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Pop CultureDecember 20, 2017

Counting down the top 10 local TV moments of the year


Alex Casey and Calum Henderson relive the top 10 most electric, shambolic and memorable New Zealand television moments of 2017. 

10) When Wolf met Cheryl

He was just a boy in a leather jacket, standing in front of a girl, asking her to let him steal a fistful of cigarettes. Episode four of Westside season three took us back to the meet-cute that brought together teenage Cheryl and Wolf, New Zealand TV’s second-most iconic duo behind Jase and Thingee. / Alex Casey

9) Lorde & Jacinda & Paula

We witnessed some unholy kind of pop culture history in November as our biggest pop star, our Prime Minister, and Tom Sainsbury dressed as Paula Bennett shared the stage at the VNZMAs. “I am so happy to have such an articulate, exciting, young beautiful leader in our country” said Lorde, ignoring Paula completely. / AC

8) If it’s not gay, it’s not gay

The Rainbow Youth ad went viral in October for combating homophobia with nothing more than a bunch of blokes, a farmyard and a dropped pie. “That’s gay,” says one farmer, pejoratively. “It’s deeply disappointing, but it’s not gay,” scorns his mate across the fence. Just like that, we got both the perfect comeback for encountering bigots over the holiday season (not to mention everyday life), and gruff Kiwi blokes in flannel talking about homosexuality. A win-win. / AC

7) Jono breaks down on Jono and Ben

Back in March when Jono and Ben was still broadcast live, Jono Pryor broke down in the closing moments of the show about his friend who he had recently lost to suicide. “No one thinks less of you for taking medicine and no one thinks less of you for dealing with a mental illness. Just talk about it.” Through tears, Jono brought mental health into hundreds and thousands of Kiwi homes in a raw and organic way that only live TV could deliver. / AC

6) Decision day LIVE

October 19, 2017 will be remembered as a landmark day for live television in New Zealand, when Winston Peters’ announced his decision to go into coalition with Labour, making Jacinda Ardern the new Prime Minister. Never forget the sublime farce of the first act, as Newshub political reporter Lloyd Burr juggled three different parliamentary lifts in a vigilant attempt to nab the man of the moment. The denouement, Mike Hosking’s face wrought with disappointment on Seven Sharp, tied it all up perfectly. / Calum Henderson

5) Kanoa Lloyd owns the old white men

2017 has seen some truly dire opinions voiced on the place of te reo Māori in daily New Zealand life – specifically on radio and TV. “Are we really still talking about this?” asked The Project’s Kanoa Lloyd, an unrepentant user of te reo dating back to her Newshub weather days, in one of the show’s most memorable rants of the year. This one was directed at outspoken opponents like Don Brash, Sir William Gallagher and Dunedin fishing writer Dave Witherow: “Sorry the world is moving too fast for you.” / CH

4) The night The Block NZ shat itself

With the 2016 winners making $380,000 and the Auckland housing market laughing loudly at anyone who isn’t a zillionaire, the nation was left equal parts aghast and gleeful when The Block NZ live auctions fell apart this year. Ling and Zing made a measly $1000, Andy and Nate passed in under reserve, and everyone involved looked like they were going to be sick. Stace and Yanita thought they had scraped a win with a $25,000 profit, before Andy and Nate’s house randomly went under the hammer again and snatched them the hollowest of victories. / CH

3) The MAFSNZ dinner party from hell

If Married at First Sight was a slow-moving train wreck, then the dinner party scene in week six captured the exact moment the flaming carriages skidded into a nearby stack of portaloos. You had wine-soaked Ben yelling “SHUT IT” over the table at Haydn. You had Vicky holding a G8 summit with her cronies in a toilet stall. Production had to get involved before a fight broke out, and the nation was still none the wiser as to what the conflict was really even about. / AC

2) Jacinda Ardern points at Mark Richardson

“You” said Jacinda Ardern, addressing Mark Richardson on The AM Show after his sexist rant about women having to declare their child-rearing plans to potential employers, “it is totally unacceptable in 2017 to say that women should have to answer that question in the workplace.” Amanda Gillies did a quiet golf clap, Richardson gurgled and women all over the country joined in a collective fist pump. / AC

1) Please tell me that is not your penis

How could anything this fair nation has ever produced beat a magenta-faced Chris Warner, trembling with rage as he uttered the now-immortal question, the question that launched a thousand memes, the question that made it all the way to Jimmy Kimmel. If “please tell me that is not your penis” doesn’t show the rest of the world rude, then I don’t know what does. / AC

Honourable mentions

Shortland Street marked its 25th anniversary with the eruption of a previously unmentioned local volcano and guest appearances from some of the show’s most iconic characters from years gone by.

Oh, and shout out to the Christmas cliffhanger on Monday when Ali chundered absolutely everywhere. Iconic. 

It was revealed in Thailand that The Bachelor NZ host Dominic Bowden had previously dated one of the 2017 bachelorettes Karina, one of the most New Zealand things to ever New Zealand.

New Zealander and editor Steve Newall phoned a promotional hotline for the movie The Disaster Artist and ended up talking to James Franco live on Conan. Didn’t happen here, but still good.

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