Pizza: articles

Another slice of Pizza

“PIZZA is truth,” says Paul Fenech, better known as Pauly, who along with Habib, Bobo, Rocky and the rest of the crew, is about to deliver a third slice of the cult SBS series Pizza to your television screen.

“Youse will love it, it is tip-top,” boasts Fenech, the now well known face of what has grown into a hit, politically incorrect and irreverent comedy show.

Set in an ethnic-run pizza shop and revolving around the dangers of home delivery, Fenech writes, directs, acts and produces the show, the highest rating SBS-produced program.

Pizza has struck a chord with Perth viewers, where it rates strongest along with Adelaide. Its popularity might explain the big response to a call to arms by the crew filming in Broome last month on a tight budget.

Indigenous presenters at Goolarri Media acted as extras, as did members of Broome’s Water Ski Club, which provided a speedboat for the filming of a James-Bond style escape from Cable Beach, aka Guantanamo Bay, to feature in a terrorism episode.

Broome, WA’s tropical mecca, will feature in nearly half the 10 new episodes.

“Broome had the red desert, white sands and turquoise sea which we needed to film a range of scenes. Importantly, it was somewhere with nightclubs to go after filming and where there were lots of backpacker chicks,” Fenech said.

“Filming in the Kimberley went well except when Sam (Greco) was scared of a crocodile we saw at Willie Creek, which held up filming for an hour, but other than that it was relatively smooth, although hangovers were a problem.”

Fenech said he had been a fan of Broome since attending the first Stomping Ground, the indigenous music festival, there in 1992.

“I’ve been telling everyone about Broome in Sydney for years now,” he said. “I’m its biggest fan. I love WA.

“You first had Elle showcase your State—now Pauly. She basically is a very hot chick and I am a very hot guy and in terms of her mega-star status, I’m almost there. I just haven’t got the French girlfriend yet.”

Kitted out in aviator reflectors and double pluggers as Australia’s favourite choko pizza delivery boy, Fenech indulged a request for a quick interview by a pool in Broome between takes.

It was hard to know where, if at all, Pauly Falzoni ends and Paul Fenech starts—at least in public anyway. But the “leave a message” mobile phone greeting belies a tad less of the over the topness and emotional fanfare that oozes from his alter ego.

The best thing about fame and success, Fenech quipped, was the increased opportunity for pulling chicks; the worst perhaps was making headlines about looking to sue a Melbourne pizza shop trading as Fat Pizza—the title of the feature film spawned from the television show.

Fenech does seem to genuinely enjoy his approachability to fans, happily obliging all requests for autographs from across the show’s fan base from children to backpackers to middle aged men and women at one of Broome’s plushest resorts.

But those involved with the show readily admit it holds more appeal to guys than girls. And it seems, at least on screen, Pauly is a character not even a mother could love. Fenech said his mother didn’t watch the show, having written it off.

“But it’s good Australian humour, we show what’s really happening in Australia,” he said. “We do exaggerate it but Pizza is truth and honesty.”

Fenech said the crew would keep raising the bar. Others might read that as a race to the bottom, but Fenech assures us he has drawn a line.

“We won’t do gay scenes or full frontal nudity although I have been offered a lot to do it, but chicks nudity not a problem,” he said.

He warns the latest series will be “bigger and cheesier than ever”. It is now well and truly able to stand on its own profile, so viewers can expect fewer cameos in this round of Pizza. But men need not fear—blonde bombshell Annaliese Braakensiek is still a feature of the line-up.

In series three, you can count on seeing Pauly stooging around as a drug mule, lapping up tropical rays and chicks with tanning oil, quarantined with the boys by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in the shop and becoming a victim of road rage.

Viewers will also taste a few new ingredients, including a new disabled apprentice for Bobo who also takes delivery of a mail order bride.

• Pizza returns on Monday, July 21, on SBS.

By Yonnene Pearce
July 17, 2003
The West Australian