TV | CHANNEL SURF

Actresses enter a parallel universe; three species of romance; CM of the Week: Big

by Philip Brasor

The comedian-turned-scriptwriter Bakarhythm specializes in surreal “what if” situations. In the new drama “Kamoshirenai Joyutachi” (“Maybe Actresses”; Fuji TV, Tues., 10 p.m.) he focuses on three famous Japanese actresses and places them in a parallel universe where they didn’t become famous.

In this parallel universe —accessed by walking into a special dressing room — Yoko Maki did not pass the audition that changed her life, and becomes a bar hostess who makes do with parts as an extra. Asami Mizukawa also lost out on an audition, but her actress friends became successful and she resents them. Yuko Takeuchi is scouted in Harajuku, but in the parallel universe she turns down the offer and instead takes a job as a magazine editor.

Fuji TV presents another omnibus drama the next night, this one by established teleplay writer Osamu Suzuki called “Renai Aru Aru” (“Love Happens, It Happens”; 10 p.m.), which looks at three species of romance.

In “Shanai Renai Aru Aru” (“Office Romance Happens”), Meisa Kuroki’s character falls in love with a colleague who has pledged to never get romantically involved with someone at his company. In “Single Mama Renai Aru Aru” Nozomi Sasaki plays a single mother invited to lunch by a patient of the dentist for whom she works. And in “Dosei Renai Aru Aru,” Erika Toda plays a young woman who decides to move in with her boyfriend, Shinta.

The narrator and navigator is actor and writer Lily Frankie.

CM of the Week

Big: In a new series of commercials for the seasonal lottery Big — which is worth ¥1 billion — rock singer Gackt plays a wealthy man showing actor Hidetoshi Nishijima around his enormous home.

“This is just the garage,” Gackt says languidly, standing next to a helicopter.

“You really like money,” Nishijima says. To which Gackt replies that it’s not exactly that he likes money but that “money likes me.”

Nishijima asks him how he got so rich.

“Cleaning toilets,” Gackt says, and a secretary brings him his cleaning supplies. He climbs in the helicopter, presumably to go to a job. “It raises your fortunes,” he says.

And if you believe that, we have a lottery ticket to sell you.