HOLY MAYAN GANGBANGS DID I JUST REALLY WATCH THAT?!
Like any respectable pseudo-hipster, I love to ironically consume “low brow” entertainment, for both its intended and unintended entertainment value. These include (but are not limited to) cheesy action movies (“IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU WIN BY AN INCH OR A MILE. WINNING’S WINNING!!!!”), chick flicks, teen soaps (I’m still mad at how severely The OC jumped the shark in seasons 4 and 5), and of course, trashy reality shows. Naturally, when it was announced that there would be a NEW ZEALAND version of Jersey Shore, based on young Maori living on the Gold Coast I was ecstatic.
The backlash was as ferocious as it was predictable. I will get to those criticism later but first, we at Double Technicals would be doing The Internets a disservice if your resident Minister for Ironic Low-browism didn’t weigh in with a breakdown of the first episode of what will likely go down as the most dominant force in NZ television history:
THE STARTING LINEUP:
PG: Tame Noema
Tame is without doubt the star of the show and the character that the show will be built around. While the other characters have likely been picked and instructed to fit into specific roles according to the usual reality TV archetypes, Tame fits the bill as the blue-chip personality any reality show needs to thrive. We first meet Tame as he introduces the main cast members, and acts as the pseudo-host when the boys gather around in a perfect semi-circle for the cameras on the beach and he leads the discussion by asking some pointed questions, awkwardly trying to direct the conversation so as to hit all the major plot points for the episode (i.e. “There will be a party, and there will be lots of attractive girls to hit on/be hit on by!” “Oh that Tame, he’s such a womaniser! Will he ever settle down?” “Haha, you boys are in relationships – how lame is that!”). In the first few scenes it appears as if he was directed to say certain lines to set the tone for the show – much like Chris Paul being told to run Vinny Del Negro’s dumb plays for the first 3 quarters.
“Do you reckon you’ll find ‘the one’ at this party?”
“Nah..” *struggles to remember lines* “SINGLE TO MINGLE NEF, loving it, loving it…”
But come crunch time, Tame shook off the sideline instructions and let rip some absolute gems. It started with the “getting ready to go out” montage where he narrated the usual routine. It started off innocuously enough, but then drifted into WTF territory when they started shaving their legs. But just as you thought “well this is interesting” BAM they drop this bombshell on us: they apply oil to their skin so that their skin is shiny. What in all the fucks?? He then passes the “Ok, he’s a bit of a character. But is he legitimately crazy?” test when a bouncer at the club informs him that they have a no tattoos policy and that he needs to cover them up. Naturally you expect the meatheaded response (“THIS IS RACISM! FUCK YOU THINK YOU’RE HARD G”) but instead he was all “lol I ain’t even mad” and replied “Oh yeah, think I might aye; thanks boss you’re a legend.” He then strolls matter-of-factly to a nearby convenience store, and proceeds to CUT UP A PIECE WOMENS’ PANTYHOSE AND WEAR THEM ON HIS ARMS. Like a boss.
But are your tats really worth all this trouble, Tame?
“I always been into ma moko, that’s ma buzz”
In the club now, Tame tells us he’s ready to “get his creep on”. The helpful TV3 graphic tells us this means “scoring girls”. Really? All this time I thought it meant date rape. Nevermind. Explaining his philosophy towards “getting his creep on”, Tame uses a coldly rational mathematic model for his approach:
“Try your luck. Gotta be in to win. Theres more out there, keep on fishing”
Interesting. Go on…
“Like my mumma told me, finish your kai, don’t be fussy”
BANG!!! TAME NOEMA, RIGHT BETWEEN THE EYESSSS.
SG/SF: The Aunties
No I’m not going to include Jade Louise here, despite Tame’s protestations that it doesn’t matter if an aunty is old or ugly. Jessi and Rosie are models and provide eye candy for the show. These are the characters who stand to gain the most from the show as there is a real and tangible benefit to their exposure, career-wise. They are also 1000% guaranteed to release a sex tape at some point, if/when the buzz starts to die down. We are first introduced to them in a totally natural and normal real life setting, as they sit poolside and discuss their plans for the night in a not at all mechanical and scripted way:
“How excited are you about the party tonight?”
“I can’t wait I’m so excited”
“We should go shopping tonight”
“Yeah we should get something cute, and sexy!”
Cool story bro.
Rosie then not-so-subtley hints at what the overarching storyline for this season will be:
“We need to get Tame a girlfriend, cause then everyone will be a happy little couple, and we don’t have to worry about him leading the boys astray!”
In a talking head scene, Jessi then explains the attraction of Maori boys with almost Shakespearean elegance:
“I think I’m attracted to Maori boys because of their skin colaahh, and because they have tattoos all over their arms”
The reason none of these girls are quite franchise-player material though is that they seem kinda, well… normal. At least for a reality TV show, where to be a legitimate female reality star you kinda have to be batshit crazy. They’re a little ditzy, they have meathead boyfriends, and they like to party. But this doesn’t really make them any different from most girls their age. They’re also not gonna sluzza it up like a Snooki or a Geordie Shore gal (yes, all of them). Although Jessi has some potential based on A. the fact that she spells her name with just an “I” and not an “IE”. “Jessi” with no ‘e’ just screams pornstar. And B. her somewhat overly defensive assurances that Jade can trust her – “I DUNNO WHY HE DOESN’T TRUST ME, I WILL NEVER CHEAT ON HIM. NOT EVER. NOPE, NOT SOMETHING THAT COULD HAPPEN. GUYS, HAVE I MADE MYSELF CLEAR? JADE CAN TRUST ME!!!!!!!!”
PF: Nuz and Jade Louise
I compare these two to a Reggie Evans-type defense/rebounding/hustle guy, who are offensive liabilities and you want to keep them off the floor or you’re going 4 on 5. They were finalists on X-Factor or something. Meh. These two provide little value to me. Jade-Louise is kinda scary, while failing to provide much in the eye candy department. Meanwhile Nuz has an annoying (and shall we say slightly feminine) personality. Although he provides some unintentional comedy in his frequent Tobias Funke-esque Freudian slips of the tongue (“Let’s say we hit the party, meet the boys!”)
Jade-Louise had one entertaining moment where she and Nuz were discussing whether she would hook up with anyone at the party that night. She categorically denied that this would happen, saying:
“It’s not written in my…”
And here she paused, and you could practically see the thought bubble: *DON’T SAY SCRIPT DON’T’ SAY SCRIPT*
“… not written in my plans, for tonight”
So yeah. I predict they’re gonna be written out of the show by season 2, after they get offered a record deal off their appearances from the show. HAHA, just checking to see if you were still paying attention.
C: Zane and Jade
These guys really won’t contribute much to the show, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’ll do the dirty work – set screens, rebound, block shots, but you’re not going to them for major plot points. Jade will work in tandem with Jessi to provide the relationship drama, and Zane will just be… around, I guess. Possibly the least memorable character on the show, if it weren’t for Alby the personal trainer, who I think is in the show purely just to show that there are rich Maoris in the Gold Coast who drive fancy convertibles.
Sixth man: Nathan
Nate is a classic irrational confidence guy in the mould of a Nick Young or a Jason Terry. True to form, our first glimpse of Nate is of him doing his hair and flexing in front of the mirror, while rapping what I believe are his own raps (sample bar: “…Now smelling like milk and chocolate and coco… *BLEEP*!” and “You lookin’ pretty… *BLEEP*!”). He’s not the type of guy who can carry a show, but he’s definitely a guy who can come in and dominate a few scenes, and maybe even carry an entire episode if he gets hot. Which is often, if you’ll believe him. Apparently, he once got 30
girls’ (AUNTIES. Dammit, this will take some time getting used to) numbers in 30 minutes. In a rare moment of self-awareness however, he talks about his rapping skills and that “I don’t see myself as like, the best…” Oh ya think, Nate?
DJ Truini will obviously be a major character but we were not given enough game footage to be able to arrive at a conclusive scouting report.
With that done, time to address DA HATERZ:
Criticism #1: “It’s so staged! I usually like terrible TV like jersey shore and Geordie shore but this is so bad”
Ok, stop. If you think Jersey Shore is OK but this isn’t, then you’re not a fan of “terrible TV”. You’re just a fan of terrible TV. There’s a difference. These are the people who tell everyone that they watch Jersey Shore ironically, that they watch it cause the characters are terrible, unredeemable human beings, but in reality they’re loving it genuinely and without a hint of irony. Because, a true fan of “terrible TV” would see this abomination of morally bankrupt characters, the nihilistic premise, and add to it the unintentionally hilarious production, and realise we have an absolute treasure in our hands. The show was less than 2 minutes in and I was in tears, I was laughing so hard. And then they flipped to the poolside scene, and after I resisted the urge to fap, I laughed out loud some more.
We all expected the show to be terrible. It’s a tried and true formula which has been successfully implemented recently in Jersey Shore, then in Geordie Shore and The Only Way Is Essex. What we forgot about though, was that the execution of this conceit would be carried out by New Zealand production teams. The show just looks completely bush league. We as TV viewers are prepared to suspend some realism in reality TV – as long as the show at least makes an attempt to look real. In The GC, it is laughably obvious that they have been given actual lines to read, and every scene looks like it was built and directed by the producers.
I sprinkled in some Clippers comparisons earlier, but the analogy really is quite accurate. This is a show which has the talent and the premise to be quite entertaining, not only in New Zealand, but in Australia too. You have the star point guard in Tame, who with a few more episodes under his belt I think can really blossom into one of the reality TV greats. America churns out their annoying, unbearable reality TV personalities but none of them are particularly likable. The characters on The GC may induce some cringes, but essentially they’re not bad people. Narcissistic? Hell yeah. But not completely irredeemable as human beings. Indeed, Tame seems like a genuinely nice guy once you get past the self-worship thing. The “problem” for the Clippers is their terrible coach Vinny Del Negro, who does a poor job of organising all the pieces into a coherent unit. But unlike a basketball team, in a reality TV show this chaotic incompetence just adds to its unintentional entertainment value.
Criticism #2: “What a waste of tax payer money!”
The show was reported to have cost $420,000 in taxpayer money from NZ on Air. But when you consider the insane ratings that the show drew (they got almost 70,000 more viewers than the 6 o clock news), I think we can safely say they more than made their money back.
As for its lack of any cultural benefit, I think it’s interesting that people are happy enough when tax payer money is used to fund shows like Police 10-7 and all its spinoffs, which show young Maori out on the streets committing crimes and looking stupid. These aren’t exactly Emmy-winners either and are lazy trash produced to make a quick buck off of racist stereotypes. But use NZ on Air funding to make a show about young Maori with money and aspirations, and you get the overflow on the haterade. While the moral and ideological values of the cast members (i.e. money-chasing, narcissistic, hedonistic, etc.), may not be agreeable, what this show can do is to provide some sort of diversity in the way Maori can be portrayed in the media. They are not role models as such, but a counterpoint to the degrading images propagated by the mainstream media.
I’m not saying people hate the show just because it features rich Maori, cause people would hate the show and these characters regardless of race. But I am saying that, against all odds, these vapid, self-centred, uneducated buffoons may just end up contributing more to our cultural discourse than what we might otherwise assume at first glance.
Ok, I’m probably giving the producers way too much credit. They likely just wanted to make some quick bucks off a tried and true reality TV formula. And yes, its absolute shite. But its good, lovely, wholesome shite. So stop complaining.
Like my mumma always told me, finish your kai, don’t be fussy.