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Utopia is back to make us laugh … and cringe

Kitty Flanagan is public relations manager, Rhonda, in Utopia.

Kitty Flanagan is public relations manager, Rhonda, in Utopia.Credit:

UTOPIA
Series return  ★★★½
Wednesday, August 21, 9pm, ABC

A comedy set in the offices of government bureaucracy that pokes fun at the mountains of taxpayer dollars squandered on things that never happen, should not still be making us laugh. And yet, here we are. In the fourth season of Working Dog’s Utopia, the ineffectual personnel at the offices of the fictional Nation Building Authority continue to wrap themselves comfortably in red tape and do nothing. And incredibly, it’s still funny, if bitterly so.

Of all the ineptitude that goes on in this exceedingly dull environment, by far the most grandiose wasting of time is done by Kitty Flanagan’s bossy public relations manager, Rhonda. Storming meetings with new catchphrases and promotional strategies, she brings a burst of energy and an ironic sense of urgency. Perpetually on a mission, she has no time for niceties or indeed any reforms in workplace behaviour.

“I think it’s just passed Rhonda by,” says Flanagan. “Everybody else has to do things by the book. I think that’s why everyone loves that character, because she gets to do what you’re not allowed to in offices because you’ll be called up to HR. She gets to call people idiots and she gets to roll her eyes at people. I think people imagine that sometimes it would just be easier to do that instead of sitting down and having a conversation about how we could communicate better.”

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