He’s back as the host of The Bachelor NZ, but are Mike Puru’s greatest TV performances hidden in plain sight over on shopping channel YesShop? Calum Henderson watches one of his hypnotic advertorial masterpieces.
If you listened carefully you could hear it in the wind at around 7:30pm on Monday night: the sound of a relieved nation sighing “thank God Mike Puru is back on TV.”
For the next two months he will act as Jordan Mauger’s loyal sherpa, guiding him to the summit of Love Mountain as the host of The Bachelor NZ. It’s by far his most high-profile gig, but the truth is there isn’t a day – or even an hour – that goes by where Mike Puru isn’t on TV.
Just flick over to Freeview channel 21 (Sky channel 26) and there he is, night and day. As a host on YesShop, one of three shopping channels on New Zealand TV, Puru’s job is to blather endlessly about any product a client wants to sell, from kitchenware and bed linen to refurbished iPhones and bluetooth speakers.
It’s a rare skill, and he is very good at it. The more you watch, the more each YesShop advertorial begins to feel like a kind of minor masterpiece. One of Puru’s best works to date is a 15 minute slot dedicated to a product called SlapSee, “the next big thing in sunglasses.”
He and co-host Marnie Oberer are joined in the YesShop studio by “SlapSee ambassador” Charley Ogilvy-Leigh, whose mum invented the game-changing glasses. “She’s got six kids, everyone’s always losing their sunglasses,” he explains. “She was buying 2 or 3 pairs a month, and she thought there must be a better way.”
There must be a better way. What she did was design a sunglass with thick, rigid ‘slap bands’ – “you know the ones they had in the 90s?” – which you can clip behind your ears to stop them from falling off, then slap them around something when you’re not wearing them so you don’t lose them. “I wish I’d had these last year,” remarks Oberer. “I lost three pairs in two weeks.”
Puru has a pair slapped around his wrist – it looks like he’s wearing some kind of home detention bracelet. He begins freestyling over the top of a promo video in which someone is wearing SlapSees while riding a horse: “If you are in equestrian or if you’re playing sport… perfect. Not only are you going to protect your eyes, you can slap them around anything.”
The hosts grow quickly fixated upon the amount of things SlapSees can be slapped around. “Charley, I bet you have seen these slapped around some unusual places,” Puru wagers. “I’ve seen them slapped around just about everything,” Charley confirms with a weird sly chuckle.
“You can slap them onto your handbag, you can slap them around your car steering wheel, you can slap them round just about anything,” raves Oberer. “Slap them onto your bridle, onto your bike, whatever you’ve got handy. It might just be your handbag,” suggests Puru.
It’s like water circling a plughole. The deeper they go, the more they begin to repeat themselves and the hypnotic SlapSee mantra: Hold Fold Slap. Eventually they break free from the constraints of everyday conversation and enter a state of pure stream-of-consciousness. It’s a free-associative freakout. “They scream attitude,” Puru enthuses. “They say hey, I’m looking after my eyes but I’m having a good time while doing it.”
The hosts find a second wind when they realise they can start going through the SlapSee range colour by colour. Take classic black – “great for tradies working on building sites,” suggests Puru. “If you’re leaning over that 4-by-2 you can bang in a nail and you won’t have to worry about losing your glasses.”
Oberer has donned a pair with mustard slap bands – “one of the top five colours from the European runways,” she claims. Puru counters by stating that “blue is one of the hottest colours of this year.” He confidently forecasts that “2016 fashion trends are moving towards blue.” But what about coral red? “People like Anne Hathaway really like coral red,” he offers, snapping a pair to his head. “Great for males, great for females…”
SlapSee ambassador Charley has been left a bemused bystander to this remarkable performance. But will anybody buy a pair of his wretched glasses? You can get three for $80 simply by calling 0800 55 22 33 or hopping on the website. SlapSees are taking off overseas. Famous people have been wearing them.
“What’s his name?” Oberer tries impatiently to jog her memory. “Redfoo,” says Puru. “That’s right, Redfoo has been seen in these, and he looked amazing.”
Click here for the rest of our coverage of The Bachelor NZ, including The Fantasy Suite podcast and Alex Casey’s weekly power rankings.
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