More prophetic than anyone could imagine – Jesse in a coffin
Jesse Mulligan was the last of the original ill-fated trio to be dumped from Seven Sharp. This happened last week with little notice given and less notice paid. His removal was more inevitable than the four blade razor.
Mulligan was the least damaged of a panel of lame ducks when it started following the demise of Close Up, but the format of 2014 – with the waspish Hosking ensconced as alpha male – demanded a sacrifice. Mulligan appears to have been kept on just to save face for the network and provide a semblance of continuity over the new year – as if that would prevent it looking like anything but a major failure.
Hosking’s on-air mocking a few weeks ago of the old Seven Sharp desk being on trademe was brutal. Hosking was pretty much telling Mulligan to piss off with the other losers when that went down. If charmless hostility is supposed to be one of Hosking’s winning qualities then the folk who run TVNZ have spent too much time listening to ZB talkhate radio. Paul Henry is only a mild laxative causing flatulence compared with the relentless toxicity of Hosking. Pairing him with Toni Street, Miss Bubbles McBubbly, as a counterpoint tends to highlight his offensive ranting rather than diminish it. The only thing being softened by her presence is the lighting. She cheerily gushes her way through the show in wide-eyed amazement – perhaps at how she got this job in the first place (because if she reflected on the tenure of the rest of the hosts she would look a lot more depressed, like how Mulligan looked the last month or so).
With Hosking comes an ability to compete head to head with Campbell Live on the big interviews. From what little I can stand to watch of this marketing-inspired shite, the opportunity to match Campbell has not been pursued. The tension between the original flawed project – derived from a brain-storming session late in the afternoon at the Devonport wine festival – and the new flawed project hung as it is upon the prickly persona of Hosking is already on display.
They may be getting better, but they still don’t know how to treat major issues of the day: too heavy or complex they will tend to avoid altogether whereas Campbell Live would make a meal of it. Where Seven Sharp does delve into weightier topics the juxtapose with the fluff is unpalatable.
Having Hosking go from empathising with one form of victim on the outro to story one is not a gentle or pleasant segue to a victim-bashing intro to story two. All the face-pulling required to act out each alien emotional concept to him is painful and it is unconvincing. Hosking must think so too as he doesn’t even bother as of late, preferring to just read the autocue and make perfunctory remarks that cut down on the need to go through the ritual of performing the usual instinctive emotional responses an audience expects and demands of a host handling this material.
You can tell when he doesn’t care – and it is quite often. It is this barely disguised contempt for the show’s own content which leads me to believe that Hosking may be even more underwhelmed by what TVNZ are doing with the show than the critics are. Maybe he knows the show is coming to an end but he is not?
The only marked improvement worthy of mention, or at least special mention, is the easing off on the pointless social media distractions in favour of dialogue between the hosts. How old fashioned – probably why it works much better than the bombardment of inanities from teh interwebs despite the awkward moments it creates. The frenzied interaction fad may have peaked just in time to allow Mr Perfect his big shot.