It’s been 12 years since Jaquie Brown’s classic comedy show ended on a cliffhanger. Devoted fan Stewart Sowman-Lund argues it’s time for a resolution.
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Jaquie Brown has escaped celebrity rehab. After plotting against fellow TV broadcaster Serita Singh, and losing her career over it, Brown has the chance to confront her. She knows Serita has been pulling the strings in the background for months. She knows she stole her idea for a TV reality show – Celebrity Talent Quest – and got it commissioned.
All that’s left for Brown to do is confront her.
Finally, the pair of sworn enemies stand face-to-face. In a shocking twist, they agree to appear together on Celebrity Talent Quest in a showdown dubbed: “The broadcasting battle of the century”. Would Jaquie finally be able to prove she was the more talented TV personality? Or would newbie Serita – played by an unhinged Madeleine Sami – be crowned the champ?
Cut to black. “To be continued” flashes on the screen. The credits roll. The theme song plays, for the last time.
The Jaquie Brown Diaries was done.
That was 12 years ago. I’ve been waiting 12 years for a resolution.
The Jaquie Brown Diaries is my favourite – and I think the best – comedy show made in New Zealand. It ended way too soon. Produced not long after Brown left her real life role as a roving reporter on 7pm current affairs show Campbell Live, The Jaquie Brown Diaries is like a mash-up of Extras and 30 Rock – with a dose of Flight of the Conchords thrown in.
It stars Brown as a self-obsessed and fame-hungry version of herself on a TV show that looks suspiciously like Campbell Live, one with Jonathan Brugh adopting a scarily accurate Mike Hosking impression.
What starts out as a light media satire with some famous cameos thrown in becomes, very quickly, something entirely different. By the end of its 14-episode run, Brown has taken on terrorists, worked at the Carpet Warehouse and enjoyed a stint on a Survivor-esque reality show. It’s all very dumb and oh so funny. It’s part of a class of cringe comedy that New Zealand has always excelled at.
I’ve been a fan of The Jaquie Brown Diaries ever since it first aired. It was on way past my bedtime and I felt grown-up being allowed to watch a show that had swearing in it – and a very PG sex scene featuring Anika Moa. More importantly, it’s a show tangentially about journalism which was very important to 11-year-old me, an aspiring journalist. There were cameos from people I admired on the telly – from Mike McRoberts to Kate Hawkesby (look, I was 11). Helen Clark crops up at one point. And although incredibly fictionalised, I felt like I got insights into the job I wanted to do.
I can confirm working in journalism is nothing like this show.
Mainly though, I’m a fan because The Jaquie Brown Diaries is just really funny. I rewatched the whole thing earlier this year when it appeared suddenly on TVNZ OnDemand, somewhat nervous that it wouldn’t hold up any more and that showing it to my partner would only lead to her asking, “Why do you always go on about this show?”
Thankfully, I was wrong.
Since JBD – which is what the true fans call it – went off the air 12 years ago, I’ve been quietly campaigning for it to return to our screens. Mainly that’s involved sending a few tweets that would form an embarrassing paper trail should Brown ever decide to look me up. I’ve also told a lot of people to watch the show now it’s available OnDemand. In an alternate reality, I would have marched the streets like the “Bring Back Campbell Live” protestors. The Jaquie Brown Diaries is my Campbell Live.
I often wonder how the show would have ended if that cliffhanger was resolved. Finishing with a “to be continued” feels especially cruel knowing it’s highly unlikely it will be continued. I still hold out some hope. The show’s Wikipedia page retains a “future” entry which, as of 2021, has never been updated. “The show’s creators have stated that they never intended to make a third series, but would like to conclude the series in a final chapter, the format of which is yet to be confirmed,” it reads, as though mocking me.
What format, I ask, staring longingly at my DVD boxset of The Jaquie Brown Diaries season one that I bought on clearance at Real Groovy. A movie? A TV special? A book? A TikTok?! An episode of The Project with Jaquie as the fourth host?
The options are endless but my patience is not. To be continued? I can only hope.
The Jaquie Brown Diaries is available to stream on TVNZ OnDemand.