The first episode of Threesome (TV One, 9.30pm) is so unspeakably bad I longed desperately to abandon ship, but needs must, stayed with it and watched it to its incredible end, wondering why this show has garnered such good reviews.
Like the comedy classics Man About the House and its American copy Three's Company, this sitcom has a cast of three housemates - Mitch and Alice who are a couple, and Richie who's gay but not so gay as to turn down a drunken threesome with Mitch and Alice after the trio do a night on the town, blither home and drop ecstasy.
''No eye contact, no cock touching,'' Mitch tells Richie, advising him on the rules of play before the three disappear into the bedroom, the audience mercifully having had their faces slammed as the door shuts on their soggy tryst.
The upshot? A condom fails, Alice is impregnated and Richie winds up declared the Dad because Mitch is infertile. We know this because Mitch has found employment as a ''wanker'' (sperm donor) and tests reveal he's been firing blanks. Alice and Mitch agree with each other's character analysis that they would make really terrible parents, but on second thoughts believe that Richie's contribution to the parenting triangle as assistant to two elderly teenagers would lend the proposal gravitas.
Threesome is damned annoying, burdened by frenetic shouty over-acting and stupid lines, such as this, delivered by Richie to Mitch in a moment of pretentious sobriety: ''The party can't go on forever, Mitch. Where do you want to be when the music stops?''
Setting up the first episode of this strained and contrived premise was always going to be difficult and I can only imagine things getting worse, with hammy scenes at the hospital as both fathers vie for position south of the stirrups when the unfortunate baby is brought into the world.
This sitcom first aired on the Comedy Channel, so is an odd fit for TV One, who may have bought it in a rash moment and decided to feed it to the masses over the summer holidays. Thanks for nothing.
- The Dominion Post
Have you read Kiwi author Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries?Related story: What now for Eleanor Catton?