Can of Worms
Mondays, 8.30pm, Ten
What's it all about?
In the words of new host Chrissie Swan, Can of Worms (from Andrew Denton's production company Zapruder’s Other Films) is "the show that asks curly questions of straight-talking people". Last year the twitterati gave creator and inaugural host Ian "Dicko" Dickson a thorough pasting, but Ten has shown faith and granted it a second go-round. It's a topical panel show in which Swan tosses moral dilemmas at three guests, while wingman Dan Ilic (in place of Meshel Laurie) chucks in tidbits of research from Roy Morgan. It preys on situations ripped straight from the headlines, plays for laughs, and occasionally touches a raw nerve or two.
The curliest question of all - what have you done with Dicko? - didn't get an airing. But other important puzzlers did … such as "is it OK for a sex worker to use a regular hotel room for business?", "is it OK for a male passenger to sit next to an unaccompanied minor on a flight?" and "is it OK to marry your cousin?" Yes, it was all a bit grubby but what else would you expect from a show called Can of Worms?
Chrissie Swan is far more comfortable in the big chair than Dicko ever was, and he is to be applauded for having the good sense to retire to the drawing room to do the honourable thing (while presumably pulling down an executive producer's pay cheque).
Ultimately, though, the show stands on the strength of its guests, and in this first outing they were a good mix. Kate Langbroek was sharp and typically willing to go out on a limb, Ryan "Fitzy" Fitzgerald opted for the amiable buffoon role and Megan Gale was a real surprise package - smart, articulate and the unexpected voice of moral righteousness in this pack of jokers.
On the downside, it all felt a bit like breakfast radio set to pictures.
In a sentence
It's good to see a decent format given a second chance to realise its promise, but it would be great to see it cast the net of conundrums a little wider than sex and relationships.
Megan Gale voting "no" to the question "would you let your 13-year-old daughter be a fashion model?" and then describing modelling as "an adult industry". Reckon she knew exactly what she was saying? Me too.
The one-track mindedness of the questions. "That's enough sex talk. Our next short and curly is about sex."
Worth watching again?
If they can broaden their horizons a little, absolutely.
The story Let's talk about sex: Ten opens a grubby Can of Worms first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.