To many, Drew’s Christmas Holiday was a light-hearted, comedy filler to keep thirsty Shortland Street fans satiated during the long summer hiatus. To others, it was a terrifying descent into the empty soul of a confused and lonely man. Tara Ward finds out what really went on.
All I know for sure about Drew’s Christmas Holiday is “it’s just a vulva, like any other” was the last sentence I ever expected to hear coming from the leafy idylls of Ferndale’s back gardens.
The shout out to Minerva’s nether regions was just one of the many bonkers moments that made up the delightfully batshit Drew’s Christmas Holiday. Twice a week for the past month, new episodes of the Shortland Street summer special dropped on TVNZ On Demand. It delivered everything we’d expect from a Shortland Street summer holiday, as well as some classic New Zealand television moments, the likes of which we’ll never see again.
Each episode lasted only a few minutes, but the content they packed into those precious seconds was incredible. There were feral possums and pervy neighbours. There was rampant diarrhoea, bizarre dream sequences, and full body massages in the kitchen. Boyd barbequed in the nude, Drew’s neighbour accused him of crapping in her backyard, and Minerva burned sage in the lounge while Boyd howled like a wolf.
There was more drama than the time TK pretended to be a robot, more tension than when Murray burnt his cheese rolls. There was romance and bromance, spooning and sticky date pudding. And a vulva, like any other. Happy holidays, Aotearoa.
It was all Boyd’s fault. Hewas tasked with cheering up his BFF with the staycation of Drew’s dreams, one that would turn Drew from a cold mince pie of misery to a shiny bauble of happiness. It began innocently enough with cocktails in the garden, but took a turn when Drew’s nudist mother Minerva arrived with her ex-crim boyfriend Bear in tow. The hostility was palpable. Bear stole Drew’s sticky date pudding in prison, so the pain cut deep.
For eight speedy episodes, we followed Drew through the many twists and turns of his yuletide journey of self-discovery. Boyd was the true hero of the series, releasing his inner spirit animal and embracing the wolf within. I loved him as much as I loved the hand-held camera work, which shook me like I was already onto my third Christmas cask of Blenheimer.
I mean, what are holidays for, if not watching a grown man being attacked by a gang of rogue possums while his mate forms an alarming attachment to a stuffed toy walrus named Sailor?
Sun’s out, bums out, because Drew’s Christmas was all about love. Love for your vulva, your stuffed walrus, and your fellow criminal. By the series end, the sweet honey glaze of the festive season had seeped into every one of Drew’s miserable pores, and transformed him into a deliciously tender mess.
He made peace with Bear, helped a runaway teen and confronted his abandonment issues. He may have become more sunburned as the show progressed, but Drew giving his sticky date pudding to his mother’s boyfriend was a true Christmas miracle.
Another Christmas miracle was two of the best cliffhangers we’ll ever see on Shortland Street. The first was whether Drew’s beloved walrus would be used to mop up beer, the other climaxed with the immortal words “I need to take a dump”. I am the Walrus, Drew is the Egg Man. Never change, Shortland Street.
Drew’s Christmas Holiday ended the way all good family holidays end, with a chronic dose of the shits. The poisonous Christmas ham took them down, but not before a family group hug and some quality bonding over Christmas pudding. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was a Christmas like no other. Ding dong merrily on high, happy holidays Shortland Street.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.