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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Channel surf

Former child actor Yumi Adachi plays two roles in the new daily half-hour Fuji TV soap opera, "Shofu to Shukujo" (The Prostitute and the Lady), which premieres Monday at 1:30 p.m.

Beniko (Adachi) is a young woman who grew up in abject poverty and did anything just to survive. One day she breaks into the second house of a wealthy family with noble roots with the intent of stealing valuables and encounters Rinko (also Adachi), the young lady of the house. They strike up an unusual friendship.

Later, Rinko is poisoned, and Beniko suggests to Rinko's best friend, Masahiko (Jun Toba), that he cover up her death and let Beniko impersonate Rinko as a way of flushing out her murderer.

There is a fiction subgenre known as supotsu konjo dorama, or supokon for short, which means "sports willpower drama." In these stories, the protagonist prevails in life and love by succeeding against all odds in some athletic endeavor. The new Nihon TV midnight drama series "Pro Golfer Hana" (Thurs., 11:58 p.m.) may be the first supotsu konjo comedy.

Hana (Rosa Kato) is a part-time employee who is ordered by her boss to participate in a golf competition with some clients. Usually, in such a situation the host loses to the guest, but Hana turns out to be a good golfer and wins, which results in her getting fired.

Stuck with her late father's debts, Hana is desperate to find a new job, but golf coach Godai (Ken Ishiguro), who noticed her talents on the links, persuades her to try to become a pro golfer.

CM of the week

Daiichi Insurance: A girl's name is called during a high school graduation ceremony and we see her mother sitting in the audience as the girl takes her diploma. The scene shifts to their small, cramped apartment. They are having an argument. "I don't want to talk about it," the girl says and walks out. She rides her bicycle in tears. She talks with a friend near a convenience store. The mother washes dishes. The girl returns, calmer. The mother is sitting at the table waiting for her, drinking a cup of tea. The last shot returns to the graduation ceremony, the daughter and mother smiling and waving to each other.

The mother is obviously single, but what's more interesting about the commercial is that it isn't really selling anything. The final message of the CM says "Go to Daiichi Insurance," but for what? Life insurance? Maybe for a job. Insurance companies often use TV commercials as recruiting tools, and the mother appears to be wearing a uniform at the graduation, which means she might be a Daiichi salesperson. It's one of those jobs that women, especially if they're unskilled and unmarried, tend to take as a last resort.

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