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Dion

Shortland Street

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Dion   

Haven't been watching Shortland Street lately (Show's boring at the mo) but was surprised to find out that the Nicole/Maia/Jennifer plot has already been wrapped up and Maia and Jennifer have left the show (seperately). Seems Jennifer quit the hospital when her affair with Maia was exposed and Maia decided to leave a week later when her mother Yvonne got offered a new job. Nicole remains on the show but as she is Bi I suspect she'll just be paired with men for a while.

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Dion   

It's been an interesting year as the show gears up towards its 20th anniversary next month. So far they've brought back a few old characters, either permanently or for guest stints. The most significant being Kieren Hutchinson as Jonathan McKenna (probably most well-known in the US for his recurring role on One Tree Hill), brother of Rachel McKenna and one of the earliest gay characters on the show (Karl Urban was his love interest back in 1993 ). Jonathan was last seen in 1996 and returned last year for a six month stint. Although for his recent stint, Jonathan was now presented as being bisexual and spent most of his return in a relationship with a woman.

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It was definitely controversial- one of my work colleagues from New Zealand loves Shortland Street and was complaining about it even though I don't think the episodes have even aired in Australia yet (we're at June 2010 right now I think).

Edited by AdelaideCate007

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I was just watching an episode on Youtube where Haley makes it look like Phoenix attacked her in the hospital. It seems a little more daring and suspenseful than the British soaps but I admit I haven't really checked those out enough. I like Rachel because she seems like a complex character who has interesting interactions. Also, at the end, there was a promo for the next episode in the credits. I know it's a small detail but it looked much sleeker than the weekly promos for US soaps. I love how the ratings are still pretty strong after 20 years. The show makes me kinda want to move to New Zealand.

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Dion   

This week is Shortland Street's 20th anniversary (the show started on May 25, 1992) and tonight we will be having a special 90 minute episode - the show's third such episode.

At the moment storylines are steadily building to a climax:

Chris is still being hounded by Hayley and her latest action is to make everyone think that Chris gave her a black eye but at least Harry believes him. Rachel is starting to believe him too. Phoenix on the other hand still doesn't trust his dad, even though Hayley did the same to him.

The Jeffries Family have returned for a brief stint: Yvonne, Maia, Tania and Libby, along with Gerald (who of course is married to Libby) and Maia's son JJ. Gerald's father has now also returned as poor Gerald caught some kind of virus and now needs a heart transplant. Lucky for him that he's in a soap opera as a heart has become available for him just one episode after being told he needs a transplant! lol.

After recently breaking up with Maxwell, Nicole (who is Bi) has become attracted to her straight friend Lana. Lana has realised that she too is attracted to Nicole. Unfortunately before they could get together, Nicole's ex Maia returned which has led to some misunderstandings. At least Maia and Nicole will get some closure now after the way that Maia abruptly left when she cheated on Nicole with Jennifer.

16 year old Ula and her boyfriend Evan have been keeping the secret that Evan is not the father of Ula's unborn baby (Ula's ex Tom is) and Ula has become more and more uncomfortable with the lie, especially after discovering that her mother Vasa has been lying to her friend Sarah and sleeping with Sarah's boyfriend Zac. Evan's family, the Coopers have decided to buy a new house and want Ula to come and live with with Evan in an adjoining flat.

Callum has been missing his son Hunter who is off in rehab (last year's season finale saw Hunter and his 'friend' Bailey rob a drug store to feed their addiction and Daniel and Callum's girlfriend/Hunter's ex Jill try to stop them; Daniel got bludgeoned by Bailey and Jill ended up accidentally being fatally stabbed by a security guard) and has been upset by the return of a newly rehabilitated Paige Monroe, who got Hunter addicted to drugs in the first place. Daniel has been trying to help Paige, but his mother Sarah isn't too happy about it as Daniel has just spent months recovering from his brain injury.

Finally, the hospital's helipad has just been conveniently upgraded and staff have been told to expect more helicopter rescues. No prizes for guessing what the 90 minute special is going to be about lol

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DRW50   

Thank you for keeping us up to date! I'm surprised they brought Gerald back, as his story always sounds like a mess to me.

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Dion   

As predicted, the feature length (well actually if you took out all the ad breaks it only comes to around 70 minutes lol) episode featured a helicopter crash. I've heard rumours that the crashed helicopter used in the scenes was apparently the one that had crashed on Auckland's viaduct basin last year while setting up Auckland's christmas tree (a crash in which noone was killed fortunately) but i've not been able to confirm this. Unfortunately the episode's airing coincided with reports of a missing helicopter in Canterbury, but the episode's airing still went ahead with a disclaimer.

The biggest plot occurance (other than the crash) is that Chris' stalker, Hayley was murdered by her ex boyfriend Drew. Drew also hit Chris over the head with a plank and has made it look like Chris did the murder. Chris was arrested when Drew proved to somehow have an alibi. While i'm not a fan of this storyline, it is good that the show's last remaining original character was so prominent in the anniversary episode.

The cooper family held a party to celebrate buying a new house. Bella Cooper had found a box of old nurses' uniforms (ones actually used in the show) so the hospital staff (the staff not at the crash site that is) put on an impromptu fashion parade of the old uniforms at the Cooper's party. Funnily enough nobody at the Cooper's party was notified about the helicopter crash, I would have thought that if a helicopter crashed at a hospital, the hospital would want all hands on deck. To be fair though there was only one doctor at the party (all the other doctors were on duty at the hospital) but it still seems to be a bit of a plothole that none of the off-duty nurses were called in to help out during the crisis. Oh well.

Anyway, Nicole had gone off in the helicopter to get Gerald's heart, but unfortunately, Bailey had returned to steal drugs from the hospital. Callum and T.K chased him up to the helipad just as the helicopter was approaching for landing and this caused the crash. Nicole was trapped. Fortunately Maia and Maxwell (Nicole's exes) found her in the wreckage and Nicole was taken to ED where Lana and Nicole reunited in front of Maia and Maxwell. Anyway, Libby and the new doctor found Gerald's new heart had safely landed (still in the freezer). Since it was still viable, the transplant can still go ahead.

Finally Ula couldn't carry on pretending to love Evan anymore and told him that at the Cooper's party. Evan got angry and ending up telling everyone that the baby wasn't his!

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Dion   

Just to add, most of the topics trending on Twitter last night (in New Zealand that is) were Shortland Street related so it seems the episode was a big hit. Must go hunting down the ratings figures.

I'm not that surprised that they brought Gerald back. He was a pretty popular character even though some of his stories didn't quite work (the surrogacy storyline in particular). His return will also hopefully bring some resolution to his marriage to Libby, as they both rushed into it and it is now clear that the arrangement isn't quite working. Bringing back the Jeffries en-masse for the anniversary was also a smart move as they were arguably the show's most stable and successful family unit (four years together which is an eternity on a show with such a quick cast turnover). It's nice that they are getting a bit of a final send-off as their individual departures were a bit rushed.

This week will also see the return of Marj Brasch, an original cast member who was on from 1992-1996. She's possibly the most iconic character ever to appear on the show and her exit in 1996, becoming an MP and meeting Jenny Shipley (who later became New Zealand's first woman prime minister in 1997) and Helen Clark (who later became New Zealand's second woman prime minister and the first woman to be elected prime minister in 1999) on the steps of the New Zealand Parliament, is also iconic.

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DRW50   

That sounds like a wonderful exit for that Marj character. What did you think of her?

Is Gerald just back briefly?

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Dion   

Hated Marj at first...she was merely nothing more than a bigoted vicious gossip at first and she treated Jaki Manu appallingly during Jaki's HIV scare (it was 1992 after all but even so Marj was a receptionist at a medical clinic and should have known better), Marj also played favourites with her sons, preferring dastardly Darryl over the more sensitive and artistic Stuart (Marj had two other sons who never visited and it was kind of implied that they didn't want anything to do with her!)

But of course she started to soften, and a series of tragedies befell her so you couldn't help but sympathize with her. (Darryl tried to rape Marj's fellow receptionist Kirsty, Marj's illegitimate daughter whom she'd given up for adoption turned up etc). The true turning point was when Marj's first husband Tom disappeared after having serious kidney problems and poor Marj was left struggling to cope on her own with Stuart. Typically just as it looked like Marj would find love with policeman Laurie Brasch, Tom turned up again and Marj felt she had to stick with him even though she loved Laurie (Marj was a staunch catholic). Tom then died after his kidney transplant and Marj eventually married Laurie even though he was Jewish and hadn't told her (he wasn't religious so didn't think it was important - which is probably code for the writers just decided to add that in for added conflict). Laurie's more religious daughter eventually came round to accepting the marriage and she and Marj became quite close.

Marj eventually had one more tragedy to face when her son Darryl supplied faulty medicines to the clinic which resulted in a spate of post-op infections, including one fatality. Darryl was murdered (ostensibly by his business associates but in actual fact it was Kirsty who was never caught out for the crime) and Marj was finally forced to face the fact that her favourite son had always been a bad man but she loved him anyway.

Marj and Laurie also fostered Lulu,who had been molested by her father. Marj eventually ran for city council in the local government elections and won, but quit after a few months and decided to run for Parliament instead and was elected.

Anyway, Marj ended a very enjoyable character because she was a stark contrast to the more 'glamourous' and youthful cast members who were all basically yuppies. She basically represented the generation of white New Zealanders who grew up immediately post world war II (a time when people had impeccable manners and were nice or at least did a really good job of faking it if you know what I mean) who were having trouble adapting to the social changes which occurred from the 1960s onwards. So her storylines often involved her encountering a more modern day issue (HIV, her own past teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, remarriage, mixed faith marriage, sexual abuse etc) and having her worldview turned upside down but also displaying a willingness to be more tolerant. Marj was also renowned for her home-baking and she also never lost her tendency for gossip. She also built up quite a rapport with the show's teenage characters, particularly Nick and Rachel as she decided to go back to high school at one stage and ended up taking classes with them (that.would never actually happen now as most High schools have separate adult education classes at night).

Oh by the way, I've heard that the access restrictions on international viewings have been removed on the feature length episode over at TVNZ On Demand and it is temporarily available (until midday Thursday NZ time and we are about 16 - 18 hours ahead of EST so wednesday in the US) worldwide because of requests from Kiwis abroad. The link is:

http://tvnz.co.nz/shortland-street/s21-ep4992-4993-4994-video-4896034

I don't know if this will actually work since it will obviously play for me regardless.

Oh and yes Gerald is only back briefly I think.

Edited by Dion

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I've been watching this for a few months now. The girl that plays Brooke was on an episode of Xena in season four.

I've been watching for a few weeks. Other than the terrible Jasmine / Angel story which does my head in, the show is pretty great.

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