Free-to-air TV: Tuesday, December 11
Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy still have to peddle tired men versus women routines on Mike & Molly.
Mike & Molly, Channel Nine, 10pm
WELL, two seasons down, Mike and Molly are still fat and still in love. So much for high concept. While the likeable leads Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy have fewer fat jokes to deliver, they still have to peddle the same tired men versus women routines that were showing their age when Lucy and Ricky turned them down. Mike believes Molly when she says she didn't want to make a fuss on Valentine's Day. But she secretly does want him to make a fuss, and now it's too late to book anywhere special. Time to roll out the suicide-on-the-ledge routine. Just when viewers are checking their watch to make sure it's not a plus-size 1959, they throw in sleazy bits with elderly men in nappies, just to remind you it came from the same people who brought us Two and a Half Men.
Skins, Channel Eleven, 10.40pm
BRITISH Skins wasn't all that hot, for all its preening about the risks it took with its cast of model-attractive underage libertines. It pretended to keep it real while serving up supersaturated soap, like a sleazy chic American Apparel photo shoot. I'm with Charlie Brooker, who expressed relief the show wasn't around to rub his nose in it as an awkward teen who didn't have constant access to sex or drugs. American Skins was derided as a pale imitation, but this second episode offers some grace notes absent from the original. Soap-opera graduate Sofia Black-D'Elia is terrific as this week's feature character Tea, a mouthy lesbian heartbreaker who is only closeted at home. American-style, they make a little too much of her Sapphic ways, but there's genuine bi-curious frisson with the American Tony and some lovely work with her senile grandma, who once loved a girl back when that was hard to do.
News at Five, Channel Ten, 5pm
LIKE Mal Walden, the news at 5pm is a survivor when all around has been obliterated. The Hugh Riminton national bulletin? Gone. George Negus' genial 6.30pm current affairs show? Shut down. The Project is still with us, and just scored its first Walkley. But it speaks volumes that Channel Ten's website was not trumpeting this achievement even three days later. The 5pm bulletin is now showing the strain of filling the hour. It's not all about Helen Kapalos' departure - I never understood the need for two presenters. But about 70 news staff nationwide have taken redundancies and another 40 face the sack. So those remaining have way too much to do, on deadlines to make us masthead folk blanch. More credit that the crew mostly hit the mark on school collapses, court dramas, bushfire warnings and footy drug rumours, and haven't resorted to more shrill, grabby, overseas feeds as filler.
The Truth about Exercise, SBS One, 8.30pm
''THE chair is a killer.'' Happily, I watched this eye-opening exercise-science doco sitting up in bed. Unhappily, I definitely clock the unhealthy 12 hours a day sitting in a killer chair anyway. But there's hope for the seated set, apparently, as long as we get up and walk around regularly at a brisk pace. The presenter, medically trained Michael Mosley, is a middle-aged exercise-hater who doesn't want to develop diabetes, as his father did. To find the best way to improve fitness, he submits to all sorts of intrusive monitoring, from brain zappers to oxygen monitors to ''fidget pants'', which track how often he moves over 24 hours. Bad news? He needs to get out more, literally. Good news, three minutes of intense exercise a week - yes, a week - improves his defences against diabetes. The show itself has a little padding, but moves along at a healthy pace.