Where has the strong and ballsy Robyn Malcolm gone?

anna_kinston-robyn-malcolmWe sat down to watch the pilot of Agent Anna on the weekend, excited at the prospect of Robyn Malcolm’s return to the small screen after her epic performance over six incredible seasons of Outrageous Fortune.  TVNZ had pegged the show quite closely to OF in its description as the story of an embattled solo mum who is down on her luck and turns to the world of real estate to reverse her fortunes but it is there that the comparisons end.

Malcolm wanted to play a different type of character to the Westie mum Cheryl West.

Anna (my character) was built on the idea that I wanted to play someone who had no hint of hero about her at all.

And hero Anna most certainly is not.

I also loved the idea of her being a bit of a useless mother too…We love mother/heroes & they are saints or lionesss. What about the ones who arent that good?

The answer to that question is easy.  No one cares.  And that was pretty much how we felt by the time the show had ended.

Malcolm’s character is completely devoid of charisma.  On the one hand, Malcolm succinctly delivers the character as desired but on the other it’s every reason to reach for the remote.

While you can applaud Malcolm for taking on such a different role, her character simply isn’t compelling for the viewer.

Anna isn’t they type of character you’d normally find yourself cheering for.  She’s not the bumbling, cringeworthy and awkward character that you can’t help but watch.  She hasn’t been set up to be the flustered housewife turned glamorous career woman, and those in her workplace are hardly people to aspire to. But more importantly, she’s weak, as a person, and we simply can’t see how they could strengthen her.  It’s even worse than that. You’re left feeling as though you couldn’t care less what happens to her next.

The concept of exploring everyday plain-jane suburban mums is nothing new but eliminating the hero aspect removes the escapism that those same regular folk tuning in are looking for.

It’s supposed to be a comedy.  I think we laughed once at one of Theresa Healey’s lines, whose brief moments were about the only highlight.

Agent Anna screens tonight on TV One at 8:30pm

PS. We’re partway through watching the pilot of The Blue Rose with another couple of Outrageous Fortune stars and are LOVING it!  Review coming shortly.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • I’m more excited for The Blue Rose…

  • YAY….I’m so looking forward to The Blue Rose, hope it rates well 🙂

  • David Finch

    What a condescending review – as if you know better than anyone what the “regular folk tuning in” are looking for. So what if the main character’s not set up to be a “flustered housewife turned into glamorous career woman”? We’ve seen that cliche. It doesn’t matter that you can’t think of ways to strengthen her – perhaps the writers can. So what if “those in her workplace are hardly people to aspire to”? Is that what you think “regular folk” want? I enjoyed the first episode for what it was – not perfect but an enjoyably light and gentle comedy drama, well made, and universally well-acted.

  • William

    David, honestly if you put too must importance in Regan’s reviews/opinions you really can’t have read much of them. He’s amazingly wrong on just about everything.

  • Whakapuaki

    ‘She hasn’t been set up to be the flustered housewife turned glamorous career woman’

    So? How is that relevant other than revealing your insidious sexism? Maybe I love the fact she is a flustered housewife, maybe I anticipate that those very characteristics will make her heroic. I love that we have female driven comedy that allows a fresh, under represented, brave and long overdue voice on nz television. I challenge your sexism Regan, I call you on it. I’m f###ing sick of it.

    • FFS. Are you serious? I was exploring various types of characteristics other shows have focused on with their lead characters. But if you’d like to ignore that, could you please tell me what -ism I am for also saying “She’s not the bumbling, cringeworthy and awkward character that you can’t help but watch”