Free-to-air TV: Thursday, August 16

Natalie Gruzlewski hosts <i>The Farmer Wants a Wife</i>.
Natalie Gruzlewski hosts The Farmer Wants a Wife

The Farmer Wants a Wife, Channel Nine, 8pm

IN ITS infancy at least, this home-grown dating show traded on its public-service credentials - keeping the spirit of the land alive by helping decent but lonely farmers find sheilas. Eight seasons in, community service seems less a priority than capturing the so-bad-it's-good spirit that makes shows like Beauty and the Geek sure-fire guilty pleasures. The outgoing farmers are a nice change from the earnest yokels of past seasons and there's no doubt the bevy of women lining up have come to the show ready to put their reality TV shtick to good use.

Kane & Disabled, ABC2, 7.25pm

ERNIE Kane (Lawrence Mooney) is a throwback to a not-too-distant past when sports show hosts were exclusively male, wore slip-on shoes with Velcro fasteners and could never resist making sleazy remarks about ''getting some''. While Mooney is a dinosaur who wears his ignorance as a badge of honour, his producer, Noah Urlich (Sam Pang), has the unenviable task of setting him upon a more virtuous path. That's the set-up for the five-minute sketches of this 10-part mockumentary series in which the fictional host interviews actual Paralympians (swimmer Andrew Pasterfield and javelin champ Madeleine Hogan appear in the first two episodes) before the London 2012 Paralympics.

Destination Flavour: series premiere, SBS One, 8pm

ABOUT the last thing Australian TV needs is another food and travel show. Thankfully, this new 10-parter has something to commend it. Much of that is courtesy of MasterChef Australia 2010 winner Adam Liaw, who brings to it a relaxed presence and a nice turn of phrase. Liaw shares duties with actress Renee Lim and arithmetic guru Lily Serna (Letters and Numbers) as they visit different destinations each week in search of local ''food heroes''. It's handsomely produced, but does leave one wondering if promoting the wonders of the Margaret River or the Hawkesbury has reached overkill.

Mrs Brown's Boys, Channel Seven, 9.30pm

A MAN dressed as a frumpy mother, scatological, smutty jokes that would have had Benny Hill rolling his eyes in pleasure - this Irish sitcom should have been dead on arrival. That it isn't is mostly a tribute to its amiable creator and lead actor, Brendan O'Carroll, who, not unlike Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men (also derided by critics but loved by audiences), understands that comedy is all in the timing, the delivery of the punchline and anticipating viewers' expectations. In this regard, he's no amateur, going so far as to knowingly wink at the studio audience and co-opting them into the nudge-nudge, wink-wink gags. The humour is broad and cheeky but it's O'Carroll's buoyant and infectious pleasure, as well as the evident surprise on the co-stars' faces at his shtick, that makes this effortlessly watchable. The new series kicks off with another of Mammy's hare-brained schemes, faking grandpa's death to cash in his insurance policy.