Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Birds: Part One.

I've got a bone to pick with Jeremy Wells. It's hard to be slightly defiant towards someone who hails from a society that gave me 7 fruitful years, yes, Hamilton, but I'm going to.

His new show Birdland starts on Saturday (7pm. Just before Country Calendar. How about that time slot Newsboy?), and when I first saw the ads, my first thought was that he suited being an ornithologist. Quirky, sifty as anything (do we all remember Kum'face back in the Mikey Havoc Show days?), able to be camouflage himself to an extent, the components were there. Good on him I thought.

Sure, he's riding on the bandwagon of 'going back to nature' that Lush has successfully done and many prior to that before Xboxes and Playstations took over from fishing and cricket rounders, but he doesn't deserve to be shot down, nor compared to Lush. He's been around for awhile now and definitely has carved out his own place with TVNZ.

But I question what he stands for. His satirical approach to New Zealand, New Zealanders and the New Zealand culture used to be very, very clever. I thought that was his niche. And so Birdland will be an interesting road not yet taken by the artist formerly known as Newsboy.

No doubt destined to be a cut above Jenny Shipley's Intrepid Journey, though not a spot on Marcus Lush and Off The Rails, Ice or South, or Peter Elliot, Paul Henry, or even Oliver Driver (when he was arts only, before he sold his soul to the hideousness that is stereotypical Auckland captured in Tv3's Sunrise...) in terms of fronting a tv show that goes tiki-touring throughout our country, I wait with only partially baited breath to see what the ratings are like.

"Sadly every other subject for a television show had been taken. Lush took trains, Hamish Keith stole art and Radar mucked about on a farm. As far as I'm aware birds were the last subject of national importance left to milk."

I mean, what is that saying about his credibility as someone who is a patriot? The reason why the other programmes he mentioned have been a success is because you can't help but be carried away with the passion that these hosts hold for their subject, or their lifelong hobby, their Kiwi or international topics. They're real, or at least convincing as seemingly genuine anyway.
...................................... .....................................................................
A rubbish episode of Intrepid Journeys.
I'd be heartbroken if it came to light that Marcus hated the railways, or relocated to, I don't know, Te Kuiti from his beloved South Island (as someone who has pioneering forefathers from that area, please be assured I am not hassling the King Country area) or Paul Henry was a spy for England (despite what critics may say of him as a person, there can be no denial that Paul Henry is one of the most patriotic personalities on our screens) because they shine, so simply through their zest for life, however it may be conveyed.

Perhaps Wells is searching for the same thing, or simply, something. He readily admits that it was time for a change after roughly a decade of 'poking fun at minor celebrities from behind a desk'. Which, to his credit is a bold statement.

Considering our celebrities do fall into the minor category (they recycle their fame by deciding to continue partying together, realise they've all been on the rugby field, Shortland Street or TAB Sports Cafe in some combination or another at some point, so they pack a video camera and bang! Treasure Island or Lost in the Pacific or some other rubbish hits TV2 on a Sunday.)

Birdland is freaking the bejeezus out of me before it even starts. I won't be watching it, ever, but I will listen with interest to what the reviews are like.

Good luck to him.

Until next time,


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