I ceased finding Neighbours entertaining some time ago, even on an ironic level, but for whatever reason I still watch it almost every night. One of the fascinating things about Neighbours is the gulf between the show itself and the network's promotional rhetoric. "You won't want to miss tonight's sexy ep," breathes that ubiquitous female voice-over artist, sounding as though she is thrusting her hands down her pants in anticipation of Dr Karl's (or whoever's) latest romantic imbroglio. The reality, of course, is that Neighbours is as G-rated as it gets, and about as sexy as playing dice with a ninja. (Although I suppose that could be sexy, given the involvement of the right ninja.)
At the moment, Neighbours is running storyline #23 from the Soap Opera Manual: the evil twin bent on revenge. Paul Robinson's son, Cam, has turned up, but, in a twist absolutely nobody saw coming, he is actually Cam's twin brother, Rob, who is pure evil! Rob is so evil that the promos feature a death metal soundtrack (evil!) and graphics that say things like "Evil has landed". Even the breathy voice-over lady is taken aback by the Rob's malevolence. She's still sounds hot for it, though.
At seven o'clock it's over to Nine for the latest installment of Temptation. Things are clearly getting desperate, judging by the amount of "celebrity" specials they've had so far this year. I prefer the normal episodes, as the presence of celebrities tends only to encourage the hosts' mugging humour. Last night saw carry-over champion Hadleigh (yeah, seriously) knocked over by some other guy, demonstrating the cruel fickleness of the concept. One minute you're being called "champ" and getting hit on by Livinia Nixon, the next you're being sent on your way with a lousy "souvenir of your time at Temptation". You don't even get a Temptation board game courtesy of Crown & Andrews! Although I'm sure the $22 000 Hadleigh had secured would have eased his pain somewhat.
With the VCR taking care of Survivor, it's back to Ten at 7:30 for Thank God You're Here. After the egotism of The Panel and the populist sentimentality of The Castle and The Dish, it's good to see the Working Dog team producing something that actually qualifies as comedy. The first two episodes have been patchy, but still worth a look. Frank Woodley and Peter Rosethorn were very good last week, while Shaun Micallef predictably stole last night's show, more or less by virtue of being Shaun Micallef. The format works quite well, although "judge" Tom Gleisner is superfluous. There's also the usual Working Dog problem of poor female casting. Whatever talents Fifi Box might have, she doesn't have the presence to compete with her male co-stars. Last night's closing ensemble scene looked to have been planned to minimise her role as much as possible. For Gleisner to then give her the (admittedly meaningless) trophy was condescending in the extreme.
At 8:30 I checked out Spicks and Specks on ABC. As usual, it was nothing brilliant, but entertaining enough. I certainly prefer the dorky Spicks and Specks to the self-conscious rock posturing of SBS's Rockwiz.
There was nothing worth watching after Spicks and Specks, although I did catch the last ten minutes of At the Movies. I find David Stratton and Margaret Pomeranz very difficult to take seriously. Apart from the fact that they offer almost no genuine analysis of the films they discuss, Pomeranz's manner grates, while Stratton's funny little pink mouth is very distracting. In fact, it reminds me of nothing so much as the infamous Pit of Sarlacc. I know, I know - gross, huh?
After At the Movies, I switched the tv off and finished reading Alain de Botton's Status Anxiety. It wasn't very good.