2020, a year that went to hell in a hand-basket and had us all on Netflix when we weren’t checking in for the daily Covid briefings and whatever latest crazy threat Trump was terrifying us with. Anything good was eclipsed by the plague and the media managed to make themselves loved and hated at the same time.
Here are the infamous TDB 2020 Media awards.
BEST NZ MOVIE – Savage
There are 3 types of NZ movie.
The ‘Shaggy Dog’ which Taika Waititi does so superbly, the Dungeons & Dragons special effects that Peter Jackson does so well and then there is the dark film type that shows the true dark identity of NZ. I’m talking Once Were warriors, Vigil, Sleeping Dogs, The Quiet Earth and The Dark Horse. Savage enters this third realm of NZ film making and stamps its authority on the violent subculture that lurks beneath the tension of our civility with a realism and raw authenticity that makes you weep. Such a mind blowing movie, it deserved far more attention than Covid allowed.
FUNNIEST NZ COMEDY – Late Night Big Breakfast & Taskmaster NZ
At a time when Auckland Comedy has Comedy Commissars monitoring male comedians for unsanctioned humour, we almost gave up on anything funny being produced this year.
It feels like it has been eons since TVNZ made us laugh.
The less said about Banter the better (how can you fuck up a talk show format so badly?).
Then there was the appalling ‘Have you been paying attention’? which was as funny as a car crash.
Surely someone, ANYONE involved in ‘Have you been paying attention’ would have stopped production after the first episode and said…
‘Folks, this is clearly the unfunniest TV show TVNZ has ever spent money on, let’s all agree to resign on mass today and offer an apology to the long suffering state broadcaster viewership who we seem to hate with the poor quality slop we feed them.”
…and what the Christ was the Last Dad Standing thing, and while we are on it, who the fuck is THIS guy?
..it’s like I had never heard or seen this bloke before and then all of a sudden he’s the flavour of the month with every box ticking NZ on Air toxic masculinity application funding form and then pow, he’s in every single TV advert.
Wait, I just checked.
He’s a Daddy Blogger.
FFS. Shoot me in the face now.
Anyway. I digress.
TVNZ has finally made me laugh with two excellent comedies that manage to make us forget the sub standard chuckles we’ve been recently waterboarded with.
Late Night Big Breakfast is Leigh Hart and Jason Hoyte at their best. I laughed so hard, I fell off my couch and spilled the bong. It’s Kiwi absurdity at its finest and Hoyte and Hart’s timing is just so bewilderingly good.
The reaction editing is magnificent.
The Women’s panel without any women on it has to be the stand out gag of 2020, “If a woman nags in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, did she really nag’?
How did they manage to get that past the Comedy Commissars?
The naked contempt of Joe Bennett is the greatest thing ever on screen.
If there is a God, Late Night Big Breakfast would get automatic renewal each year.
Taskmaster NZ is a shadow of the budget of its better known UK version, but Jeremy is just hilarious as host. He finally gets to be that cold private school elite sadist he was born with a silver spoon up his arse to play.
He’s barely acting.
Guy Williams little brother is funnier than Guy Williams and Guy knows it. It’s worth watching just for the Little Brother syndrome in reverse. Leigh Hart is funny just breathing, Madeleine Sami is the funniest woman alive and Angella Dravid is a comedic genius. Is the other comedian a host on ZM or something?
TMNZ was surprisingly funny and worth tuning in for.
Let us be grateful for some genuine creativity being allowed on TVNZ screens that actually just trusts the comedians to be funny rather than overproduced.
GIVEALITTLE PAGE AWARD 2020 – Jono and Ben in Dog Almighty
Oh come on folks, this is just not fucking good enough! Jono and Ben are icons of cheap TV gags done late at night, almost 50% of which were funny. To watch the mighty bad boy kings of rock radio hosting a fucking dog show is surely a fall from grace that hurts us all. It’s as if Kurt Cobain hadn’t shot himself and instead went on to manage a retirement village timeshare holiday apartment block while wearing a cardigan with matching slippers.
Shouldn’t we start a Givealittle page to help them pay for their Pt Chev mortgages so they don’t have to demean themselves and us like this?
Won’t somebody think of the dogs?
ALSO – why are they so skinny? Is TVNZ paying them in dog biscuits? They look like extras from Breaking Bad!
BEST BROADCASTER 2020 – John Campbell
No one does more to actually use their media platform for good than John. His endless enthusiasm, his kindness, his intellect, his compassion, his empathy and his ferocious intelligence make him the public broadcasting benchmark who stands for a quality of journalism that is the fourth estate at its unquestionably best.
His effort to include, his never ending focus on poverty, his intellectual curiosity to demand more than the powerful are willing to give combine to make the very best of public broadcasting in NZ.
No one in the pantheon of NZ Broadcaster greats has done more to uphold the obligations of the Fourth Estate higher than John.
If you are a Journalism Student and you don’t have a picture of John above your bed, sort you life out and get one or quit now.
BEST PUBLIC BROADCASTING TV – TVNZ Breakfast
Most mornings I awake with the incandescent rage of surviving another night and being rebirthed into the existential madness of the hateful present. TVNZ Breakfast does more to promise me hope than all the cannabis dealers in the Greater Auckland region ever can. For a commercial station, even the Public Broadcaster, to allow a hard news show masquerade as a light and breezy Breakfast show suggests that there is still a 5th column of public broadcasters inside TVNZs mall.
I want to pay special mention to Jenny-May Clarkson whose incredible empathy and fierce compassion makes for some of the most emotionally powerful moments on NZ TV. She has become an anchor who manages to allow vulnerable people tell their truth in a bubble of raw aroha. She trailblazers a unique leadership with a ferocious grace and dignity.
I wasn’t expecting to see that on Breakfast TV either!
BEST POLITICAL TV INTERVIEW – Tova O’Brien executes Jami Lee-Ross live on TV
Watching Tova O’Brien destroy Jami Lee-Ross in the last interview of his political career was so incredibly good it forgave every single ‘gotcha’ story she’s filed, and that’s almost her entire body of work. It was so vicious, so deserved, so cutting, so utterly devastating that it should be mandatory viewing for every student of journalism.
WORST TV ADVERT 2020 – BNZ Christmas, Worksafe, Car Crash advert & Electric Bloody Kiwi
Worksafe TV Advert
I have no idea if this is true, but this feels like it’s been brainfarted out by a Wellington Ad agency who sold the Meerkats as some amazing Weta Digital special effects spectacular to justify their outrageous fee.
It’s weird in the age of Me Too that the woman is able to ‘save’ the male worker in a manner that comes across technically like sexual assault, but this is Woke Wellington so it’s okay when a bigger woman challenging the stereotypes of beauty is sexually aggressive because that’s funny empowerment.
The reason this Worksafe advert is neoliberal Wellington propaganda bullshit is because the entire way this advert is framed is around the workers responsibility to ensure their work space is safe.
That’s right, this is an advert that justifies the bullshit light weight safety regulations we have in this country and puts the responsibility for ensuring that workplace safety on the workers, not the fucking bosses.
Ever since the Unions were smashed, Governments have watered any real work safety obligations down to an almost voluntary system that only gets punished when there is catastrophe, and even then the bosses tend to walk free.
In this advert, it’s the workers who have to make their work space safe, the fucking bosses aren’t involved at all, and as for the meerkats, I don’t know what the fuck they are doing in this advert. Like I said, it reeks of Weta Digital.
Let’s have an honest Worksafe advert where the Meerkats get blown up in a mine and the Boss gets away with it and tells everyone it was the Meerkats responsibility for the explosion in the first place.
Car crash salesman TV advert
Every time this tedious advert is on, I’m confused.
It’s not just the convoluted try hard ramming down the throat perplexity of the plot line of each advert that befuddles me, it’s the simple question of, ‘if these cars are so shit in a crash that they will hideously mutilate those in the car, THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE THEY ALLOWED TO BE SOLD HERE IN THE FIRST FUCKING PLACE!’, that bewilders me so much.
That’s right, note that it’s not our shitty, weak, poorly policed car safety regulations that are the issue here, oh no, it’s dumb people buying death traps in the first place that’s the problem.
Rather than demand tighter safety standards, we put on adverts blaming the people buying the cars and getting horribly injured in them instead, because it’s cheaper than actually having to police safety standards of all the second hand car imports and sales.
Once again, the lax regulation is glossed over and made a personal choice issue rather than a failure of Governments to act.
The advert with the non gender binary adult unwillingly returning home to their poor parents house without any money for Christmas is very, very, very grim.
Not for the BNZ of course who earned a staggering billion dollar profit last year, oh no, it’s not grim for them. For the little people they virtue signal off, oh sure, it’s an economic apocalypse without end.
But not for the BNZ.
The latest property speculation bubble they are fuelling won’t see them having to move home with their parents any time soon.
Kiwi Electric Advert
Ok, this is just such a hot mess of an advert. Who the fuck is the target demo here? Solo Dads who have been dragged through the Family Court process and spent all their money on the joint custody decision and so have to catch public transport and count their pennies for the monthly electricity bill?
This advert is somehow more grim than that. It’s the singing.
Fuck I hate that song. I sing it to mock others I despise, it is an anthem of bland mediocrity that should damn whoever penned it to a special level of hell where only this song is playing.
WORST CURRENT AFFAIRS – 7 Sharp & The Project
Look, I could write some witty scathing review of these offerings from both networks to the alters of the Gods of 7pm light entertainment, but truth be told I barely ever watch them. I know what you will say, ‘But Bomber, how can you review something you didn’t even see’, to which I reply, ‘For the same reason I don’t need to examine my morning shit to know it’s smelly”.
If you honestly watch either of these shows to understand the country you live in, I judge ye, I judge ye harshly.
How The Project manages to convince a room full of people to actually sit and watch them live is one of the great mysteries alongside Roswell and the Bermuda Triangle.
BEST CURRENT AFFAIRS – The Hui, Te Ao with MOANA, Marae TV & Native Affairs
Māori media this year provided a depth of coverage, a realness of debate and a genuine respect for all those participating that eclipsed any of the other mainstream media. Moana, Mihingarangi and Miriama do more for journalism weekly than most major daily newspapers manage monthly. Why is it when Facebook is spawning conspiracy theorists that Māori media who have provided the best journalism get bugger all money? Can’t Willie Jackson be the new Broadcasting Minister?
STUFF REACHES 10 MILLION COLUMNS ON HOW SHIT MEN ARE AWARD – Sue Allen
Thankfully the 10 millionth stuff column on how shit men are was penned by Sue Allen who mansplained to us men how we should reinvent ourselves for women. If a male had written a column about how women should change for men, the energy generated from the Twitter outrage would be able to create clean power for the entire Southern Hemisphere for 50 years and we would be able to meet our Paris Climate Obligations.
BEST NETFLIX MOMENT 2020 – Dustin and Suzie singing NeverEnding Story on Stranger Things Season 3.
Don’t even question it, you know and I know that Dustin and Suzie singing NeverEnding Story on Stranger Things Season 3 was the greatest thing on Netflix. Sure, Tiger King, yes, yes – but come on. It was the Never Ending story on Stranger Things, it was tumeke and you know it…
BEST CARTOON 2020 – Our Cartoon President
It’s been difficult watching the nightmare that is Trump. Knowing this orange fascist with the dangerous revenge fantasies could plunge America domestically or internationally into a vicious spite trap of his own making has kept us all crying in terror. Laughing at this horror has been the only remedy and Our Cartoon President by Stephen Colbert has managed to be one of the most blisteringly funny political satires of 2020.
Special mention – the latest season of South Park and the Family Guy chicken fight between Trump and Peter Griffen.
12 ANGRY MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE AWARD: Stuff Editorial Photos
How middle class is Stuff? Jesus wept, every day the byline of editorial staff writers looks like the angriest middle class jury you’ll ever face at court for not mowing your berm. The only way these bylines could be anymore middle class is if they were swapped out for pictures of pink volcanic salt and Bruschetta recipes.
SADDEST PUNDIT AWARD: Ben Thomas
It’s been a hard year for Ben, Hoots destroyed all the credibility of the right wing consultancy company he works for and as National continued to meltdown, Ben got sadder and sadder and his low energy vibe during the last few weeks of the election is what we in the broadcasting industry call a ‘ratings killer’.
Ben ‘Ratings Killer’ Thomas gloomed the Q+A studio down from a bright platform for the examination of the issues of the nation to a dark sad chamber of grief.
WORST POLITICAL COVERAGE AWARD – TVNZ Election night coverage – A Spinoff Dinner Party from Hell
WORST CLOTHING DECISION – Jessica Mutch
What were the TVNZ wardrobe department thinking? IT’S THE SAME SHADE OF PURPLE!
SELF HARM WATCH 2020 – Mike Hosking
For the last 3 years, Mike has been breathlessly screaming that the country was always on the verge of collapse. I’m not sure how he’s going to cope now Labour won a majority, can we get him a trigger free safe space and an emotional support peacock please? His losing a defamation case to John Tamihere, (who donated it to the Māori Party) helped them win 2 seats! Imagine how Mike feels each morning waking up to the realisation that his heteronormative white cis male privilege helped the Māori Party win political representation.
Worst Woke Social Media Lynch mob – Michael Morrah
Most of the Wellington Twitteratti are either employed by a Union or a Government agency so any criticism of their precious Bureaucrats provokes the kind of territorial pissing matches reserved for Grizzly Bears during Salmon catching season right after a fierce session of bear love making. When Michael Morrah had the temerity to question competence, the woke went into rage mode. This is the same Ministry of Health who fucked up the Measles epidemic last year, but any criticism of Saint Ash is sacrilege to the pro-bureaucratic Wellington Twitteratti so Michael Morrah transforms from investigative journalist who exposes environmental vandalism by our fishing industry into a shrill right wing hater who lies about Saint Ash??? Can the woke please go back to sleep?
Best TV Interviewer – Jack Tame
His Winston Peters interview is a now a thing of broadcasting legend. Jack is easily one of the best Fourth Estate TV Journalists TVNZ has and did more to hold Politicians to account than almost anyone else.
WORST PUNDIT 2020 – Hooton
What the fuck was he doing?
He went sober and adopted this pious warrior philosopher poet schtick as his promise for personal development post all the Dirty Politics Machiavellian stuff, and he almost did it.
He had bewilderingly been allowed back into the media as a commentator no questions asked after Hager’s book and he went back to Uni for his philosophers stone and he dodged the defamation implosion at the NBR for the prized straddling of the NZ Herald + RNZ platforms.
His columns were infuriatingly incisive, destructive and declaring the end of Jacinda’s Government every month.
He had mana, he had fear and he had respect.
Then he pimped for Todd Muller in a coup fuelled on the false confidence of a tall man and the cowardice of backbench MPs and set National into a death spiral it can’t pull out of.
Was the bloodlust for one more power-roid chance to grasp at the precious too much for sober Gollum?
Is that what happened?
Because fuck that entire Muller fiasco was unbelievably destabilising.
What does Hooton do for an encore after that? Amputate his own leg with a can opener?
BEST BURN 2020 – Ardern on Hosking
BEST RADIO INTERVIEW: Kim Hill vs Judith over Gerry’s Conspiracies
Wasn’t it just magnificent? I haven’t heard something dragged this badly during an interview since that Kauri swamp log accidentally cut the petrol supply off to Auckland. It was bone cutting Kim Hill at her best.
BEST NZ ON AIR DIVERSITY FUNDING APPLICATION – The Spinoff
The Spinoff looks less like journalism and opinion from middle class Millennials you couldn’t stand having to make small talk with and more like a NZ on Air diversity funding application form. It’s all so safe, so tedious and so Wellington. It’s where opinion goes to be as inoffensive as possible, like an Air NZ safety video on a flight you wish would crash.
BEST PUBLIC ACADEMICS IN THE MEDIA 2020 – Dr Bryce Edwards & Professor Anne-Marie Brady
Bryce Edwards daily list of columns in NZ is a must read if you want to be politically informed and he is doing more to highlight ideology and the way the Left are failing it than any other public academic. Professor Anne-Marie Brady is doing more to highlight the geopolitical danger of our reliance to China than any other public academic ever.
Best Political Panel – The Working Group, MagicTalk 2pm Fridays
If you didn’t think I’d pick my own panel show, this must be the first time you’ve ever visited this blog.
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