TV Review: Woodley, Episode 4

Episode 4 once again increases the simple premise of a naïve and bumbling individual (Frank Woodley) out into the bigger world. Last week on Woodley, we saw Frank inadvertently become inebriated on the golf course while trying to hide a file of his mental history from Greg (Tom Long). This week, Frank finds himself working in a circus after taking Ollie (Alexandra Cashmere), Em (Justine Clarke) and Greg along one day. Inspired by the trapeze artists, Frank is soon employed by the circus. Despite having only cleaning duties to complete, Frank naturally stumbles into trouble and before long is hoisted from cranes, bouncing off trampolines and flinging off trapeze swings.

Much of Frank’s charm is derived from his ambitions to impress his daughter. When he fails to do so, it makes it even more impossible not to feel sorrow for Frank, despite being charmed by his blundering antics. His motivations, thoughts and actions are naïve and childish, but it’s his sweetness that saves these elements from bordering along dumb, stupid and easy to laugh at. Instead we laugh with Frank he is so damn endearing.

The Set decorating and costuming departments are given their best chance yet with Silvers Circus. Deep reds surround the ring and add an element of class. Who wouldn’t want to run away with the circus? Frank and his aerial dynamics feed into Frank Woodley’s talents as a physical performer. The slapstick moments may steal much attention, but the father-daughter relationship is what gives Woodley true heart. The relationship between Ollie and Frank is of admiration, love and strength. Their bonds are tested through the divorce, but for the most part Ollie is still very interested in Frank. Greg’s addition does require Frank to work harder to impress Em and Ollie, as Greg is a natural born competitor. While Frank very quickly escapes being called up upon the stage at the circus, Greg takes the opportunity to take over and show who’s really boss.

Falling to impress Ollie with his circus job, Frank finds himself saving a baby from a caravan hoisted by a crane several metres above the ground. This all occurs while fireworks have inadvertently exploded. Frank battles the war zone like it was the Vietnam War. Thankfully, he saves the baby and becomes a heroic figure. Beginning with a very solemn start which looked set to indulge in melancholy, Woodley is a fine series from the ABC. Plenty of laughs can be had, mainly due to Frank’s incapabilities and uncharacteristic savior role towards the end of the episode. Woodley, Clarke, Cashmere and Tom Long are all particularly enjoyable, but with star captivating the dominating the scene whenever he’s around. And this is not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s quite the wonderful thing.

Woodley airs Wednesdays at 8pm on ABC1. Woodley also screens on ABC2 and iView. Click here to read other episode reviews.

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