TelevisionMade possible by

The Spinoff’s TV Week: Unlikely Friendships, Explosive Love Bombs and Steamy Sauna Satire

Bringing together the best television moments of the week, including Come Dine With Me‘s beautiful bromance, Campbell’s low-key cameo and Newsworthy‘s sauna dramas.

1. Campbell Goes Wild on The Crowd Goes Wild

A marvellous event happened in a very low key way on Wednesday night – John Campbell returned to our screens at 7pm. Just on a different channel, and without a tie. Taking the Crowd Goes Wild Desk by storm, he beamed around the room looking slightly dazed. Once the gentle applause and cameraman cheers subsided, he served up some heavy 7pm truths:

John Campbell owns The Crowd Goes Wild

A video posted by The Spinoff (@thespinofftv) on

“Thanks for having me on your show, I wasn’t doing much” he says sheepishly. John immediately sidestepped the “Hurricanes expert” role he was roped in for, and went straight for the old caring jugular. He told Hayley and Andrew that they need a counsellor, noting that they don’t talk between the ad breaks. We left John playing a paper trumpet as the CGW credits rolled, it was an all-too brief but absolutely joyous return. / AC

2. Newsworthy’s Sauna Turns Up the Political Heat

Newsworthy launched at probably the worst possible time to debut a news product in TV3 history: in the midst of the moronic post-Campbell Live news boycott. So many people missed the birth of what became the best, and certainly most ridiculous, political scandal of the year to date. Colin Craig’s ‘sauna session’ with David Farrier was good TV, but the aftermath was even better, leading directly to the very public meltdown of the Conservative Party. The unfortunate by-product is that by coming out of the gate so strong, every smart pol (and almost all the dumb ones, too) is refusing to enter the sauna for follow-ups – a situation parodied on Jono and Ben and brilliantly satirised by Steve Braunias. / DG

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.12.07 am

3. An Iconic Friendship Blooms on Come Dine With Me NZ

History will remember the iconic onscreen friendships that defined an era. Thelma and Louise. Milo and Otis. Eds and Khalid. Come Dine With Me produced one of the best combinations yet this week, chucking together an “inspiring actress”, a Pakistani man dipping his toes in NZ culture, a devout vegan, a food snob and Eds. What is Eds? Who is Eds? Why has Eds not been given his own TV show yet? The young charismatic Maori performer has been electric all week, clapping like a seal whenever the food comes out and dropping the phrase “humble abode” at a genuinely unprecedented rate. When Ed met Khalid was akin to when Harry met Sally. They became an unstoppable, wig wearing force:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 10.34.28 pm

It’s combinations like Eds and Khalid that you struggle to find existing on television anywhere else. Khalid’s wide-eyed reactions held up a mirror to New Zealand culture, be it Jemima’s whipped cream shenanigans to the sort-of-racist comments from Anne-Marie. Our reflection wasn’t always pretty, despite the kooky costumes and ballet dancing. Come Dine With Me is packed full of complex layers – much like Khalid’s trifle – and I will defend it as both a TV show and an incredible social experiment to the bitter end. / AC

4. Take Me Out Elevates Dating to a Whole New Level

Take Me Out began on TV2 this week, a fast-paced, lightbulb-based dating show, hosted by world’s most Irish person Paddy McGuinness. And its bonkers. The premise is that 30 women take their illuminated podiums, and await their mystery suitor to descend in the love lift. Which, by the way, is just your absolute bog standard lift. He reveals things about himself to them, and they switch off their love light if they lose interest. The suitor demonstrates useful skills, like how to traverse a television studio and diffuse a fake heart-shaped bomb in less than 30 seconds:

Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 11.43.34 am

The women who still have their love lights glowing after all that nonsense then face a humiliating possibility: having their light unceremoniously switched off by the suitor. Once the light bulbs have been whittled down, the happy couple head out of the studio to a fictional place called the Isle of Fernando’s. With 30 women clawing for attention on stage, and one man with a powerful elevator platform, it’s a trainwreck of a premise that has to be seen to be believed. / AC

5. Save Yourself for Jane the Virgin on Prime

The plot is pure soap opera – a Latino Catholic virgin gets IVF impregnated in a calamitous hospital mixup – but please don’t let that put you off. It’s intentional, telenovela-style soapiness – replete with winningly earnest narration – and only scratched the surface of the appeal of one of the most original network comedies of recent years. The titular Jane is played with a mix of wide-eyed naïveté and pent up desire by Gina Rodriquez, with an exceptional supporting cast of characters just the right side of Wes Anderson-esque kook. The show it most resembles is Empire, though with the grandiosity inverted, and it’s excellent news that Prime is finally bringing this odd, funny, affecting genre-breaker to New Zealand later in July / DG

jane-the-virgin-gina-rodriguez

Watch this weekend:

Binge: The Good Wife on Lightbox – How to stop being the humiliated wife of a corrupt politician, and start being a kickass defense lawyer 101

Watch: Sexy Beasts, TV2 10.15pm on Friday – Like dating but hate human faces? Why not try wining and dining someone in full Birdman-style prosthetic makeup? Classic.

Movie: Apollo 13, Four 8.15pm on Saturday – Based on the true events of the tumultuous moon mission, things go to hell in space. Not only stars Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon, but is a good way to confuse Colin Craig this weekend.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.