Middle-aged maternity dramas; CM of the week: Febreze

Middle-aged maternity seems to be a subtheme for the spring TV season. In NHK’s six-part drama series “Madonna Verde” (NHK-G, Tues., 10 p.m.), Ryoko Kuninaka plays Rie, a gynecologist-obstetrician who works at a university hospital. She herself becomes pregnant but later loses the child when she develops cancer of the uterus. Even worse, she has to undergo a hysterectomy, thus losing the ability to ever give birth to a child.

As a professional, however, she understands her options. Her mother, Midori (Keiko Matsuzaka), is understandably traumatized to learn of her daughter’s tragedy, and so is even less prepared for her bold request. Rie wants Midori to be a surrogate mother for Rie’s next child.

In the new drama series “Umareru” (“Being Born”; TBS, Fri., 10 p.m.), Manami (Maki Horikita) works for a company that “produces” books for publication. She is constantly frustrated because all her project suggestions are ignored, while younger colleagues are being promoted ahead of her.

She lives with her parents, who run a small bakery and remain outwardly affectionate toward each other despite the fact that their business isn’t going so well. Recently, a larger bakery is taking some of their customers – and then suddenly her mother falls pregnant.

CM of the week: Febreze

Here’s every homemaker’s nightmare: You’re sitting at home in the middle of the day enjoying lunch, which in this case is grilled mackerel. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. “We just happened to be in the neighborhood and decided to drop by,” says your friend through the speaker phone.

She and another friend are in the lobby of your condo. “Come on up,” you say, barely hiding your annoyance. The two friends get in the elevator and on the way up talk about what a wonderful house you keep. “It always smells so fresh,” one of them says.

“It smells like fish in here,” you say to yourself, and hurry to the shelf where you keep your Febreze air freshener. You quickly spray the room. Little cartoon flower petals float through the air, though these are obviously only in your imagination. You welcome your friends at the door with a carefree smile. They take a deep breath. Your reputation as the perfect homemaker is once again secure – for the time being, at least.