Amuse, delight the old

Christmas, as always, has been brutal for us, the very old.

Our friends are dead, our children have deserted us, our bodies ache and our minds are nightly racked with the foul, grinning phantoms of our impending death.

Happy New Year.

But the holiday season, does, of course, bring some respite.

For those of us allowed out, there is the joy of driving on the motorway at 73kmh.

Once the highway widens to include a passing lane, of course, the arthritic foot spasms, and the old Austin reaches speeds of 140kmh before two lanes become one, and 50 cars are again stuck behind - now at 72kmh.

Oh, the simple pleasures.

Of course the television still flickers in a dark corner once the day ends and the orderlies banish sunlight from view.

Last Tuesday, Burning Love began on the E! Channel, where The Soup is good but little else.

Tonight, it continues.

Burning Love is produced by comedian Ben Stiller, and is a spoof of reality dating shows such as The Bachelor.

Mark Orlando (Ken Marino) is the guy looking for love.

''I guess I'm looking for someone who can make me laugh, but isn't afraid of robots,'' he says.

''You know, someone who'll be my best friend, but won't ask too many questions - 'cos that's kind of annoying.''

Burning Love was originally created as a web series for Yahoo.

The ladies vying for Mark's heart include Mandy (29), a salon hair washer who wears nothing below the waist.

''I like to lay all my cards out on the table immediately,'' she says.

Another contestant is Vivian (28), a very pregnant flight attendant.

''I would love to start a family, sooner or later; maybe June 19th, anywhere around there ...

''How are the schools where you live?'' she asks Mark, romantically.

''Are you a spanker?''

Jennifer Aniston appears briefly as contestant Dana, who wears a panda bear suit so her appearance does not distract from her personality.

Ken Jeong (Mr Chow from The Hangover) is hilarious as the ''exotic'' contestant Ballerina.

The show features or has cameos by many actors who were part of the cast of television comedy Party Down, an excellent show killed off before its time.

Michael Ian Black, who co-wrote Run Fat Boy, Run with Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz), is the very amusing host.

Burning Love is funny.

Quietly funny in a way that makes you laugh quietly out loud.

Also noisily funny in a way that makes you snort.

As Mark says: ''I feel that one of these women could become my wife - or my fiance - for a while.''

Enjoy it - at the end of another empty day.

- Charles Loughery