Category: TV Shows

Red Faces Over Blackface at Maori TV

The Maori TV board of directors has intervened to kill the satirical comedy show Jonah of Tonga, which was due to start this week. It’s not clear whether viewers would have hated or loved the show. Amidst complaints from community leaders and politicians, the board is not letting viewers decide.

Black facing on white actors has been controversial a long time.

The title character Jonah of Tonga is a troublesome potty-mouthed Tongan student. played by the white Australian actor Chris Lilley. He wears blackface, and his depiction has raised heckles in the past with some viewing him as a stereotypical Pacific
Island youth. The fact he is white, adds insult to injury for some.

The character has appeared on TV One with little uproar, but there has been criticism of the Jonah of Tonga character overseas. Was it a smart decision the decision of management to run the show when the use of white people in blackface was always going to upset someone. Were Maori TV staff looking for trouble? Or is the board timid current fear of offending?

Alfred Ngaro was critical of Jonah of Tonga

Secondly, how can the politically appointed board in reversing the staff decision when it is expressly prevented from doing so. In the past, the Maori TV board has been criticised for lack of support for the staff of the current affairs show Native Affairs, kowtowing to Maori Establishment figures. Has it happened again?

Mihi Forbes

 

Radio New Zealand’s Mihi Forbes reported:

“An email document obtained by RNZ has revealed high-level board concerns about the show, where a white Australian comedian dresses up as a Tongan student.

The draft document, which has been shared between Māori Television’s current board members, says they “regret not being made aware in time to prevent the first programme from going to air”.

It said Māori would “feel insulted if non-Māori painted their face and proceeded to belittle our people”.

“We unequivocally apologise to our Tongan whanau,” said the document, which added that the broadcaster would never play the show again.”

The email also discussed concern over politicians questioning “our processes and judgement”, and suggested moving quickly.

Pacific Island politicians have expressed their concern over the screening of the show, with Minister for Pacific Peoples Alfred Ngaro saying it perpetuated negative stereotypes of Pacific people.”  the RNZ report said.

 

It may be significant that the controversy has coincided departure of controverss=sial CEO part way through his contract.He resigned on May 8. Maxwell had been set to stay on until August. It is understood he has now left the Maori TV studios.

 

 

 

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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ

Hidden Treasures "Better Things"- Lightbox

Well, it has not been hidden to active users of Lightbox. But I imagine there are others like myself, who get Lightbox free with their Xtra broadband but are only an occasional users. I struggle to find many must sees on Lightbox. In this case I accidentally happened on “Better Things” After the latest episode of “Better Call Saul,” I browsed the EPG. After watching Episode 1, I binge watched my way through the rest of the 10-part series over the next two nights. It was that good.

Wikipedia writes:  Better Things is an American comedy-drama television series created by Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K. for FX, starring Adlon as a divorced actress who raises her three daughters by herself. FX gave a 10-episode order on August 7, 2015. On September 20, 2016, FX announced it had renewed the series for a second season 

Louis CK (real name Louis Székel) directs and sometimes co-wrote this comedy-drama featuring Adlon, a longime collaborator, he worked with on earlier series using a similar anti-sitcom approach.Where Louis is deadpan and somewhat maudlin. Adlon’s character Sam Fox is brassy and brazen and vulnerable to boot, “Better Things” is not unlike Louis, and Curb Your EnthusiasmAdlon it mixes her real life with scripted stories. The characters and plot are nuanced, and best of all, the show is not predictable. One warning. You have to take the rough with the smooth. You may well find one of her three children, is very very annoying.

Trivial fact. The name is from a song “Better Things” by Ray Davies.

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Fight Club: Sky versus TVNZ