If you have the good fortune to be in Perth, Western Australia, on December the 25th then you could be enjoying temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius (approx 100 degrees Fahrenheit). At some point in this emotionally fraught, tiring day of good cheer, family and over-indulgence, you are likely to sit down in front of the cathode ray tube;and we are here to help our fellow Perthites.
Although on this blog and the accompanying site, we tend to be relentlessly opposed to so-called free-to-air, so-called commercial television, at this time of Peace on Earth and Good Will to All, we believe it best to dial down the curmudgeonly-ness.
So join with us as we point out those Christmas gems that can be dug from the otherwise barren earth of Free To Air telly (commercial and non).
Starting with our friends on the commercial Networks, this year’s undoubted king of the ratings, the Seven Network, has a glittering range of options.
Our attention is peaked at 2.20pm with TABALUGA AND LEO: A CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE. If you have never enjoyed the animated adventures of Tabaluga the 'dragon', tune in to see this poorly designed, badly written cartoon character and try to forget his maddening, terrible theme song. THAT 70’s SHOW has a Christmas edition, they usually hit more than they miss and that will set you up beautifully for THE AUSTRALIAN DANCESPORT CHAMPIONSHIPS at 7.30. Hosted by Sonia Kruger sans Daryl, this might not usually be your cup of tea, but it will be a dazzling spectacle of skill and co-ordination and won’t end with a sappy Christmas message.
Clearly, the national Nine Network hearts North American comedy with a solid block of not-so-solid laughs, broken only by ten minutes of the QUEEN’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE at the family friendly timeslot of 11.55pm. However the yukkety-yuks start much earlier with a faux royal - THE KING OF QUEENS at 7.00; this is followed by crazy Clark Griswold in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION at 7.30 and then get out your hankies for YOU’VE GOT MAIL. This Nora Ephron directed flick has been seen as a re-tread of SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, however, it is actually a better flick, done with more edge and skill than Sleepless.
If you enjoyed Jim Carrey’s portrayal of Dr Seuss’s THE GRINCH, then here is your chance to enjoy it again at a seasonally appropriate time - it’s on at 2pm. The family pick of the day has to be Chris Noonan's BABE at 5.30 pm. A kids' movie that adults like just as much, the little porkers are very cute and you will be entertained, rather than revolted. An hour of Yule-themed SIMPSONS precedes THE PANEL’S CHRISTMAS WRAP at 8.30pm. This unrehearsed, ramshackle affair is really not the Working Dog folks at their best, but I read in the weekend papers that the show makes half a million annually for charity – so it's culturally appropriate AND its heart is in the right place.
The SBS has a rather kick-arse Japanese double with Miyazaki’s HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE at 9.15 followed by GODZILLA FINAL WARS at 11.20. If memory serves, the rubber suit monsters give the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House quite a pounding (seriously!)
For Natural History Buffs, Aunty has a doco about actual reptiles, DRAGONS ALIVE followed by another ep.of the rather entertaining MONARCHY. Then it all takes a tumble with the absolutely crap of LADETTE TO LADY an English ‘reality’ program, which is the cultural counterpart to the brain-dead AUSTRALIAN PRINCESS.
The long-running movie review show FLICKTEASE and the agony aunt series SWEET AND SOUR both have Christmas editions. These very Western Australian shows should help to scratch the local itch, that Perthites might be feeling on this scorching hot Christmas Day. TIME WITH JON follows at 9pm. If you haven’t seen any of this Perth-based talk show, then you’re in for a treat. Jon Lewis, the host, is a true original.
Tidings of Comfort & Joy