With all due respect to everything New Zealanders have achieved in art and commerce, no serious person disputes Shortland Street’s position as this country’s best ‘thing’. It’s older than Lorde, weirder than the Wizard of Christchurch and more ripped than Ma’a Nonu. It exists in this strange microclimate where there is only one bar and two cafés, where young people always grow up to be an ambo or an orderly, where one in ten medical professionals will die tragically each year. It’s a magical, murderous place, and almost certainly the best daily soap made anywhere in the world.
The greatest thing to happen to Ferndale this year has been Shorty St Scandal, a YouTube highlights package created and presented by James Mustapic, who has arguably the best collection of sweaters in Dunedin. He creates sub-five minute clip-and-commentary compilations, delivered from what looks like his Mum’s formal lounge (the one the kids aren’t allowed in), dissecting the week’s events in an agitated, investigative style. He understands that beneath the big storylines lurk dozens of small, ludicrous moments which thrive under his quizzical eye. Here’s episode 12, chronicling the end of an old, contrived affair, some great Chris Warner-deals-with-women-and-sighs action and throws back to that time Maya Jeffries completely lost her mind. It’s wonderful.
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The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.