Job rankings; dramas penned by women; CM of the week: Snickers

Some jobs are more glamorous than others until you look behind the scenes. That is the premise of the special “Naritai Shiritai Oshigoto Ranking” (“Ranking Occupations You Want to Know About and Have”; TV Tokyo, Mon., 8 p.m.).

Among the general job categories explored on the special is the television industry: What exactly is it that producers and talent managers do, and what sort of tools do announcers use? There’s also a look at health-care professionals, in particular “flying nurses.” Fighter pilots who work for the Self-Defense Forces are profiled, and the lives of professional athletes are explained using members of Japan’s National Women’s Soccer team as examples.

The audience for TV dramas is overwhelmingly women, and the most popular are those with female characters. NHK-G airs two in a row on Tuesday night, both based on popular novels written by women.

“Kare, Otto, Otoko Tomodachi” (“Boyfriend, Husband, Male Friend”; 10 p.m.) follows the romantic fortunes of three sisters. The oldest, Asako (Tae Kimura), is locked into a marriage with an abusive husband. Haruka (Yoko Maki) is in love, but while her journalist boyfriend is overseas she reconnects with a former lover. Ikuko (Kaho), the youngest, is dating but has yet to feel anything she could call “love.”

“Bitter Sugar” (10:55 p.m.) is also about three women, long-time friends who are all 39 years old, an age at which their disappointments have come to a head. Ichiko (Ryo) is a media writer, Mari (Emi Wakui) a window-display designer and Natsu (Sawa Suzuki) a homemaker. These three are past the point in their friendship where they still employ niceties. Their interactions are not only frank but confrontational.

CM of the week

Snickers: A woman with long dyed-blonde hair chases a soccer ball during a match and is knocked over. Her teammates rush over and ask if she’s alright. She stands up and gives them an icy look. “What?” she says, as if their presence irks her. One of the players comments that “this person” often gets angry and “turns into Erika.” Another player gives the woman a Snickers bar and immediately “she” turns into a smiling “he.”

The woman is actress Erika Sawajiri, who made headlines some years ago when she displayed boredom during a press conference for a movie she was starring in.