November. Wind, rain, house prices. Reality TV peaked on the final live episode of The Block, and winners Alex and Corban cemented their places in the arrhythmic kiwi heart with their gesture to give the losing contestants $30,000 of their booty.
Live TV events like the final auction are always a 'thing' in the way that the endless nonsense of the actual, longwinded, pre-recorded episodes that precede it, are not.
Even nanas have noticed that MKR and The Block are taking the piss as they milk content that would make a good half hour and stretch it into five or six.
Still, apparently it's good business, and for all their faults these shows provide a service in that they need not be watched closely and thus provide the perfect backdrop to family bickering or staring blankly at your iPhone.
On radio I heard Embarrassing Bodies once again getting the bash and being held up as the example of what's sending us down the gurgler. The man in question, a guest on Radio NZ, was also, quite rightly lamenting TVNZ's abandoning its Maori department to make way for Sky City's expansion plans. But Embarrassing Bodies is not the enemy, it's one of the shows that gives reality TV a good name, in fact it may be one of the greatest achievements in the medium in recent times.
Project Runway can't lay claim to helping people speak freely about penile boils but it's the template for competitive reality shows. It's fast, funny and the fat content is next to nothing. The current series, on Vibe, has been my pick of November's reality viewing, the bonus being that a kiwi contestant (Sean Kelly) is the favourite. It's long been a source of great quips and may well feature in my list below.
As ever here's 10 quotes that caught my fancy in the month that was. Can you guess who said them?
"This is nothing if not the season of the vagina."
2. "Her ovaries will turn into testicles."
3. "Rest in peace boys, I'll love you forever."
4. "Obviously there is a smell of marijuana in the air."
5. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I'm not killed."
6. "Are you such a foetus that you've never been in love before?"
7. "It's like being hit by lightening while being eaten by a shark."
8. "There is a wonderful modern term that I only learnt a few days ago called 'flearn' which is to learn through failure, and I will certainly be ensuring that we will do that."
9. "What's altruism?"
10. "Have you read a different report?"
Obviously the words of camp commandant Tim Gunn of
, observing that many of the shows frocks had a close resemblance to genitalia. Also, I think he just likes saying vagina.
2. "Her ovaries will turn into testicles." Normally nature show narrators are poor imitators of David Attenborough who disappoint us by not being David Attenborough, but New Zealand's Michael Hurst has just the right soothing tone to tell us about the naughty bits of fishes, as he has been doing in the excellent TVNZ series, Our Big Blue Backyard.
3. "Rest in peace boys, I'll love you forever." A moving moment from a friend of the young people killed in a house fire in Hamilton, interviewed outside the burnt out house on ONE News.
4. "Obviously there is a smell of marijuana in the air." CNN'S gaff machine Don Lemon reporting live from the riots in Ferguson in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent exoneration of the policeman who killed the teenager. Earlier in the month Lemon caused a storm when he suggested a woman who complained of a being forced to perform oral sex on Bill Cosby should have used her teeth to fend him off.
5. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I'm not killed." Words of strength and hope from a mother in Syria perhaps? Sorry, these words somehow become chilling when you learn they came from the mouth of the once honorable Judith Collins as she made her Terminator-like appearance from the flaming wreck of her pre-election implosion.
6. "Are you such a foetus you've never been in love before?" Said Josh, a character on the brilliant family comedy Transparent (Lightbox), to his young girlfriend's friend and band mate in the band 'Glitterish'. "Sounds like clitoris" remarked Josh's sister, "No it doesn't" said Josh.
7. "It's like being hit by lightning while being eaten by a shark." So reckons an imaginative statistician on the odds of winning the New York State lottery (US$321mil) as retold on Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. The show shone a light on the peril of lotteries and pokie machines and observed that people who buy lotto tickets blow an average of $106 a year while pokie players lose $2564. "That's enough to buy a Mazda" observed Oliver.
8. "There is a wonderful modern term that I only learnt a few days ago called 'flearn' which is to learn through failure and I will certainly be ensuring that we will do that." A line from Veep perhaps, or an old episode of Yes Minister? In fact it was new Te Papa boss Rick Ellis, who has probably 'flearnt' a lot in recent years. The former TVNZ boss once held up Police 10/7 as an example of the network's commitment to Maori programming. He's also credited with the corporation's disastrous investment in Tivo, which lost millions. Still, he was a champion of arts programming at TVNZ, which flourished under his watch, and by flourished, I mean disappeared.
9. "What's altruism?" Asked Harvey Bullock (Donal Logue), the wonderfully gruff and ethically challenged bad cop to Gotham's good cop, Jim Gordon (Ben Mackenzie). And yes, Sean Pertwee, who plays Alfred in this addictive Batman prequel, is the son of the 3rd Doctor Who Jon Pertwee.
10. "Have you read a different report?" An incredulous John Campbell regarding John Key's relaxed reaction to Cheryl Gwyn's (General of Security Intelligence) report, which details what the Herald's John Armstrong describes as "the shocking abuse of power by Key's office in the lead-up to the 2011 general election."