tv dinners

watercooler chat about what’s on TV and what you had for dinner last night

Archive for February 2008

Six feet over?

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I didn’t watch Dexter the first time around on FX, I was put off by the Guardian reviews and thought it was going to be too gory or just plain bad. I’ve relented though now that it’s on Wednesdays on ITV I caught the pilot and wasn’t overwhelmed by hysteria or terror.

Incase you’ve not read the books or heard about the series, Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2006, Dexter is a Miami CSI type who in his personal time likes to track and kill murderers and other wrong-doers.

After Six Feet Under, it’s hard to get used to Michael C. Hall smiling and having a tan. He’s slightly camp and the lingering smile is a little creepy, but so far, anyway, he’s not scary. Even when he kills it’s his glad wrapped face/killer suit outfit (to avoid blood splatter and being caught) which scared me more than Dexter himself.

The voiceover didn’t quite work for me, I’m not sure whether it’s a permanent aversion to voice-over after watching Little Children (can’t be, I still love Ron Howard as narrator on Arrested Development), but Dexters freaky thoughts and actions aren’t quite convincing me. Perhaps it’s just that his character is too hard to empathise with, or is knowing about Dexter’s other side in such a conspiratorial way too obvious for this format?

The pilot finishes with Dexter discovering a new serial killer is on to him and has even been in his house, putting a chopped up Barbie in Dexter’s fridge, showing off his style (dicing bodies up in an ice truck, the chill slowing the flow of blood).

Possibly more exciting than all this, was the ad for Dirty Sexy Money (Six Feet Under’s Peter Krause people!) I saw last night.

Written by Victoria

February 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Posted in TV

Mr Oliver loves Mr Contaldo, surely.

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Well Delia did a Kitchen/Garden book a few years ago, with no TV series to match (why?) and Jamie’s cottoned on, making a much more relaxed version, Jamie at Home, which I’ve been watching, as I like both cooking and gardening and Jamie Oliver.

As with the last Nigella series, Jamie seems in a frenzy of Jamie-ness, not abashed or self-conscious at all – which is good, even if at times that means he says daft things. What I’m having trouble with is the endless Mr Tomato loves Mr Basil, Mr Frog loves eating slugs, Mr soil loves Mr Nitrogen – I’m starting to worry that Jamie never leaves his house and is trapped in a world with his family, speaking gibberish and eating raw broad bean sprouts.

Then there’s the irritating shots of the book (I’ve not seen the physical book but assume it’s as shown on the interludes on the tv show, where the camera focuses on a shot of strawberry jam with a ‘rustic’ illustration and the text “Simmer for 30 minutes” then we cut to Jamie, “Simmer for 30 minutes” he says.

What exactly is the point of this? To get us to buy the book? To take up time? To highlight Jamie’s ‘quirky’ turn of phrase, “This is top top top”, cut to the book, with the words on the page, “This is top, top top.”

Yeah we get it. I hate this in advertising – where the script flashes up on the screen as the actors try and sell you pro-biotic yoghurt or insurance. I suspect it’s for the Sky+ generation fast forwarding the adds at speeds of x12 or x30 – hoping we’ll still connect “youthful” with Nivea or whatever but when I’m watching ads during shows I actually watch in real time, I have to mute the TV and look away so I won’t be brainwashed.

So why has Jamie at Home used this naff device? I’ll give them benefit of the doubt and hope they’re doing the book shots so that people can note down the bare bones of the recipe and make it that night.

In the end, despite my whining I’m going to keep watching in the hope (lot of hope involved so far) that Gennaro Contaldo makes another appearance. Their mushrooms episode in Series One was awesome, he & Jamie should really do a whole series together.

Also I’m watching for Jamie’s gardener, Brian, a middle aged version of Shaggy from Scooby-Doo, he should really get some airtime on Gardener’s World.

Jamie & Brian - from

He could give Monty a run for his money. To grow some of the veg mentioned in the show, check out this nursery and to make the recipes, check out these episode guides.

Finally friends, you can find Delia’s Kitchen Garden book on her website, watch out for the McDonalds ads though.

Written by Victoria

February 22, 2008 at 1:33 pm

Posted in Recipes, TV

My diary and Sayid in a tux.

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Sayid in a tux, Kate & Sawyer playing house (they have to end up together) and the M*A*S*H/Apocalyspe Now end shot of Sayid flying off the island in a helicopter…

Read this review for a more verbose take on last night’s LOST.

Did you hear Flight of the Conchords won Best Comedy Album at the Grammy’s? They’re back home in NZ writing season two, as I type.

My TV Diary is looking bare. What am I missing?

Written by Victoria

February 19, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Posted in TV

Star crossed lovers

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Forget your celebrity name generators, check this out for the best old school astrology on the web, and it’s free.

Written by Victoria

February 14, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Posted in Astrology

Tagged with ,

Fashion Police

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The second best show on E! is on tonight at 8pm, so forget poring over the BAFTA and Grammy celeb photos online, get the ultimate camp commentary with The Daily Ten’s co-host Debbie Matenopoulos.

I hope the hysterical British hairdresser Peter Ishkhans is on, he’s the screechiest.

Fashion Police verdicts – Grammys

Beyonce –She looks like she’s going to the icecapades , Her mother bought that dress from the Home Shopping Network rejects pile.

Fergie – Troll doll

Nelly Furtado

Aged by 10 years, wrong hair colour, wrong necklace, wrong earrings.

Now I know where my slinky went

Alicia Keys

Much debate about her faux-hawk, Peter Ishkhans actually loves the hair and the dress!

Bai Ling

This dress wouldn’t be appropriate for Cirque du Soleil


Cruella de ville

It’s Victor/Victoria!

Storm Daniels

It is what it is

Someone’s missing the lining of their coffin

Cindi Lauper

They all love her for her ‘rock attitude’.

Miley Cyrus

With that bloodline there’s not much chance for fashion

Too many extensions for a fifteen year old – what’s next, playboy?

Natasha Beddingfield

Looks like Martha Beddingfield, off to a PTA meeting

Chris Brown


Hip Hop homecoming King

Panic @ the Disco

Yes, that will be in trend next week I’m sure, not now though

Carrie Underwood

31 flavours of icecream have been thrown onto her dress

Taylor Swift

Looks good for 50

Yoko Ono

Jimminy Cricket

She looks like Slash’s mum

Paul Wall & TV Johnny

Looks like braces

He bit into Beyonce’s dress!

Photo – copyright Reuters from

All dress comments from Fashion Police team,

Written by Victoria

February 12, 2008 at 3:59 pm

Posted in TV

Food fight

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I’m really suprised that Emma John from the Guardian thinks New Zealand has only recently become a place for good food. It’s true to say that taste in food was very traditional until the 90s, but ‘a sloppy shepherd’s pie or a throat-laceratingly dry roast’ is utter rubbish, how patronising.

New Zealanders have a really strong tradition of home cooking and baking – and while the food we cook today is more adventurous, the traditional roast/pies/cakes etc of tea rooms and restaurants were well cooked – infact NZ’s best selling cookery book, 1907’s Edmonds Cook Book, is still a popular present for newlyweds and expats.

In her article Emma is excited by the cuisine on offer in our finest restaurants – which is great but the reality is the quality of produce is much higher across the board. You can’t buy ready made food on the same scale and foodcourts in our malls often have better meals on offer than a lot of the chain restaurants in the UK, for half the price too.

I’ve lived here for over 5 years and it’s only now that the UK is starting to realise that you can have more than a sandwich or baked potato for lunch. In our cafes you’d never buy a muffin sealed in plastic with a best by sticker on it!

Written by Victoria

February 11, 2008 at 1:39 pm

Posted in Recipes

Gorman, Uninteresting

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America, Unchained

“Written and originated” by Gorman, normally inventive and fun, this documentary is ill conceived and only teaches us that Dave is a man who is both boring without a script and without subtlety – activism through repetition.

The premise is to cross from the West Coast to East Coast by car, paying nothing to ‘The Man’, using Mom & Pop restaurants, motels and gasoline. Gorman wanted to avoid the normal travel genre cliches and not meet interesting people researched in advance. So he and his director, (first the whiny Stephanie who leaves with a bad back, then the cheerier Adam), drive from town to town called Independence looking for independent businesses to prove they still exist.

Excited? You’ll be even less thrilled 10 minutes in when Gorman is on his unchanging rant about the chain hotels, petrol etc they’re avoiding. I’m sorry but this just isn’t a new idea – we know big business is global, homogenous and all-consuming. Yes, the state of affairs is crap – but this documentary doesn’t paint a picture of a dying breed – it haphazardly encounters few interesting stories – Taylors the Ice cream bar is one history of a family business that’s truly touching but a zany German woman with two Great Danes behind a motel counter doesn’t compare and doesn’t make a movie, let alone a point “They wouldn’t let her run a Best Western” – No shit, those dogs would scare the life out of people.

Gorman buys a beautiful 1974 Ford Cortina, which breaks down a lot – this is meant to provide dramatic tension – it doesn’t. Two days from the end of their trip the car breaks badly and a heartbeat effect is on the soundtrack as it’s repaired! Gorman is wincing and screwing his face up in frustration yet again, “this is like taking your kid to get open heart surgery”.


Infact this is my major gripe – Gorman isn’t charismatic enough to pull this off. Pissed off at the lack of independent gas stations he says to the director, “You want a metaphor for how I feel?” opens the car door and there is a dead cat which has been run over – that morning by the look of it. He apologises, laughing, saying he didn’t realise how bad the animal looked – my question is, the road kill shot made it into the movie? Why doesn’t Gorman interview any fellow customers who have also chosen to shun the chains? He has none of Louis Theroux’s curiosity or charm and this pales in comparison to Theroux’s Behind Bars documentary last month.

I really didn’t care if Dave made it to the next Independence, or to the end of his journey. When he reaches the coast – the profound statement to end the film? “I’ve touched the sea”. Finally, his journey is just a self-indulgent diary with amazing scenery and a few genuinely small town America moments. Despite the haters, it somehow won Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Austin Film Festival and wasn’t hated by the Times.

Life in Cold Blood

Who knew reptiles could be cute? I’m watching this Attenborough series for the cool thermal camerawork alone.

Written by Victoria

February 6, 2008 at 2:12 am

Posted in TV

Get Lost?

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I do. Lost is back. The weekend is complete, and with Damages on the next night, it’s like a smorgasbord of never-ending riddles and toothy American smiles.

Well not that much smiling, as Charlie is dead and doh! the people on the boat aren’t what they seem. Yes it’s the Others plot x2, this time with the mysterious boat people. But you have to admit – it’s a great plot.

Half the castaways are convinced the boat is coming to rescue them, the other half have learnt to be suspicious – the split in the camp is not great for the sawyer/kate/jack love triangle but the split story is great – especially as the depressing flash forwards from the series finale are now starting to make sense..

As for Damages – Tate Donovan had the lion’s share of the episode and smiled a lot, which was a nice relief from the Ellen/Patti/Katie stress fest in the previous episodes.

Tate, not in the OC now... Photo

Art and Fiske shared some dark comedy (I’m so glad Danson has something decent to act in, Becker was just so flat) and the murder scene that everything tracks back from is sloooowly taking pace.

The only problem is, there’s nothing on tonight.

So make some Pancakes, instead…

For the clammy crepe style ones go to Delia, who has a step-by-step guide on her site and for the proper thick pancakes you eat with maple syrup and bacon try Nigella’s American diner pancakes.

Written by Victoria

February 5, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Posted in Recipes, TV

Thursdays are not funny, yet

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Give it a good 30 minutes, then watch 30Rock on Five 11 til midnight.

In the meantime, while the Convention Crasher with Justin Lee Collins, is taping, let’s talk about Lost.

Back on Sunday, I’m afraid I’ve already forgotten my dislike of the series finale’s ‘flash forwards’ and can’t wait for the series four start.

E! have got some great preview clips of the episode if you’re feeling peckish, or you can relive the good old days with their behind the scenes interviews with all the dead Lost characters in Watch with Kristin.

Watching the sneak clips reminded me how much of the show is in really shady jungle and dim light, very 24. Our TV doesn’t really do dark, which just adds to the mystique.

Speaking of 24, Kiefer’s back out of jail, he’s served his time and the startled legend that is Mary Lynn Rajskub (pron. RICE-cub according to Wiki, highly dubious), is pregnant, because of the writers strike, I guess she got bored. Does anyone else remember her from The Larry Sanders show?

copywright - 2008

She and Wallace Langham always turn up on the same shows after Larry – see Veronica’s Closet (well don’t, but they were both in that) and CSI, 24, Little Miss Sunshine.
Can the next 24 series be any good though? Do they know how crap day 6 was? Also, wasn’t day 6 meant to be several years ahead of present day, perhaps a robot threat is next for the seemingly useless CTU. Day 7 too, you know even if you’re not Christian, you expect a lot from day 7.

TV’s looking pretty sparse, there’s nothing on Tuesday or Wednesdays, we need Dirty Sexy Money (Peter Krause & Donald Sutherland) and Mad Men to start! Or the Apprentice, whatever, just something that’s actually drama and not buy this house or lose weight or train your dog.

Written by Victoria

February 1, 2008 at 12:26 am

Posted in TV