Wigglegate: Sam dropped like a Hot Potato

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This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 24th January 2012.

There’s no business like show business. With the recent Wigglegate controversy, it shouldn’t be forgotten that for every part “show”, there is an equally important “business” component.

Last week’s dismissal of replacement Wiggle, Sam Moran, after five years in the iconic yellow skivvy, has brought condemnation from fans, and their parents, worldwide. Allegedly Moran’s contract was about to expire and it simply wasn’t renewed. Greg Page, the original yellow Wiggle, was back in good health and has returned. The original lineup is back together. What’s the problem?

The average span of a child’s interest in all things Wiggle can only be a couple of years before they move onto other things such as, um, Voltron and He-Man. I may be showing my age here. If your kids are going to fret that Sam has disappeared, just play the DVDs and CDs from Moran’s five year tenure over and over again. Isn’t that what they’re for anyway?

Replacing key performers in popular acts is nothing new. Several years after the original Brady Bunch TV series was cancelled, the cast was reunited for the disastrous (but somehow fantastically kitsch) Brady Bunch Variety Hour. Everyone returned, except for the original Jan Brady, Eve Plumb, who wisely stayed away. She was replaced by Geri Reischl for the short lived series.

Several years later, a sitcom The Brady Brides was aired, followed by a dramedy The Bradys. Eve Plumb returned for both and “Fake Jan” was never heard from again.

When Curly Howard of The Three Stooges had a stroke, he was replaced by his real life brother, Shemp. After he passed away from a heart attack (presumably from too many pokes in the eye), he too was replaced by not one, but eventually two “Curly Joes”. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk!

Fellow Australian children’s entertainers Hi-5 seem to be changing their lineup continuously. Unlike the Wiggles, they are contracted performers and don’t own their act. As employees, they can be sacked just like you and me. Fortunately, my contract doesn’t require me to smile twenty four hours a day.

The resurrected Young Talent Time premiered this past Sunday night with a brand new line up of teeny bopper team members. If the show follows the format of the original series, team members get the boot when they are sixteen. Did anyone bother to inform new cast member Georgia-May? According to the official website, she is already sixteen. Assuming the show survives more than one season, Georgia-May’s run might be extremely short lived. Goodnight Australia!

I’m happy to admit that the TV interviews with the “new” old Wiggles have been pretty poor. If I was their manager, I certainly would never let them in front of TV cameras unscripted (and without a dancing octopus) again. Their apparent non-caring attitude towards the outgoing Sam has tarnished their squeaky clean reputation.  A simple explanation of the dismissal as a business decision would have potentially avoided the controversy.

An even better option, in my opinion, would have been to announce that the Wiggles are actually a group of Time Lords. Five years ago, the yellow one regenerated after defeating the Cybermen and last week, the Daleks forced him to regenerate again.

Alternatively, you could claim that the yellow Wiggle is a magical scarecrow who can remove his head and replace it with another, just like Worzel Gummidge. On second thoughts, stick with the Time Lord excuse.

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Published in: on January 25, 2012 at 07:02  Leave a Comment  
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