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Scary Aussie weddings

GORDON BROWN
Last updated 05:00 29/09/2012

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We are seeing more and more Australian programmes on our television sets, which is a mixed blessing.

Ignoring the silly soaps which are no better or worse than our own Shortland Street, you can generally rely on the West Island to produce a few programmes with predictable results. The documentary series on Aussie women, Kim and Kath, is generally good for a laugh; the various Underbelly series will have gratuitous nudity and violence, but not much of a story; but for tasteless television which serves as a permanent reminder of its, um, colourful history, look no further than Four Weddings Oz [TV One, Thursdays 8.30pm].

It has at least as much humour as Kath and Kim, although much of it is unintentional; there is a fair bit of violence and near-nudity, and the naughty narrator continually snipes and jeers at that week's four brides-to-be, who are the stars of the show.

Last week we met Alice, Yvette, Kerry and Stephanie. You wouldn't want to meet them on a dark night in an alley. They were four diverse characters and it's fair to say none were chosen for their, um, normality. The format sets them against each other as they all go to each other's weddings and score each other on their dress, ceremony, food and reception.

First up was party girl Stephanie. "It's about having a massive party," she declared. It was, with taste a long way down the list. She did a salsa dance, because she was a salsa dancer. Peter was a DJ, so he did his part, but the theme was a "fairy tale princess and prince". For a mere $40,000, he and his mates arrived in a helicopter, she and her bridesmaids in a horse-drawn carriage. All it needed was Rolf Harris and his trusty wobble board doing Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport, as they walked up the aisle. Instead there was a stirring haka, a burlesque dance, hip-hop, Latin dancers, more salsa dancers and a love song by the groom. An impressive three-tier wedding cake was a highlight, but as one of the brides observed, "it would have been nice to have had some".

Stephanie reckoned it was perfect and scored it 10 out of 10.

Alice was the one who bordered on sanity, with a no-frills wedding. Fair enough that Mum made all the dresses to save money, but having a cash bar only and serving up "party pies and sausage rolls" did not go down well with the other brides-to-be.

“Do you want tomato sauce," sneered one. “Come on Alice, it's a wedding, not a footie match," scowled another.

Alice did it all for $8000 and thought she'd win because it was tasteful in its simplicity and gave herself 11 out of 10.

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Kerry was obsessed with pink. Everything she owned, including a $7000 pink frilly wedding dress and a pink wedding cake, while hubbie-to-be Dave loved black, between them they came up with a 1920s gangster theme, which meant everyone arrived wearing gangster gear. Kerry sang a song to Dave, and she had a good voice, but it was more like a party than a wedding, as the other brides were quick to point out. For $40k Kerry had the wedding she wanted, a steal at that price.

Finally it was Yvette's wedding. She aimed for "old school elegance". While she knew the cost of everything, she was unfamiliar with the value of anything. She made a fuss over the fact she was importing 8cm Ecuadorian roses for every table. There were rose petals and candles everywhere but it was gauche rather than elegant. The others liked it but thought the venue cramped, the wait for the food too long and the dress imported from the US was "too frilly". Another bargain at $30k. Yvette though it was 10 out of 10.

As an aside, Mrs Brown thought the whole exercise tasteless to say the least. She says she is the least frilly person you'd ever meet, and she is. Mind you, at least when she was a beautiful bride at our wedding a year or three ago you could tell the difference between the bride and the cake.

The final act of the show is to line up the four brides, who wait for the limo to pull up with the groom of the winning bride inside. The prize is a seven-day luxury honeymoon in an over-the-water bungalow in Tahiti, and the not-so-fab four can't wait to see if they've won.

It's Peter and he and Steph are the big winners, but for the first time the other three become nice girls and congratulate her. It was as contrived as everything else.

Entertaining it may be to a point, but pitting four Aussie brides against each other is designed to bring out the worst in them and they seldom let us down.

- The Timaru Herald

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