Tuesday's Step Dave, TV2, the latest – and now pretty much the only – New Zealand drama is one romantic screwball comedy cliche after another.
But it's proof that cliches become cliches because they resonate.
Carry them off with enough charm and panache and you can get away with them time and time again. Step Dave gives every sign of managing the trick.
It's about a philandering bartender who, newly soaked in a daiquiri from his latest unreconciled one-night-stand, comes to the aid of Cara, who has hurt herself after escaping through the window of a locked toilet window after a miserable blind date.
As she's rather scrumptious, he takes her to A and E and after several hours waiting and talking, they become quite keen on one another.
However, she's playing hard to get, and by degrees we find out why. She has three children and a dragon mother-in-law, and is at a low point of confidence when it comes to dating.
Had she known the other key ingredient of the series, she'd have played even harder to get.
To their mutual astonishment, they discover after a first date that he's 24 and she's a year off 40.
He flees in horror – but naturally he can't get her out of his mind so before long, it's blended family time: five of them and only one of Dave.
Another cliche: his first meeting with the children and dragon, of whose existence he was unaware, took place while he was standing naked in their living room.
And another: Cara lies to her go-getter sister that Dave is a doctor. And on and on it goes, but with considerable appeal and warm-heartedness.
The supporting cast is delightful: the baby-hating older sister, the rampaging mother-in-law, the irascible bar boss, the bossy co-worker, the psycho daiquiri-thrower, the blubbing blind-date guy.
And on the quick meeting we've had with them so far, the children seem likely to be the requisite handful.
The dialogue isn't nearly as snazzy and arch as the late and much-missed Nothing Trivial.
But there was a seriously good post-dumping face-saver line. "You're a liar and a cheat, and your bed sheets are polyester not cotton, which is just so wrong."
Step Dave is definitely worth a second date.
ONE TO WATCH
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- © Fairfax NZ News
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