love is a four letter word: articles

Exit holes claim kooky pair

Over is a four-letter word. And Love Is A Four Letter Word (ABC, 9.30pm) is over. Thus nature balances itself.

This series seems to have been running in vivid, kookily-cut, sometimes torpidly languid little Tuesday evening vignettes since about 1978, it's become that familiar. That much of a fixture. Unwatched, but there. But not after tonight, which is probably just as well. Time for the superbly scene-stealing Kate Beahan to be seen in something else; time for the terminally disengaged Peter Fenton to change his T-shirt.

Is it a pity that so few people watched Love Is A Four Letter Word? Well no, you'd have to say, with a little cruelty, that it got what it deserved. Is it a pity that such a promising piece of youthfully engaging production was levelled by such a limited, limpid, circular narrative? Well, yes. Tonight's denouement continues the show's tradition of going nowhere and doing very little with substantial color and movement.

"There is energy around me exit hole." Indeed. Tonight also sees the end of this series of Da Ali G Show (ABC, 10pm), and that's a bit of a pity. Innit? Yes and no, this one joke can probably stretch only so far and it's safe enough to assume that in the coming months we will see its elasticity tested, not only through the possibility of other series of the TV show, but also da film (yep), da videos, da Geri Halliwell duet (joke), da address to da G8 summit etc.

Sacha Baron-Cohen's creation has, it would seem, more legs than Mrs Slocum's pussy.

Backtracking for a moment, viewers may find serious thought prompted by Stolen Goods, National Treasures, tonight's The Cutting Edge (SBS, 8.30pm) feature. It's a provocative look at the collection of the British museum and the claims being aired with increasing insistence by the victims of colonial lootings who want their kit back.

Case in point, the Benin bronzes, statuettes nicked from Nigeria in the days of empire and now proudly displayed at the museum. The Nigerians want them back. The museum argues that no, they now form part of some broader global cultural pickling, and they should stay in London, accessible to the six million people who visit their new home each year.

As Robert Hughes puts it in the course of this engaging and even-handed account, this is an issue of some significance and complexity, "not so much a can of worms but a can of bloody great boa


Hughes, for the record, is on the side of the museum, an institution that supports a notion that he values that of the "universal knowledge that grew from the Enlightenment". And he's probably right: that in some sense the treasures of human creation are more valuable as part of a broad and contextual record of collective achievement than they are as isolated fragments prized only in the limited terms of their culture of origin.

But it's an argument that plays pretty hollow to people who beyond any reasonable doubt have good claim to the ownership of this stuff. Whatever.

"Thou shalt not eat anything bigger than your own head." Warning, Comedy Festival Debate ahead (Ten, 8.30pm), and the subject? That we need 10 new commandments.

This can only mean one thing, and Paul McDermott is joined on this occasion by Rich Hall, Greg Fleet, Jenny Eclair, Dave Gorman and Deborah Cheetham. Rod Quantock is moderator and the jokes are kind of what you'd expect. Jenny Eclair's confession that her Bible is in fact Hello magazine probably takes the biscuit.

By Jonathan Green
Tuesday 24 July 24, 2001
The Age