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Television: Counting Down the 50 Best New Zealand TV Moments of the Year (#20-11)

The fourth in our week-long series, counting down the greatest New Zealand television moments of the year. Click here to catch up on the firstsecond and third instalments. Contributions by Alex Casey, Calum Henderson and Duncan Greive.

20) Dadbod wins DWTS

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When he first strode out sheepishly onto the Dancing With the Stars dance floor Simon Barnett looked like he was living out a very specific recurring nightmare. But over the following weeks he flourished into a ballroom dancer of exquisite grace and beauty. Not even a mid-dance dislocated knee could stop him as he waltzed to glory, in the process redefining the word ‘dadbod’ with his inexplicably toned and taut physique. / CH

19) Garner gets into scissors

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Story stormed onto our screens with a dynamite debut episode, utilising every single trick in the stunt current affairs playbook: hidden cameras, door-stepping, blacked-out faces. They’ve since bought guns and skinned a stag on dinner-time TV. But the peak of the first couple of weeks was surely Garner’s turn as the most excitable kid at kindergarten, getting real frisky with the scissors. A hapless chap from Corrections pleaded for him not to show how easily an ankle bracelet could be chopped off, lest it prove an example to crims at home. Garner looked him dead in the eye, and with a few swift, efficient motions, chopped the damn thing right through. / DG

18) Mike Hosking’s brush with death

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Where were you the day Mike Hosking nearly choked to death on a chunk of pineapple? The 100% politically neutral broadcaster saw his life flash before his eyes during an ad break in his Newstalk ZB studio, before an unlikely hero came along. “I almost died today and my life was saved by Martin Devlin,” he confessed on Seven Sharp that night. “I’ve had a very sore throat all day.” / CH

17) Are you going to open your mouth?

After a luxury date of homemade, day-old sushi and flat lindauer, Crystal and Art stood on the roof of the museum, peering out across the city of sails. Or should I say city of FAILS due to what happened next. It was the perfect moment for a pash – see the lights, see the party, the ball gown. Art went in for it, lips pursed firmly tight. Chrystal wasn’t having a bar of that, and asked Art if he would open his mouth in the same way a parent would ask a toddler to eat the last piece of broccoli. A watershed moment for kissing everywhere. / AC

16) Saying goodbye to some Kiwi classics

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The roll call of great New Zealand shows which broadcast their last episodes this year makes for some grim reading: there was Campbell Live, of course, and more recently 3D. Good Morning, Neighbours at War, Homai te Paki Paki. A whole channel’s worth of classics on TVNZ Heartland. Bloody hell. What’s even left? / CH

15) The Queen on Te Kāea

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Yes, When Oprah met Hilary was a momentous meeting of minds, but it was also a momentously orchestrated PR move for her upcoming tour An Evening With Oprah. The Oprah TV moment that resonated infinitely more was when she gatecrashed a live cross on from an Orakei marae on Te Kāea. Not missing a beat, reporter Rewa Harriman gently glided straight into a wonderful short interview with the Queen of Daytime. If that’s not embracing the power of now and living your most authentic life, then I don’t know what is. / AC

14) “Oh my god”

In one of the dramatic final episodes of The Bachelor NZ Dani revealed that she loved Art, and Art revealed that he was actually an old lady with this tiny, mouse-squeak of a reaction. / AC

13) JC goes rogue

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After the crushing disappointment of Campbell Live’s demise, and before he was lured over to RNZ by his old mate Carol Hirschfeld, there were a thrilling couple of weeks when John Campbell went rogue. You never knew where he might pop up. He went on The Crowd Goes Wild as a Hurricanes expert ahead of the Super 15 final, then travelled to Samoa for the All Blacks test that he had campaigned so long and hard to see happen. Truly glorious. / CH

12) Happy Jay’s happy day

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Matilda endured some hard times on her journey to win Art’s heart on The Bachelor. First she broke her arm in what Mike Puru described with an alliterative flourish as “an horrific horsefall,” then in the final episode a koala called ‘Happy Jay’ fully crapped in her bellybutton. The moment produced one of the all-time great closed captions, captured for posterity by TV3 legend Kanoa Lloyd. / CH

11) Shae Brider

The real Slim Shaedy (™ Duncan Greive) of The X Factor NZ made it through to boot camp, despite having a conviction of manslaughter, spending spent six years in prison, and having the details largely glossed over by loud violins in his backstory segment. The story snowballed finally rolling into the clammy billionaire palms of Simon Cowell, X Factor creator and white t-shirt enthusiast, who gave the scenario a firm “no”. Shae was promptly edited out of the show and Dominic Bowden issued a sincere apology from a very large field. / AC


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