Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Only the tough will survive this script

Anyone accidentally alighting upon McLeod's Daughters (TV2, 8.30pm) without fair dinkum warning might well be excused for wondering whether they were watching the latest dating/survivor show.

There are all those single sheilas in skimpy clothing.

There are all those brick-jawed blokes.

And there's that landscape. Ooh, it's a hard place, your average Aussie station, a place about the size of the entire South Island. If you see a eucalyptus tree on an Aussie station you should take a picture: it counts as wildlife.

The landscape on McLeod's Daughters doesn't offer much in the way of exotic location, unless dust is an exotic location. Only the tough or the canny will survive.

The sheilas and blokes have an added challenge: sorting out which of the characters are poisonous.

Actually, it doesn't prove too difficult.

Nasty Mark was back last week. Even if you'd never seen this particular dating/survivor show before, it was easy enough to pick that Mark is not a nice prospect for anyone's daughters.

You can tell this because Mark signals he's a bad guy by doing acting which involves pulling faces and jerking his neck around like an irritated croc. You wouldn't want to play swap the Akubra with spotty Mark.

On those survivor/dating shows, the sheilas always go into little huddles to discuss strategy and/or threats from other sheilas.

Last week, Claire and Tess were having a meaningful huddle about a new filly on the station.

Tess is the tender-hearted one.

"I know we don't do this with animals, but since Phoenix [the filly] is so valuable I thought… "

Claire: "What?"

Tess: "Maybe she needs a blanket."

Claire: "It's one cold night, Tess. She needs to get tough."

Subtext: Tess needs to get tough.

Alex—he's the one with the jaw like a concrete block—is trying to make a man of Shauny.

He put him in a pen with a horse (this counts as indigenous Aussie wildlife).

"You don't run from biting horses," Alex told Shauny.

Subtext: Shauny needs to get tough.

He's a fast learner. He strikes a deal with the horse: "You don't bite me, I don't bite you."

It's just like Survivor—only the tough will survive the rigours of the script.

It all got very exciting after that. Mark bashed Nick. Nick went missing.

But oh no, there he was. He wandered into view.

"Is that him?" asked Mrs Ryan, who is a snake in the guise of a snob. Given the fact that there wasn't so much as a eucalyptus tree or a roo in sight for 100 miles, this showed remarkable perspicacity.

You wonder why they bother with all this drama stuff. It's an awfully long time between rolls in the dust. I don't know why they don't just play the Aussie version of swingers: throw your Akubra into the nearest horse trough and ride off into the sunset with the owner of whoever's hat you end up with. That'd liven things up.

But no, the biggest challenge of last week was to catch that biting horse who, in the best move of the night, tried to make a break for it.

I knew how it felt.

By Michele Hewitson
October 24, 2002
New Zealand Herald