Fam Time, 7+ review: Australia’s last ever sitcom?

Fam Time was announced, produced, promoted, and then buried by Seven back in 2020, but now it's here!
Fam Time. Image: 7+.

Is Fam Time the final ever Australian sitcom? Well, no – there’s Season 3 of Fisk due later this year on the ABC – but it definitely feels like the end of an era. You wouldn’t want to put money on ever seeing another locally made sitcom on a commercial network; we nearly didn’t even get this one.

As fans of Mitch McTaggart’s excellent The Last Year of Television series know all too well, Fam Time was announced, produced, promoted, and then buried by Seven back in 2020. Exactly why a completed show wasn’t put to air was never explained, but a change in management led to a new boss that clearly wasn’t a fan.

Michael Horrocks, the executive behind the series, also departed not long after it was produced. It seems likely there just wasn’t anyone there who cared enough to screen it.

There was also the possibility that the show itself was not very good. The bar for local comedy on commercial television has never been all that high; just how bad would a sitcom have to be to not make it to air on a network that repeatedly programmes the collected works of Pauly ‘Fat Pizza‘ Fenech? Now, with all six episodes of Fam Time available on digital-only channel 7+, we finally have an answer: it’s … watchable?

Is Fam Time funny?

Watchable doesn’t mean funny, which is a problem for a sitcom. It’s set up to be look at an average-ish Australian family through the smartphone lens of ‘Belinda’s Blended Blog’, but that gimmick falls by the wayside very early on, leaving this as a family sitcom about a family that barely interacts face-to-face.

Everyone here is a comedy cliché of one kind of another, from the perky but clueless mum Belinda (Michala Banas), to the blokey but clumsy dad John (Duncan Fellows), to the horny teen son Rylan (Benson Jack Anthony), the cool girl daughter who never leaves her room Tahnee (Karina Banno), and the tell-it-like-it-is sassy pre-teen Cherry (Chloe de los Santos) who also likes video games because this is the 21st century. Later episodes see grandma Viv (Rhonda Burchmore) turn up to give a typically restrained performance.

Sometimes the presence of cliches can be funny in a ‘I can’t believe they’re doing these old jokes’ way. That is not the Fam Time way. This is a sitcom that assumes its audience has never previously seen a sitcom – which, considering it was made for Australian commercial television viewers, is probably not far off the mark.

So you have a dad who says things like ‘Is he doing, like, computer rooting?’ and refers to his good undies as ‘gundies’. The younger daughter is really good at killing things in games; the older daughter has an ASMR channel devoted to the sound of two staplers kissing and crushing cabbage while wearing a rubber glove. The son has a pathetic moustache because he’s trying to pick up women online. There’s the germ of an interesting idea here in that all the family (dad aside) are living their lives online, but it’s an idea from 2011.

Fam Time: awks

As you’d expect from a show about being online, there’s a lot of jokes about sex. As you’d expect from a sitcom made for Australian commercial television, pretty much all those jokes are crass and awkward. The dad engraves ‘fellatio’ on a memorial plaque (why?); the dad sprays the teen boy with gap filler while giving a sex talk (why?). If the characters locked their doors there wouldn’t be a series, it’s so reliant on ‘sorry to barge in, oops, awkward’.

There is the occasional gag that works. Tahnee demonstrates her ASMR technique on Belinda by pouring prosecco over her head, and when she starts slurping the booze out of her hair (as you do), the daughter quickly shoves a microphone in her face to record the sound. But to be worth 22 minutes of your time, this needed a lot more of that, and a lot less of … pretty much everything else.

The commercial networks have rarely struck gold with local sitcoms. The last one Seven tried before this was Bullpit!; the less said about Hey, Dad..!, the better (presumably this failed because it wasn’t titled Fam Time!). If this really is the final ever example, the genre died the way it lived: as a bland, forgettable time-filler nobody cared about.

At least Aaron Chen shows up at the end of episode one as a Menulog delivery guy who gets the biggest laugh of the show just by reciting the order.

All six episodes of Fam Time are available to stream on 7+ from 11 July 2024.


2.5 out of 5 stars

Fam Time


Michala Banas, Duncan Fellows, Benson Jack Anthony, Karina Banno, Chloe de los Santos, Rhonda Burchmore


Hayden Guppy

Format: TV Series

Country: Australia

Release: 11 July 2024

Anthony Morris is a freelance film and television writer. He’s been a regular contributor to The Big Issue, Empire Magazine, Junkee, Broadsheet, The Wheeler Centre and Forte Magazine, where he’s currently the film editor. Other publications he’s contributed to include Vice, The Vine, Kill Your Darlings (where he was their online film columnist), The Lifted Brow, Urban Walkabout and Spook Magazine. He’s the co-author of hit romantic comedy novel The Hot Guy, and he’s also written some short stories he’d rather you didn’t mention. You can follow him on Twitter @morrbeat and read some of his reviews on the blog It’s Better in the Dark.