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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Author: Melissa Gaudron
Date: 05/11/2007
Words: 595
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 18
Californication

Ten, 9.30pm

What makes an adult drama? The premise? The content? The dialogue? The swearing? The sex? A challenging script? Surely it's a mix of all of the above, with a healthy dollop of reflection, humour and counter-thought. These self-obsessed characters with their one-dimensional responses to life do not make the grade.

It's middle-class porn - American Pie for the mid-life-crisis set. The only hope here is teenage daughter Becca, who though frightfully dark has enough humanity to make you want to save her from this ship of fools.

Enough Rope

with Andrew Denton

ABC, 9.35pm

Riddle me this: which of these '70s superstars is still at the top of their game? Elton John, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones or Rod Stewart? According to Andrew Denton, old gravel-voice Stewart is the correct answer, as he's the only one still selling No. 1 records.

Filmed in London, this 10-minute interview appears rushed and lacks the subtle ebb and flow of classic Denton exchanges. There are a few surprises. Who knew an early musical influence of Stewart's was Al Jolson? And odds on you won't be able to pick Stewart's preferred song of seduction from his own songbook.

Due to the peculiarly adulatory tone of the interview, I found myself being sidetracked by the thought of Denton as Stewart fan, doing some bedroom crooning of his own: "If you want my body and ya think I'm sexy, c'mon honey, tell me so." Not pretty.

Nina Simone

Live at Montreaux

ABC2 (digital), 9pm

To many, Nina Simone is an enigma. Born to a poor family, the child prodigy played piano at four and studied at New York's famed Juilliard School of Music before paving a career for herself against the racist backdrop of mid-century America.

With the monikers of "high priestess of soul" and "queen of African-rooted classical music", Simone is certainly a legend in genre-making, but it's obvious she isn't one to kowtow to, well, anyone. Simone is angry. Simone is abusive. At one stage she stops mid-song and starts admonishing an audience member: "You, girl, sit down," she points aggressively at the guilty party. "Sit down." She even gets upset with the crowd for failing to respond to her request to join in the chorus of Feelings. You can't blame them. It's hardly a jazz classic nor an easy singalong.

It seems, though, you can forgive a diva anything. Even bad manners. For she develops a rapport with the audience based solely on her undeniable talents: that voice; those anger-laden songs and that classical piano. It is a virtuoso performance.

Home and Away

Seven, 7pm

Let's recap. Boy meets girl. Boy kisses girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Boy goes crazy. Boy ends up in jail. Boy gets out of jail. Boy stalks girl. Boy kidnaps girl. Girl ends up in boot of car.

Phew. So what will happen to sweet Belle? Will crazy Dom go completely over the edge? Will Drew save her in the nick of time? And just who will end up being left for dead?

Just when the tension is getting too much, it's back to the cafe where the forever indecisive Leah (Ada Nicodemou) is still deciding whether to stay or leave Summer Bay. Just go already, will ya?

Despite the extreme plotlines, Home and Away manages still to capture the zeitgeist, as Belle quips to her kidnapping Dom: "Just 'cos you look on my MySpace that doesn't mean you know me." There's a message there for all of us.

 
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