The Joy of Sets

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The Joy of Sets
The Joy of Sets promo.jpg
Promotional title image
Genre Comedy
Created by Andrew Denton
Jon Casimir
Directed by Simon Francis
Mark Fitzgerald
Presented by Tony Martin
Ed Kavalee
Country of origin Australia
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Executive producer(s) Andrew Denton
Producer(s) Rachel Millar
Editor(s) Luke Huggett
Running time 22 minutes
Original network Nine Network
Picture format 576i (SDTV)
Audio format Stereo
Original release 20 September – 8 November 2011
External links

The Joy of Sets is an Australian comedy television series looking at the elements used to construct television shows. The show was originally broadcast weekly by the Nine Network, premiering on 20 September 2011.[1]

The show was written and hosted by comedians Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee, and produced by Zapruder's other films, the production company owned by Andrew Denton.[2] Martin and Kavalee previously worked together in 2006 and 2007 hosting the popular Australian radio program Get This.[3]


The premise of The Joy of Sets was to have each episode focus on one element of television production.[3] The first episode, for example, focused on opening credits of television shows,[3] while the episode's title referred to the term used in the entertainment industry for credits, "selling the meat".[4]

The show was filmed in front of a studio audience[3] at Technology Park, Alexandria, Sydney,[5] however it did not screen live-to-air.[3]

Prior to its production, it was stated that the show would offer "a unique take on television – the good, the bad and the gloriously misguided".[2][4] While this led to early comparisons with another popular Zapruder production, The Gruen Transfer, the release of The Joy of Sets revealed it to have a completely different structure and content.[3]

Each episode of the show employed various methods to explain the techniques used, including discussion and banter between hosts Martin and Kavalee, video clips from classic and contemporary free-to-air and pay TV programs, a celebrity guest related to the topic of that week's episode, re-enactments by the hosts and guests,[3] and audience participation.[6]

Warwick Capper appeared as a guest in each episode, making an unexpected cameo appearance dressed only in gold hotpants during one or more of the re-enactments.[7] A regular segment in each episode was a quiz called "Not on my network", where a member of the audience had to identify which of three unlikely options had actually been a real television program; this included a gift shop featuring a different attendant each episode, usually a former gift shop host from an old Australian television game show, and different tacky television memorabilia each program as possible prizes.[4] Another regular part of the program was Martin announcing that the show would conclude with a special feature under the end credits, only to have Kavalee remind him that the show had no end credits, which would be met with an angry outburst by Martin or an invited guest just as the episode faded off air.


The first episode aired nationally in Australia at 9:00 pm on Tuesday, 20 September 2011,[3] and featured guests Warwick Capper[3] and Peter Phelps.[6] The first season was scheduled for eight episodes.[3] The first four episodes remained in the 9:00 pm timeslot, however, from the fifth episode, the program was screened in the 10:30 pm Tuesday slot.

Episode Original air date Focus Guest(s)
1 "Sell the meat" 20 September 2011 Opening titles[3] Warwick Capper, Peter Phelps
2 "The secret behind Masterchef" 27 September 2011 Cooking shows Justine Schofield from MasterChef
3 "Renovations" 4 October 2011 Renovation shows Scott Cam from The Block,
Deborah Hutton from Location Location
4 "Fun Family Freakshow" 11 October 2011 TV families Glenn Robbins from Kath & Kim
5 "Send It Down to Forensic" 18 October 2011 Law and justice Martin Sacks from Blue Heelers
6 "Who Killed Warwick Capper?" 25 October 2011 Character elimination Rob Carlton
7 "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" 1 November 2011 Things going wrong Pete Smith
8 "The Final Curtain" 8 November 2011 Finales Peter Helliar


The Joy of Sets achieved good ratings for their debut episode on 20 September 2011, achieving an audience of over 1.1 million viewers.[8] However the second episode which aired on 27 September drew an audience of 545,000 viewers.[9] By the fourth episode (aired on 11 October), audiences had slumped to 488,000 which prompted Ch-9 to move the program to its later timeslot.[10] The final episode which aired at 10.30pm on 8 November drew an audience of 225,000.[11]

Reviews were mixed. Andrew Murfett of the Melbourne Age thought that TJOS was the best Australian light-entertainment show of 2011, calling it the 'hidden gem' of the year and saying it deserved a better audience.[12] The TV review website Change the Channel referred to the debut episode of TJOS as enjoyable but lightweight, commenting that Tony and Ed seem to be enjoying themselves but at the end of the day, this is a nice, amusing, chat show about TV.[13]

Matt Smith, writing on praised the show, saying it was smart, funny, and interesting all at once. It's well-scripted and Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee are entertaining hosts.[8] Andrew Williams of 6PR radio, praised the show saying the opening segment (of episode 1) was funnier than a whole episode of Good News World. These guys have a natural easy chemistry that just works. He also commented that the show felt a little awkward at times but overall was charming.[14] Joey Alcock on wrote that the show gave the hosts great leeway to create humorous moments and most of the gags hit the mark. Arguably the most compelling edge that The Joy of Sets has is Martin's extensive knowledge of television shows, and particularly some of the more obscure and often esoteric moments in TV history. He did comment on the disproportionately high number of longterm fans of Martin's and Kavalee's previous work (particularly Get This) amongst the live audience which he believed prompted the hosts to sometimes overly rely on legacy material and in-jokes.[15]

David Knox writing on tvtonight felt the show was cheap and cheerful but overly scripted, missing the chance to work on the hosts abilities to perform live.[16] W D Nicholson, who attended the live taping of two of the episodes, wrote hosts Tony Martin and Ed Kavalee were in fine form. Simply put-they are funny. The comedic interaction between the pair has always been excellent. He also wrote that during the taping, the show was Get This in the flesh but when the recorded material was cut down to 22 minutes, the quality did not feel the same.[17] Melinda Houston of the Sunday Age, nominated it as the most disappointing Australian show of 2011, saying It pains me to say it. I wanted to love it so badly[18] Deborah Grunfeld, writing in WHO magazine, included the show on her list of worst TV shows of 2011.[19]


  1. ^ Podcast: A Talk with Tony Martin - Crikey Laugh Track, 1 April 2011
  2. ^ a b Australian television's dramatic change of course - The Age, 5 January 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Murfett, Andrew (15 September 2011). "A medium well done". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Joy of Sets". Official site. ninemsn Pty Ltd . Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Introducing: The Joy of Sets". Official Tumblr. Zapruder's Other Films. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Barrett, Dan (21 September 2011). "Review: Joy of Sets". Crikey. Private Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Joy of Sets". Fixplay. ninemsn. Retrieved 21 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b
  9. ^ Bodey, Michael (28 September 2011). "Ratings: Fast-tracked US shows fail to draw audience". The Australian. 
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