Klutzy clown doesn't deserve second run

JANE BOWRON
Last updated 10:27 06/06/2014
Agent Anna

HAMMY PANTOMIME: Robyn Maclolm returns in Agent Anna, in an episode saddled with sorry sight gags and Benny Hill antics.

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After watching the first episode of the second series of Agent Anna (TV One, 8.30pm, Thursday), it's hard to understand why a dramedy as entertaining as Nothing Trivial got canned while this hammy pantomime was thought good enough to be allowed the chance to draw second breath.

Middle-aged Anna Kingston is still working for Eden Realty - just. Her sales levels continue to be negligible, ditto her confidence as we see her in the opening scenes weeping at the wheel of her car, till she collides with a police vehicle. This makes her, as usual, late to work, where she is routinely bullied with sarcasm by the lowest form of wits in sarcastic Sandy and vulgar Leon, a man so unattractive it beggars belief when we see him later at a nightclub pull twin nubile blondes.

Anna is at work alone when Grant (Joel Tobeck) rocks up wanting to buy a property for two mill. Beside herself at the thought of reversing her sagging fortunes, Anna is swept along by Grant, who drives like Mr Toad and breaks into a house on the market that Anna can't find the key for.

Grant breasts the bathroom window and assists unco Anna through the aperture all legs upside down as he pulls her through, manhandling her like a freezing-works carcass. This sorry sight gag is followed by more Benny Hill antics where the client tries to get the agent to have a grope in a waterbed while playing with the vendor's vibrator.

What a wag. You can hear the crash of wood against flat screen as every real estate agent watching throws their for-sale signs at the TV set. Enter Leon, showing his clients round, who happens upon Anna and Grant hiding in a wardrobe as the vibrator whirrs away, almost giving the game away to the potential buyers. Gosh, they are a caution.

Anna's a circus act, Robyn Malcolm having made her into a klutzy clown as she grins and bears the slings and arrows of her past "Outrageous Fortune", in a hit home-groan TV comedy that made her into a national icon.

Anna had to be the opposite of Cheryl West, with Anna described by Leon as a "mousie passive- aggressive people-pleaser" emitting irritating gag levels of sorry-sorrys while the audience waits for the hapless real estate agent to exact a revenge fantasy on those oppressing her.

No doubt this will happen sayeth future extracts of the show where she's seen cougar-kissing a younger dude and dressing saucy. With so much revealed of what's to come, will there be any surprises left as Anna does a 360 on herself?

ONE TO WATCH

A Kiwi allows himself to be ridiculed tonight on The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.35pm). The guests - Brenda Blethyn, Stephen Mangan, Jean Paul Gaultier and Barry Manilow.

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- The Dominion Post

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