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Boyd in spa with blunt
Boyd in spa with blunt

Pop CultureDecember 17, 2020

Thoughts I had while watching the 2020 Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger

Boyd in spa with blunt
Boyd in spa with blunt

After a quarter of a century of loyal fandom, Jane Yee took a three-year hiatus from Shortland Street. Tonight she revisited Ferndale for the dramatic annual Christmas cliffhanger.

Full disclosure, I’ve been off the Shorty wagon for about three years, save a couple of months during the first lockdown in which I brought myself up to speed in time to enjoy this saucy socially distanced postcoital situation between Marty and Dawn.

Going the distance

God knows we all needed some more drama in our lives after the clumsy mare that has been two thousand and Covid, so having not checked into Ferndale for more than six months, it was with much excitement and an instant coffee that I sat down for this glorious TV hour of joy, merriment and certain death.

Below are thoughts I had while watching the hallowed tradition that is the Shorty Christmas cliffy.

Shortland Street writers bloody love a bent cop.

I know this to be true even though I can’t recall a single other storyline involving police-turned-bad (I also completely forgot that Rachel McKenna was found to have nits at a fancy hair salon, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen). Brady Nash is the latest overzealous officer to hit Ferndale and he’s our villain of this year’s cliffhanger. More importantly, he’s played by Bede Skinner who once hosted a local version of Top of the Pops, narrowly missed out on the Cleo Bachelor of the Year title way back when, and is now a real-life pharmacist. What a wonderful CV, quite frankly.

Your script will be ready in five minutes!

The wardrobe department deserves an award for accurately depicting Chris Warner as a man on the edge. 

Not just the coastal edge (gorgeous digs by the way) but also the psychological edge. I guess being haunted by the moustachioed ghost of your recently departed son will do that to you.

It’s all extremely upsetting and it’s reasonable to expect someone experiencing such trauma to let themselves go a bit. At a glance Chris still appears the picture of coiffed perfection, but take a closer look and you’ll see he is spiralling. He’s wearing a button-down shirt that is NOT buttoned down for crying out loud!

Falling apart at the collar

More disturbingly, he is padding around in bare feet. If ever there was a sign that the stalwart leader of New Zealand’s largest fictional hospital was losing the plot it’s the vision of his trust-fund toes casually catching the breeze when, by rights, they should be tucked up safe inside sockettes within a pair of gently worn Rodd & Gunn boat shoes.

Barefoot and poignant

Frank does not know how to hold a cellphone

Back to millennial school for you

But he does have lovely, lovely eyes

Why head to the ocean when you can drown in these baby blues?

Where the fuck is Harry Warner in all this? 

His brother is dead. His dad is reeling. And Harry is where, exactly? While researching for this investigative piece I found out that during the course of his life in Ferndale, Harry has been kidnapped no fewer than three times by three different people (four if you include the time his own mother made off with him). 

I’m sure a reasonable explanation has been given for Harry’s absence during this difficult time, but as I have watched the cliffhanger out of context, I am forced to assume he has been kidnapped for a fifth time. Please tell me that is not your pitiful excuse for missing your father’s breakdown!


Giving your SO a voucher for Christmas is a dick move

Nicole and Maeve are still basking in the glow of newlywed bliss, and their first Christmas together should be piled high with sentimental gifts that reflect the joys of unconditional love. The voucher that Nicole bestows on Maeve isn’t even for a lovely massage or something indulgent like that, it’s for her to “find something you’ll actually like”, so I presume she handed her a Farmers gift card. Step up your game Nic, Theo’s been to Michael Hill and she’s coming for your woman.

shortland street cliffhanger
Wife-stealing 101

Where in the world is Carmen Roberts? 

I’ve asked myself that very question many a time since she passed away from a brain haemorrhage in the 1995 cliffhanger, I assumed buried or cremated, but I never imagined the answer would in fact be “reincarnated as a beautiful widow called Roslynn who has the hots for Leanne”. I mean, if I were a beautiful widow I’d absolutely be all in on Leanne, so that part is entirely believable. However, Theresa Healy is, and forever will be, Carmen Roberts. Returning to Shortland Street is far from resting in peace but it at least gives me hope that we might one day see the return of Luke Durville as, I dunno, a bent cop?

Carmen pretending to be Not-Carmen while pashing Leanne

Shortland Street is as ballsy as all hell

2020 has taken its toll on the Shortland Street writers’ room. There’s a strong idgaf vibe leaking onto our screens and I am absolutely here for it. Not only are they passing off beloved old characters as entirely new ones, they’re also popping F-bombs into the lines of tiny children and expecting us to believe eight-week-old smooth-haired puppies have just popped out of the womb of a labradoodle.

This is a newborn labradoodle puppy
This is not a newborn labradoodle puppy

Christmas Day is not for spending with colleagues

No offence Team Spinoff, but come Christmas Day I will probably not be hanging out with you guys at the cafe downstairs just waiting for someone to die of a heart attack. Nor will I be sitting in a spa pool sparking up a joint with you while our children are kidnapped. Actually, that doesn’t sound altogether horrible.

Boyd having an absolutely normal one with his colleagues

NZTA should license Desi’s festive spiral for their new drink-drive campaign

No more beersies for me thankyouverymuch.

Where’s that drink taking you, Desdamona?

Wilder is a miniature version of the lead singer from The Tutts

Remember that massive tune K that reached number 19 on the NZ singles chart and was the theme tune for C4? Remember the mop-haired singer Scott Allen? While he may not be dead, The Tutts are long gone, and because being reborn for a telly show is the new cool (see: Carmen Roberts), The Tutts frontman has come back as a child actor playing Wilder Mullens.

Wild house party
Wilder work party

Is Chris Warner definitely dead?

He’s definitely been shot and there’s definitely blood dripping from his mouth, so I have good reason to believe he may be dead, but is he definitely dead?

shortland street cliffhanger
The ghost of Chris Warner passed?

The passing of Chris Warner would certainly be a monumental event in the soap’s history and surely deserving of the lead in to the final credits, but then Shorty threw us a curveball. The closing scene isn’t of Chris’s crumpled (dead?) body, but instead of Boyd chasing Eve’s car while she makes off with the estranged couple’s twins Romulus and Remus. And probably Harry Warner.

Mary Poppins as I live and breathe

Honestly, this is an absolute non-event to end on. Finding childcare at Christmas is a nightmare, enjoy the break Boyd, get back in the spa and enjoy that naughty blunt!

shortland street screengrab
Call the bent cops!
Keep going!