Mental as anything

by Diana Wichtel / 29 December, 2007
In a year when television gave us news stories in which the words "police", "porn" and "chicken" were used in the same sentence - and nobody looked good naked - there was plenty to choose from for our annual awards.

2007: IT WAS MENTAL. Global warming - environmental catastrophe or Greenie hoax? David Bain - media darling or salad-munching mass murderer? Does My Bum Look Big? - body-image empowerment or sign of the Apocalypse? The Tuhoe terrorists - a threat to national security or ... not? Television asked the big questions and responded with an insightful "Doh?"

On Coronation Street, Mike Baldwin lost his marbles. At TVNZ, Rick Ellis lost the plot, declaring shows like Police Ten-7 to be a blow for biculturalism. TV3's Sunrise gave Breakfast a run for its money when it comes to subtracting from the sum of human knowledge. The Sopranos caught the "What the ...?!" zeitgeist with an operatically inconclusive finale.

There was way too much information. Paul Holmes may have stopped discussing his nether regions, but now everyone's doing it. Sorry, but on television almost nobody looks good naked and almost everyone's bum looks enormous.

2007 was a shocker. We heard news stories where the words "police", "porn" and "chicken" appeared in the same sentence. No wonder we turned to psychic claptrap like Sensing Murder.

Bad news on the evolutionary front: we can no longer raise children, dress ourselves or blow our own noses without the help of Trinny and Susannah, Jamie Oliver or ubiquitous local tele-psychologist Nigel Latta. Daftest moment of a barking year: Nigel Latta appears on Sensing Murder.

We came second a lot. On the upside, Maori TV screened shows like Marae DIY and Native Affairs. TV3 and Prime continue to back good-hearted, exuberant local shows. TVNZ screened the entertainingly egotistical art series The Big Picture.

The good, the bad and Hamish Keith: here are our annual highly subjective awards for 2007, a year that proved once again that with television the Golden Age is always right now. And the most shocking year ever is always just around the corner.

The "Look Ma, I'm Talking to a Celebrity" Award for most ingratiating interview: Close Up's John Sellwood and Dionne Warwick; Mark Sainsbury and David Beckham; Tony Veitch and David Beckham; anyone and David Beckham.

Best Media Satire: Extras; David Bain mania - no, wait, that was for real.

Best Piss-Take: Eating Media Lunch's "Sensing Bullshit". Larry King interviews Paris Hilton - no, wait, that was for real.

The "Sensing Bullshit" Award: for the Erin Brockovich ads - were they for real? And for screening some of our best shows - The Book Show, Frontseat, Agenda - when no one's watching.

The Naughty Chair Award for bad behaviour: Trevor Mallard biffs Tau Henare. Helen Clark texts while being addressed by the Queen. Alt TV displays rude text messages - not, as far as we know, from Helen Clark.

The John Campbell Memorial Prize for unseemly displays of affection: Scary, ageing popster David Cassidy slips his key down Louise Wallace's cleavage on Whatever Happened to ...? Tony Veitch and David Beckham. Michael Laws and ... Michael Laws. Anything involving John Campbell and Rove.

The "They're Laughing at Us Over There" Award: Flight of the Conchords; the satire ban that set off a wave of derisive guffawing from here to The Daily Show.

The Extra Carbon Credits Award for wooden acting: Mike Baldwin on Coro Street; Kieran Mitchell on Shortie; Helen Clark.

Worst Fashion Moment: Paulie Walnut's collection of white loafers on The Sopranos; How to Look Good Naked.

Most Emetic Moment: the Brothers & Sisters episode in which all the characters throw up - even they couldn't stand the smug, saccharine scripts. Michael Laws dancing.

Best Cultural Comment: The Big Picture is beaten out by the scene in Californication involving sex, drugs and vomiting on a piece of modern art.

The "Do You Want Fries with Those Double Standards?" Award: to Burger King, creator of the busty Burger King girls, for withdrawing its ads from Californication.

Best Reason to Destroy Your Television: Charlotte's Lists - it's the Devil's work.

The Devil's Work Award: TV3's much-complained-about Californication. What about the anal sex and gleeful use of the "c" word in TV1's The Trial of Lady Chatterley?

The Icon Hardly Believe It Award: In local drama Hothouse, Levi stuffs his drugs up Humpty's posterior. Is nothing sacred?

Best Drama: The Sopranos, forever. Outrageous Fortune, still. Stephen Fry's search for his Jewish roots in Who Do You Think You Are? Anything starring Tame Iti.

The What a Bitch Award: to Paul Henry, who said to One News US correspondent Tim Wilson: "I wonder, are the hairstylists out on strike?"

Freakiest Sight: Paul Holmes's paso doble, Tim Wilson's hair.

Woolliest Television Moment Since the Hermit Merino: the Close Up promo shots up Mark Sainsbury's nose; Tongan John's 'fro on Welcome to Paradise.

Best Reason to Institute No-movember: Mark Sainsbury; Good Morning's Brendan Pongia and Steve Gray.

Storyline that Made It Seem Like Slow-mo-vember: Shortland Street's serial murderer epic.

Best Public Service: C4's viewer-discretion Nana.

The Robin Toomath Anti-Obesity Mania Award: Tame Iti, for his prison downsize; Maurice Williamson: "If some people can't lose weight no matter what ... how come there were no fat people in the Nazi concentration camps?"

The Mucking In Award for digging a deeper hole: John Key's apology for Maurice: "The Holocaust is a painful memory for many, including the Jewish community."

Best Song: the Conchords' "Leggy Blonde".

National Motto of the Year: the Conchords' "New Zealand: don't expect too much - you will love it."

The "Don't Expect Too Much - You Will Love It" Award: to Prime's Welcome to Paradise. Like a rogue fungal infection, it grows on you.

Animal of the Year: Lotsa, the seven-legged lamb; Mumbles, the silly-season penguin; Pee Wee, the Northland flood kiwi; Biddy, the 17-year-old jack russell that got stuck on the mudflats. Winner: the "dead" duck that survived two days in a freezer.

Dead Duck Award for Local Drama: Rude Awakenings proved that Ponsonby really is beyond satire.

Best Reason to go Vegetarian: the "first kill your pig" cooking tips on Hunger for the Wild; finding a live duck in your freezer.

Best Mad Scene: Mike Baldwin; Pippa Wetzell herds ducks; Paul Henry's Hammond organ monologue; anything featuring ducks.

Happy holidays.

For more awards, see Concerts, Film, Theatre, Dance, Ecologic, Sport, Wine.

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