Free-to-air TV: Wednesday, July 4

Joe Hildebrand is out to prove Australians are not all Drunk, Dumb and Racist.Dumb, Drunk and Racist, ABC2, 9.30pm
Nanjing Night Net

HAVING cast himself as a cynical, slightly nutty tour guide, Sydney tabloid journalist Joe Hildebrand continues his induction of four bemused Indian visitors to the uglier side of the land down under with a trip to the Australian city apparently most feared in India – Melbourne. Joining police officers on city night patrol, they observe the foreign phenomenon of public drunkenness, leaving education adviser Radhika astonished at so many people ”tottering about”. The exercise takes a more serious turn when train-bashing victim Sourabh Sharma rides the same line on which he was brutalised. While Hildebrand’s agenda is to demonstrate that Australia is no more dangerous than anywhere else, and that Indians who have been attacked were in the wrong place at the wrong time and not the targets of racism, his program gives the issue a good airing and allows strong Indian voices to be heard.

Mrs Brown’s Boys, Channel Seven, 9pm

CRASS Irish matriarch Agnes Brown (Brendan O’Carroll) is all a-lather over the impending nuptials of her son, Dermot (Paddy Houlihan). Dispensing unwanted advice here and interfering there, she’s every daughter-in-law’s worst nightmare, as she demonstrates by the end of the second of this double episode, in a hysterical dinner scene with her son’s snooty future mother-in-law. Presented as a bit of bawdy theatre filmed before a visible live studio audience, with boom-boom gags, this is at first glance confounding television. But once the senses adjust to the old-fashioned format, it’s clear that, for all the dick and fart jokes, this is a brilliantly executed farce layered with social context and warmth.

Myf Warhurst’s Nice, ABC1, 8pm

CAPITALISING on her renowned niceness and her generation’s obsession with all things kitsch, the Spicks and Specks panellist continues her wander down memory lane, this week with a print of obscure artist S. Pearson’s surrealist monstrosity Wings of Love tucked under her arm. Visiting aficionados of 1980s pop art, including Steve Vizard, Aboriginal artist and collector of ”Aboriginalia” Tony Albert, and one of Australia’s greatest proliferators of the genre, Ken Done, Warhurst dissects the defining images of her childhood.

House, Channel Ten, 9.30pm

DESPITE the fact that we know that, by episode’s end, the genius doctor will have arched one eyebrow, popped another pharmaceutical and solved the latest insolvable illness, the medical mysteries are no less satisfying. Tonight, a marriage counsellor presents with embarrassing symptoms, the treatment of which may threaten his own marriage.

Offspring, Channel Ten, 8.30pm

FROM its arresting opening image of the newest Proudman, premature Alfie, lying in his humidicrib, to the palpable envy and heartbreak etched across babyless Billie’s face as she learns of her sister’s possible surprise pregnancy, this is a powerfully emotional episode all about that most personal and yet divisive of issues: procreation. No fewer than four baby dilemmas are woven into the storyline, the women’s very different approaches and coping mechanisms contrasted with the male characters’ fairly uniform reaction of stunned compliance. The casting of veteran comic Garry McDonald as neurotic Nina’s equally neurotic biological father continues to prove a brilliant move – the casting of musician and novice actor Clare Bowditch as Mick’s bandmate, not so much.

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