Life Support is a satirical Australian television series, which appears on the free to air channel SBS. It is the brainchild of writer and director David McDonald (son of Garry McDonald of Mother and Son and Norman Gunston fame). Its first season appeared in 2001 and its second in 2002. There are apparently plans for a third series.

In recent years, Australia has been overrun by lifestyle and home improvement television shows, like Burke's Backyard, Good Medicine, Our House, Backyard Blitz, Better Homes And Gardens, Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (the list does go on). Life Support was a welcome antidote to the wall-to-wall banality of these shows. Much of the humour to be found in Life Support comes from parody of the style of a typical lifestyle/home improvement story. It tends to subvert the usual banal cliches and topic matter of such shows with edgy, uncomfortable material.

There are four main characters on Life Support:

  • Dr Rudi (Simon Van Der Stapp) - this (dodgily accented) South African is vain enough to patronisingly gives out medical, relationship and financial tips. Dr Rudi's weight loss tip: "Eat less. That's right, eat less. It worked in Changi. It will work for you."
  • Todd (Brendan Cowell) - a home handyman/gardener stereotype, with a cheeky grin. Best known for his cooking segments, where he cooks relentlessly average everyday dishes (eg, a Big Mac) with the panache of a Jamie Oliver.
  • Penne (Abbie Cornish (2001), Alison Barnes (2002)) - an allegedly streetwise 'feral', Penne, in reality, is subtly more style than substance.
  • Sigourney (Rachel Coopes) - claims she is a 'modern woman', but is essentially from the pages of a 1950s woman's magazine.

My favourite Life Support sketch:

  • Pol Potting Mix - Todd does a puff piece on a blood and bone potting mix from Cambodia, mentioning it's extraordinary richness. At one point he finds a gold ring in a trough of fertilizer at the packing plant, and innocently asks if anyone's lost a ring? He then mentions that supplies of Pol Potting Mix is becoming scarce, but that Milosevic mulch will soon be available.

Obviously, from the description of the sketch above, this show might not be for everyone. However, if you're familiar with lifestyle television and have a black streak in your sense of humour, you'll love it.


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