10 Things We Learned From Attending A ‘Gruen Planet’ Taping

Pedestrian’s expert in all realms of Australian television Katie Head attended a live taping of ABC series Gruen Planet – the PR-centric spinoff of the hugely successful advertising demythologizing series, The Gruen Transfer. While at the taping Katie learned things. These are some of the things she learned…

Last night I went to my first television taping since Australian Idol Series One in 2003 (that episode where Paulini wore the gold dress and Dicko told her to “shed some pounds” – classic!). This was a slightly more highbrow – but no less entertaining – affair. Here are 10 things I learned from my 3 hours spent at the ABC Studios in Sydney last night…

1) I hate queuing.
For anyone going to a taping in the future, I highly recommend bringing some snacks/a book/hip flask/binoculars so you can spy on other people in really close detail. You have to get there by 6pm, but taping doesn’t start until 7pm so be prepared for the wait.

2) Majority of the audience are females aged 25-30.
I was without pre-dinner snacks, so my guest and I spent a good hour people watching (when we weren’t twitpic’ing the shit out of the ABC foyer on our iPhones of course!) Our deduction (based solely on last night’s audience) is that 25-30 year old females PROBABLY love Gruen Planet the most, but MAYBE are desperate to make eyes at/go on a date with Wil Anderson.

3) The difference between The Gruen Transfer and Gruen Planet.
The Gruen Transfer was all about advertising. Gruen Planet is a spinoff series that focuses more on corporations’ and governments’ global media strategies and public relations (thanks Wiki). In layman’s terms we’re still talking advertising but now have thrown in ‘spin’, branding and image control.

4) Wil = totally entertaining and consummate professional!
Sometimes I really love Wil and sometimes I think he can be kind of a dick. Last night was definitely a tick in the love column. Wil was entertaining from go to whoa* and did such a great job of warming the audience up, explaining all the different processes of taping and continually letting us know what we needed to do and when. He also made you feel like it was his first time presenting, so nothing felt tired or done to death. It was almost like going to one of his stand-up shows, and the panel/actual Gruen Planet part was like this LOL skit in the middle of it.

*Go to whoa? Now who’s a dick?

5) His rock star vibe comes out for last 10-15 mins of taping.
Okay, so I could have put this into the above but. This was still totally entertaining, but right at the end Wil came out dropping the F-bomb like it was the only word in the English language he could remember and swigging from a bottle of Heineken. My eyesight is pretty crap so it could have also been a bottle of Bundaberg Lemon Lime & Bitters.

6) Russell is way nicer IRL.
I’ve never warmed to regular panelist Russell Howcroft and often disagree with him through my TV screen, but last night found him to be quite delightful. The interaction between the all the panelists and Wil when they’re not taping was actually great – there was just this genuinely friendly vibe to the whole proceeding between everyone – cast, crew, guests and they really make the audience a part of that.

The Gruen Planet set:

7) Todd is way hotter IRL likes lollies.
When Wil started sinking a beer / Bundaberg lemon lime and bitters, Todd Sampson was tucking into a bowl of Allen’s Party Mix*. KH + TS 4EVA.

*Swear I’m not intentionally dropping brands. Maybe am simply advertisers dream? Dream… CADBURY DREAM.

8) Apple and Steve Jobs fans, this one’s for you.
Unsurprisingly, the death of Steve Jobs is discussed in tonight’s episode, focusing in particular on where ‘Brand Apple’ is headed in light of Steve’s passing. For all you twisted dark lords out there, most of tonight’s Gruen Planet revolves around death, and kudos to Wil and the panel for still being able to bring the humour without sounding like insensitive pricks.

9) Clapping makes your hands hurt.
There is a LOT of clapping/cheering to be done in the 2 hours you’re actually in the studio, so best to Bring It On like Kirsten Dunst, otherwise you’ll look like a muppet/definitely won’t get any screen time.

10) Getting tickets feels like winning the lottery.
This was just a really entertaining evening and experience and the tickets are both a free-for-all and free in general. All you have to do is register here: (http://www.abc.net.au/tv/gruenplanet/audience.htm) between 9am and 11am of a Thursday morning. It’s totally random and by Friday afternoon, you’ll know if you’ve won, just like lotto. Nice work Gruen Planet, and thanks for the free tickets!