DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Tuesday -

OAT­MEAL is what they call por­ridge in fairy­tales, the con­trol­ling lawyer Braver­man sis­ter starts to tell her hus­band and daugh­ter over break­fast, when thwack, a bird com­mits sui­cide against the win­dow.

‘‘ I think it’s stunned,’’ Joel (Sam Jaeger) says hol­lowly, con­scious of their hov­er­ing six-year-old but also no doubt think­ing to him­self, lucky bird, no more en­er­vat­ing small talk for you.

Ju­lia nonethe­less goes ahead and or­ders her hus­band to keep the ‘‘ stunned’’ bird in a shoe box while they — she — prime them­selves for the death talk with their daugh­ter, and fig­ure out whether to in­clude ‘‘ heaven’’ in that con­ver­sa­tion, or what Joel de­scribes as the made-up stuff.

Food at Ju­lia’s brother Adam’s place, too, tonight and also an at­mos­phere that sug­gests a small an­i­mal has died vi­o­lently right in front of ev­ery­one.

Adam has in­vited Had­die’s new boyfriend, Alex, to din­ner, and they’re dis­cussing AA. Or ‘‘ the pro­gram’’, as Alex refers to it. You might’ve thought, here are Adam and Kristina, hip lib­eral types, liv­ing in Berke­ley in Cal­i­for­nia, they’d be down with the lingo, but they’re like, um, pro­gram?

Watch the birdie: Sam Jaeger

They aren’t even cool enough to just go with it, not even af­ter Alex — who, Max the Asperger’s kid has re­peat­edly pointed out, is black — has sub­mit­ted to a hu­mil­i­at­ing din­ner ta­ble cen­sus about his life so far.

I wish the bird had ploughed into the side of their house. I’m al­most cer­tain they would’ve packed Alex a food par­cel to take home.

If the scene was meant to make us hate Had­die’s up­pity par­ents, it works a treat.

But I much pre­fer this to ‘‘ mum and dad are my best friends’’, which seems to be the only tele­vi­sion al­ter­na­tive.

Ev­ery­one’s very po­lite, this isn’t Shameless here, but there’s a slight un­der­tow. For a change. Par­ent­hood Chan­nel 7, 9.30pm

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