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The Selection: the most high-octane show on telly.
The Selection: the most high-octane show on telly.

Pop CultureMay 29, 2023

Mike Puru’s new live shopping show is absolutely hectic

The Selection: the most high-octane show on telly.
The Selection: the most high-octane show on telly.

NZME’s wild live shopping show is the perfect vehicle for New Zealand’s chattiest man, writes Alex Casey. 

Mike Puru is proudly presenting a royal blue jug emblazoned with lemons and peaches. “Keri Blue: it is pre-loved but I think it is straight out of the box, in all honesty,” he gushes, pushing the jug gently towards the close-up camera. “Keri Blue, it’s just fantastic,” his co-host Jess Boell agrees, “and it’s only $15.” Puru looks stunned. “Get out of town.” Boell doesn’t miss a beat. “No. I’m here. I’m in town, and I’ll be here till 1pm.” 

This may come as a surprise, but the most high-octane and hilarious half hour of local television isn’t even on television at all. It’s called The Selection Live Shopping, a live broadcast on the NZ Herald every Tuesday at 12.30pm that rivals Get Krack!n in both speed and surreality. Billed as “an immersive new shopping experience” and created in partnership with The Warehouse Group, the show truly makes good on its promise to take online shopping to “a whole new level”. 

Mike Puru, Jess Boell and some feel-good captions

On the day that I watch, The Selection is hawking goods on behalf of the SPCA Op Shop’s online store, which means the bargains include everything from heeled snakeskin boots to an unopened Lord of the Rings jigsaw puzzle. At the helm of it all is Jess Boell and a beaming Mike Puru, former Bachelor NZ host, bad McChicken survivor and Slap See sunglasses salesman, both attempting to showcase as many products as possible in the 30 minute timeframe.

The first port of call is crockery. There’s the aforementioned get-out-of-town Keri Blue jug, quickly followed by a quartet of Crown Lynn mugs. “I have these on the mantel,” discloses Puru. “Sometimes you find buttons and all sorts of things to hide in there.” What!!! Why is Mike Puru sheepishly hiding buttons on his mantel?! No time for answers. “$32 for four!!!” Puru hollers into the void. “There’s only one of everything here, so you have to be fast!!!” 

Crockery, crockery everywhere

Alongside the video, the live chat is popping off. “Doing it for the dogs” says dezley. “Me too,” says Charchey. “Same” chimes broski. Next up are some Japanese vases, 24k silver and gold etchings, two for $80. “Perfect for the samurai in your life,” says Boell. “Everyones got a samurai,” nods Puru. No need to elaborate on that, it’s time to move onto clothing, including a faux fur jacket, a “frou-frou” skirt and a Dick Frizell “Mickey to Tiki” T-shirt!!!

“It’s absolutely iconic, isn’t it?” says Boell. “Put it on your wall and it is like you’ve got a gallery,” adds Puru. “And if you’ve got a pair of jeans, put this on and you are ready to go.”

The likes are racking up in the hundreds and the live chat is still cranking. The time is right to drop exuberant footwear options. “These are a party in a shoe right here!” exclaims Boell, holding up a pair of clear plastic wedges filled with glittery confetti. “Sadly there’s only one size, everyone in the studio wants one.” Puru has a more practical angle. “Great for concerts,” he muses. “You’d look good and you’d finally be able to see everything.” 

Boell shakes the shoe vigorously. The glitter doesn’t seem to do anything but I am utterly entranced. “There’s your party! There’s a party in your sole!” With that kind of luxury wordplay, the $80 price tag is looking more and more reasonable. No time to think, must move on! Handbags!!! “If you need a red handbag right now then get online, click, click, click and tell us that you bought it.” Maybe… I… need a red handbag? Or what about a vintage handtooled leather purse? 

“You can see the craftsmanship in that,” says a breathless Puru, tracing the patterns with his fingers. “It looks like somebody who was really good at woodwork has taken that craft and then put it into leathering.” I imagine myself ripping my Mickey to Tiki shirt off the wall, throwing on my glittery shoes with my artisanally whittled bag and heading out to tower over the crowds at the next local concert. But wait – there’s more – a tie pin. A nine carat GOLD tie pin. 

Puru cradles the tie pin in his palm. “If you know someone that rocks the gold tie pins then this is their chance to get it.” He pulls a blue plaid shirt off the rack and holds it up against the tie pin. “Now that is the sign of a classy operator.” 

A classy operator combo

The final flurry is “entertainment” items – a Beatles vinyl (“time for rock and roll”), a Lord of the Rings puzzle (“the fans will love this”) and a Jenga set (“hours of fun”). I’m exhausted. I’m ravenous for bargains. I’m completely under Puru and Boell’s spell. No wonder Suzanne Paul is quadrupling down on her selling power with this kind of energy out there in the ether. “Get online, have a look, buy, buy, buy, buy now, incredible prices!!” 

The “likes” are now topping 600, 10 random people in the chat have won a $50 SPCA Op Shop voucher and Boell is suggesting you could even leave the SPCA a donation in your will. Life. Death. Money. Shopping. Before they say goodbye, Puru has surreptitiously slipped the nine carat gold bejewelled tie pin onto his own shirt. “You probably need a tie with that tie pin,” laughs Boell, “but that’s a lesson for next week.”

I, for one, will be watching with bated breath.

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