Weekend pay TV
Saturday, December 8
Kylie: Aphrodite - Les Folies Live, Max, 8.30pm
MAX'S 25-hour celebration of Kylie Minogue's 25 years in the music biz kicks off with this spectacular concert filmed on the last night of her Aphrodite - Les Folies tour at London's O2 Arena last year. It's quite the retrospective, ranging from Better the Devil You Know to All the Lovers via Confide in Me, Spinning Around and loads of other hits. A sultry, jazzy version of Slow works well but the arena-rock reworking of Can't Get You out of My Head is a huge disappointment - if there's one song in the Minogue oeuvre that demands faithful album-version treatment, it's that one. The set and costumes are over-the-top Greco-Roman by way of Robert Mapplethorpe. Classical pillars separate giant video screens full of rippling abs, and the male dancers' togas are cut short to show off their gold hot pants. It's kitschy, camp and a whole lot of fun. The Kylie marathon winds up tomorrow night with the tour doco My Year as Aphrodite at 8.30pm.
The Amazing World of Gumball, Cartoon Network, 9am
GUMBALL is a blue cat who lives with his mother (another blue cat) and his father (a useless pink rabbit). Today, Gumball's dad brings home an amnesiac homeless guy and Gumball and his sister decide the guy is Santa Claus. Memorable scenes include a reindeer lawn ornament being rectally impaled by a flying Christmas tree and bursting into flames as a child looks on horrified, his eyes filling with tears.
Metalocalypse, Comedy, 3.15pm
Terrific animated series that does for heavy metal what Archer does for spy movies.
Tony Robinson's Gods & Monsters, History, 11.40pm
Tony Robinson looks into what Britons down the ages believed about the origins of disease. Elves get a lot of the blame.
Extreme Tourist Afghanistan, Nat Geo Adventure, 8.30pm
Australian Sabour Bradley finds a wealth of fascinating stories in Kandahar.
Sunday, December 9
Allen Gregory, Sunday, Comedy, 8.30pm
PANNED by critics and unceremoniously cancelled after a single season of just seven episodes, Jonah Hill's first foray into animated television found little love in the US. And while it's true the show is populated almost entirely by selfish, manipulative, callous snobs and their willing doormats, that's certainly no bar to success, as evidenced by Gossip Girl, which is into its sixth season.
Perhaps part of the problem lies with our seven-year-old protagonist, Allen Gregory De Longpre (voiced by series creator Hill, who also co-wrote several of the episodes). He's a poor little rich kid who has been reduced to attending a regular public school, to which he lugs lunchboxes full of sushi and pinot grigio. He drips with contempt for others (especially the fellow dork he has pressed into service as his personal secretary and dogsbody), but he constantly fails in his attempts to ingratiate himself with the cool kids. Although he gets plenty of decent lines - mostly cruel put-downs - he doesn't have a fraction of the charm of, say, the far more monstrous Eric Cartman.
A bigger problem is that the show revolves around a particularly pernicious myth about gay people: that being gay is a choice and gay people can manipulate hetero ones into becoming gay. Allen Gregory's father, the formerly rich Richard (3rd Rock from the Sun's French Stewart), is a domineering gay narcissist who has apparently tricked the formerly ''straight as an arrow'' Jeremy into leaving his wife and kids and becoming his life partner. Their relationship is emotionally abusive and, it is implied, sexually abusive. It comes as little surprise tonight when Allen Gregory introduces Jeremy (Nat Faxon) to his classmates as ''my father's human sex doll''.
Anyway, Richard has got it into his head that the school is somehow homophobic, so he steamrolls the principal into making the school dance a same-sex affair - boys can invite only boys and girls can invite only girls. Again, this plays into the idiotic but persistent notion there's a ''gay agenda'' to recruit children by ''homosexualising'' public schools. Presumably, Hill, his fellow writers and fellow executive producers (who include former News Corporation boss Peter Chernin and former Family Guy executive producer David A. Goodman) would contend that they're mocking such ideas. If so, their intent is far from obvious.
What it mostly looks like is a bunch of hacks rehashing tired old gay jokes because they think it's edgy. And when you think it has now been nearly 16 years since the ''Homer's Phobia'' episode of The Simpsons so adroitly addressed the idea of gay contagion with humour and heart, well … But if you're just after a laugh, you might get a few.
The People Speak US, History, 7.30pm
Matt Damon, Marisa Tomei, Don Cheadle and others read from writings that changed or captured defining periods in American history.
Rove LA, Fox8, 7.30pm
Rove McManus chats to celebrity guests in front of a live audience in Los Angeles.
Dude, Where's Your Style? Style, 8.30pm
Scruffy boyfriends get makeovers.