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Breakfast feature

Pop CultureAugust 19, 2021

Breakfast’s shambolic weather updates are the sunshine we need right now

Breakfast feature

Is the news bringing you down? Tune into TVNZ 1’s Breakfast madcap weather reports for some light relief. 

On the second morning of lockdown, Breakfast beamed through the screen like a surprising ray of sunshine. “We hope you are safe, warm and doing well,” presenter Indira Stewart said, sitting two metres apart from colleagues John Campbell and Melissa Stokes. “We’re not pretending this isn’t big, and we’re not pretending there isn’t a lot of road to be travelled to get to the other side of this,” John told us, as an enormous graphic of a Covid-19 molecule floated silently on the screen behind him. “But we’re here, we’re together…and other inspirational words.” 

Words are nice, but nothing was more inspirational than this morning’s Breakfast weather updates. The Breakfast crew were split into two rotating teams for lockdown, which means weather presenter Matty McLean wasn’t on his usual duties. It was up to Melissa, Indira and John to carry the weight of the weather, because we need to know if it’s going to rain while we stay inside the house.  

What followed was a series of weather updates like no other. After the 6am news, a storm of chaos blew through the TVNZ studio and the script flew out the window. “We are elevating the weather to a fine art,” John said, punching his arm into the air in anticipation of delivering some extraordinary forecasts during these uncertain times. We’re a team of five million, and the Breakfast team was doing their part. 

Old news, new news, get thee to a weather map. “The frost is the thing that looks like a whirling spider web!” John began, deciphering the fancy symbols on the screen and hitting his stride as the first forecast moved down the North Island. “Go the Hurricanes! That’s the rugby team, not the weather,” he clarified, before making a succinct summary of South Island conditions. “It’s not terrible, but a bit ‘ave’. I got that from (1News weatherman) Dan Corbett: a bit ave.” 

Everything’s a bit ave at the moment, but Breakfast’s hectic weather reports were welcome moments of light relief during a heavy news day. There were also serious Covid-19 interviews with Sean Hendy and Ashley Bloomfield, and important items on testing wastewater and delaying changes to the OCR. But then, every half hour, there was the weather. Last week Matty McLean was Breakfast’s lone weather expert, but now our meteorological futures lay in the hands of three people who seemed to know little about the weather, other than that it exists.  

John began the seven o’clock update with a shout out to Russell (“named after someone named Russell!”), while Indira rapped her way down the North Island’s east coast. Wellington had sunshine and a high of 13, which pleased John no end. “People will be out in t-shirts and walk shorts, suffering from heatstroke,” he reckoned. “Pow!” The 7.30am forecast – exactly the same as every other that morning – came with some helpful Covid-19 advice: stay in your bubble, no licking, no pashing. “Taumarunui, minus one! BRRRRR!” John said. 

Breakfast was being as upbeat as possible, and asked viewers to share how to stay positive during lockdown. “If you’re baking, send us a pic,” John told us. “If it’s not legal baking, just call it banana bread.”  Indira sang her way through the eight o’clock forecast, while Melissa’s news bulletin was disrupted by a disgruntled viewer’s feedback about slow cookers. “We’re not even talking about slow cookers,” Melissa said.  

The slow cooker feedback was intended for The AM Show, but Breakfast embraced it. John reckoned slow cookers are no good, a contentious opinion on an already contentious day, while Indira recommended getting an air fryer instead. Viewer Gary emailed to say he left his wife because she cooked everything in the slow cooker. “I think there’s other issues there,” John suggested, as the giant Covid-19 molecule behind him bobbed in agreement. 

By 8.30am, John couldn’t believe they had to do the weather again and Melissa summarised the whole situation with the ancient meteorological term “sunny sunny, rainy rainy”. Matty McLean had had enough and messaged his colleagues to convey his disappointment. “Shut up, Matty,” John said, as the team moved on to interview a Gisborne woman famous for wearing an inflatable unicorn suit during lockdown. 

It was the ideal end to an uncertain morning. The extreme atmospheric pressure of life had been released by a slow cooker, an inflatable unicorn and a trio of journalists trying to make us feel better about everything. Can you cook banana bread in a slow cooker? Inspirational, indeed.

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