Paul Casserly 's Opinion

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

Paul Casserly: Payback is a lady dog

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Peter Dunne speaking to supporters after winning his Ohariu Belmont seat at the 2005 election. Photo / Anthony Phelps
Peter Dunne speaking to supporters after winning his Ohariu Belmont seat at the 2005 election. Photo / Anthony Phelps

Whether it's served cold - as in the dish delivered to Osama in that Pakistani compound, or warm - like the blood that flowed down reporter Rod Vaughn's face when Bob Jones punched him out, payback is a bitch.

The last few weeks have seen Kim Dotcom repaying John Banks with a cabbage-boat-load of anguish. I reckon that payback is also what's really behind the nasty things that Peter Dunne has been saying about TVNZ.

I'll get to that theory in a moment. But first, a look at how the mechanism of payback has worked in the past.

In the wake of 'Cheeky-darkie-gate' there was a particular interview in which Paul Holmes was itching for payback.

The blowback from the scandal had been considerable, although Holmes had largely withstood the storm. Then into his studio appeared a man he did not want to see. The man is known as Biggsy - Peter Biggs, the then head of Creative New Zealand.

He was there to defend the indefensible, 'modern art'. A kiwi collective called Et el had received some 'taxpayer money' to take their challenging art to the Venice Biennial.

Naturally this made good TV, as shitting on modern art is great tabloid fodder.

"Look at it, my cat could sick that up in its sleep", etc. Holmes started with "feel free to throw up," and it went down hill from there.

Anyway, Biggsy was not just the head of Creative NZ and an apologist for 'modern art', he was also the head of the advertising agency whose client (Mitsubishi) had pulled about a million dollars worth of sponsorship from the Holmes show in the wake of the 'Cheeky Darkie' affair.

Today the interview is very much of the type you'd expect to see on Fox News, but at the time it stood out like frothing toad. Holmes was fuming and spitting. You'd be forgiven for thinking he hated modern art, but I reckon what we were looking at was riddled with payback.

There's video of the interview here - start at about 4:56.

Meanwhile, last week, Peter Dunne slammed TVNZ in a most remarkable way. It reminded me of Holmes v Biggsy, though the dish was way colder. Here's my theory.

The news that TVNZ will run a 'plus one' channel (as TV3 does) on Freeview as a 'replacement' for TVNZ7 seemed to light Peter's fuse of indignation.

Sure he's pissed off - like many of us - that TVNZ7 is about to have its plug pulled.* And like Labour's Clare Curren he even made some noises about saving it, but could not get the National Government or TVNZ to heed his calls. So he has every right to be pissed off.

But I noticed something unusual in the tone of his reaction as reported by the Herald, which included some choice quotes.

"TV One represents the worst of television in this country. It is crass, superficial, lowest common denominator rubbish."

Wow really? The channel that brings you Q&A, Praise Be and Country Calendar, the channel that crosses live to state funerals and earthquakes, the channel that doesn't have The GC. That's the channel that 'represents the worst'?

I know he likes TVNZ7, but it seems he really hates TV1. Maybe it's just the adverts? It would seem not.

"It is too obsessed with its own self-imagined 'stars' and the culture surrounding them than to have any credible claim on being a legitimate national broadcaster."

Wow. So who are these 'self imagined stars'?

I reckon this all began back in 2005 on election night when Dunne let rip at TV1 and Mark Sainsbury.

At the time he'd been written off and he'd also felt slighted because they forgot to mention him or his party in the show's introduction. Upon learning that he'd won his seat he pushed past the TV1 reporter, snapping as he went, and immediately had a go at Sainso and TV1 on-air.

Peter was not happy that night, and I reckon that seven years later, he's returned the favour.

Watch this (start at about 16:20) and tell me I'm wrong.

This week I'm watching:

Yellowstone (TV1, 8.30pm, Tuesday)
Even Peter Dunne would enjoy this lovely nature-porn as it's quite bereft of 'self imagined stars'. Though it does make you miss the voice of 'actual star', David Attenborough.

Funny Roots (TV3, 8pm, Tuesday)
A clever twist on the travel-doco with a touch of Who Do You Think Your Are thrown in, as local comedians go back to their 'roots' and collect material for a stand-up show. Steve Wrigley goes back to Holland in this episode and I thought he was Greek.

Girls (Soho, 8.30pm, Thursday)
New HBO hit with 20-something girls trying to get by in New York. The trailer is very promising. Followed by..

Veep at 9pm. If you liked The Thick of It or In the Loop or anything with Elaine from Seinfeld in it or possibly The Daily Show then this is for you.

It's the work of British comedy master Armando Iannucci. There's a great profile of him here.

Sherlock (TV1, Friday, 8.30pm)
The BBC version with Benedict Cumberbatch and Bilbo Baggins is back and as brilliant as ever. The series starts with a new twist on Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles.

*The petition to save TVNZ7 is now up to 17,000. You can sign up here.

-nzherald.co.nz

Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly watched too much TV as a child.

It began with Dr Who, in black and white, when it was actually scary. The addiction took hold with Chips, in colour. He made his mum knit a Starsky and Hutch cardigan. Later, Twin Peaks would blow what was left of his mind. He’s been working in radio and TV since the 1990s and has an award in his pool room for Eating Media Lunch.

Read more by Paul Casserly

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