The Kiwi sense of humour has long been a little… twisted.
No doubt a side effect of hanging out on a few small islands in a far-flung, often forgotten corner of the globe, our sensibilities often skew towards finding the humour in the grimmest of situations.
It's a sentiment that thrives in TVNZ's new local show Fresh Eggs, a warped six-part ode to the romantic notion of moving to the countryside.
Given there's nothing more sinister than a small town, a story such as this about Aucklanders leaving the city for greener pastures is one that's ripe for injecting a little shock value. And the show's writers deliver this from the get-go, with last night's debut episode opening with a gunshot through a ute window and a severed finger in a bowl of beans.
Claire Chitham and Cohen Holloway play the show's central characters, Penny and Wade, a "nice, gormless couple from the city" who make the snap decision to move to the fictional town of Alberton after a chance stop to grab an ice-cream.
"Look, those kids don't need an iPad to have fun," Wade enthusiastically tells Penny as a gang of bullies chase one unfortunate child down the main road.
So the couple wholeheartedly embrace the concept of becoming "fresh eggs", the locals' derogatory term for new lifestyle blockers – but they soon discover a few rotten eggs standing in the way of their idyllic happy-ever-after.
To start with, there's their elderly, extremely racist neighbour. Then there's Black Cyril, the miniature pony they've inherited with their home, whom everyone agrees is possessed by the devil himself.
Oh, and let's not forget the massive hydroponic dope-growing operation Wade has discovered underneath their new back paddock – which is when the bodies really start to pile up on the couple's little piece of paradise.
It's all a lot – almost too much – to take in within the space of one episode, especially when there's a host of supporting characters to keep track of, too. Script writer Nick Ward says all these inhabitants of Alberton are "based on real people", which is mildly worrying when you look at who and what we're dealing with.
Paul Yates plays Sergeant Ross, an old-school, vaping cop who prioritises a beer and a spot of "duck bingo" at the local pub over actual police work. Dave Fane, meanwhile, deviates from the loveable characters he usually plays to give us a psychotic career criminal named Pig.
Yoson An and Xana Tang pop up as a young Chinese-Kiwi couple who bear the brunt of the small town's racist attitudes. And Lord of the Rings star John Rhys-Davies makes an appearance as Penny's insufferable boss, a crime fiction author who indirectly helps out when Penny is pondering how to dispose of a body or two.
Last night's episode also gave us the tiniest of introductions to another character, Pig's vile, tough-talking wife Lulu, played by the always phenomenal Danielle Cormack. She has a much larger role in next week's episode, and all I can say is if these characters truly are based on real people, we should all be very, very concerned that Lulu walks among us.
Holloway and Chitham do a good job portraying the young couple whose dream of the good life is rapidly spiralling out of control. Chitham especially looks very comfortable wielding a shotgun. But it's Yates who is the true standout, as his character evolves from a lackadaisical cop to something much more menacing.
As far as the story goes, the adventures of Penny, Wade and their new neighbours crack on with dizzying speed. Given the rate with which the show is racking up the bodies, you'd also be forgiven for wondering if there will be anyone left to carry on the tale by episode three.
It is shockingly violent in parts, so if you're not keen on pools of blood on dining room floors, torture chambers in backyard sheds or little old ladies meeting their maker as they fall face first into their scones, best you give Fresh Eggs a wide berth.
But if your sense of humour is as black as that possessed pony, Cyril, then this rather unique romp through rural New Zealand is definitely one for you.
Fresh Eggs airs Tuesdays at 8.30pm on TVNZ 2