The GC divides the nation
Outrage is growing at NZ On Air's decision to spend nearly $420,000 on new series The GC, which critics are slamming after its first episode last night on TV3.
Stuff website reviewer Chris Philpott said The GC "might be the worst show on television right now, maybe even the worst show this country has ever produced (even counting Melody Rules)".
"A so-called 'reality' show that purports to profile successful young Maori on the Gold Coast, but which instead twists the day-to-day life of its cast of characters to make them appear morally bankrupt and more interested in amassing money, sex and fame than in any kind of normal existence."
Broadcaster Mike Hosking said television had reached a new low.
"Congratulations to TV3 for providing this country with the most appalling, low rent, pointless piece of televisual crap I have ever seen in my life," he said.
"If a production house had gone out, raised the cash through sponsorship or got the broadcaster to fund it then who are we to complain?
"But New Zealand on Air has put money into this. New Zealand on Air is charged with taking taxpayer money and investing in TV that reflects us. Investing in shows that may not make it to air if it weren't for this state-funded agency."
On the Scoop website, Tom Frewen predicted another embarrassing political storm was about the engulf NZ On Air.
He pointed to the disparity between NZ On Air's description of the show when it announced funding had been approved last August, and the way TV3 promoted the show.
NZ On Air explained the show, then called Golden Mozzies, looked at seven Maori families living on Australia's Gold Coast.
"The TV3 series will explore emigration from a Maori perspective and how Tikanga Maori supports them as they adapt to life in a new country."
In contrast, TV3 said: "The GC follows the lives of a group of talented and attractive young Maori as they work hard and play even harder in Australia's favourite playground, the glittering Gold Coast."
Commentator Finlay Macdonald said the programme had even changed from the TV3 description.
"It's lower down the evolutionary scale than even they were saying in their pre-publicity," he said on Radio NZ.
It was "completely not that show" described by NZ On Air.
In The New Zealand Herald Rebecca Barry Hill said The GC was designed strictly for entertainment value, "only without much entertainment, and not a lot of value".
"So far, what they get up to is about as exciting as watching tattoo ink dry."
NZ On Air, which was not commenting on the funding of the show, also came in for criticism on its Facebook page.
"NZ on Air is meant to help promote NZ so can you please kill the GC. What a waste of my tax payers money, can I get it back? [sic]" one comment said.
Another said: "How the hell can you justify funding the turd you called `The GC'? I couldn't bare to watch more than 5 minutes of it. Total Dreck [sic]. Heads need to roll over this."
According to television website throng.co.nz, The GC was watched by 370,660 viewers, making it the most popular show on TV3 last night.
Overall the most watched programmes yesterday were One News (684,830), Shortland Street (599,070), Fair Go (593,900), Close Up (529,830) and TV One's Animal Rescue, which was screened at the same time as The GC and attracted 512,370 viewers.
The six trending topics on Twitter this morning were all related to the show with #thegc even reaching a spot in the worldwide trending charts last night.
Some described the characters as "plastic" and "fake", but others added "sounds like a pretty accurate portrayal of the Gold Coast to me".
The stars of the show themselves got in on the Twitter chat.
"Yea the haters dnt realise the more they moan about us the more fame The GC gets! Haha and they think wea dumb hmm lol," wrote Rosanna Arkle, an accounts manager and part time model in her off-screen life.
Rugby league star and boxer Monty Betham tweeted to lead character Tame Noema, a scaffolder and property investor: "Everyone's talking about it champ. #ExactlyWhatYouWant. #DoYourThing."
More than half the the readers responding to a Stuff reader's poll said the show was a disgrace, less than 5 per cent said it was great entertainment and 37 per cent said they didn't watch it.
Speaking on Radio NZ, Stuff reviewer Philpott said he expected the show to rate reasonably well for a couple of weeks.
Next week people might want to see if the second episode was as bad as the first, while the negative publicity would also cause people to tune in, he said.
But he expected that over time, interest would phase out, as had happened with US reality show Jersey Shore.
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Did you watch The GC? What did you think?