Saturday, August 10, 2013

Thursday, August 15

Cringe factor: Lisa McCune and Peter Helliar in <i>It's a Date</i>.

Cringe factor: Lisa McCune and Peter Helliar in It's a Date.


It's a Date,  ABC1, 9pm

Bad dates, the etiquette of dates, the issue of sex on the first date, the question of how honest you should be on a date … this eight-part series from comic mastermind Peter Helliar (creator and lead writer) covers the depth and breadth of dating awkwardness - and it's every bit as uncomfortable as the dates themselves. In the first of two stories in this opening episode, ''When Should You Abandon a Date?'', things go awry for Em (Lisa McCune) and Greg (Helliar) when her sexual forwardness is not matched by his receptiveness. In the second, Patrick's (Dave Lawson) attempts to engineer a proposal to girlfriend Jasmine (Poh Ling Yeow) at a mini-golf course go wrong when he runs over a neighbour's rabbit. The set-ups are creative, the acting is excellent (even amateur thespian Poh does a good job), the plot twists are unexpected and the stories are hilarious - if you're a fan of excruciating, ear-bleeding cringe comedy. Cringiness aside, McCune deserves huge props for her performance, which is by turns sultry, adventurous and wounded. Superb stuff. Look forward to more big names in coming episodes.

Free Radio, SBS2, 8.40pm


Lance Krall plays accidental radio DJ Lance, star of K-BOM FM's inexplicably popular Moron in the Morning show. Lance comes across as a kind of gormless, truth-speaking savant - think Ricky Gervais' radio offsider Karl Pilkington, more recently of An Idiot Abroad fame. There's no script, the show is improvised, the shtick being that celebrities enter Lance's studio not knowing what kind of irreverent, embarrassing interview to expect. Lance is no Pilkington, though - the persona is manufactured and falls flat.

Grimm, Seven, 10pm

This Teutonic bestiary-cum-modern-crime-drama series lost its appeal when it became obvious the formula doesn't change from episode to episode. Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a Grimm, a beast hunter who defends the world from supernatural creatures styled from the fairy tales and mythologies of Europe's northern forests. He detects a crime, identifies some new breed of evil beast behind it - blutbaden, eisbiber, hexenbiest, fuchsbau and the like - and sorts it all out, usually with the help of some weird antique weapon.



Legit, Comedy, 8.30pm

Did you find that infamous Liberal-National fundraiser menu hilarious? If so, Legit is the show for you. This distasteful sitcom enables Australian comedian Jim Jefferies to expound, ad nauseam, his view that women are angry liars and shrews whose only value is as sexual receptacles. Tonight he explains that he could never be gay because he could never have sex with something he respects. Boom-tish! He assures us that this joke kills on stage – which says as much about Jefferies' fans as it does about him.  Jefferies would never have been able to make a show that so relentlessly denigrated a racial or ethnic group, but the  American  FX channel clearly thinks it's fine to declare open season on women. It's especially galling at a time when women are daily inundated with rape threats on social media (Jefferies, by the way, refers to his house as ''the Rape Cottage'') and a generation of young men is seemingly growing up thinking that misogyny is cool. Sad stuff.

The Hero, Fox8, 7.30pm

Unlikely as it might seem, this Panama-based reality competition series hosted by Dwayne ''The Rock'' Johnson is becoming absorbing viewing. Tonight, one of the competitors decides to keep a $35,000 prize rather than put it into the pot that one of them will eventually win. The complexion of the house changes immediately.



Exodus (1960), 7Two, 2.10pm

Otto Preminger's  long (208 minutes) re-creation of the birth of Israel, scripted by the previously blacklisted Dalton Trumbo from the novel by Leon Uris, begins in a Cypriot internment camp for Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors after World War II and ends on the treacherous battlefields of Palestine, where the fight between Zionists and the British authorities gives way to conflict between Jews and Arabs. This is an epic with a considerable ideological focus, but scenes of bombing and a mass prison break are smartly staged on an impressive scale by the autocratic Preminger, though he cannot inspire anything more than dutiful passion from Paul Newman as Ari Ben Canaan, a member of the Jewish underground who grows more radicalised as he struggles for a Jewish state. Ralph Richardson and Eva Marie Saint also star, but the standout performance comes from Sal Mineo as a death-camp survivor desperate to make amends for serving the Nazis as a means of staying alive. It's a vivid, bitter portrayal.

Delicacy (2011), World Movies (payTV), 8.30pm

In David Foenkinos' adaptation of his 2009 novel, Audrey Tautou plays Nathalie, whose picture-perfect romance ends within a handful of scenes and she's a grieving young widow who has barely made progress three years after her loss. The movie is whimsical and sometimes pragmatic but it never overdoes the cuteness, and it maintains an offbeat character via the sparse percussion score and Nathalie's unlikely choice of work colleague Markus (Francois Damiens) as the  object of her first date. He has an odd smile, disreputable hair and a bulky frame, but Markus makes her laugh, and the film's idea of romance is predicated on satisfaction and not the perfect image. Markus has some serious self-doubts, but the movie's emotional anchor is Tautou, who has added a hardened reserve to the Amelie sparkle that made her an international star. Melancholy is as deep as the story gets, but this lightweight fare takes the notion of this couple seriously. It treats them like real people.

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