July is typically the wettest month in New Zealand and always for Auckland.
Naturally TV makes hay while the sun eludes us and our friends taunt us with sunny shots of their fab hols overseas on Facebook. In these times we turn to the box for solace and to watch "The Weather", which for some reason they insist on calling "The News".
One News has acknowledged this by starting their hour with the weather. Some complain that we are too obsessed with atmospheric matters. "Who cares what temperature it was in Kaikoura 12 hours ago?" I hear people say. Sadly I do. I think we need more weather, less sport, unless it's cricket, which is basically weather anyway. The tabulation of the highs and lows light up the part of the brain that probably place me on a "spectrum" of some sort, but I feel better, warmer, comforted, by knowing that it's freezing overnight in the Waikato. True Detective was meant to warm us up, and it has, if viewed as a parody. That said there's just enough action to keep me going but it's entering the endurance phase.
Luckily other shows have really done the business. Jimmy McGovern's Banished (UKTV) has been superb, and a reminder of the McGovern rule: anything he makes is worth watching. I've also been formulating a "Marsan rule", as Eddie Marsan has been wonderful, yet again, as Mr Norrell in Jonathon Strange and Mr Norrell, (Soho) and even more so in the ever delightful and increasingly brilliant Ray Donovan.
Both shows are as good as any you'll see this year. Closer to home, Seven Sharp has regained Toni Street, while murder has infused and reinvigorated Shortland Street. And warming my heart in this bleak damp time has been the return of This Town (TV1, 8.30pm Wednesdays), the delightfully curated and beautifully shot portrait of New Zealand as told by New Zealanders, best watched after the Noir nonsense of True Detective, which is incidentally, also shot beautifully by a New Zealander, one Nigel Bluck, who was recently included in Variety's "10 Cinematographers to Watch".
As per, here's my monthly collection of quotes and quips that caught my ear in the past month.
1. "Bogans aren't something dreamed up by a skinny advertising kid, they're real. They probably just fixed your plumbing or your car."
Says TV2's resident voice of edgy reality shows, Bill Kerton, as he takes us from the mad, mad, insane world of his other show, Neighbours at War into new reality series Bogans. It's based loosely around the work of "Doctor Dave" (David Snell) the "Boganologist" who literally wrote the book on the subject: An Insider's Guide to Metal, Mullets and Mayhem.
So what is a bogan? Actually who cares, we're here for the burnouts, the wet T-shirt contests, the pole dancing, and the ever-present Nissan Skylines.
2. "Has anyone been tasered before?"
Asks one of the activists onthe Marianne, the small ship that tried to break the blockade Israel has set up to keep rockets out of Gaza. Of course it's keeping out everything else as well, which is what these guys are trying to draw attention to.
In 2010 the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) boarded another aid ship and killed nine activists. The latest attempt was documented by Native Affairs reporter Ruwani Perera and cameraman Jacob Bryant (who also shot This Town). The pair made the news when they ended up in an Israeli jail along with the activists and crew, after they were boarded by the IDF. We see footage of one man being tasered during the operation, though thankfully no one was killed. For their part, the Israelis claim to have the law on their side, indeed a UN inquiry that was led by our own former PM, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, ruled "that Israel's blockade of Gaza is legal". On the other hand, as Perera points out, "The UN also predicts that Gaza will be unliveable by 2020." Courageous and compelling current affairs.
3. " I don't want to jump to conclusions (inaudible) and (inaudible)."
Another "T.K. Mumble" from Shortland Street's hard to understand hunk, T.K Samuels (Benjamin Mitchell). Radio Live's Graeme Hill has been collecting the "mumbles" since 2013 and often features a recording of one on his Sunday night show.
4. "When you say 'discharge', do you mean 'left the hospital'? Or... discharge?"
Mike Hosking welcomes back Toni Street with classic vagina themed banter on Seven Sharp.
5. "Would you accept that you are a pathological liar?"
Tara Brown of 60 Minutes really tore strips off Belle Gibson of "The Whole Pantry" fame, or infamy, now that it turns out her claims of curing herself of brain tumors with chia seeds and whatnot was BS of the highest order. "Every time she speaks, there's every chance she is lying" said Brown, as she placed Belle on the rack and never let up. For some reason, Belle wasn't expecting the Spanish Inquisition, but that's what she got.
6. "Good things happen to good people."
Said a smiling Brendon McCullum recalling the rain that fell in that epic semi final against South Africa at Eden Park, during the cricket world cup. From The Time of Our Lives, on Sky Sport.
7. "It's so at one with the environment"
Cooed the stylist with the perfectly trimmed facial hair on Kiwi Living, aka Luke, "our resident fashionista", Bettesworth. The environmental oneness eluded me as it was attributed to a flashy Lockwood style pile plonked into a once pristine Queenstown setting.
8. "I love the rugby, you know this sport, like they fight, and do the haka-haka."
Said Eliana, a trans woman battling with New Zealand's immigration department as told on TV3's 3D. Her story which covers the epic lengths she went to during travels to New Zealand, makes Caitlyn Jenner's tribulations look like a Hollywood puff piece.
9. "I'm sure Nurse Ratched had a flicker of remorse before she lobotomized Jack Nicholson."
Coronation Street's Carla Conner (Alison King) rates the evil nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest as being a nicer person than Tracey Barlow (Kate Ford). Fun fact: Nurse Ratched was named "fifth worst movie villain", by the American Film Institute. Hannibal Lecter was number one.
10. "To be honest, I've never watched MasterChef before"
Said Liz, a MasterChef NZ contestant to the shocked-looking judges in episode one. She was never seen again.