Author: Debi Enker, Michael Idato
Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
AFL Semi-finalChannel Seven, 8pmTV's best football commentary team, anchored by Bruce McAvaney, Dennis "Ox" Cometti and Nathan "Bucks" Buckley, gathers tonight to cover the clash between the Western Bulldogs and the Sydney Swans. It's a lively, well-informed and astutetriumvirate. McAvaney, with his terrier-like excitement about the game and firm grasp on all the stats related to it. Cometti, with his rich voice, left-field pop-culture references and inspired off-the-cuff remarks. And this year's valuable new recruit, Buckley. The former Collingwood captain has proven to be more than just a commanding former player with a profile that's handy for network promotions. He's also one of that rare breed who can parlay his knowledge of the game, and perceptive readings of strategies and player performance, into illuminating observations as it unfolds. While it's true that nervy Rick Olarenshaw still has some delivery issues down on the ground with his injury reports and interviews, when it comes to the commentary booth, this team triumphs.Fast Ed's Fast FoodChannel Seven, 3.40pmA kitchen whizz from Better Homes and Gardens, "Fast Ed" Halmagyi, lives up to his nickname with this guide to picnic fare. His rat-a-tat delivery style is applied to a range of recipes that meets the requirements for casual outdoor eating, that is, food that can be safely served at room temperature and is "user friendly". Ed says the time has come to turf notions of coleslaw, potato salad and chicken wings and instead go for a spread that features cold soba noodle salad, coronation chicken sandwiches and chocolate-dipped strawberries. Further into the action-packed 20 minutes, there's also a recipe for jam rollettes and a trip to Seal Bay to check out sheep milk feta. If all that hasn't worn you out with domestic activity, the pointer to tonight's episode of Better Homes indicates that you can also learn how to get rid of mould,fry king prawns and treat a Jack Russell terrier with a drinking problem.Home and AwayChannel Seven, 7pmFull disclosure: I am not a dedicated soap viewer and have only a passing interest in the intrigues of Summer Bay. But after a brief visit to the bay for tonight's episode, I have learned that Belle (Mischa Barton lookalike Jessica Tovey) has been suffering a bit of an identity crisis, but now seems set to become a crusading investigative photo-journalist. Morag (Cornelia Frances) is perhaps rightfully concerned about her new husband's memory issues, although Ross (DavidDowner) is denying that there's a problem. And Martha (Jodi Gordon), recovering in hospital following an embolism, makes an extremely glamorous patient. -- DEBI ENKERThe ViewChannel Nine, noonThis is facile and frivolous and at times unashamedly girly. At the same time, the panelists - Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd - are engaging. They represent a range of perspectives, which can lead to brilliant moments of genuine social debate that transform the show from merely engaging to actually riveting. Goldberg, Hasselbeck and Behar are the stars, particularly Behar, whose dry sense of humour frequently defuses the tense exchanges. From the moment the panelists walk onto the stage it is clear why this show works and poor copies (of which, to be fair, there are many worldwide) tend to fail. In that sense, it is perhaps the cruellest of epitaphs for Nine's The Catch Up, a thinly-veiled rip-off of this format, which died a brutal death last year, to see the original smoothly berthed into the daytime TV schedule. -- MICHAEL IDATO
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