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Old grungy Vintage TV with clipping path over a white background

InterviewsSeptember 16, 2014

Tuesday Talkies: James from Shorty Street Scandal

Old grungy Vintage TV with clipping path over a white background
Old grungy Vintage TV with clipping path over a white background

Every Tuesday we will endeavour to chat with somebody involved in New Zealand’s magical little world of television. This week we talked to James Mustapic, host of Shorty Street Scandal. /

Each week James Mustapic hosts Shorty Street Scandal, assembling all of the absurd moments from Ferndale into a sensational highlights package. If you aren’t a Shortland Street fan, his videos will make you realise what you have been missing out on.

How long have you been watching Shortland Street for?
You sort of drift in and out with Shortland Street. I remember when the serial killer was around, and the Jeffries family. That was a great time to be watching. I have been watching solidly for the past year, very focussed.

Leanne vs The People
Leanne vs The People

I’ve just gotten back into Shortland Street since watching your videos, and everything seems to have gone into very weird plane of existence in Ferndale.
I think you’re right. There are a lot of people on the Shortland Street Facebook page who actually think it’s real as well. They’re like “I hate Leanne, I want her to die”. I don’t take it that seriously, obviously. When I watch it I just look for the funny things. It does all feel very surreal.

It’s weird when the characters constantly try to make reference real world things like “selfies”.
Yeah, it’s very uncomfortable.

Did you see a few weeks ago when Evan brought out that bag of grains and said “this is a new grain that everyone’s raving about…” and then just left it hanging and didn’t say quinoa or anything.
It really seems like they are trying to make it as real as possible. A while ago they went through of a phase of saying “MyLife” instead of Facebook. For licensing purposes, I guess.

Remember when Ed Sheeran was on it?
Yeah, he just came in, played one strum of the guitar and walked out. I think they should have at least introduced him as a character and then killed him off or something.

Or at least changed his name to Fred Sheeran.

Who are your favourite characters on at the moment?
Obviously Leanne is just a classic. She’s a big troublemaker. Also Evan. I don’t know what it is about him. He’s really grumpy and he doesn’t have a lot going for him, it’s kind of funny. Those are my two favourites.

Indecisive Evan
Indecisive Evan

I love Evan – do you think he will make it as a chef?
I think he wants to be a midwife. I’m a bit confused about what he’s doing. He started a cleaning company, which failed, so he started making vegetable packages. Then he went to the midwife’s house and delivered a baby. He doesn’t seem to be doing much with his life so no ­– I don’t think he will.

Other big character news was the recent death of Sarah Potts. Did you find it moving?
A little bit. Sarah’s character did get kind of boring, though. She just kept calling TK “hun” all the time. She was just following him around the house saying, “oh, hun. Hun, I need to do this. Hun, I’m going to work”. It was a little bit sad because she had been on there for ten years – but not heartbreaking.

Jeffries troublemakers (Maia's gun not pictured)
Jeffries troublemakers (Maia’s gun not pictured)

Thinking back beyond the characters that feature on Shorty Street Scandal, can you recall any other hot favourites?
Yvonne was a classic. She was like the old Leanne. She was always fun. I think there was a weird storyline where she stole her daughter’s boyfriend back in the day. All of the Jeffries were fun.

Who were her daughters again?
Libby, Tanya and Maia. Maia went crazy and shot some guy. There were all sorts of crazy storylines with them.

Would you be interested in coming up with storylines for the show?
I reckon it would be fun. I feel sorry for the writers, because I know they work really hard. It’s five days a week with just a one month break. I think it would be fun to come up with new storylines but it’s probably quite stressful. There are all those Facebook pages with kids hating Shortland Street that comment saying, “I don’t watch lol” or “why the hell do you watch this?”.

Despite what people say, it’s New Zealand’s longest running soap opera. It’s got to be doing something right.
There are so many people who are like, ”argh what is this storyline! I hate this show!”. Just don’t take it too seriously, I reckon.

And more people in New Zealand still love it than hate it.
I know, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed about it. Everyone needs to be more open about watching Shortland Street. It’s just a good laugh for everyone.

Watch Shorty St Scandal on Youtube here
Watch Shortland Street on TVNZ Ondemand here


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