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.