Category Archives: TV

Review: Can of Worms Episode 2

The best thing I can say about this weeks “Worms” is that it definitely smoothed out the rough edges this week.

There was less jolting tone shifts, and while it is far from a “winner”, in terms of quality, it is sure finding its footing.

One of the only problems I have with the show lies right at the core of it- which is worrying-in the “worms” themselves.

First of all, how is the question about “burqas” opening a “Can of Worms”- surely that is one Can that has never been closed in recent memory.

So, doesn’t that actually preclude it from being an actual Can of Worms??

The only way I could excuse it is that it hasn’t actually been in the media for a couple of weeks- but then what does that say about the show? It’s got its finger horribly off the public pulse? What about something about the Carbon Tax, or would that be too current? Remember this show is only filmed one day before it airs, not two weeks.

So basically, if it’s going to use “current” issues as catalysts for debate, why not use current ones?

In the “Moral minefield” segment, there were also questions such as “Have You Ever Used a Disabled Toilet”… Yes, not “Is Using a Disabled Toilet Wrong”… If you get the distinction.

Meshel Laurie’s role in the show still puzzles me. She sits on the end, and sometimes explains how a game works, and sometimes doesn’t. And when she does, it is still something that could be largely covered by Dicko.

However, she really comes into her own when she is allowed to act as a kind of moderator who reacts to things said in the debate- which she started to become largely in the last “swearing” debate.

And the guests? Well, they were a vast improvement on last week’s as I predicted. They were all able to showcase their strong personalities as well as bring up examples from their lives to add to the debate. And the fact that there was only one comedian really worked- having two or more can really put pressure on the guests to make the show funny, when the focus should be on the debate.

And the “comedian” Tom Ballard tried very, very hard indeed. He made, by my count three callbacks- these included saying or was OK to use a disabled toilet because he was a “poofter” (this related to an earlier question asking whether it was acceptable to call someone a “poofter”). However, overall, he came off as intelligent and eloquent, and actually very opinionated.

Jessica Rowe was, well, nice. She isn’t really the type of person that goes out to upset anyone, but isn’t afraid to take a strong point of view. She also spent most of the show being outraged, or offended at comments made on either side of her. Hence, she was symbolically placed in the middle. But while Jessica was pretty good, surely the show can find a woman (or two) who might actually outrage or offend people (I’m talking people like Em Rusciano, Mia Freedman- NOT people like Catherine Deveny here).

Don Burke sat in the “controversial loud-mouth” seat, but strangely, he wasn’t nowhere near as irritating as Jason Akermanis was the week before. Sure, he was a bit cranky, a bit “Grumpy Old Man”, a bit deranged ex-TV personality… He was still an interesting spectacle to behold. Though he did go a bit overboard in some parts- staring at Jessica Rowe’s breasts, dropping F-bombs (because there was a worm about swearing, see)… He is probably the ideal type of guest for the show; unpredictable, uninhibited and slightly unstable. And though you may disagree with some things he says, at least he is never completely unreasonable- an important factor in a show like this; even when views are put forth that you don’t agree with, at least they could make you consider their point of view.

Most importantly, though, the guests actually interacted with each other, and actually debated.

This was also an aspect that was applied to other aspects of the show, with more audience interaction, and actual live tweets- what a novel idea…

Dicko was also better, and the few moments where he actually went off-the-cuff were some of his best moments on the show. But, until he appears more natural on the auto-cue, they need to cut the “witty” throws to ad-breaks and introductions to new worms. Seeing him pause awkwardly as he reads not only devalues a decent show, but stifles Dicko’s personality further (he already has to remain semi-impartial as a host).

Overall, a considerable improvement on the first episode, and at least it shows that producers are listening to viewer feedback. It focused the show on debating issues, and made for a less cluttered product. It still needs to focus its worms a bit more, but with some more good guest selection should more than make up for it.

News: PM to appear on Q and A again

In what is sure to be one of the biggest fights of Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s short period in the top job, she will appear on Q and A to try to sell her party’s Carbon Tax to the people.

This is already the second time this year she has appeared on the popular ABC program- the first being on March 14. She also appeared last year as a part of her election campaign.

But this will arguably be the most compelling of all- her popularity is at an all-time low, and she is copping a hammering in the media.

However, Gillard has always performed well on Q and A, in terms of the way she comes across, at least (leaving aside policies for a minute) and her last two appearances have at least managed to make her seem more human.

Her only downfall is her propensity to nervously giggle at difficult questions- a disarming technique which at first seems charming, but soon becomes irritating and all-too contrived.

In fairness to her, however, she doesn’t tend to shirk questions, and always gives an answer, however weak you may perceive it to be.

Watch for these questions, though, and if she decides to (or has been instructed to) deal with them differently;

-The “backflip”/the “lie” over the carbon tax (her pre-election promise).

-What effect will pricing carbon in Australia have when the world’s biggest emitters are not adopting a similar strategy.

Regardless, it will be a ratings bonanza for the ABC once again.

The press release says:

“The ABC is pleased to announce that Prime Minister Julia Gillard will join Tony Jones in a special episode of Q&A, live to air on Monday, 11 July at 9.35pm on ABC1, the day after announcing her carbon tax pricing policy.

Can she deliver the most significant economic reform for a generation? What are the details and how will they affect you?”

News: Sam Newman has crack at Sam Lane for Double Standards… Again!

In what must be one of the most low-key, yet heated rivalries in the AFL, Sam Newman has thrown another barb at Before the Game panelist Samantha Lane.

Channel Ten was successfully sued this week for $85,000 after Nicole Cornes accused Mick Molloy of damaging her character after he implied that she slept with an AFL player.

Sam Newman, obviously still holding a grudge after she wrote a critical piece slamming the Footy Show for their treatment of women, blasted Samantha Lane tonight for not writing a similarly condemnatory piece about her colleague Mick Molloy (she sits next to him on the Ten program).

Of course, this is not the first time Sam Newman, or in fact the Footy Show has accused Samantha of double standards. After she wrote her piece, The Footy Show highlighted how Samantha (who admittedly probably wasn’t responsible for writing the joke) laughed as the Before the Game team mocked at-the-time AFL player Nick Stevens for his apparent weight issues.

Tonight, Sam Newman began by calling Samantha “Sally Lane” and bringing up Mick’s trial verdict, and musing “I though she would probably come out with a piece (condemning Molloy)”.

But then he jokingly mentioned that it “…takes a couple of weeks for her to get outraged”.

He brought up again the fact that she “pasted” them over their actions, finally accusing her of “Selective outrage”, or double standards, given “she works on the same show (as Molloy)”.

He finished by saying “Maybe, Sally, you could actually write something about the show you’re on”.

Its hard to disagree that Samantha could be accused of only criticising opponents, and reserving public judgement on issues that may affect her employment, it’s difficult to start throwing around phrases such as “conflict of interest”.

Why? Because you’d be hard-pressed to find a media identity in the AFL these days who didn’t have some conflict of interest of some sort.

Eddie McGuire, to name but one, is the most obvious example, due to his status as President of the Collingwood Football Club, as well as the host of a Monday to Friday breakfast radio show, where he puts forth opinions, as well as breaks news about other clubs.

However, a more pertinent example would be none other than James Brayshaw. He is the President of the North Melbourne Football Club, but also has a drive-time radio show, calls the football on weekends and also hosts TWO football TV shows.

And though Sam Newman criticized Samantha for “selective” outrage, he could just the same point the same finger at the bloke next to him.

Only a couple of months ago, Sam Newman himself was the subject of a warning from ACMA over some “racist” comments he made about a Malaysian man.

In case you needed reminding, Sam Newman blatantly called the man a “monkey” and said he was “not long out of the forest”.

However, on the night, neither James Brayshaw or Garry Lyon made any attempt to castigate him (on air), let alone silence him- something, many may argue was in their best interests.

However, like Samantha Lane, Brayshaw is very willing to (rightfully) condemn others for similar displays of racism (he criticized a man who racially abused AFL player Majak Daw), only in Brayshaw’s case, he used the forum of his radio show, rather than a regular newspaper column.

Brayshaw would hardly have been expected to criticise Sam Newman in a similar way, so why should Sam be expected? It’s just really double standards on top of double standards- they’re everywhere, and at the end of the day, both parties come off looking a little silly.

While I don’t expect them to stop anytime soon, this fiery exchange could likely be brought to an abrupt end, with Samantha Lane’s Before the Game in great doubt for next year- so maybe The Footy Show will get the unlikely last laugh.

News: Top Gear Season 17 Coming Soon to Nine

Australian Top Gear fans can rest easy- the show’s seventeenth season, which began just over two weeks ago in the UK, will finally have an airdate in Australia.

Today Nine have begun airing their “The best is still to come” promos, which feature a montage of the second half of the year’s shows, including Underbelly: Razor, Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year, Top Design and Bear Gryll’s Worst Case Scenario.

There is also a mention of new Top Gear, though, which tells us it isn’t far away.

It won’t be seen for the next two weeks but my tip is TUESDAY JULY 19 at 8:30, given Sea Patrol has its final ever episode airing the week before at July 12, it will leave a hole in the schedule.

The other possibility is Thursday July 21, given its human body series has its finale the previous week, however Nine seems set on airing docos in that slot.

Season Seventeen episode one features a tribute to the E-type Jag, among other things. It is one of six episodes for the season.

News: Sandra Bullock joins Life Too Short

Source: rickygervais.com

Sandra Bullock will join the growing list of A-list celebrities on Ricky Gervais’ new mockumentary Life’s Too Short.

She is the next star to be announced, after Sting, last month.

Steve Carrell will also appear.

The show will also feature Johnny Depp, Les Dennis, “Cheggars” (Keith Chegwin) and Barry off Eastenders (Shaun Williamson). The last three appeared in Gervais and Merchant’s last series Extras.

Gervais also teases the possibility of more big-name guest-stars including “…another big face from The Office… And something for Dr Who fans.”

The series is certainly shaping up to be massive in terms of guest-stars, making it similar to Extras in that sense (Gervais has described it as a cross between Extras and The Office).

You can almost be guaranteed that there will be more to come!

News: Top Gear Season 17 Episode 4 Details

From TVRage, we have the latest synopsis for the seventeenth season of Top Gear. Quite significantly, Rowan Atkinson will be making his first appearance on the show (presumably he will be promoting his latest flick Johnny English Reborn).

“The presenters manage to finally find a good use for caravans after they try to make train travel cost less, faster and more interesting. Rowan Atkinson is the celebrity behind the wheel of the Reasonably Priced Car this week. Jeremy gets the chance to test drive the Jaguar XKR-S and the updated Nissan GT-R to compare the two cars.”

News: Spicks and Specks Finale Recording Tonight

After 7 seasons of Spicks and Specks, the final episode will be recorded tonight.

Here is what the official Spicks and Specks Twitter account says today about the episode:

Myf Warhurst has also been tweeting about the finale, take a look at what she had to say:

And lastly, Adam Hills has also expressed mixed feelings about the final show:

But there’s still a fair few episodes to go before Australia sees that last episode; tonight’s episode of Spicks and Specks will star Chrissy Amphlett, Henry Wagons, Celia Pacquola and Denise Scott. It was also feature music by Bob Culbertson.

TV Stars on Talk Shows – July

Here is a guide to the TV stars appearing on talk shows in the US, as well as their Australian airdates.

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno – NBC

Tuesday 5/7

Lisa Kudrow promoting her new HBO show Web Therapy

Billy Gardell from Mike and Molly

Thursday 7/7

The winner of The Voice, Javier Colon

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson – CBS (AU Eleven, around 10:30PM weeknights)

Tuesday 5/7 (AU Wednesday 6/7)

Ellie Kemper, who plays Erin in The Office

Monday 11/7 (AU Tuesday 12/7)

Elijah Wood from the new comedy Wilfred

Cat Deeley from So You Think You Can Dance

Wednesday 13/7 (AU Thursday 14/7)

Angela Kinsey, also from The Office

Thursday 14/7 (AU Friday 15/7)

Zooey Deschanel, talking about her new series New Girl

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – Comedy Channel (AU Comedy Channel)

Monday 11/7 (AU Tuesday 12/7)

Denis Leary, promoting the final series of Rescue Me

Conan – TBS (AU GEM weeknights, late)

Monday 18/7 (AU 19/7)

Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad

Thursday 21/7 (Friday 22/7)

Lisa Kudrow, again for her series Web Therapy

The View – ABC (AU Channel Nine, 1:00PM Weekdays)

Monday 4/7 (AU Monday 5/7)

Vanessa Williams fresh from her first season on Desperate Housewives

Friday 8/7 (AU Monday 11/7)

Bryan Cranston from Breaking Bad

Monday 11/7 (AU Tuesday 12/7)

Angie Harmon from Rizzoli and Isles

Tuesday 12/7 (AU Wednesday 13/7)

Denis Leary from Rescue Me

Read the rest of this entry

Renewal and Cancellation Wrap: Winners and Losers Renewed!

Seven’s new drama series Winners and Losers has today been renewed by Channel Seven for a second season!

While not exactly my cup of tea, it is great to see a network putting so much faith in Australian drama.

Its ratings have not quite been up there with the 1.8 million of Packed to the Rafters, but an average of 1.36 million viewers per episode is definitely nothing to sneeze at. In terms of being a TV show, those are great numbers, and in terms of being an Australian drama, those are fantastic numbers.

The press release today states:

From Seven’s in-house drama team of John Holmes and creator Bevan Lee, Winners & Losers
follows the lives of four friends navigating their way through everyday life after winning the lottery.
The current debut season has won legions of fans around the country, with an average audience of
1.36 million viewers tuning in each week.
Winners & Losers stars Melissa Bergland, Virginia Gay, Zoe Tuckwell-Smith and Melanie Vallejo,
with a supporting cast including Blair McDonough, Tom Wren, Damien Bodie, Stephen Phillips and
beloved comedienne Denise Scott.
Pre-production for the second series is commencing in Melbourne, with all the leading cast members
set to return.
Creator Bevan Lee said:
“I’m delighted we are able to continue exploring the lives of Bec, Frances, Jenny and Sophie in a
second series, thanks to the audience embracing our show so enthusiastically.”
“And with the Season One finale set to turn the girls’ world upside down, I’m sure viewers will be
eager to see whether the girls’ new relationships and challenges make winners of them – or losers.

If you are a fan of the show, are you as passionate about it as Packed to the Rafters? For people like me, who gave up on it after the first few episodes (it felt a bit uneven, and not compelling enough to keep watching), is it worth another shot?

Episode 15 of 22 will air tonight (Tuesday 8:30PM on Seven), with only 8 more episodes to go to run out the first season.

News: Can of Worms Ep1 Guests + Set Revealed!

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Before its premiere tomorrow night on Ten at 8:30pm, the Can of Worms set has been revealed. Here it is thanks to Can of Worms audience member @thatcarlaK… Go ahead and follow her!

And it seems to have clarified a few points of interest as to its format;

Firstly, it will not be a typical “panel show”, in the way that, well, there isn’t a panel as such. So, it won’t look like a “7PM project” or a “Gruen Transfer”.

In fact, it more resembles a talk-show set, with the clear delineation of “host” (Dicko) and guests.

But the look can also imply a lot about the show’s format. The separation of host and guests could suggest that Dicko will not take as active a role in the debate at hand than first thought. Though one would think (and hope) he will still do more than throw a question at the guests and watch it bounce around.

There’s also a board to the left of the picture- but I can’t discern its purpose yet. Some things are better left as a surprise though.

But that’s enough speculation for the moment- the set looks fairly dynamic but not too overpowering (see: The White Room), and it at least looks different to everything else we’ve seen on the box this year.

It has also been confirmed that there will be a Twitter-stream running during the show – one of my pet hates- you know, it’s just so bloody predictable for a show these days; a show can be “modern” and “hip” without having reams of tweets broadcast on TV.

It would actually be more interesting if the show just relied on the personalities they’re paying to provide the entertainment.

They need to stop cheapening the experience of watching a TV show. By seemingly breaking down the wall between TV land and viewer, it not only ruins the mystique, but also criminally gives viewers the perception that their views matter to the celebrities, when really it’s just being used as a vehicle to make the show seem more engaging.

Now, in this case, I’m looking at Dancing with the Stars and Q and A, so I am holding out hope that “Worms” changes my opinion on this.

In other words, will Dicko and co. read out tweets that even slightly criticise the opinions of the guests, or take a drastically different viewpoint?

If this doesn’t happen, I hope it doesn’t appear again to be blantantly tokenistic.

In other news Dan Ilic, a presenter on the show has tweeted: “Met @Jason_Akermanis tonight.. great bloke… you’ll love him in @canofwormstv tomorrow night on @channelten”, confirming that colourful AFL personality Jason Akermanis will appear on the first edition of the show, along with Meshel Laurie.

I can’t help but feel nervous about Akermanis’ appearance on the show tomorrow. I know he has a (well-deserved) reputation as a shit-stirrer, but for many, he has it for all the wrong reasons.

He is often seen as an old media troll of sorts, with opinions spouting forth from his mouth (mostly about AFL football) with often very little justification, proof and whatever else you need to form a decent opinion.

Yes, he might be a nice guy, but one often gets the feeling he says things because he knows the media will pick up on it- yes, who would have thought people do that?

And though he may be “nice”, he’s not exactly well-liked. Let’s face it, to say he’s left two AFL clubs in acrimonious circumstances would be an understatement.

Yes, put on controversial people, by all means, but in the first episode of a show to put on a notorious AFL loud-mouth… It just seems slightly risky…
(And this is a show that touches on issues mostly unrelated to the AFL, remember.)

But then again, having him in a debate situation would force him to extrapolate on his usual flamethrower-opinion soundbites, and if anyone can bring the best out of “Aker” it’s Denton and co.

Monday night’s ep will also feature George McEncroe and Craig Reucassel, two exceptional guests, if I do say so myself.

So bring on Monday night!