Ben & Kate

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Mon­day, 8pm, Ten It’s sum­mer­time and the livin’ is easy. I’m sure you’ve no­ticed all your favourite pro­grams wav­ing farewell like Ju­lia and Tim on the steps of a 747. Don’t worry, they say be­nignly, we will see you all next year. Some­times the pre­sen­ters even have the gall to wish us a Merry Christ­mas and a ter­rific 2013 while we re­main at work and they swan off for a month or two. Be­hind the scenes, TV pro­gram­mers are up to the same tricks. That’s why we are left with the likes of Ben & Kate, a slight sit­com from the peo­ple who brought you New Girl. Nat Faxon, whose cred­its in­clude a role in the execrable Bad Teacher with Cameron Diaz, plays Ben, an over­con­fi­dent ideas man who has moved in with his younger sis­ter, Kate (Dakota John­son, The Five-Year En­gage­ment, The So­cial Net­work), to help raise her fiveyear-old daugh­ter. Nat­u­rally Kate ends up with two chil­dren on her hands. In tonight’s third episode, The Fox­hunt, Kate, who keeps ev­ery­thing, chal­lenges her brother to a trea­sure hunt she has dug up from their shared child­hood. Ben mag­nan­i­mously de­cides to let Kate win be­cause she al­ways had ‘‘ a bee up her ass’’ about him win­ning ev­ery­thing when they were kids. Homer Simp­son is a self­ish dolt with ap­palling habits and not a lot of brain­power to spare but some­how we end up lov­ing him to bits. Ben has many of the same char­ac­ter­is­tics but with a smarmy, know-it-all edge that just makes you want to punch him. I’m sure this is as it should be, and it helps show off the en­tirely watch­able John­son (daugh­ter of Don John­son and Me­lanie Grif­fith) in an even more favourable light. You shouldn’t ex­pect any depth but you could watch worse things on a hot Mon­day night if you need a quick laugh.

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