Some sourpuss seems to have taken over my notepad for the first 15 minutes of Cadbury Dream Factory (TV3, Thursdays, 7.30pm).
Next to "random acts of kindness", they have written rude things such as "pah" and "too, too sick-making".
Next to "free hugs" they have written even ruder things of which the only repeatable one is something like: "Not if I manage to kick you in the shins first."
It is fairly safe to assume that Cadbury Dream Factory is not for sourpuss, or for anyone who would rather catch typhoid than be offered a free hug on Queen St. There were quite a few of these people on Queen St to begin with.
Kimberley Crossman and one of the other chaps who go about giving out dreams ("gag" is written next to this) weren't getting any takers. I didn't catch the male hug-offerer's name because I was too busy making gagging noises, and the thing does seem rather overpopulated: five co-hosts? That seems a bit busy.
I stand by whoever wrote those rude things about the hugs and would add: a bit silly. Blokes without shirts and with tight trousers were imported, which improved or didn't improve the hug take-up, depending on your liking for free hugs from men with no shirts and tight trousers. So they brought on the "nanas". Who wouldn't want a free hug from a nana? Me. Why are all nanas supposed to be nice huggy old ducks? And who would want to be a nice huggy old duck? Not me.
The big dream made true was that of a mother of five from Kaikohe, "in the winterless North". Her kids had never seen snow. The Dream Factory team flew mum over the kids' school, in a chopper, and she and Brooke Howard-Smith tossed potato flakes at the kids. Harrumph. Couldn't they have given the family a trip to some real snow somewhere for the cost of that chopper? This seems miserable and silly and hardly a dream come true. But the kind prank got bigger and bigger, and culminated in an entire "winter wonderland" being created with fairy lights and proper snow from snow-making machines and a band and a choir and a giant snow globe, and even an ice-skating rink.
The Baker family visited first and mum made a snow angel, and then the gates were opened to anyone in the community who wanted to see snow - and about 1500 people did. And guess what? It was magical and beautiful and was on just the right side of home-grown hokey. I loved it.
There were two smaller dreams made true. A chap had always wanted to wear chainmail armour and a breastplate, and get on a horse while holding a jousting stick. A lady from Hamilton wanted a posh girls' day out (more nanas, but these ones were a bit raunchier; was that twerking?) They had a ride in one of those trashy stretch limos, they wore fabulously mad fascinators and may have got a bit tiddly on Champagne. (I think there really was twerking.)
"Holy crap!" said the jouster. His breastplate was made from cardboard. He appeared genuinely over the moon.
There is a really, really daft game show, banged into proceedings, that is held in shopping malls and called I'll do Anything. The game-show host is Jesse Griffin, who wears a bad suit and a deadpan face, and is marvellous. The questions are ridiculous: "What city is the Sydney Harbour Bridge in?" The prizes are even more ridiculous: a ceramic meerkat. This is beyond hokey and takes the mickey out of the show itself, and those old game shows.
It looks like a hit, and all even an old sourpuss can say about that is: "Holy crap!"