And then it was Tammy Davis' turn to have his own show - or a half of it anyway - in TV3's Friday night comedy Sunny Skies (8pm).
Using the same babyish subnormal voice he used to play the thick but sweet Munter in Outrageous Fortune, Davis plays solo dad Dino, who inherits half of a holiday camp along with his hitherto unknown half-brother Oscar (Oliver Driver).
Driver, whose two-metre frame makes him a towering giant in the tiny world of actors the world over, dwarfs Davis, drawing the inevitable comparison with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny De Vito in their hit comedy film Twins.
Oscar has a background in human resources but is chronically anti-social. When he encounters Matthew and Mark, an elderly homosexual couple (the ubiquitous Ian Mune forms part of that pair) who are permanent residents in the caravan park on their way to the funeral of his father, Gary, he rudely tells them: "Do you mind if I don't talk to you? It's just that old people give me the s....".
Neither Oscar nor Dino had ever met their father (but learn that he had a face like a "dropped pie") or knew of his existence, and are dismayed to learn that neither sibling can sell his share of the park without the other's express permission. This information is disclosed to the siblings by a lawyer who is also the town real estate agent, and probably a lot of other things, as we will discover in the weeks to come.
The romantic interest in the show is Nicky, who Dino refers to on first encounter as a "hot chick" who has managed the park for six years. She is furious that Gary didn't leave it all to her, and seriously irked about the sudden bad penny turnup of his two odd sons.
The other female in the ensemble cast is Charlotte, Dino's chippy, cynical daughter, whom Oscar refers to as Midget.
There's also a nudist handyman who refuses to wear underpants, the excuse being that the washing machine is broken down - because he hasn't fixed it. If Dino is dumb, Gunner is dumber: his main objective in life and in living at the camp is to catch a wave rather than fix the rundown park. Even though his skill set is risable, he seems to have been allowed to stay on as part of the broken-down furniture.
While Dino is prepared to be sentimental about having a new brother, even if he is white, Oscar comes on all Despicable Me at the unwelcome news that he is no longer a precious only child.
The two are tasked with putting Gary's ashes in an urn, plonking it in the middle of a dinghy and pushing it out to sea. The only trouble is that Dino can't swim and nearly drowns as Oscar yells at him: "Whoever heard of a Maori that can't swim?"
In reply, Dino explains through gasping salty gulps that the reason for his unfloatability is that: "I watched Jaws at a really impressionable age".
This is a good start to Sunny Skies, because there is snappy comic timing between Driver and Davis, and the park is a feelgood popular location where many Kiwi viewers have done time and relaxed, or run away to when the proverbial has hit the fan.
As Oscar says of the best cabin in the camp: "It smells of divorce and duck", a musky odour many watching will know the whiff of.
Dropping a wired-up shirty city slicker character (Oscar) into a super laidback outfit provides endless scenarios for Oscar to do his block and try to fence off sentimental "I love you, bro" overtures from Dino to become better acquainted.
The only slight worry is that with Dino's character being so similar to Munter, one keeps expecting the whole fam-damily of Outrageous Fortune to turn up at the holiday camp, as they did in the Christmas specials back in the day when Wolf was Cheryl's hubby.
This show boxes to its weight.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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