Peas in a pod 200/ Specials!
Your Weekend TV reviewer Jane Bowron small-screen highs and lows. 0Off Opening
The odds of meeting your doppelganger are a tiny one in a trillion. But with social media and special websites devoted to finding someone who looks just like you, more and more seekers are meeting their mirror images.
In Finding My Twin Stranger (TVNZ 1, Tuesday, 9.15pm) seven pairs of doppelgangers undergo a series of tests to find out which unrelated pair are the most identical.
Professor Tim Spector, director of the UK Twins Registry at King’s College, London, puts them through a series of tests, measuring facial features and using three dimensional imaging.
After those hoops are jumped through, the doppelganger sets are dressed in the same clothes and given the same hairstyles as they are judged by 100 onlookers.
While the physical appearances are matched up, some of the pairs share uncanny similarities in their personal lives. A retired headmaster and a vicar who ended up living in the same town, both went to the same training college, proposed to their wives after knowing them only briefly and exhibit the same body language.
It gets a little creepy when you meet 30-somethings Darren and David who work in similar jobs in the hospitality industry, have the same beard length and distribution, and are both gay. The more vain one of the two admits he’d always wondered what it would be like to meet an identical. And what it would be like to sleep with him.
It does sound like the stuff of science fiction but social media has made it entirely possible to find the dead spit of you. At times the research professor becomes confused about who’s who during doppelganger interviews. And the 2-year-old daughter of one pair mistakes her mother for her parent’s twin stranger.
Talk about doing your head in. It’s like watching The Patty Duke Show, where identical cousins were “two of a kind”, or that episode of Bananas in Pyjamas when B1 and B2 dreamt they had multiplied themselves.
Finally, Zac laboriously dishes out the last rose to either Lily or Viarni on The Bachelor NZ (Three, Sunday, 7pm).
The winner of Zac’s heart is immaterial. Lily, the happy-go-lucky hoyden of the series has saved the show from dullsville while becoming the nation’s sweetheart, even if she is Australian. (You can have our pavlova and Phar Lap, we’ll take your Diamond Lil).
When asked by Zac what the couple might do on a chill-out day, Lily said she’d like to drive for hours before finding a motel, getting smashed and winding up at the pub where they’d get down with the locals.
Actors Claire Chitham and Karl Burnett aka Nick and Waverley Harrison from Shorty Street turn up at Chris Warner’s (Michael Galvin) 50th birthday on Thursday night’s special feature-length Shortland Street, 7pm, TVNZ 2. Warner’s birthday bash doubles as a vehicle for Shortland Street’s 25th year in the soap saddle.
The documentary Shortland Street: Inside an Icon follows directly afterward at 8.30pm, with the street celebrations culminating on Friday with Naughty Shorty (TVNZ 2, 7pm).
We’’ree’re back from the US, and unsurprisingly, the first quue question we’ve been asked is, “How different is it unnd under President Trump?” Well, at leastleea for people who look and sound like me, not very. The topicctopic c certainly came up, with many Americans asking, after the repetitive,repetitivve “What’s New Zealand like?”, a newer question – “What do y you think of our new president?” They genuinely seemed as coc confused and bewildered by him as we are.
Only a handfulhaan expressed outright support for Trump. Some were prediccta predictable; the couple from a small town in Alabama who hope that bub businesses might return, and were clearly no fans of Obama. Othhe Others were more surprising: a 28-year-old Hispanic Uber driver with a degree in political science who argued, eloquently, his three reaas reasons for voting Trump – being a conservative Christian, a huge fan ofo of The Apprentice and not trusting Hilary Clinton.
He wasn’t wasn’tt t the first who said that if the Democrats had put up a different candidate (usually Bernie Sanders) they would have voted fo for him rather than Trump – they wanted change, and they reaal really didn’t care too much what form it took. So, Trump Trumpp hasn’t destroyed the US, at least not yet. However, h he also hasn’t fixed the ongoing problems that plagued hisshis p predecessor. The boarded-up shops. The fact that you cannot o open a local newspaper without finding a story about a shooting by page three. The overwhelming homeless population, the vast majority of which are African American.
I was particularly surprised at how buried those particular divisions are. With the exception of a passionate on-stage speech by Stevie Wonder (who has earned the right to say whatever the hell he wants) discussions of ongoing race issues were conspicuous by their absence.
That was all the more startling after our most emotionally powerful day of the trip, one spent at the National Civil Rights Museum, housed at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
This absolute must-see museum takes an unflinching look at the terrible, and all too recent, history of racism and hatred that still bubbles away just below the surface.
Across the South, there is an ongoing standoff over the removal of Civil War-era monuments. We were thinking of going down to one, out of curiosity, until we read that the pro-monument groups were also taking advantage of their right to openly carry assault rifles, at which point we changed our mind. Since we’ve been back, they’ve added burning torches to their arsenal.
Beneath the bizarre distractions of Trump’s first months in office, there remain deeper divisions that are written in blood and tears, and refuse to go away. Not all walls are physical. with embarrassment about who they’ve put in charge.
Trump is wrong to call it “fake news” but he’s right that the mainstream media is full of criticism of his governance – and we’re talking the Houston Chronicle and New Orleans’ Times-picayune, not just the dailies from traditionally liberal states.
Occasionally we met people who “voted Trump” or “against Clinton” or “for change” but almost no “Trump supporters”. But these were city folk, outside of the Rust Belt – from Chicago, not Detroit.
Then at Faulkner House – New Orleans’ iconicc bookstore at the address where young William wrote and drank on the cusp of fame in 1925 – I pickedd up the latest release from Joan Didion.
Didion travelled through the South in the 1970s,0s, interviewing locals and making observations aboutout class, race and gender – and how markedly unenlightened and unevolved attitudes were from those where she lived in California. And herr realisation that, while much of the country was embracing desegregation and women’s reproductivective rights – and expecting that eventually the rest off the country would “catch up” – they had not.
It made Didion despondent 45 years ago. Andd reading her notes in 2017 makes me fearful – notot about America, but about all of us.
The world isn’t different under Trump, it’s whatt parts of it have always been.