Come Dine With Me NZ

I know I'm made of stern stuff, chin-up, head high and all that but as I write this I'm feeling slightly hysterical from watching Come Dine With Me NZ this week, TV3 weeknights at 7pm.

The New Zealand franchise of this cooking show started Monday night replacing Campbell Live.

It's a decision which I can only imagine was reached by channel bosses under extreme torture by the network owners.

Amazing what a bit of nail-pulling, being stretched on a rack for a day or two, or having a few fat slimy slugs forced down your neck will do.

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"Yes, Yes we'll do it ... anything just let us at it," they had shrieked.

And so starts this new series advertised to bring us together as fun-loving Kiwis, loving a plethora of below-the-navel jokes, revolting food and chatting on the level of six-year-olds hurtling and yelling in the playground.

I have seen the UK version of this show which manages a modicum of enjoyment because narrator British comedian Dave Lamb delivers a dry, deeply sarcastic and clever commentary.

And though there have been some seriously questionable contestants it lurches through quite well.

Back to us.

Why is it that New Zealand reality TV shows are in the main embarrassing, cringe-making and don't lift our spirits or confidence at all.

I get a bit fed up with shrinking back into the sofa or diving out to the kitchen for a brief respite.

Come Dine With Me NZ has to be the only show I've watched that had me breathing a sigh of relief when the ads came on.

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The food served up was worse than appalling.

I choked when one contestant whacked out burnt hamburger buns before stuffing them with her filling-de-jour.

She wasn't in the least concerned that her tray of buns had black crispy edges and she didn't even have a back-up bag-full to re-toast.

Then, with a lot of verve and no panache, another contestant serves up wilted bok choy and noodles and throws cold baked beans from the tin on top of this droopy-looking mess.

I was sitting very still at this point.

Why do we have to present the average, down-home Kiwis as total morons and drongos on our television.

Am I missing something?

But this show could be saved if our esteemed man John Campbell jumped in as the narrator.

I can hear him now.