Radiation by Fiona Rae

The Secret Life of The Datsuns

Former Straitjacket Fits and Bike singer/songwriter Andrew Brough revealed in the Flying Nun documentary last year that he made a bit of dosh these days from having his music played on Aussie soaps. “Down in Splendour” gets played on Neighbours and -- wey-hey! -- he gets to eat.

The cheque’s in the mail then for Salmonella Dub and a few others, thanks to The Secret Life of Us, which regularly uses New Zealand music: two Salmonella songs on Tuesday and The Datsuns’ “Sittin’ Pretty”.

Does it matter though that “Sittin’ Pretty” featured in a scene where one of the characters was listening on his headphones while making squelchy noises with his trouser snake? What are we to make of this? The Aussies think The Datsuns are wank-worthy? Or is it some not-so-subtle comment on the people who listen to NZ music? Still, I’m sure The Datsuns aren’t too proud to pick up the cheque.

Excellent Secret Life of Us on Tuesday btw; they’ve mastered the trick of portraying issues on a conversational and non-proselytising level (in fact you hardly know they’re issues) AND they get to take Es and go dancing. Is it the only show in Australia that features an Aboriginal character (played by the lovely Deborah Mailman) who isn’t a farm hand or travelling around the outback? Might be.

The plastic surgery on telly phenomenon continues, in Britain, Channel 5 is planning a plastic surgery show that features “live” operations, with surgeons giving “director’s commentaries”. Here’s a Guardian story.

The logical progression would be MTV’s I Want a Famous Face, where punters get surgery to look like a celeb. Actor-comedian Doug Benson (I don’t know who he is either, but he does quite funny movie reviews at this website) is quoted in Entertainment Weekly: “After the surgery, you look in the mirror and you go, ‘Wow. I’ve got Brad Pitt’s face … if he was ugly.’”

Meanwhile, MTV is also going to produce more global format shows, including one narrated by 80-year-old English actor Leslie Phillips called Blag, where unknowns attempt to gatecrash celebrity parties. The new shows are an initiative by … ta-da … Kiwi Brent Hansen, who is now MTV’s International Head of Creative. Dude!

Meanwhile, James Griffin – yes, that James Griffin -- writes that he’d like to apologise to Rose, from the previous post, for depressing her with the series he wrote called Serial Killers:

In fact, Rose’s critique has fired up something in my last few functioning synapses and has provoked me into thinking about something that both intrigues and saddens me (even more than her hurtful words). And that thing is ...

The way Rose can go, with such ease, from saying she doesn't like Serial Killers to saying “it's lamentable that we as Kiwis have such a natural feel for the irreverent, subversive, risk-takingly humorous, and yet rarely does that translate into good television comedy.” One show becomes the scapegoat for the failure of an entire industry to find the Kiwi funny-bone and whack it until the tears roll down our cheeks.

What's sad about this, obviously, is that it's bloody well true. We make so little television comedy that every time one comes along, if someone doesn't like it, it becomes an indictment on us all -- and journalists up and down the country drag out their old ‘why aren't we funny?’ articles, change a few names and wheel it out again … what I'm really saying here is that wouldn't it be lovely if Rose could say she didn't like Serial Killers, with it's “half-baked, cringe-worthy stereotypes” and its “poor imitation of the jittery camera work” (which is much more Frontline than The Office, by the way), then compare it to the two or three other cracking New Zealand comedies which are more irreverent and subversive and risk-takingly humorous which she did like? Wouldn't that be wonderful? Wouldn't that be the sign of a truly grown up television industry in this country?

But until that glorious day, when the networks of this land bestow money upon the comedy makers like mana from heaven and we can make all these great series, until then Rose, you'll have to make do with the occasional little honest attempt that comes along, trying to put a smile on your dial. It’s the best we can do, really.

James also says that, in his humble opinion, tomorrow (Friday’s) episode, “Big Hairy Balls” is really good.

God, he’s right, we just don’t make enough of anything, especially at the moment. But wait, isn’t that – it can’t be. It is! A new local drama series! Omigod! Folks, I’m going to see an advance screening of The Insiders Guide to Happiness, the new series from The Gibson Group, who brought you The Strip, on Monday (3rd). Will keep you posted.

Chicago Sun Times critic Phil Rosenthal writes about the voting in the US for American Idol, which points out that they don’t reveal how many are cast over there either. Contains spoilers re who has been voted off, if you care.

The Letterman list is quite boring, except:
Friday (30th): Julianne Moore and Todd Rundgren
Tuesday (4th): Hillary Rodham Clinton and The Roots
Wednesday (5th): Musical guests Loretta Lynn and Jack White (Hope they do “Portland Oregon”, which starts: “Well, Portland Oregon and slow gin fizz, if that ain’t love then I don’t know what is … uh huh.”)

Lastly, I had a laugh at this story and graph, written by a couple from Television Without Pity, about The Curse of the Ziering. Sadly, David Boreanaz made the cut, although I have a suspicion it might be true. Hush my mouth!