Chips with ev­ery­thing at Tom’s casino ho­tel

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

IS it just me or has Las Ve­gas been around longer than the tit­u­lar city? This is only the show’s fifth sea­son but, thanks to er­ratic pro­gram­ming, it ap­pears on the sched­ule in short bursts, which makes it feels like more.

But that won’t be the case much longer. When film­ing was dis­rupted by the US screen­writ­ers’ strike ear­lier this year, the se­ries was axed and, cru­elly, the blade fell in the mid­dle of a two-part episode. Un­less the show gets picked up else­where, what hap­pens in the end will stay in the screen­writ­ers’ heads.

Not that this mat­ters to me, be­cause while this pleas­antly cheesy drama about the life of se­cu­rity staff and em­ploy­ees at the Mon­tecito casino ho­tel is fun to watch and I had seen it of­ten enough to know the char­ac­ters, it is hardly must-see tele­vi­sion. I felt a pang of re­gret that I wasn’t more in­volved af­ter Lara Flynn Boyle’s casino owner Mon­ica Man­cuso was killed when a freak wind blew her off a roof and into a shoe store a few years back. But over­all I was happy to leave the show alone, es­pe­cially when it was an­nounced that James Caan was leav­ing at the end of sea­son four.

And then the show found my one weak­ness, Tom Sel­leck. Not only is Sel­leck the great­est man to rock a Hawai­ian shirt and pair of short shorts ( in Mag­num, PI ), but he proved sur­pris­ingly adorable as Mon­ica’s boyfriend who is old enough to be her fa­ther in Friends .

Sel­leck has the right mix of grav­i­tas and tongue-in-cheek hu­mour to suc­ceed in a show that knows ex­actly how far to push the stupid but­ton. A show in which there is a cliched cop char­ac­ter who likes to men­ace peo­ple he can’t prove guilty, but which will

Grav­i­tas and hu­mour: Tom Sel­leck stars in also have Danny McCoy ( Josh Duhamel) ask him: ‘‘ Did you just step out of a pulp novel or some­thing?’’

So given all my Sel­leck love, it’s a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing that in this episode, when he joins the show as the new owner of the Mon­tecito, he ap­pears only in a cou­ple of brief scenes and ut­ters a to­tal of two words. Luck­ily, he ut­ters them pretty well.

And the rest of the episode is also worth catch­ing. True, I don’t have a good idea of what’s go­ing on — it seems there were ex­plo­sions and a heist not long ago, and a char­ac­ter’s fa­ther was mur­dered — but all you re­ally need to know is that a lot hap­pens at the Mon­tecito all the time.

And like any good casino, it gives you enough of a win to keep you com­ing back for more. So I’ll stick around long enough to at least hear Sel­leck’s third and fourth words, as­sum­ing the show is on the air that long.

Kerrie Mur­phy

Las Ve­gas

Christ­mas is just around the cor­ner, says Jamie Oliver, pic­tured. Pssst, mate, it’s to­mor­row. His some­what be­lated ad­vice: keep things sim­ple, don’t get too punchy and start fart-ar­s­ing around, get great pro­duce for great flavour; and if you get or­gan­ised you can have your Christ­mas back so the prepa­ra­tions don’t over­take the whole thing and drive you bonkers. This would have been ter­rific to watch last week, but it’d be a mad old cow that would try to shop, chop and siz­zle along with Oliver be­fore the shops shut tonight just an hour af­ter the show fin­ishes. This is a gor­geous pro­gram about those who go ab­so­lutely men­tal with their Christ­mas lights ev­ery year. What drives them to spend up to 11 months of the year, and a small for­tune, on Christ­mas lights? Meet Peter and Lynne Green­way, who be­gan string­ing Christ­mas lights 18 years ago. Now 52,000 lights adorn their ginger­bread house and nearby trees. For those who don’t do dig­i­tal, will be shown to­mor­row at 10.05pm on ABC1. If you are find­ing it hard to set­tle the lit­tle ones tonight, this Hall­mark greet­ing card of a tele­movie is guar­an­teed to do them no harm, ex­cept pos­si­bly bore them to sleep. Heart­warm­ing gloop about a boy who en­ters and wins an es­say com­pe­ti­tion. His ti­tle:

All to­gether now: awwwww . . .

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