filing one log to a point and placing a flat round log on top of it. In the process of preparing to sit on it, he knocks the top log off, leaving a sharp point. The camera cuts just before Coight actually sits down, leaving the viewer to draw the obvious conclusion.

Other sight gags involve cars. Coight is frequently required to film a scene in which he stops his car at such an angle that his window is level with the camera in order to talk about the area he is driving through. Filming such a scene generally results in Coight either stopping too early or too late - and cursing as he attempts to get it right. Similarly, Coight's car inevitably rolls away from him to great embarrassment or disastrous consequences.

Coight is also prone to finding broken down cars on his travels and attempting to help the drivers. Coight always refers to these people as "complete galahs", or "unexperienced cityfolk", usually within hearing distance of them. His failed attempts to correctly hook the two cars together with a snatch strap invariably result in the broken down car's bullbar or Coight's rear bumper bar being pulled off. Typically, Coight's 4WD recovery antics are contrary to everything which experienced 4WD users would do in that situation.

His attempts at recharging batteries or fixing tyres have explosive side effects. In one instance, he actually reverses his car into the same mud hole that he is trying to get the other traveller out of. The one time that a car is actually fixed by Coight, he ends up completely stoned on marijuana laced biscuits.

One particularly memorable scene features Coight paying a surprise visit to the home of Lee Kernaghan. He gets out of his car and knocks on the door, only to see Kernaghan's car speed out of the driveway and away.

Another source of visual humour is the Uniden two-way radio Coight carries with him. Coight generally gives a lecture on how to use this piece of equipment or how important communication is in the bush, only to have it not work correctly. In one episode, he uses what he claims to be "the emergency frequency" only to be talking across a conversation by two other people (who are not impressed Coight is in on their conversation), while another episode features a memorable dialogue with a station owner who constantly begins speaking before Coight has finished - rendering his instructions inaudible.

Coight also regularly suffers from flatulence, especially when he is sitting in a quiet idyllic pool, whereupon bubbles inevitably rise to the surface. Likewise, when bending over, he will occasionally pass wind.

Coight is also fond of saving indigenous Australian wildlife and historical Australian sites. Of course most of these scenes conclude with Coight unintentionally killing or destroying the animal or location.

Stock footage

Another source of humour is the frequent use of stock footage in incongruous situations. The most well-known example of this is the "handshaking shot".

A common feature of this genre is for the host to "introduce" the viewers to a "mate", possibly a station owner or another Outback character. The host greets his friend and shakes his hand, with the handshake itself often being shown very close up. In the "All Aussie Adventures" version of this shot, the closeup of the handshake is patently not of Coight and his friend, rather of Coight and someone else from an earlier episode. When Coight shakes hands with an indigenous Australian, the closeup will show two white hands. Conversely, when he shakes hands with a white Australian, the closeup will show a black and a white hand. This serves to highlight the artificial and constructed nature of this sort of television series banter.

Scenery footage is often re-used in the different episodes. People unfamiliar with the areas Coight "travels" possibly won't know, but people familiar will certainly know, particularly if they see bits of Victoria when Coight is far into the Northern Territory.

On-Camera Bloopers

While the show traditionally ends each episode with a collection of outtakes, there are many shots throughout an episode which would otherwise be classed as outtakes, if it were not for the deliberate parody being employed.

One such example is Coight's interview with two shearers, one of whom is constantly hawking and spitting very loudly. An exasperated Coight is forced to interrupt his own interview to tell the man to stop - which he does not. A similar setup is employed in another interview scene, where the subject instead spends most of his time scratching his crotch, resulting in a "sotto voce" remark from Coight that "You've were just scratching yourself the whole way through that. Have you got a rash or something?". Others include a subject that communicates entirely by farting loudly, and another who uses many censored expletives.

Another frequent source of such bloopers is the friendly greeting exchanged by Coight and his friend. Often, the friend will get Coight's name wrong - calling him "Rick" or "Roy" rather than "Russ".

There are also many scenes in which Coight is supposedly "catching up with an old friend" where clearly the two have very little to say to each other. Coight's attempts to elicit stories of bush life often meet with little success - either the interviewee is unable to think of anything to relate or he begins a long and detailed story that has to be cut in the interests of time.

In one episode, Coight comes to the aid of a national park ranger friend to deal with a crocodile. The two men are seen standing at the side of the waterhole occupied by the crocodile, with the ranger making vague hand gestures towards the water. This scene is shown with the faintly-audible instructions being given to the ranger by Coight of "Alright, now point to the water...good". This is again a parody of a common shot in this genre of television.

Attempts At humour

Coight often attempts to make jokes with his friends during the programs. Unfortunately, most of these fall flat, providing even more humour for the viewer.

One interview is with an Aborigine who is educating Coight on finding "bush tucker". Coight attempts to tell the joke about being on a "seafood diet...I see food and I eat it", achieving absolutely no reaction from the friend. The aborigine himself is about as dubious as Coight, rejecting all Coight's ideas on "bush tucker", and telling Coight that the outback is filled with wild bananas, out of season at the time.

Another famous scene features Coight talking with a group of shearers. To begin with, the scene appears to be of banter before the men begin shearing, however the shearers greet every statement of Coight's with uproarious laughter. An irritated Coight asks, "Are you guys going to laugh at everything I say?" (laughter). "Stop it. It's really annoying" (more laughter).

The voiceover

As in all outback adventure programs, Coight makes use of a voiceover to provide a sort of commentary on his adventures. It is in this aspect of the program that much of Robbins' skill in characterisation can be seen, as the Coight character is clearly unsuited to this activity. The voiceover is always upbeat, and does not display any of the stress Coight endures.

Episodes are introduced with tautologies such as "Australia is a land as vast as it is big" or "Australia. A Land as ancient as it is old".

Commentary is often given about the native animals seen in the episode, however, this is often completely incorrect. In the episode dealing with the crocodile in the waterhole as referenced above, Coight can be heard describing the reptile as "the giant marsupial". Another time, a camel is referred to as a beautiful tropical fish.

Another memorable line deals with the statistic that seven of the ten most deadly snakes in the world can be found in Australia. In an attempt to simplify this fact for the viewer, Coight progressively ties himself in rhetorical knots. One rendition of the statistic suggests that "seven of every ten snake bites are in Australia", with another one turning into "If you are bitten by ten poisonous snakes in Australia, then...no, that's not right" and so on.

The natural landscape is also the source of much commentary and more proof of Coight's problems with the language. Attempting to describe the Blue Mountains, Coight delivers the cult line "But what they lack in height they make up for in elevation".

Coight also attempts to discuss the explorers who had travelled the country before him. The historical facts delivered here are somewhat dubious, however that is not the source of most of the humour.

One explorer is described as having discovered the (real) Mount Disappointment. Coight explains: "He named it Mount Disappointment after his wife". Coight explains the naming of the Mitchell Track: "The Mitchell Track, named after its discoverer, Mitchell Track." Similarly, a Cattleman's Hut was named after its builder, Fred Hut.

After attempting to help out a person with their car troubles, he destroys the car by accident. The next shot is Coight driving off and Coight describes the destruction of the person’s car as "problem solved" as if he had actually fixed their car.

Another adventurer was apparently faced with the choice of pressing further into the bush or returning home to his wife (at which point a picture of an angry woman appears on the screen). Coight tells the viewers that "He decided to press on, and was never heard from again".

A group of "savage Aborigines" features in one story, complete with a photo of such people. The photo actually shows a group of modern-day Aborigines smiling placidly for the camera. Another memorable depiction of "Aborigines" is in fact Al Jolson.

Another pair of explorers is said to have taken opium with them on their journey. While this was a normal enough practice at the time for pain relief among other things, Coight re-tells the story with both men getting high on the drug.

Coight also attempts in one episode to talk about the Polish explorer Paul Strzelecki. Unsurprisingly, this name causes him to become tongue-tied.

Possibly Coight's most dubious attempt at storytelling outback explorers would be of Captain Cook. If Coight's version of the story is to be believed, Cook discovered Cooktown, Queensland on June 22 1642 (a confusion with Abel Tasman perhaps) on the Endeavour, depicted by Coight as a 19th-century Pennsylvania steam paddle boat.

DVD releases

Both series 1 and 2 are available as a two-disc DVD set from Roadshow Entertainment. The telemovie is also available on DVD.

See also

* List of Australian television series
* Thank God You're Here
* Frontline
* The Panel
* Funky Squad
* The Castle
* The Dish

External links

* [http://www.bigcoight.com/ Official Russell Coight web site.]
*
* [http://colsearch.nfsa.afc.gov.au/nfsa/search/summary/summary.w3p;adv=yes;group=;groupequals=;page=0;parentid=;query=Number%3A703673%20|%20Number%3A701188;querytype=;resCount=10 All Aussie Adventures at the National Film and Sound Archive]


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