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Image by Archi Banal
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Pop CultureSeptember 6, 2023

Did The Project just deliver the best local TV blooper of all time?

Image by Archi Banal
Image by Archi Banal

A frame-by-frame analysis of The Project NZ’s outstanding ‘come box’ debacle.

Here in Aotearoa, we pride ourselves on cracking up at a filthy live slip-up. Just this year we’ve seen parliament erupt in laughter at Nicola Willis saying “how big is his hole” during Question Time, Melissa Chan-Green interrupted by an omniscient voice talking about “enlarged prostates” and “tight urine channels” and, in a more scatological entry, a giant wētā doing “a massive crap” during a breakfast television live cross. 

And that’s before we get into presenters accidentally saying “fuck” on air, Chris Hipkins telling us “spread your legs”, and weatherman Jim Hickey’s forecast of “come burgers” approaching. But this week, The Project NZ delivered a moment so unexpected, so outrageously long and so damn funny that it may have just taken the top spot in the pantheon. As captured by newshound and blooper extraordinaire Dan News, here is a frame-by-frame analysis of what happened. 

0.01: Everything is normal and well on The Project NZ, which is about to deliver some genuinely great news. “Longtime fans of Cadbury Roses chocolates will be saying ‘thank you very much’ with the return of three original flavours,” Kanoa Lloyd begins, nailing the wry nod to the iconic New Zealand jingle. Co-host Paddy Gower smiles and nods affirmingly, everything is fine. 

0.10: We cut away from the studio to compelling footage of a good old box of Cadbury Roses being opened. “After getting ditched back in 2018,” Lloyd continues over the footage. “Strawberry creme, orange creme and peppermint creme are making a come box-” she stops herself, and then mystifyingly repeats it once more. “Come box?!?!” she giggles, begging herself for answers live on television. “Comeback is the term, I believe,” assists Guy Williams. 

On screen, the Roses have been spilled out of their come box. Come box. Cum box? However you want to spell it, it can only mean one thing, and that’s a rude thing. 

0.23: “It’s all good,” says Gower, as the camera cuts back to the studio. Lloyd covers her eyes, willing the come box to become the go box. “It’s not a nightmare,” says Gower. “We’re actually on live TV, this is actually real.” Lloyd’s hands stay firmly over her eyes. 

0.30: The camera cuts to a wide shot to reveal the panel in a state of come box-based delirium. Guy Williams is leaning back in his chair holding loose leaves of paper that appear to have nothing on them, revelling in the chaos. Antonia Prebble has her head bowed and is tittering politely like someone who just caught a glimpse of Rowan Atkinson at a royal engagement. 

0.32: Back to the two shot now and all bets are off. Lloyd has removed her hands from her eyes and is crying with laughter. “Iiffullyydreee” she squeals indecipherably, before mouthing “I can’t talk” and wiping tears away. Come box fever has caught on, and Gower is about to burst through a door in The Shining hotel. 

0.34: After his hard-hitting investigative work corroborating that they were not, in fact, in a nightmare, Gower has come down with a serious case of the sillies and gently lowers his head to the desk in a show of reverence to the “come box” gods. 

0.37: The camera cuts to a solo shot of Guy Williams. “The show is going well,” he bellows, just as Gower also bellows “I’ll take over!” off screen.

0.44: Back to the two shot, Lloyd has bowed her head to the desk in full surrender, her body now completely still. Antonia Prebble does a crisp single clap and then clasps her hands together in prayer as Paddy Gower: On Chocolates feebly tries to get the come box back on track.

0.46: “So um, so yeah, so, Roses chocolates,” he stumbles. “It’s a Kiwi tradition…” Lloyd rises from her “come box” coma once more, gasping for air and still crying with laughter. 

0.49: The camera cuts back to a single on Guy Williams. “You know things are going bad when the people in the production office cut to me to steady the ship,” he says, still waving his paper around. “I’m not going to steady the ship, if anything I’m going to put flames on the fire.” Out of shot, Lloyd releases a guttural noise akin to a bear who has just lost Trade Me auction. 

1.01: “I feel terrible,” she laments, hands in prayer. “Like I said, it’s not a dream,” says Gower, now fanning himself with loose leaf paper. Lloyd attempts to get on track, but her voice is strained, her eyes still weepy, her entire being brimming with a thousand unlaughed laughs. 

1.09: “There’s old chocolates that they kicked out of the chocolate box in 2018, are coming back,” she wheezes, not entirely making sense. “Guy! Say something funny about it!” 

1.16: “I’ve got nothing funny to say,” Guy Williams replies, suddenly sounding more like Peter Williams. “I don’t like Roses, I think they are gross. And Kanoa, you’re fine, everyone makes mistakes, it’s all good mate.” 

1.25: Lloyd fans herself with one hand, in desperate need of either a Westpac Rescue Chopper or a box of Roses and a lie down. “I thought you were going to say that I was fired and I was like ‘well that happened quickly’.” Antonia Prebble chortles classily (hands still clasped), the studio erupts with laughter once more, and Aotearoa is forever changed in just a minute and a half. I think I speak for all of us when I say: thank you very much for this kind donation to the culture.

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