Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Forward Thinking: Hanging with my mates

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'It's all too easy to forget that I don't actually spend my Wednesday nights with this friendly bunch.' Photo / Doug Sherring
'It's all too easy to forget that I don't actually spend my Wednesday nights with this friendly bunch.' Photo / Doug Sherring

It's not often these days that I find myself having watched every episode of a current television show. In fact, it's probably never. Sure, when they come out on DVD and you can watch the entire series at your leisure it's a different story, but feeling compelled to tune in every week (or stream it on demand) is rare. But that's exactly what has happened with local drama Nothing Trivial and I'm hanging out to see the final episode of the first season come Wednesday (8.30pm, TV One).

I didn't mean to get hooked into the lives of Catherine, Michelle, Emma, Mac and Brian but, like it is with real friends, you just want to check in with them every now and again - roll your eyes at their latest love interest, lend an ear to their family crisis or work issues and just make sure they're okay. And sure, I don't get to have Michelle or Mac shed their wisdom on my life in a direct sense but they feel like familiar friends, with something to teach me. Maybe that's why I keep coming back for more.

Michelle could give anyone tips on some very devious ways to get back at an ex-husband.

She even read The Art of War, marking pages with multicoloured post-it notes. But then it turned out winning feels rather empty when the battle is done and your ex moves to Australia. Channelling her fierce loyalty and generosity into helping others seems to be working much better.

And it's always handy to have a plumber as a mate, even if Brian can be a bit brainless when it comes to relationships. He doesn't think twice about lending a hand though, babysitting Mac's kids, helping Michelle try to get her dogs back from her ex, or giving Emma his TV (after an unsuitable boyfriend had hers repossessed).

Actually Brian does have a soft spot for Emma - we can all see it even if he hasn't yet cottoned on to the fact that this overly kindhearted schoolteacher may be the one he's been waiting for (while he's happily bedded half of Auckland in the meantime).

Good to see Emma standing up for herself when it comes to Brian's bizarre behaviour though. She actually swore at him last night. Sadly, she seems to have resigned herself to coupling up with nice pilot (and occasional cross-dresser) Craig for the moment - I'd make a bet that it won't last though. Not because he's a cross-dresser but because Emma really can see the good in everyone (even gamblers and thieves) so it seems natural that she'll be the one to see past Brian's laddish exterior and forgive him for being a twit.

Catherine and Mac are the wise souls of the team - Catherine seems to have read every book in the world, which is useful in a pub quiz team. And Mac comes out with sage lines like "the worst that can happen no longer happens to you" when discussing what it's like to be a parent. But very sensible doctor Catherine actually used to be a bit of a groupie (rock star Jules is the father of her daughter, Celeste) and Mac used to be a workaholic ad man, which is why his wife Jo left, so they're not perfect. The question is, will the pair finally get their timing right and pair up? All those late-night phone calls, and all that "emotional support" - not to mention the palpable chemistry between them.

Actually it's the strong performances by Shane Cortese and Tandi Wright that should be given credit, and the subtle shades that the rest of the cast bring to their characters. It's all too easy to forget I don't actually spend my Wednesday nights with this friendly bunch. Writing team of Rachel Lang and Gavin Strawhan (Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune) have created such a convincingly relatable show that there are probably a few pubs around Auckland wondering where their quiz teams have gone. We've all been lending our general knowledge to team Sex on a Stick down at the Beagle instead.

- TImeOut

- NZ Herald

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Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Childhood music lessons eventually led to degrees in music and media studies for Lydia Jenkin, launching her career as an entertainment writer. A love of late nights watching local musos - whether in dingy bars or at summer music festivals – saw her become assistant editor at NZ Musician magazine for nearly five years before she jumped at the chance to join the TimeOut team. She's at her happiest when ranting about her latest music discovery, but is equally keen on excellent film and television (The Dark Horse and True Detective are her picks so far for 2014).

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