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Pop CultureSeptember 21, 2015

Television: Shortland Street Power Rankings – Groping, Good Grooming and Literal Soap

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Tara Ward ranks her favourite moments from the past week of Ferndale hijinks. This week: Rachel gets a pat on the head and Lucy and Dayna’s friendship is on the rocks after some (literally) soapy drama.

1) Rachel puts the phwoar into FWIB

Is there anything Rachel McKenna can’t do? She keeps a bunch of hopeless staff in line, runs a large hospital apparently single-handedly, and has the finest hair in television, even better than Hilary Barry’s.

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Hard to top this, and yet top it Rachel does, winning the Ferndale Business Woman of the Year award. In terms of prestige and glory, this accolade is right up there with the Nobel Peace Prize or the TV Guide Best Dressed Man award.

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Linley from the Ferndale Women in Business (FWIB, say it, it’s funny) gives Rachel the happy news. Together they seek to empower women in the male dominated business world. “Good on you for that,” says Chris, as he pats the funny little woman on the head and sends her back to the kitchen.

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As Queen of Ferndale Business, Rachel must bestow a $30,000 grant upon a young businesswoman. Both Lucy and Dayna worship at the throne of McKenna, desperate to be the chosen one.

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And, among all this, Rachel has to deal with her cranky, sexist husband the only way that works.

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2) Curtis walks away from a life of crime

Curtis skulks about the marina, seeking refuge from the temptations of rich doctors and their televisions. Alas, the Ferndale Police put Curtis’ ass behind bars, where Chris visits him in a last-ditch effort to persuade him to fight for freedom.

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The Hannahs say goodbye to Curtis, who’s likely to go down for years (about two to four weeks in soap land). They each say sorry, Curtis smiles, and they escape the guards by walking out of Austria and over the hills to Switzerland. Wait, that’s not right.

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3) Lucy revolutionizes small business one crock-pot at a time

We know Shortland Street never shies away from big storylines. This week: Lucy makes soap. That’s right. Four whole episodes were dedicated to Lucy’s new business venture: green soap.

Crisis! Lucy has to go to work AND stir her soap. What to do?

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Have slow cooker, will travel. Who knew you made soap in a slow cooker? It probably tastes better than most of the meals I make in mine.

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Dayna does us all a favour by accidentally ruining the soap mix. “Destroy my soap, destroy our friendship,” Lucy screams, accusing Dayna of sabotage to win the FWIB award. Obviously ‘ruined my soap’ rates higher than ‘slept with my ex’ on the Stop Being Friends-ometer.

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When neither woman wins the business grant, Dayna offers to help Lucy’s business. “I believe in you, and I always have,” she says, as together they go forth to make Ferndale a cleaner, more odoriferous place.

4) Victoria struggles her way through everything

While Rachel is busy empowering the women of Ferndale, Victoria is trapped in a gender power play between a gropy patient with a dog-bitten groin, a misled supervisor, and a surgeon’s scapel.

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When a patient sexually harrasses Victoria, she refuses to complain to Chris. She worries that being a victim will prevent her from progressing in the male dominated world of surgery, but her troubled attitude makes Chris take her off the job.

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“You’re so sexist and misogynistic!” she shouts. “You can go off crying to Rachel now,” sneers Chris, jowls trembling in rage. “You can’t say I’m like that!” says Victoria, as she runs off, crying, to Rachel.

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“I’m a surgeon, not a data entry robot,” moans Victoria, as she spirals down the slippery slope of misery towards a permanent state of wretchedness. Don’t worry, Tor: if the typing gets too much, Lucy has some soap that needs stirring in Cubicle 3.

5) Michael steps up to play with the big kids

Oh dear, Michael’s back as a veritable Oliver Twist. Desperate to be part of the cool kid’s gang, this annoying little imp starts pocketing peppermint slice from the hospital café. Somebody alert security!

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I’m not entirely sure Oliver Twist ever put the Artful Dodger in a body bag as part of a hilarious prank (the novel Is much the poorer for it, tbh) but if he had, this is what it would look like.

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6) An exhausted Drew risks the future of Ferndale business as we know it

Our second-favourite chauvinist was burning both ends this week. Don’t panic, ladies: not even bone shattering fatigue or a daggy surgical cap can stop Dr Drew saving the world, one eyelid lift at a time.

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Or can it? When Linley from FWIB pops by for a wee bit of liposuction, an exhausted Drew struggles to remain focused. Alas, Linley’s love of liposuction looks likely to lead to life-threatening lunacy. Linley, we hardly knew you!

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They say soap is to the body what laughter is to the soul, but will anyone at Shortland Street every laugh again? Will Linley live to chair another FWIB meeting? Will Michael work up to stealing a banana muffin? But most importantly: will Drew ever find a surgical cap that really brings out his tones and highlights?

Click here to watch Shortland Street on TVNZ Ondemand

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