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The Breakfast crew back in their happy place (Design: Tina Tiller)
The Breakfast crew back in their happy place (Design: Tina Tiller)

Pop CultureFebruary 2, 2022

Breakfast’s new set is absolutely wild, and I love it

The Breakfast crew back in their happy place (Design: Tina Tiller)
The Breakfast crew back in their happy place (Design: Tina Tiller)

TVNZ 1’s early morning news show is back, but not as we know it. Tara Ward woke up early to drool over Breakfast’s shiny new set, and learns that nothing is what it seems. 

Breakfast burst back onto our screens on Monday morning in an explosion of colour and light, and the team couldn’t have been more excited. John Campbell, Jenny-May Clarkson, Indira Stewart and Matty McLean were pumped to kick off another year of early starts, beaming into our homes from a set that was nothing we’ve seen on breakfast telly before.

It’s my house and I live here (Photo: TVNZ)

Breakfast has replaced their slouchy armchairs and awkward stools with a mansion so grand I expected to see Kevin McCloud in the corner tutting over the budget. “Welcome to our flash new house,” John said to the nation, and from now on we must imagine all the TVNZ presenters living here together, taking turns to sleep in the top bunk while poor Toni Street does all the cooking because she almost won Celebrity Kiwi Bake Off that time.

There were windows out the back, there were windows up the top. The new set is so large that when the camera panned out to show the space in all its splendour, the presenters almost disappeared. Once normal sized humans, they were now the hobbits of the TVNZ shire, The Borrowers of the news world. Around them stood the Sagrada Familia of breakfast television, all soaring ceilings and dappled sunlight, with a jungle of hanging plants so lush and green they could save the planet in a single breath.

In breaking news, New Zealand, those plants are not real.

Honey, I shrunk the journalists (Photo: TVNZ)

Those plants are FAKE NEWS, and so are those bricks, and as for the beams in the ceiling? That’s not even a roof. Breakfast’s cathedral to current affairs is the latest augmented reality wonder created by the TVNZ graphics department, a dramatic backdrop whipped up by clever computer technology. The newsreaders are real, I think, but the rest is just a glorious illusion.

It’s quite the vibe from a news source in 2022, but Breakfast isn’t worried about my trust issues. They were more focused on the hero piece of their jazzy new studio, a set of screens filled with vibrant illustrations by New Zealand artist Flox. Breakfast has brought the outside world inside, and it turns out watching fauna and flora float slowly on a big screen is the perfect distraction from learning about how shit the world is right now.

I like big birds and I cannot lie (Photo: TVNZ)

The four presenters stood, they leaned, they sat. The new white couch seemed kilometres away from the new standing desk, which made social distancing a breeze but also created a charming “the kids are in the kitchen while the grown ups enjoy some quiet time in the lounge” energy. It meant John could sit and ask economist Bernard Hickey why the rich are now $52 billion wealthier than before the pandemic, while at the desk Matty leaned and discussed his summer beard, which had grown considerably slower than the wealth gap.

What was the other news of the day? No idea. I spent all morning staring at the spectacular Flox illustrations, soaking up their beauty and wondering who would win a fight between Matty McLean and the giant kea. That kea looks mean, but on Tuesday Matty wore a suit that matched the new sofa, so he could probably camouflage his way out of trouble while John is left to placate the parrot with nothing but his Spotify playlist (8,600 followers and counting; 8,601 with the kea).

Where are you, Matty McLean (Photo: TVNZ)

The set wasn’t the only change. There was a new “foreign producer” segment and Matty McLean is no longer on weather duty, with the forecasts now read by Indira at the end of the news bulletin. This means Matty’s (my) beloved weather broom is out in the cold, shunned from this new world without explanation or farewell. This set is too cool to use a broom handle to point out Kurow or Mangawhai on the weather map. A broom can never compete with this sort of snazzy shit.

It was a lot, even at the late hour of 9am. “We know this is a sensory overload,” Jenny-May said. “Especially if you’ve been smoking a reefer, ladies and gentlemen,” John piped up. Had I been smoking a reefer? The only thing I was sure of was that the tui hadn’t stopped eyeballing me for three hours. I come in peace, big bird, I only want to know the weather in Timaru.

Hell of a way to start the year. The ball’s in your court, The AM Show.

Breakfast screens on TVNZ 1 every weekday morning from 6am.

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