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Tuesday 11 April 2017

Different strokes: Two very different approaches to GLBT TV

Posted in: Television
By John Curry - 2nd August 2006

For a while there tonight (Tues) it was Takataapui versus Kiwifruit! How's that for complementary programming? And irony of ironies Takataapui was looking at the lgbt presence in the kiwi media, including television, so they gave Kiwifruit a mention.

But they mainly did some meaty interviews with the likes of Annemarie Duff, programmer for TVNZ and therefore 'responsible' for that aforementioned lgbt presence on our screens. Her basic rationale was 'there's gay people in New Zealand, so we put them on our screens'.

And Shortland Street producer Jason Daniel (himself gay) was another taxpayer-funded bigwig 'responsible' for gay content - and no, there hasn't been a gay Maori on Shortie St yet, it was meant to happen but ... it didn't turn out that way. And though they're keeping it in mind, 'characters are no longer included just because they're gay'.

Paora Maxwell lamented this absence of any gay Maori characters on national tv but pointed out they are present on the Maori channel (if he meant Bev of B&B, then they've got my vote).

Nettie Kinmont of Queer Nation shared her memories of that show and pointed out it was the first such show in the world to get government funding. Aotearoa does it again!

Greg Mayor of the briefly glimpsed Outhouse (honey, didn't anyone tell him what a shitty name that was?) chatted away happily (and even mentioned Kiwifruit too) but I had to leave Welby Ings and Tom Merito talking about their latest movie projects (Tom's producing a flic about the P epidemic, Welby seemed to be doing something with dolls).

Kiwifruit had squelched onto my screen.

Well, it was a lot less frenetic than I remembered and they had a new (to me) excellent and charismatic presenter in Matu Ngaropo. And he was visiting the Mystery Creek national fieldays! What a glorious cheek. But, wait, he got to chat up a couple of the National Bachelor of the Year blokes! Yes, one of them knew a gay farmer, someone he'd been to school with. At least he thought the bloke might be gay. But Matu's reasoning that if there were 10 bachelors one of them must be gay, went for a burton, and no, he showed no signs of becoming a farmer's wife. Well, not in that suit, silly, didn't you notice you were surrounded by shorts and gummies and swannis?

The kiwifruits had started off with the lesbian puppets interviewing Pansy Wong! Which one was the puppet, I wondered there for a while.

Apparently Pansy chose that name for herself back in old Hong Kong when chosing an english name was the in thing to do. And no she doesn't know if there are any lesbians in the National party, they don't go around asking that sort of question, but it is an 'inclusive' group.

The puppet girls were enormously well-behaved with dear Pansy but they did get a little edgy about Pansy's web site. It has four languages but no maori ... hmmm, don't tell that to the Takataapui!

The Boring Gay Couple were gone but they'd been replaced by some real gay boys who were not so much boring as confusing - was it a pisstake or were we meant to take them and their cooking skills seriously? I had to admire their chutzpah - with all the gay food snobs out there, these two were making very basic sausage rolls! And a la Hudson and Halls there was a very prominently placed wine cask (Chasseur for those who absolutely have to know). Well, obviously those two aren't getting a salary anywhere near the one our Judy used to get.

Amanda whatshername visited the annual Bride and Groom show and got a mixed response to her 'civil unions, are they good for business' approach?. At least, the wedding cake folk were all looking forward to making a civil union cake. One of them had made a number of them, though, because he had a gay guy working for him, but the other two had yet to break their duck over the matter, so to speak.

A number of lesbians pondered the question 'What's your favourite type of sex?' One asked if afternoon sex qualified and finally a young lesbian became so tongue-tied she burst out with "My mother will be watching'. Awww, sort of sweet, really. It's some of those bride and groom types you've really got to worry about, dearie.

But not celebrant Sue Neal. She and her partner Glenda went the whole hog and glammed up, etc. Good on them!

The show finished with a trailer for a gay movie about Pluto (no Kiwifruit were involved in this segment, they're probably waiting for Tom and Welby to finish their upcoming projects).

So it was quite a night for queer tv, and yes, there are lgbt people in New Zealand because there we were on both national tv and the Maori channel. Compared to other countries Aoteroa is mighty in spirit and some of that spirit is proudly queer. Bravo and brava Kiwifruit and Takataapui!

John Curry - 2nd August 2006

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