Tuesday, May 6

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Tuesday, May 6

Posted on: May 1st, 2014 by tommyj

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<i>New Girl</i>: Zooey Deschanel as Jess.” src=”http://images.smh.com.au/2014/04/30/5387227/HP-Greenguide-aw-20140430102249588558-620×349.jpg”></img></figure>
<h2>FREE TO AIR</h2>
<p><strong>NCIS, Ten, 9pm</strong></p>
<p>When a sailor strums on a bad-ass guitar backstage before a charity concert, it sets off a huge explosion, killing him and the head janitor. There’s then a funny scene about napkin folding, but then you’ll have to start paying attention, because as soon as the entire, and I mean entire, NCIS team assembles at the scene of the explosion, it’s time for dialogue so fast you’ll have trouble keeping up. I often wonder, do actual detectives and investigators watch these shows with tears of mirth rolling down their cheeks over the idea that months of work in a real investigation is dispensed with on TV in a few minutes?</p>
<p><strong>New Girl, Eleven, 8.30pm</strong></p>
<p>Like a sort of <em>Friends</em> meets <em>The Secret Life of Us</em>, <em>New Girl</em> is a comedy about quirky Jess, a teacher sharing a loft in LA with three guys – corporate bloke Schmidt, bartender Nick and former pro athlete Winston. Today is Winston’s birthday, but everyone has forgotten. Jess ended up in bed with Nick the night before and thinks it could lead to something great. Schmidt spent the night with his girlfriend Elizabeth, who loved him even when he was fat. ”Well, are the reviews in?” he asks her of his new slim bod, but she just wants to know if he’s lost any weight ”down there”. Meanwhile, Jess gets a call to be a substitute teacher to a load of feral kids in middle school when she should be hosting her visiting father and helping a friend prepare for her wedding. Misunderstandings, visual gags, funny dialogue and an appearance by Rob Reiner had me smiling throughout.</p>
<p><strong>Smash, Seven, 11.40pm</strong></p>
<p>I really like this show. I love the drama, the bright lights, the big city, and I can’t even stand show tunes. Unfortunately, NBC in the US, which was its original broadcaster, moved it in the programming line-up half-way through season two and it died a death, before being cancelled. Seven aren’t doing much better here, airing it this late on a Tuesday night. If you haven’t already stumbled across it, this is the gist. <em>Smash</em> is set in present-day New York and centres on the development of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. As well as the dramas of the production, there are shenanigans between cast members and crew, rivalries, bitterness and lots of fantastic singing performances. It has been compared to <em>Glee</em>, but I think it stands perfectly well on its own.</p>
<h2>PAY TV </h2>
<p><strong>Building Wild, National Geographic, 8.30pm</strong></p>
<p>Artsy carpenter Paul DiMeo and resourceful, rough-hewn excavator Pat ”Tuffy” Bakaitis build timber cabins in remote locations. Tonight’s is a big two-storey job a long way up a narrow, twisting logging trail in the mountains of Vermont.</p>
<p><strong>Helvetica, Studio, 9pm</strong></p>
<p>Who would have thought that a documentary about a typeface could be so interesting? Perhaps it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t about Helvetica, a font that still looks as clean and modern today as it did when it first emerged from a Swiss type foundry in 1957. And a font that is almost omnipresent – on street signs, company logos, packaging, paperwork, posters, album covers and media of all kinds. Gary Hustwit’s wonderful film criss-crosses the Atlantic, enlisting designers and historians to tell the Helvetica story and to provide critiques of the font itself. In the ’60s, we learn, Helvetica revolutionised marketing and advertising, its clean, efficient and authoritative look quickly displacing the messy hand-lettered ads and logos of yesteryear. Governments and big businesses took to Helvetica with fervour, seeing its intangible human quality as a way to soften their faceless, monolithic images. This in turn brought about a backlash as it came to be seen as a symbol of corporate evil.</p>
<p><strong>Dirty Harry (1971), GEM, 9.30pm</strong></p>
<p>Don Siegel’s <em>Dirty Harry</em> is essentially a western, with Clint Eastwood’s Harry Callahan a gun-happy sheriff disliked by many but always getting the job done. If he sees a bank robbery taking place, he casually puts down his hot dog and strolls on to a San Francisco street, pistol cocked and ready to shoot any armed bad guy he sees. When one wounded robber reaches for his shotgun, Harry famously quips: "I know what you’re thinking. ‘Did he fire six shots or only five?’" But it is Harry’s ”you loser” grin that cements the callous tone. The mayor (John Vernon) doesn’t like Harry. He thinks correct procedure and a presumption of innocence are good things. He queries Harry over shooting a man on the suspicion of intended rape. "Intent? How did you establish that?" Harry: "When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn’t out collecting for the Red Cross." The politically correct were deeply upset by Harry’s brutality and racism. They didn’t care that he kept the streets safe. They wanted him to behave better and speak more politely. Had this been set in the American West, of course, no one would have blinked. But this is a contemporary drama set in a modern American city, and one of the first films to play off – and inflame – the 1970s law-and-order divide. What audiences loved, apart from it being a well-made film, is Eastwood playing a tough guy, nominally on the side of the angels, with a caustic tongue and fearless agenda. Deep down, they believe Harry is the one tough enough to protect us all.</p>
<p><strong>The Special Relationship (2010), Nine, 1pm</strong></p>
<p>Solidly directed by Brit Richard Loncraine, this has an interesting premise – the friendship of British prime minister Tony Blair with United States president Bill Clinton – and a solid lead cast (Michael Sheen, Dennis Quaid).</p>
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