Even bad shows deserve a second chance

21:47, Mar 13 2014

In a bid to free up time for quality television and occasionally seeing some sunlight I swore off some terrible programmes for ever.

But where's the fun in that? Could I have missed the point of the show? Maybe it was just a bad episode. Or perhaps I've changed?

That's why I dived headlong back into four programmes I rejected and put my past prejudices behind me.

It takes a big man to admit they're wrong, and they don't come much bigger than me. But do I have anything to apologise for?

Seven Sharp

The biggest issue for me going back into the Seven Sharp world was dealing with Mike Hosking and his ego.


I find Hosking, and others like him, to be insufferable snobs.

They're from a class who take any opportunity to look down on those who can't live in Remuera and drink Pinot while getting the nanny to sort the kids out.

Thankfully, for the most part, Hosking's ability to make snide remarks is minimised and Toni Street is a much better host.

Seven Sharp, as it did the last time I watched, deals with some really big and important stories.

A feature on a young man who killed his best friend while drink driving was emotional and a story well worth telling.

Unfortunately it's soon replaced by two presenters picking up rubbish on Waiheke Island. Who then have to build a boat out of the rubbish they find.

From the sublime to the ridiculous.

Hosking has a final attempt to look down on us with his final monologue - a blast against the flag referendum. "I don't give a toss about it," he says.

Neither do it. While we've got child poverty, racism, discrimation based on sexuality, huge prison populations and Government ministers involved in cronyism there are far more important things to deal with.

I suspect Mike doesn't give a toss about any of those either, though.

VERDICT: Until Hosking toddles off I won't be giving Seven Sharp another watch.

2 Broke Girls

It's one of the worst shows on television yet its third season is now showing in New Zealand.

I originally watched the first few episodes of the first season and had to take my leave for fear of cutting myself.

But sitcoms change, they bed in and the writers find their feet so I went in with a fairly open mind.


It was terrible. Beyond terrible. The wardrobe seems designed to give Kat Dennings' breasts star billing and the jokes are awful.

It's lazy, stereotyped and painful to watch - even the jokes that are the tiniest bit funny (like the woman customer dressed as Blossom in the episode I watch) go on WAY too long.

And the laughter track? It's invasive and it's trying to let us know that what we're supposed to find something funny. When there are no laughs it just grates.

VERDICT: It can join Dads in the "Sitcoms I'll Be Made To Watch In Hell" list.

The Paul Henry Show

First time around I didn't hate the Paul Henry Show. In fact I found it a much better watch than Seven Sharp - but not enough to actually watch it again.

Henry, like Hosking before him, thinks he's much cleverer than he actually is and his inability to avoid laughing at his own jokes is infuriating.

An interview with Judith Collins is going to be the star of this show - a right-wing wannabe politician interviewing a right-wing politician. What can possibly go wrong?

But Henry surprises me once again. He actually asks Collins some difficult questions and basically says he doesn't believe that she thinks she's done anything wrong.

If you ignore the cheap dig at David Cunliffe and the overly-familiar banter then it's one of the better digs at a politician I've seen in quite a while.

It certainly hit more targets than Labour politicians seem to be able to do in Parliament.

It's followed by another interesting interview, this time about interest rates and the rise of the Official Cash Rate (OCR) and the impact it could have on mortgage holders in the next two years.

It was fascinating, provided some useful advice and I actually found myself enjoying it.

If they can permanently ditch the "9 in 10" rubbish that's worthless and Henry can continue to reign in the worst of himself then this show may actually have a shot.

VERDICT: Two excellent interviews, a decent recap of the news and just minimal Henry laughter at himself. This show is starting to hit its straps - and I'll definitely be tuning in more often.

The GC

I described the first episode of season two as "car-crash television". The latest episode wasn't nearly as bad but it's still not worthy of primetime television.

The increased focus on the Māori language is a welcome addition to the show and was responsible for the funding for the second season.

It's hardly done well - the recipient of the te reo training can't seem to remember anything, but he does seem interested in knowing more about the culture.

And it's good to hear Māori words on television at that time of night.

However, despite it not grating as much as previously, I still think the show is more about giving people the chance to look down their noses at these kids than anything else.

The section where two of the ladies are getting their nails filed is case in point.

One uses a word which is made up and there's a knowing cut to the nail technician and the other character which not-so-subtly says "man, she's dumb, eh?"

If you're trying to make a show which hopes to do something positive for Māori culture, this kind of thing is out of place and insulting.

VERDICT: I'm clearly not the audience for this show and I'll ensure I do them a favour by not tuning in again in the future.

Overall it was a worthy experiment. Yes, I haven't changed my mind on three of the shows, but The Paul Henry show continues to surprise with how good it was.

Have you ever given a show a second chance and changed your mind? Let me know what you think I should be watching below!