Jesse Mulligan launches his path to hotness, live on TV, with a carrot.
Jesse Mulligan launches his path to hotness, live on TV, with a carrot.

Pop CultureJanuary 21, 2020

A new year on NZ TV: Jesse Mulligan has a carrot and he’s on a ‘path to hotness’

Jesse Mulligan launches his path to hotness, live on TV, with a carrot.
Jesse Mulligan launches his path to hotness, live on TV, with a carrot.

On the 20th day of 2020, New Zealand’s current affairs shows finally came back to work. Or did they? Tara Ward tuned in to the first episodes of Breakfast, The AM Show, The Project NZ and Seven Sharp to find out just what the New Year would bring.


Look at John and how happy he is!

The Breakfast team were bloody stoked to be back. The sultry sounds of “Reunited” wafted through the studio as our four news BFFs bounced their way past 6am, swapping holiday goss like they weren’t even broadcasting live to the nation.

“I’m gonna feel good until at least Tuesday!” a well-rested John Campbell promised, punching the air in sweet anticipation. “Woo! I’m excited!” shouted a supportive Matty McLean. There was a long awkward pause as the four presenters wondered how excited they could actually be at 6am on a Monday, but then Matty’s weather clicker shat itself, and all was well again.

“We’re reunited with your crappy clicker!” JC shouted. My kingdom for some AA batteries, Matty’s face seemed to say, but, look, it’s summer. It’s hot. The finer details aren’t important.

Matty and his clicker.

Praise be the Breakfast crew were having a great time, because the news is an absolute state right now. Between the Australian bushfires, simmering tensions in the Middle East and Megxit, Breakfast clutched at every available spark of joy.

“I was talking to a guest about Yorkshire Puddings,” JC explained after going AWOL during the 7am news, while viewers sent in photos of happy moments, like Steve having a birthday and Pam catching her first fish.

Hayley reminisced about the first time she caught a fish. “It was my best friend,” she said, before admitting she dropped it in a creek on the way to fillet it. “You were about to fillet your best friend? Holy moly,” JC chortled. Holy moly, indeed.

The AM Show

No crappy clicker to be seen!

No crappy clickers here, just a tanned and chill Mark Richardson suggesting everyone under 21 should be microchipped. Sure, why not. There were stories about Megxit (they want cake, they must eat it), teenagers using technology (they’re up all night) and the Australian bushfires (they’ll help our economy). But, above all, the AM team wanted us to feel better. They didn’t need us stressing out in 2020. That’s right, Mark Richardson wants us to be happy.

New Year’s resolutions were the topic du jour, with guest Trudi Nelson advising that the best way to avoid flunking a resolution is not to make them in the first place, or at least wait until February. Someone could have warned us in December 2019, but to paraphrase Tony Robbins, your life is your own, nobody cares what dumb idea you ended up doing for three-and-a-half hours on January 1 anyway.

Spare a thought for the poor intern who had to print this out for Trudi.

“Maybe you can photocopy that and send it to the Labour Party,” Mark suggested when Trudi unfurled her favourite Tony Robbins quote, hoping to inspire The AM Show with thousands of luminous spheres of wisdom. It worked a treat, with Mark admitting that he likes to lie in bed at night and think about everything he’s going to do the next day. “That’s romantic,” said Duncan, whose resolution was to catch a fish. Conference call with Hayley Holt and Pam, ASAP.

Then Trudi suggested we all Google “12 Things Happy People Do Differently”, which I did, and “Photocopy Inspirational Quotes and Send Them to the Government” was definitely #7. Felt immediately happier. Amazing.

The Project NZ

The Project is back plus a carrot.

The Project NZ returned with a new segment called “The Jesse Mulligan Path to Hotness”, which was definitely not weird. “Mike McRoberts isn’t the only eye candy on this two bit, up-for-sale, pick-up-only TV network,” Jesse said, promising us a full body transformation from his wrists to his face, all before our very eyes. He even whipped out Exhibit A, a carrot. What would Tony Robbins say about this carrot, la belle carotte? It’s a gift. It’s a journey. It’s a carrot. No, we’re not sure, either.

Also on The Project: Guy Williams, a cat video, interviews with the cast of Bombshell, a community hero, and Kanoa’s valiant quest to rid beaches of all forms of music. They packed a shitload into 30 minutes, but nothing spoke to me more than Jesse Mulligan waggling a carrot around on live TV while defending the state of his wrists. Magnifique.

Seven Sharp

Baz and Wells had a rough summer.

Speaking of full body transformations, a long hot summer saw Hilz Baz and Jeremy Wells transform themselves into a moist motorbike cake topped with two sugar paste motorcyclists. No sign of the actual return of Seven Sharp yet, but everyone loves a tense “sponge cake sliding uncontrollably around the boot of a taxi” situation. Extreme Cake Makers, you were delicious.

Keep going!