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Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

Time Event
7:25p
Gonna need all the help that we can get

It's the start of a new season of Singaporean sitcoms. First, Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd -- about Chu Kang, private contractor, and his family and employees. In the close of last season his wife gave birth to twins; now, Chu Kang, finally allowed to take them out of the house -- go ahead, guess how long it takes him to lose one. Also try guess why the babies cry whenever Chu Kang picks one up; no points for guessing it's the inch-long ``lucky fingernail'' on his pinky jabbing them in the back.

Then it's Living with Lydia -- about Lydia Lum, a disgraced Hong Kong dim sum chef who moved to Singapore to recover and splits a house with Billy B Ong (their grandfathers were best friends; Ong's grandfather willed the house to be shared). So Lydia, Ong, and respective children, return from holidays to find an annoying cousin of Ong's has moved in; he's got another will showing he has a 50 percent share in the house. All attempts to coax, talk, and bribe him out fail; ``There's only one thing to do,'' declares Ong, and in the cliffhanger -- the cousin is found DEAD. Cue the Happy Happy Dim Sum song.

These aren't precisely early 1980s sitcoms, but are endearingly close. The series are done British-style, short seasons without reruns, but the tone and humor is obviously just basically Who's the Boss (``It's your fault I lost the baby, you know I'm irresponsible!''). They're endearing in their way.

Trivia: Tweety Bird and Pepe Le Pew cartoons won Academy Awards before any Bugs Bunny cartoon did. Source: Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin.

Currently Reading: The Struggle For Mastery In Europe, 1848-1918, A.J.P. Taylor.

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