Alex Casey woke up at 6am this morning to flick between the first episode for 2019 of both The AM Show and Breakfast. Here are some of the highlights.
Nothing captures Monday morning ennui like The AM Show. “Welcome back my friends,” belts out prog rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, “to the show that never ends.” Instantly I feel like Daryl in The Walking Dead, chained up in a windowless room and forced to listen to the upbeat ‘Easy Street’ on repeat. Wake up sleepyheads! Christmas is over! Your summer break is all but a distant Instagram story! Now, without further ado, here’s Duncan Garner ripping into beneficiaries at 6.04am!
“Hand them a shovel, don’t hand them a welfare ticket,” Garner spits about New Zealand’s 11,000 new beneficiaries. The sun is rising. My cat is purring. The kettle is boiling. Garner is still furious. “Give him a shovel, it’s Auckland – there are jobs on every corner.” Ahh yes, ye olde famous Auckland corner shoppe shovel trade. On TVNZ1’s Breakfast, things are off to a more upbeat start. “Morena Tāmaki Makaurau!” beams Jack Tame next to Hayley Holt, both impossibly sparkly-eyed for 6am.
“We’ve all had a great break,” says Tame. “We feel refreshed, we feel rejuvenated.” He’s just back from the Middle East, and he missed his colleagues very much. As did Hayley Holt, as did Matty MacLean. As did Daniel Faitaua? “No. I haven’t missed you at all. Not at all.” Watch out Richardson, there’s another snarky dad in town, and this one actually smiles with his eyes. “You guys just weren’t even on my mind once,” Faitaua elaborates. “People would come up to me and say ‘how’s Matty? How’s Jack” and I’d say ‘I don’t know, just give them a follow on Instagram’.”
Admittedly, Breakfast’s matey vibe is a very fun one to watch. They feel like your smartest, funniest, cleanest, most attractive friends and for that I hate them. On The AM Show, the banter levels are also dangerously high, but this morning it’s a different dynamic. Garner and Richardson reminisce about their Christmas Day together – complete with a poodle attack – while Amanda Gillies is chastised for merely texting Richardson while he was playing golf. It’s okay though, she gets her own back later when the blokes are arguing about the biggest fish that they caught.
“You boys always lie about size,” she says with an eye roll, “so this does not surprise me.”
In terms of celebrity guests, Simon Bridges graces both morning studios to talk about National’s plan to reform the Resource Management Act for 2019 and, more crucially, the highlights of his summer holiday. He had a staycation, just so you know, and he’s feeling really energised. On The AM Show, Garner asks him the perennial question “are you getting soft” on the benefit, which didn’t have nearly as much innuendo as what happened on Breakfast. Discussing people who repeatedly miss their benefit appointments, Bridges accuses them of “fingering their fingers at the system.”
In a welcome move, Paul Brislen stopped by Breakfast with a spot of media analysis about the Unruly Tourist furore. Jack Tame hadn’t caught much of it, because he had been in the Middle East. Sorry, did I mention he had been in the Middle East? It was an interesting chat, dissecting some of the underlying issues with the coverage and asking bigger questions about whether the news should always meet public appetite. The closest The AM Show got to media analysis was this prize pack containing a rug that looks a lot like John Drinnan’s Twitter avatar.
But that’s not to say The AM Show didn’t deliver some gems of its own, in a drunk uncle at the BBQ kind of a way. Staying in his wheelhouse of sports, it only took 12 minutes for Mark Richardson to share the news about a prize that he won over the holidays in… drifting. “I won a trophy for motor race driving. I not only drifted a motorcar, but I drifted it better than everyone else.” Honestly, I sort of live for the casual insights into this man’s batshit-sounding life, jetski pooping and all. For example, he entered and lost the Mr Pauanui competition?! “Honestly, it got very PC – a ginga won,” he lamented. “A ginge.”
Luckily for Richardson, panellist and redhead Jacqueline Nairn wasn’t around to hear him say that. She’s called him out for the use of “ginga” before, but the topic today is Marie Kondo or, as her co-panellist Bob Harvey likes to call her, “that Japanese woman.” He’s been KonMari-ing all summer long, and claims to have thrown out 40-odd shirts. The hardest thing to throw out? The underpants. What kind of underpants? Jockeys. Have I just stopped eating my breakfast due to an unannounced bout of nausea? Oui.
But of all the surreal breakfast TV banter this morning, the mother of revelations comes from Garner himself, who claims he owns a CARDBOARD MILITARY TANK that apparently TAKES UP A WHOLE BEDROOM and sits under A HOLE IN THE ROOF. “When it rains, the tank gets a bit soft.” Oh no DG, now your roof is going soft too! It’s a natural segue to an in-depth discussion about the economy. Garner thinks China and America could collapse anytime, Harvey thinks he’s being stupid. Pause.
“Did you throw out your socks as well Bob?”
“Yes,” says Harvey.
“I have nothing left.”