Radiation by Fiona Rae

Sweet Insanity

Good old Melanie Lynskey, going where Angela Dotchin couldn’t – into a regular Hollywood gig. Lynskey’s turn in Two and a Half Men was supposed to be short term, but she tested well and they decided to keep her on, earning praise from Entertainment Weekly in the process, which said she managed to make insanity sweet, or some such.

And Two and a Half Men actually made me laugh on Wednesday, although TV2 playing two episodes at once was a bit much. After the frenetic-ness of some of the US sitcoms (quick, get that joke out before someone switches to another channel!) I like the way Charlie Sheen doesn’t rush his lines, although he veers dangerously close to the so-laid-back-he’s-almost-asleep school of joke delivery.

But it seems as if Hollywood has been a tougher nut to crack for female Kiwi actors than for male ones, unless you win an Oscar or something like Anna Paquin. Even Lucy Lawless hasn’t found (hasn’t pursued?) anything much, especially since Tarzan stiffed after only eight weeks. But there’s a few of our guys over there now – both Karl Urban and Marton Csokas are in The Bourne Supremacy, Martin Henderson and Daniel Gillies, after Torque and Spider-Man 2, are both in Bride and Prejudice. Kevin Smith was about to do a movie with Bruce Willis, for god’s sake, before he died. Do we need to mention Russell Crowe? I think not.

Did anyone see Animal Games on Friday? It was a particularly bizarro slice of CGI nonsense made by the same guy who did Weird Nature and Supersense in which animals were scaled to human size to compete in Olympic events. My kids loved it. We got the British version, of course (it screens there on 11 August), but it’s just shown in the US and this reviewer thought the makers must have been smokin’ something. Notice how the British commentary by John Motson was whipped off and the show was revoiced for the Americans.

Good old Kiefer as well, getting his kit off in Kiwiland, then winging home to a new girlfriend on 24. Maybe that’s what will keep 24 fresh – like ER, a revolving cast of characters. Kief got an Emmy nom for lead actor, and the series is nominated too, although that’s a long way from The Sopranos’ 20 nominations. The Emmys are on September 19, in case you’re interested.

News comes out all the time about the new season of The Simpsons: 50 Cent is in one episode, there’ll be gay characters etc, but Harry Shearer isn’t happy about the last three seasons. The last season we saw (15) had its moments, like the episode where Mr Burns took over all the media outlets in town, but hardly kid-friendly.

Future of reality television alert: it apparently lies with spelling bees, according to this story. Who knew?

I wonder if we’ll ever get Da Ali G Show here, the American one that is. He’s in his second season in the US, and interviews Noam Chomsky in one ep. He chatted with Pat Buchanan about whether he thinks Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, “or as they is called, BLTs.” When Entertainment Weekly asked him how the US is different to the UK he answered: “Well, dere’s a lot a lot more gun crime in de US, crack iz more havailable, and de porn is a lot more hardcore. But dere iz also some fings about it dat me don’t like.”