Homegrown Drama

Sitting down to watch homegrown drama is fraught with the negative reinforcement of many earlier disappointments and – let’s be honest – more than a smidgen still of cultural cringe, all of this tempered by the hope that a) the show’s maybe even half as good as our favourite, and b) we can enjoy it at some (any) level rather than endured as some kind of national duty.

I’ve huzzahed those that we’ve enjoyed. And I haven’t named names of those we haven’t – hey, I’d like to keep my options open on working in this town, thank you very much.

There were some New Zild titles I looked forward to last year:

— The uninspiringly titled This is Not My Life sits unwatched on the harddrive – pushed aside I suspect by the international film fest, getting The Goddess hooked on The Wire, and feeding another addiction*.

Go Girls‘ second season came and went unwatched – but again: thank goodness for voluminous harddrives.

— Yes, it was Outrageous Fortune‘s final season, but we’d tried the series way back when and we hadn’t clicked. (Snippets caught in the intervening five years whilst channel-surfing have provided intriguing glimpses of the chances they’ve taken – chances I’d like to watch; luckily the local have the full run.)

— I have seen something homegrown: I’ve finally just started watching Rural Drift – it jumps the abovementioned queue ’cause there’s personal connections there.

Sooo… what’s there to look forward to this year?

There’s The Almighty Johnsons but I’m struck by the similarity of it’s promotional photo with another production’s pic I bitched about, and I’m not talking about the trees.

… Um.

There was a point to this post.

Can’t for the life of me remember it now.

* I’m a bit gutted it hasn’t been renewed for another season. Where’s the love, hm?


Say My Name

The Goddess and I sat down to watch some homegrown drama the other night and within two minutes my gut began to writhe, and it wasn’t from overindulging chocolate cake:


CARL and DI, both in their forties, married twenty years now, walk hand in hand along the sand, as they admire the beautiful sunset.




Yes, Di?


Do you love me, Carl?


Why do you ask, Di?

Riddle me this: when you talk with your partner/lover/friend – acquaintance, even – who you’ve known for a minimum of six months, do you say their name with every sentence directed at them?

Didn’t think so.

Then why do I keep seeing it in homegrown drama?

Why can’t exchanges just be:







Do you love me?


What the hell kinda question is that?


The Insiders Guides to Love and Happiness

The Webmistresse visited our humble abode the other weekend. Over a cuppa, The Goddess and I enthused about The Insiders Guide to Happiness. We’d enjoyed the pre-/se-quel, The Insiders Guide to Love last year and, thanks to some applied relationship chaos theory, Mr Samson lent us his copy of Happiness.

“What’s it about?” the Webmistresse quite reasonably asked.

The Goddess and I looked at each other. It’s not a procedural. Nor is it a soap per se. Our best description is that it’s a television series that explores the philosophy of happiness. ‘Philosophy’ and ‘television’ in the same breath? Believe it. Not once was it trite as it asked – and didn’t necessarily answer – hard questions about being happy in and with the one life we get.

Most homegrown television has a self-consciousness pouring out of its every orifice. I suspect it’s a hangover from decades of cultural cringe: “Oh yeh, hi, I’m your latest Homegrown Drama. I know you’ve been waiting ages for me to turn up – and thanks to [INSERT BROADCASTER] and New Zealand on Air, here I am. Give us a go, eh, ’cause heh, y’know, you’re watching… New Zealand on air.”

The Insiders Guides are thankfully devoid of such affectation: these are the characters; here are the stories; keep up. Late-weekend-night scheduling and minimal publicity made the Insiders Guides the best intelligent adult homegrown television that few saw. Thank gosh for DVDs.

Fedora-tips to Happiness creator Peter Cox and writers David Brechin-Smith and Paula Boock for kick-arse scripts, and producer Dave Gibson for believing.