Tuesday 21 October 2014

Darragh McManus: 2FM's new breakfast show isn't up to much

Published 17/02/2014 | 09:22

Bernard O'Shea and Jennifer Maguire

BREAKFAST radio on pop music stations is bizarre.

It’s everything you specifically don’t want at 7am: babbling voices, peppy music, skittishness, an almost histrionic wackiness.

It’s like being woken by toddlers who’ve been at the green Skittles.

People complain about depressing drive-time shows, but even Chris O’Donoghue mournfully reporting the latest economic catastrophe is preferable. It’s still dark, for God’s sake: how and why are you this hyperactive?

Breakfast Republic (2FM) is all that and more – or maybe less. Despite the game efforts of Keith Walsh, Jennifer Maguire and Bernard O’Shea – he’s basically the host, the other two as comic sidekicks – there wasn’t a lot to this replacement for Hector.

It kicked off with a lame double entendre about Jennifer’s fella playing with his iPad, then a slightly better joke about the parentage of Bernard’s child, then an incredibly unfunny gag about ‘Keith’s Cock’.

Naughty words? In 2013? Ooh, radical stuff.

Other comic slots included Jen’s Lady-Bits which snarks at celebrities having a “Manky Moment” and/or “Scumbag Moment”. I didn’t see the point of it, it was confused and sort of fizzled out into vague embarrassment.

Bernard’s Apology for the Day wasn’t bad. The hosts reading out mean tweets about themselves was funny, as was Telly Review with Jen’s Da.

The extended story about Bernard’s schooldays, though, was much too long and painfully unfunny, nearly to a level whereby you wondered if that was the point: to do something this inane, boring and aggressively unentertaining for as long as possible.

Oh, the show was terrible, really. Three voices in studio is at least one too many. The gags ranged from flat to tasteless.

And Bernard O’Shea… At least Keith and Jennifer come across as normal, but most of Bernard’s comic shtick is “socially awkward weirdo”: fine of itself, but doesn’t work at all on radio. A lot of the humour depends on the guy’s hangdog expression.

Mostly, though, Breakfast Republic wasn’t bad as much as inconsequential. At one stage Keith did a time-check and it was five to eight and I realised hardly anything had happened. You’d think a minimum amount would get said and done in an hour, but apparently not.

In fairness, it doesn’t seem that different to Hector, or any breakfast show: giddy eejits, annoying but harmless, talking gibberish and playing music that sounds like it was created by computer.

It’s juvenile, for sure, like listening to a bunch of school-kids. But juvenile would be alright if it was properly funny; this wasn’t.

And it’s exactly what you’d expect. The cool thing to have done, with these presenters and this slot, would be the complete opposite: something laidback, sincere and, well, cool. Not trying so hard to be the “gas character”. You can be chilled-out and entertaining; this was neither.

Sorry if that sounds harsh – I’m always a grump this early in the morning.

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