Kiwis are funny. In real life, they are exceptional story tellers, and always have the right amount of self-depricating wit and slapstick-style humour. On TV, we have seen some examples of how great New Zealanders can be. The most notable is definitely Flight of the Conchords (and Jermaine Clement serves as director of this new series), which may now have some competition as the small island’s best comedy, with Short Poppies.
The premise of the show is that a documentarian is making a film about some of the regular folks in a small New Zealand town, to let viewers see their eccentricities and what makes them tick. Each of the subjects, one per episode, are played by comedian Rhys Darby, and he manages to create great, lovable characters with each episode.
The people he plays include the lifeguard who prides himself on entering “Best Legs” competitions, a UFO enthusiast, an elderly woman who spends her time providing everyone, and everything, with “criticisms,” the artist who works in a parking garage, a park ranger, a whale watcher, and a car-loving lawyer. And each one of them is fantastic.
Darby gives life to his characters, and by the end of each episode, it is impossible not to adore the character being interviewed. This speaks to the acting skills of Darby, as he really is able to create them each with their own set of hilarious quirks, but still maintaining the line so that they do not become complete jokes, and we manage to feel a little bit bad for them. We go from laughing at them, to feeling sorry for them, to laughing at them again, over the quick course of 22 minutes.
It really is quite brilliant, to be honest.
The show manages to demonstrate how people interact with one another in a small town environment, and what various people out there, the regular (seemingly) people on the street, and what their passions in life are. While it is wonderful to watch the characters develop on the screen, it is also funny.
Short Poppies isn’t a show where you are going to laugh out loud during every episode, but it definitely provides plenty of humourous moments to keep the viewer entertained.
This is just a fun, likable show, and definitely worth spending the time to watch on Netflix. The first season is only about 8 episodes, so it will take no time to pour through the colourful lives that Darby has created for us to see. This show is definitely one I would look forward to seeing a second season of.