TV3'S use of a promo for its pending reality television series about Sally and Jaime Ridge is a piece of cynical pre-emptive damage control. The advertisement promo shows the celebrity Jafa mother and daughter dressed up to the nines as they strike poses and cavort through a selection of unflattering commentary comparing them to the soul-selling Kardashians.
"Ripped from the headlines to our screens", shrieks the ad, as the tagline "no-one cares" whets the appetite of mag hags dying to tune in and find out how Sally transforms the 13-bedroom shack she has just bought on a shoe-string budget, and to see if the sporting star ex-hubbies have the indecency to show up to add to the massive buzz.
While on the topic of uncomfortable television and houses of horror, Monday night's debut of American Horror Story on Four at 9.30pm seemed worthy of a look because it had two heavy hitters on the cast list - Dylan McDermott playing adulterous psychiatrist Ben Harmon and Jessica Lange, as Constance Langdon, an ageing southern belle washed up in Los Angeles after trying to make it as a movie star.
On the way to fame and fortune, Constance gave birth to what she describes as "a mongoloid" - her daughter Abigail, who turns up at the deeply haunted Harmon household at the oddest moments. Please note: the creators of this show gave us Glee, which also featured a Down syndrome character, so what are we to take from this?
The Harmon family have moved into the gloomy house even though the real estate agent fully disclosed to them that the last inhabitants ended their lives there in a grisly double-murder suicide.
Psycho sexual tensions abound in this morbidly creepy tale, where all the signs scream get the hell out of there, but the Harmons insist, against all high-stakes horror odds, to stay on. Even though I am a major fan of Jessica Lange and she is convincingly full of threat and bad charisma in this role, I think I'll quit while I'm ahead and won't be tuning in again without strong parental guidance present.
The lesson is, if Americans continue to buy houses with basements what do they expect?
At last The Slap (Wednesday night, TV3) has come to a not-so-sticky end. We were led to believe from last week's promos that Richie, the young gay boy on the wrong end of a crush with Hector, would top himself. Isolated from Connie, with her new sophisticated gal pals at school and burdened with her false confession that she had been raped by Hector, Richie cannot cope with the conflictions of her rape and his obsession. Unfortunately, the adults he confides the rape secret to are the unhinged and ostracised Rosie and Gary, who can't wait to inform Aisha of her husband Hector's transgression.
It all comes to a nasty head at the vet's clinic in a meltdown that is more animal than human.
Aisha takes control of the situation, instructing the ghastly Rosie and Gary to "eff off out of [her] life forever", and gets Connie to hand over the keys to the office, sacking her while indicating she already had some idea of the dalliance with her husband.
As Aisha, Sophie Okonedo is blessed with a face that needs no dialogue to convey the nuances of her many bad moods. At times the beauty was downright ugly as she sulked and despaired of the deep compromise her marriage had become.
The final scene, as she arrived home from wound-licking hiatus from the marriage to embrace her kids then stand testily opposite Hector outside on the lawn - a gulf of bad will still between them - had you guessing if the uncivil union had enough in it to go another inch of distance.
What a pity that Hector's cousin Harry, who dished out the slap that initiated the whole spiral of events, seemed to still have it all at the end, sitting happily on the couch with his expectant wife.
We were all waiting for his mistress and child to make a dramatic entrance, but alas, they were consigned to the wings as the Greek appeared to be able to have his baklava and eat it too.
One to Watch Tune in to The Voice on TV2 tonight at 7.30pm to see if Seal has redone his chipped nail polish and if our Ben Hazlewood has made it into the finals. Rosie O'Donnell traces her mother's roots in Who Do You Think You Are USA at 7.30pm tonight on Prime.
- The Dominion Post
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?