By FRANCES GRANT
A professional woman grows tired of the empty stresses of corporate life, discovers her husband is having an affair, her neglected child is going to pot and decides to chuck the job in and do something more fun.
Where have we heard this storyline before?
Well, the warm and funny Aussie drama SeaChange, for starters. There was something similar in Providence, albeit without the family.
And didn't Jacksons Wharf all come about because lead character Ben chucked in life as a city lawyer and decided to return to his country town roots?
The Strip is the latest local attempt at a genre which can now be termed the rejection-of-modern-corporate-life drama.
But the twist is that the lead character's solution to her frazzled life is to buy a strip club and switch the gender of the talent from female to male.
So The Strip, made by Wellington's Gibson Group, delivers a double fantasy. Yes, a woman can change her life and have plenty of eye candy while she's at it.
Melissa is, a la Laura Gibson, a control freak leading a life in which every event has to be given a window in the Filofax. But when she discovers her husband in bed with another bloke, that is the final straw.
"Life," she decides, "should be fun."
What better way to party in the post-Ladies Night, Full Monty world, than to gather a bunch of blokes to get their gear off.
While Melissa may think she's being incredibly daring for a middle-class Catholic girl, the male strip troupe is hardly original territory.
And in its debut episode last week, The Strip was about as cack-handed as some of the talent-challenged blokes who turn up to audition. But among the forced routine of setting up the story there was the odd good line, such as Mum's: "Are you coming to 10 o'clock Mass or is it straight back to the streets of Sodom?"
At times it was fun, in a sketch-comedy kind of way. Melissa's improbable flirty lawyer mate, Kathryn, does an intriguingly trashy line in Ally McBeal wear; hubby's transition to gay male was a feature, as were some of the terrible turns by the audition hopefuls.
Across channels, TV One's version of the genre, Mercy Peak (high-flying female doctor opts out of city life after discovering lover is unfaithful, and moves to small town), has slipped back into the schedules for a second season.
This show, reprogrammed from Tuesday to Wednesday to prevent a clash with its cousin, seems to be counting on its slow pace and unassuming character as the base of its appeal.
It's a show made in the now trademark South Pacific Pictures formula of medicine served with a dose of social issues, rather like a mature Shortland Street meets Jacksons Wharf.
Unlike The Strip, there is not a lot of frivolity or gratuitous flesh on display in the town of Bassett, which seems to be a place suffused with varying levels of anxiety, in the tradition of Kiwi drama. The sun is shining and the countryside looks ravishing, but grim reality - fatal car accidents, suicide - never seems to be far around the corner.
The effect is to make you grateful that some of the characters, at least, are having sex. Go, William.
Mercy Peak is more accomplished and far better acted than its Wellington cousin The Strip and has a strong lead in actor Sara Wiseman. But it's a lot less fun.
The Strip 8.30pm Tuesday TV3, Mercy Peak TV One, 8.30 tonight
By FRANCES GRANT