September 10, 2008

Off The Radar Needs Witty Script

By HOPWOOD, Malcolm

If Off The Radar (TV One, Sundays) is the best rural entertainment since Fred Dagg 30 years ago, then I'll never invite John Clarke back home.

I can only imagine the television executives who thought Fred Dagg unfunny are laughing their gumboots off at Te Radar's attempts to become a latter day Pa Kettle.

To be fair there are some amusing moments, including a clumsy attempt to show Mr and Mrs Eel during courtship. And I sort of admire him for what he's trying to deliver, but it isn't good enough.

A programme about a city slicker trying to become self- sufficient down on the farm needs a commanding presence and a witty script and this programme delivers neither.

If his two cows had dug their hooves in and poohed on arrival at his property then that would have been an inspired assessment of the episode.

It's got to get better otherwise John Clarke will instruct us to add Radar's name to Mount Cleese at the city's landfill.

There's a tele-evangelist on Sunday mornings (Hour Of Power, TV3) who preaches possibility thinking.

He's pretty good at it but, together with The Hotel Inspector, Ruth Watson, (TV One, Saturdays) he'd have a tough job revitalising Woodlands Lodge in England.

Ruth claimed the decor resembled "old ladies underwear" and, while the only bloomers tele-evangelists should know about grow in the garden, he'd have said the wallpaper resembles Mark Sainsbury's wardrobe on Tonight.

Woodlands Lodge is run by the ultimate in bland - David and Jenny Norbury and John, their manager.

They've appeared to have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory so often that Ruth was summonsed before they went down the financial gurgler.

Her changes started with the wallpaper from hell, the bathrooms and swept into the corridors, the restaurant and the kitchen where she was served duck with overcooked noodles.

The chef may have been up at the quack of dawn, but the food left her down in the mouth.

Shortly after he left due to a family crisis however the crisis was back at the lodge with the Blands.

Eventually Ruth cowered them into submission but only because a bigger and better hotel was being built down the road.

A transformation started - hades became heaven, purgatory become possibility thinking.

The preacher would have loved it.

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