Duncan Greive is the editor and founder of New Zealand pop culture-obsessed website The Spinoff and columnist for the NZ Herald.

Duncan Greive: MediaWorks serves up fresh celeb hybrid hell

Not even the very funny Dai Henwood could save  Celebrity Family Feud .
Not even the very funny Dai Henwood could save Celebrity Family Feud .

We finally hit peak MediaWorks on Monday night, as the hosts of a breakfast radio show battled characters from a reality show on a quiz show hosted by a team captain from another quiz show in the timeslot of a news show.

So - was Celebrity Family Feud cross-promotional heaven or hell? Despite its occurring on Easter Monday, one of the most hallowed of the Bible's Monday-ised public holidays, I'm leaning toward hell based on the night's evidence.

There were two combatants, each tremendously excited to be there. Team one was the Harveys, lead by The Edge's Jay-Jay and Dom, shock jocks who manage to regularly participate in revolting, inhuman stunts while somehow still remaining lovable everykiwis in the public's eye. They were joined by Sue, Dom's mum, and Poull (pronounced Paul), a brother to one or other of them.

Opposing them were the Walkers, whose name conjures zombies years into an outbreak, as does the general manner of their leaders, Pete and Andy from season two of The Block.

They wore gumboots, a point important enough to spend a solid minute on.

Alongside the pair were two sweet and regular folks, brother-in-law Wade and a cousin, whose name I didn't catch. It doesn't really matter - the whole point of the show, assuming it had one, was to allow the celebrities to clown about and promote all the various associated enterprises - while also raising nearly 10 grand for charity! Who says private equity doesn't give back?!

The basic premise of Family Feud, which screens at 5.30pm weeknights on TV3, is that contestants are asked an open-ended question, which has also been posed to a group of New Zealanders. The aim is then to guess how middle New Zealand would answer the question.

It was more often interesting for wrong answers than right, particularly those of Sue, the mum from Team Harvey who apparently told Dom: "You should try and get us on Family Feud, I watch it at home and I'm really good at it." This was absolutely not borne out by her performance on the show.

She gave us instead Dadaist anti-answers: all of them words; none of them right. Five questions in a row ended with an angry, obnoxious buzzer and a large red X on screen. Given that there were literally dozens of easy points dangling ripe and in front of her, it was quite an achievement.

Her sweet bewilderment was preferable to the attempts at comedy. In response to "what would you do in the bath?", Jay-Jay came up with "this isn't something I do - is it fart?", which epitomises the night's humour. It's like 7 Days Goes to Kindergarten, a collection of bad and bland jokes wrapped around a game show. At one point one of the Block-men came out and did a little dance, and it was both one of the most aggressively dumb things I've ever seen on television, and a high point for the show.

Later, Jay-Jay called her dog from the crowd, and host Dai Henwood was forced to make a joke at his own expense concerning his and the dog's mutually petite stature. Henwood is a very funny man, but not so funny that he can make this show swim underneath all this dead weight.

Eventually, the half-hour lumbers clumsily to a close. The scoring system is oddly complex, for a show with such a primitive vision of humanity, involving points correlating to percentages, multiplied by 10 with bonuses as a kicker. Whatever - Team Harvey won, sending $7000 to Fertility New Zealand, their nominated charity. Fine, I guess.

Afterwards, all celebrated as the credits rolled. Wade, from Team Walker, picked up Jay-Jay in an extravagant embrace, and spun her round again and again. It was a picture of human ecstasy, prompted no doubt by the knowledge the show had finished. I could relate.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Duncan Greive is the editor and founder of New Zealand pop culture-obsessed website The Spinoff and columnist for the NZ Herald.

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