Don’t you hate it when you’re watching a good TV drama that you’ve been enjoying and suddenly it turns into this kind of “what the fuck?” show?
I’ve been watching an ABC (Australia) drama on Sunday nights called “Top Of The Lake”. It’s a little confusing who made this show – the BBC, ABC and someone in New Zealand all have a hand in it, and it’s actually filmed somewhere near Queenstown on the South Island of NZ. Jane Campion gets all the producer’s kudos while the main actress is Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men).
It was going okay until the most recent (fifth of six) episode. It’s like the show’s writers or maybe the producers got lazy when it comes to credibility – and that pisses me off. So far, it’s about finding a pregnant 13 year old teenager who is missing, probably dead, in Deepest Darkest New Zealand Rain Forest and bringing to justice whoever is responsible. Lots of nasty relatives look likely, there’s a bunch of permanently angry, weirdo lesbians and female sex addicts in a commune who oddly insist in frolicking naked in freezing rivers, and the local police are possibly corrupt and – in the case of David Wenham’s character – at least guilty of acting with all the dynamics of a cardboard box. But okay, that’s Wenham’s thing.
For me the wheels began to fall off when our heroine and hero, Detective Robin Griffin (Moss) and her rough bit of shag, Johnno, decide to jump in a kayak and follow a suspicious dude paddling down the lake. This guy’s miles away, right? And for those who don’t know, these lakes and the surrounding mountains in NZ are huge and very, very wild. This is finding a needle in an enormous, wet and rugged haystack. Still, our intrepid duo manage to easily find not only the (hidden) kayak of the suspicious dude, but Johnno nearly catches him – he fails.
So what do they do next? What anyone else would do apparently – they have a shag in the middle of Deepest Darkest New Zealand Rain Forest. Not just a quickie knee-trembler against a nearby tree, it’s the full-on, get-all-your-gear-off bonking on the forest floor.
Folks, this is NZ, the south of the South Island in winter-ish weather. It’s FUCKING FREEZING. No wonder Johnno jumped on top. It must have been like laying down on the floor of a Woolworths meat freezer after all the lamb chops had fallen off the shelves.
Then, despite this all happening in the remote parts of Deepest Darkest New Zealand Rain Forest, two scumbag-type blokes appear out of nowhere and try to film the naked, shagging couple with a mobile phone. Supposedly they have a Scumbags-R-Us YouTube account. Like… what? Where the fuck did these guys come from? A fight ensues, Johnno gets the phone off them while Robin scares them away by shooting a few trees (she’s a detective with a gun, remember), but not before Johnno gets badly knifed in the groin (serves him right for picking fights naked). Do they jump back in the canoe and paddle to help? No, apparently it makes better sense to walk (on a buggered groin) Rambo-style through the impenetrable forest and freezing rivers to eventually arrive at the angry lesbian/hippy commune. Hmm…
Here, while Johnno’s get stitched up by women barely containing either their unbridled lust or their man-hatred for his rude bits, it’s discovered the mobile phone has a video of the missing, pregnant girl in the forest – kind of proving she’s still alive. Everyone celebrates by drinking gallons of champagne and passing the phone around for a look. For fuck’s sake, anyone who’s ever seen any kind of police procedural show – even Noddy Visits Mr Plod – knows that phone is suddenly a prime and vital piece of evidence. But hell, don’t worry, let’s pass it around a bunch of drunken, permanently angry lesbians and sex addicts for a few hours before handing it in for evidence. Shouldn’t be an issue…
The final scene is Elizabeth Moss (the detective) bursting into tears supposedly because the missing girl is alive. Most likely, I suspect, it’s with relief because she’s finally reached the end of this ridiculous episode.
I’ll watch next week, which is the final episode (there are rumours of a sequel) to see if Top Of The Lake redeems itself. And I might catch another glimpse of Elizabeth Moss naked again – maybe shagging on top of Mount Cook or inside a party ice machine.