Another Kiwi show we should be proud of
One of the things I really enjoy about television is the passion it engenders in people and the debates that can be held because of this.
And because I'm in such a privileged position I often get people asking me what I think or throwing suggestions at me for shows I should check out.
One such suggestion came to me from a friend on Twitter this week - one I trust to have excellent tastes.
And so it came to be that I binged on all four episodes that have been broadcast so far of TVNZ's new local comedy Coverband.
Let's get the negatives out of the way first - it won't take too long. As one might expect from a show predominantly featuring young men there is a bit of sexist cliche in there.
The trope of overweight groupie wanting to sleep with one of the band members who wakes up in the morning and regrets it is particularly worn.
However there is actually much to like about this new show that I can almost forgive the occasional foray into this territory.
Ever since I read Roddy Doyle's The Commitments and watched the phenomenal film version I've been desperate to be in a band. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed this so much.
Forget the fact that I can barely hold a guitar, never mind play it. Or that I look more like Meatloaf now than in his peak. Or that I couldn't hold a tune if my life depended on me.
You may not be aware that I'm currently a founder member, along with award winning journalist, owner of the world's fastest chin and wannabe rock god Troy Rawhiti-Forbes, of the greatest fake coverband of all time - the amazing Marilyn Hanson.
We haven't actually jammed yet. That's to come after we've planned our world domination. But I dream that we're going to make the beautiful music of The Commitments.
In reality we're not even going to reach the level of The Silhouettes, the eponymous coverband - although I suspect we will be able to match their level of disorganisation and ability to put away beers.
But enough about Marilyn Hanson. For the minute. What's not to love about a show featuring a band playing good Kiwi tunes and causing me to laugh out loud on multiple occasions?
The faces are familiar - the three original members of the band are all played by Kiwi actors who've done their dust in the usual shows (Go Girls, Outrageous Fortune). Johnny Barker, Matt Whelan and Wesley Dowdell all do an excellent job.
But the real find is Laughton Kora as Jukebox, their new lead singer. Kora, one of the members of Kiwi reggae/dub band... er... Kora can not only blast it out (as witnessed in the Jamaican night in episode four) but brings a level of performance as a pissed-up loser that made me love him right from the start.
And the jokes? Some are cringeworthy. Others are simply masterpieces. The highlight was when bassist Alex (Whelan) was trying to impregnate his partner in the pantry and he had to keep moving the boxes because all he could see were the men on them starting at him.
Okay, my writing doesn't do justice to that particular scene. Just watch it and you'll see what I mean.
The other one that sticks is when Alex comes home and offers a glass of wine to his partner. She puts her hands on her stomach and says she shouldn't. Awww. She's pregnant!
His reply? "Oh no. You've finished all the chips, didn't you?". Beautifully Kiwi.
And then there's Bowl, the popular - but terrible - band who Alex has to stand in for when their bassist slips over on some of Jukebox's pee and breaks his arm.
Or the scene reminiscent of a similar one in The Commitments, where the band audition the worst possible singers for the gig?
I'm laughing now thinking about them.
There are bits that are awkward (like Knuckles offer to put Polly's name behind the door and subsequently admitting they're just a covers band). There are bits that are weird (the aforementioned peeing incident). And there are bits which will make you crack up.
The list isn't quite endless, but when you've got top-quality local shows like this on offer why wouldn't you watch it rather than the reams of reality television shows and crap US comedy imports? Yes, I'm thinking about Two Broke Girls. No, I won't let it lie. It's even worse than Two And A Half Men and for a long time I didn't think that was possible.
So head over to TVNZ OnDemand and watch the first four episodes before tomorrow night's brand new effort when they play backing for an up and coming Christian pop star.
I'll be tuning in and giving my support to local talent. You should to. That leaves me must just one thing to do.
Thanks, Kylie, for your recommendation. It was a great suggestion. You don't want to join Marilyn Hanson do you?