On Friday, TV Asahi devotes almost three full hours to the variety special “Kekkon Dekinai Shikaisha to Nijusan-nin Yomeiru Geinintachi” (7 p.m.), whose entire premise is described in the title: “Presenters Who Can’t Get Married and 23 Comedians With Brides.”

What we have is two single comedians, Atsushi Tamura of London Boots and Chihara Junior, acting as presenters and talking “profoundly” about their unmarried status with 23 married comedians. The latter explain the joys of conjugal life, but also the drawbacks, such as “how to make excuses when you’re caught in an extramarital affair” and what to do when the excuse doesn’t work and divorce looms. To give the two presenters a taste of what they’re missing, they’re dropped off at a couple’s home for some hands-on child-rearing.

Kaoru Takada’s historical novel series, “Mi wo Tsukushi Ryoricho” (“The Apply Yourself Cookbook”; TV Asahi, Saturday, 9 p.m.), is one of the few with a female protagonist, a cook who is recognized as a trailblazing genius.

Mio (Keiko Kitagawa) is orphaned after both her parents drown. She is taken by an Osaka restaurateur who trains her mercilessly. When she turns 18 she goes to the capital, Edo, and gains employment in a noodle shop. There she discovers that customers prefer full-bodied flavor to the more subtle Kansai style and starts experimenting.

One day, a masterless samurai named Komatsubara (Masahiro Matsuoka), who usually drops by just to drink, tastes one of Mio’s concoctions by accident and says it is “very interesting.” Everyone takes notice because Komatsubara never says anything.

CM of the week

Lixil: It’s often confusing when well-known actors appear in adverts playing anything other than themselves.

In a new spot for house builder Lixil’s home-improvement service, a young couple played by Ryoko Hirosue and Kenichi Matsuyama — who appear in Lixil’s other CMs — show up at her parents’ house, which, as we see from a photograph she’s holding, has just been renovated. The parents, played by Jun Inoue and Yoshie Ichige, enthusiastically show the kids around. It’s a game effort, but these four are so famous as individuals that anyone who believes they represent a real family must live in a cave.

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