Tara Ward has been mercilessly power ranking Shortland Street for the entire year of 2016. Here she collates her favourite moments, including bouncy castle woes and rude fridge magnets.
Ding dong merrily on high, the Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger is nearly here. Before we dangle our weary bodies over the cliff in readiness for tonight’s climactic episode, let’s take a moment to reflect on the past twelve months in the suburban cesspit of disease and misery that we call Ferndale.
Santa was right. This is the most wonderful time of the year.
2016 was a pustulent sack filled to bursting with mystery viruses and exploding caravans, sperm-donor children and spooky house ghosts, illegal prostitutes, inept police, and best of all, Leanne in a poncho.
So come, all ye faithful, and take a gander at this highly researched list of 2016’s best bits. It’s as contentious as the health rating on Cam’s fruit mince pies, but hopefully twice as tasty.
1) Rachel leaves Shortland Street
Rachel unravelled quicker than a toilet roll down a staircase when she relapsed into a life of drugs and alcohol. Her embarrassing carry-on ruined her reputation, left the hospital in financial crisis, and made her shout things like “I’m not made of fingers, Damo!”
Rachel departed Ferndale for a new life in America, leaving a devastated husband who wondered what he could have done differently. Parted his hair on the other side, perhaps? We’ll never know.
2) Victoria confesses her crimes
It was the crime that gripped the nation: who shot Drew? Who framed Margaret? Why did Victoria always carry two handbags? Just when it felt like Shortland Street had stretched this storyline further than the elastic on my giant nana knickers, Victoria finally confessed her sins to Mo and then drove into a tree.
3) Vinnie’s fridge drops the C-Bomb
The devil’s in the detail.
4) Norelle dies
Norelle’s determination to end her life on her terms got us right in the feels. It was a proper sobfest as cancer-stricken Norelle prepared her final days. When the sun rose and Kylie woke to discover Norelle was dead, I ugly-cried into my pillow like the big baby that I am.
5) Blue arrives in Ferndale
He didn’t blow up a caravan or stick a polymer insert into his thigh, but the arrival of transgender character Blue was a major moment in Shortland Street history.
Although Blue had Leanne more confused than the time she tried to say Ula’s name correctly, his development as a complex, multi-dimensional character successfully exposed trans issues to middle New Zealand, five nights a week.
6) George admits he isn’t a doctor
As usual, Leanne said it best: “a grown man with his hair in a bun? It’s a cry for help.” Alas, Dayna fell for George’s exotic accent and thick head of hair, and it was a cold, dark day when George admitted the truth: he wasn’t a doctor, and even worse, he drank a patient’s urine. They’re both heinous crimes, so it’s no wonder they skipped the country.
7) Mo falls off the bouncy castle
Safety first, people.
8) Wendy dies
Wendy was the shock victim of Gareth’s shooting rampage. Who would cook the chickpea curry now? It was the beginning of the end for the Cooper whānau, with Murray, Jimmy, Bella and Stevie all leaving Ferndale before the year was out, probably in search of a good curry house.
9) Leanne stays awake during surgery
2016 was the Year of Leanne. She jet-skied like a maniac, gobbled like a turkey, turned psychic, reacted to toxic mould and declared that “Miller women are not starfish”. Oh, Leanne, what would we do without you?
But it was Leanne’s failed facelift that was her most impressive moment of the year. Being awake during surgery isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but Leanne remained stoic and resolute like the Queen that she is. Mostly because she was paralysed, but she was still Leanne, still amazing.
10) Chris commando rolls across Kate’s front lawn
It wouldn’t be a top 10 list without Chris Warner, Action Man — an unforgettable moment made all the sweeter because he’d just impaled one of his heavenly arse cheeks on a branch. What a bloke. What a show.
So as we gird our loins for Shortland Street’s final 2016 episode, let’s remember some important life lessons: never underestimate Chris Warner, always check the fridge magnets, and never, ever double bounce on a giant inflatable. Joy to the world, my friends — or as Leanne would say, YOLO, fo’ shizzle.
The Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger airs tonight on TVNZ 2 at 7pm
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