Mark Holden and Jessica Prince perform on Dancing With The Stars. Supplied by Channel 7.
Mark Holden and Jessica Prince perform on Dancing With The Stars. Supplied by Channel 7.

Dear television, how strange you've become

IF you ever needed confirmation that the television industry is a strange beast - with its own electrified fence and darkened viewing chamber - this week would have done it.

In the past seven days, Mark Holden lost It (that's a Stephen King reference), The Block and The Bachelor ended in a type of controversy even King could not have scripted and the ABC ran an untried two-hour variety show with a mental health theme.

But that's not all. A thrilling rumour that Foxtel had picked up the rights to air season three of the Seven-dumped A Place

To Call Home began circulating, The Chaser boys debuted to handsome numbers despite a fairly bland, shock-free show (tune in to Mad As Hell instead) and Network Ten reported a $168m loss which was actually an improvement on the previous year.

Oh, and John Jarratt was in the news decrying online film and TV piracy as a "cancer" that would kill the industry.

And frankly, I can no longer separate John Jarratt from his Wolf Creek alter ego, so, yes sir, yes sir, whatever you say, sir.

Speaking of truly frightening on-screen characters, Mark Holden redefined disturbing dressed as a clown in a Dancing With The Stars routine that earned him just four points and a whole nation of eyebrows-raised channel-changers.

Perhaps even more disturbing was this line from an online report of the disaster the next day: "The 60-year-old, who now works as a barrister..."

Wonder how his client list is looking.

Twee and preachy, ABC's Friday Night Crack Up was more miss than hit. Trying to be all things to all people, it interspersed Benny Hill-style cake-in-the-face games with earnest awareness raising in the form of clips and interviews relaying mental health stats and information.

Eddie Perfect didn't seem in the moment and Shane Jacobson and Michala Banas were too nice and small-talky. All were restrained, on eggshells, unsure how far to push the envelope.

The best bits were Peter Helliar's interviews with kids, probably worthy of their own show. I applaud the network for dedicating so much prime time to mental health, but I wish it was edgier, fresh and more real.

What will the next seven days bring?



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