Ben & Kate
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.