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: Can of Worms Episode 2 Guests

Following Can of Worms’ lukewarm reception after its first episode, it has today released its guest-list for episode 2.

The guests are Don Burke, Tom Ballard and Jessica Rowe.

My initial thoughts are that this is at least a more interesting selection than episode 1. Don Burke would at first seem to stick out like a sore (green) thumb to viewers, and it would seem as if it’s a comeback of sorts for him, after only being seen on commercial TV on a couple of Burke’s Backyard specials. However, he has appeared on Paul Murray Live on Sky News quite a few times, in which he has proved capable of conversing on various hot button topics.

Tom Ballard could almost be described as the antithesis of Don Burke- young, and all over TV of late, with numerous appearances on the 7PM project, Good News Week and a comedy special on ABC. He is also on youth radio station Triple J every weekday morning. His ironic, honest brand of comedy has won many people over, however would probably be exclusively known amongst the younger generation.

Jessica Rowe fits somewhere in the middle. She is good value, and is eloquent and all the rest of it, however her infamous short stint on the Today show likely will follow her around for the foreseeable future.

In my review of episode 1, I bemoaned the lack of somebody who can be brutally honest without compromising their comic sensibilities, and Tom Ballard could well fit this description, so he is the main drawcard this week for mine.

In addition, I should also mention the promos this week for Can of Worms… On TV this week, they have promised the show will be “awkward”. Yes, “awkward”, not “controversial”, not “smart”, not even “funny”. Is this some sort of crappy market research ploy? Do “the kids” today want awkward TV over all else? Well, I certainly don’t… It’s just so lazy and neither here nor there. If it wants to create an average show, then they should just go right ahead, but if they want to create another “Gruen”, why can’t they make a show that’s sharp, funny, insightful… Etc. Give me a break…

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

Review: Wilfred Episode 2

Source: sidereel.com

This week we opened with the theme of loyalty, and it reared its head nicely when Ryan agreed to trick Wilfred into going to the vet.

Before this, we were treated to a charming montage of Wilfred bonding with Ryan set to Peggy Lee’s “It’s a Good Day”, which only built up the tension heading to the vet.

Wilfred then

It was quite amusing to see Wilfred describe being micro-chipped as having a “tracking-device”, and pleading not to have the vet “take his balls”.

This is one of the many upsides of the show; seeing things from a dog’s point of view.

We also learnt this week that while Wilfred was not only an acerbic pun-slinger, he was also racist. When presented with an Indian vet, he said “I need a Doctor, not tech support”.

The side-story of Wilfred telling Ryan that Jenna “has a dick” was seemed fairly stupid at first, and seeing Ryan trying to look up her skirt while she chewed with her mouth open and watched the football and drink beer seemed like a bizzaro-world sitcom plot… which I guess is what the show is.

But, then again, it did open up the nefarious, manipulative side of Wilfred, especially when he accidentally called her “he”, only fuelling Ryan’s paranoia.

But then when Jenna opened the door to reveal a tall, muscular boyfriend, who of course, is played by Chris Klein (who has possibly given up snaring another network comedy leading role). It turns out that Wilfred meant that Jenna “has a dick for a boyfriend”, which was a nice little reveal, though it was not an entirely unexpected twist. It also simultaneously set up the tried and true trope; girl has idiot for a boyfriend, making us root for the protagonist.

On top of that, it sets up yet another hurdle for Ryan to overcome in his quest for Jenna; the first is Wilfred, the second is his paranoia and “awkwardness”, now the third is the chiseled Klein.

And now Wilfred and Ryan are “even”, after Ryan tricked Wilfred into going to the vet- and it will be interesting to see if the series continues with this dynamic of one-upmanship, or whether they begin to unite to fight against a common enemy in Jenna’s “dick” of a boyfriend.

The show even attempted to give Wilfred some semblance of a backstory- he was thrown into a river in a sack as a pup. Time will tell whether this is meant to lay any bearing on his ruthless actions, or was just a throwaway line.

So the show is clearly still laying the ground-work for the characters and plot-lines, which is to be expected, however, it will definitely provide for some interesting stories.

(And just on a side note: speaking of plot-lines and characters, the next-door neighbour played by Ethan Suplee was nowhere to be seen in this episode, which would normally be fine in only a second episode, but remember when Wilfred placed Ryan’s wallet near the scene of the crime last week? I know that the show will not forget about this crucial point, but to not have some sort of consequence in the next episode is puzzling- even if the neighbour doesn’t coming bursting through into his house, surely Ryan could at least pass comment about his wallet being missing?)

Whether the show will become really funny because of this is hard to tell, but it’s not all that funny at the moment, save for more than a few amusing moments.

For example, take this Wilfred quote; “Everything I need to know about someone, I can glean from their asshole.” Yes, it’s amusing for its shock value, but it just relies too much on the notion of Wilfred being a man in a dog’s body. There’s no subtext or subtlety; it just tells us, “He’s a dog, he sniffs assholes”- now laugh at the word “asshole”, and the fact that a dog said it, and the fact that he used the word “glean” to more eloquently express something, and you wouldn’t imagine a dog to be that eloquent if he could talk.

But anyway, I’m nit-picking here, and the show is still earning a lot of well-deserved buzz.

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.