May 3, 2012

Is The GC racist? (updated)

It opens a little something like this: nearly 130,00 Maori now reside in Australia. This show is about a bunch of them... they're all chasing the dream of money, sex, and fame on The GC.

Yes, I'm talking about TV3's new show, The GC. The show follows a group of Maori living in Australia, a group apparently chasing the dream on the Gold Coast. Aside from being painfully boring, the show is racist in concept.

Shows like The GC, think Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore, are designed to showcase humanities worst. Narcissism, arrogance, ignorance, stupidity and every other foul characteristic you can think of. With this in mind, naturally the producers selected a group of Maori to showcase these characteristics. This, I think, is racist.

The same is done on Jersey Shore and Geordie Shore. In the case of Jersey Shore, Italian Americans are used to show off these less than admirable qualities, as opposed Anglo-Americans. Anglo-Americans are considered your typical White American whereas Italian Americans are fringe white, or less than mainstream in other words. The same is true on Geordie Shore, lower class hooligans are used as opposed to your ‘typical’ and ‘mainstream’ middle or upper class Briton.

It’s the 21st century equivalent of portraying other races as less than human. On the show Maori are cast as being motivated by base instincts. Sex, money and other forms of instant gratification. And, although it never expressly said but it is a clear implication, the viewer is led to believe this what Maori in Australia get up to. Maori are cast as primitive – motivated by sex, alcohol and the next fad.

Of course, the reality is far from what is presented on The GC. Most Maori are working 9 to 5 jobs and supporting their whanau, not driving around in cars all day, sunbathing and saying stupid shit.

At least, I suppose, The GC is more tame than Jersey Shore and the like. The producers on those shows often manufacture fights, gratuitous sex and venal routines (gym, tan, laundry etc) to drive home the narrative that the characters, and by implication their race, are primitive.

Or maybe I’m reading too much into this? Maybe it’s just a show for entertainments sake? Well, it definitely wasn’t entertaining – and I’m the target market. What do you think? This is only off the top of my head and could do with refining/retracting etc

For another discussion on racism in New Zealand television see this post I did on Shortland Street last year.

27 comments:

  1. I'm not sure that politically active university students are the target market, but what do I know?

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  2. Morgan, you engage with the big issues of the day and you write a political blog. No, you are not the target market.

    Is it racist? I don't get that vibe personally.. I think it ascribes the behaviour less to Maori and more to young upwardly mobile people on the Gold Coast. But I am seeing it through Pakeha eyes.

    I think the question to ask is: where is the documemtary series about expat Maori who _aren't_ from Ngati Douchebag?

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  4. Ngati douchebag - that's funny.

    Politics aside, I think I am the target market. 20 years old, male, a uni student living the student culture, Maori, I have mates similar to the characters, I watch shows like The Only Way is Essex, all of my mates watched the show (my flat of seven lads watched it last night - to our disappointment but they disliked it for different reasons).

    I see where you're coming from though. And you might be right, but leaving politics aside I probably fit perfectly into the target market.

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  5. TV3 in their trailers have called it "your new guilty pleasure". I think the proportion of The GC's target market who will admit to watching it and enjoying it is smaller than usual.

    But if I am going to watch it and not admit to doing so, could whatshisname at least stop referring to sexual partners as "aunties"? Ew.

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  6. When Jersey Shore started it wasn’t popular at all - it was terrible but as the season moved on it attracted young females and the Popularity grew with every season by about 1 million people per month. All the stars are now Millionaires and have started a multi-million dollar industry the Jersey Shore. I get it –Its Trashy, Its Tacky and Primitive but it’s the entertainment of the 21st century people want to see. In my opinion it is a positive step forward for Maori –It promotes Maori culture Cool Tattoos and they use some popular Maori words like the “Whare”. These guys are cool and more impressive than a bunch of Italian Americans and that sort of profile could potentially spread as a positive reputation for Maori. The sad point for New Zealand is it will promote Maori Emigration the Gold Coast did look tempting. So the last Maori left please turn off the lights and turn off the electricity at Huntly and don’t forget to bring the Treaty. (John Key can to feed the Cat)

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  7. its bubble gum tv not high drama, every one needs to chill out

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  8. I didn't watch it but from the ads it looked typical of the constant sexual fetishisation of Polynesian men by white NZ society. I'm not a sophisticated political commentator and I do know guys like that but I think the show reveals more about white people's sexual obsession with Polynesians than anything, tbh I find it really creepy.

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  9. It must be a curse for those Poor Maori men being so handsome and gorgeous woman constantly trying to seduce them and bear the fruit of their loins.

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    1. It is not only women who fetishizes Polynesian men. Mate.

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  10. I always thought Married with Children was a racist show portraying white America in a negative light.....yeah....HTFU.

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    1. Hey Cactus how's the ACT Party these days?

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  11. k/o k
    I think the more interesting story is the original NZ On Air funding was for a show about “seven Maori families living on Australia’s Gold Coast” that would “explore emigration from a Maori perspective and how Tikanga Maori supports them as they adapt to life in a new country.”

    Hmmmm.

    As it happens, I'm just back from the GC (I never heard the acronym until the show), having attended the Australia and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference in Brisbane. Barrel of laughs. While there, myself and a colleague interviewed several whanau who had left Otautahi because of the earthquakes. While our results will be presented soon, as a taster I can assure you all that tikanga remains central to their lives, with whanaungatanga to the fore. And I have a sneaking suspicion tikanga would kick in pretty quick for those rangatahi enjoying the sun, sand, sea and sex if they needed it to.

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  12. I would imagine there would be a few *real* 'aunties' ringing up these young men and women and letting them know in no uncertain terms what they think of their behaviour...

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    1. I reckon some of my aunties would be dtf :o

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  13. Yeah the thing I hated most about it was how they referred to those women as aunties. WTF. If going to Aussie does that to your Māoritanga then I don't want anything to do with it. I'm probably in their target market as well and I couldn't stand it.

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    1. Yeah, I wonder what their real aunties back in Aotearoa think. Nothing flash probably. Annette Sykes posted a good video yesterday of "the real Aunties".

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    2. "With this in mind, naturally the producers selected a group of Maori to showcase these characteristics. This, I think, is racist."

      So how you know they 'naturally' selected Maori, did you see the producers wearing white sheets while burning crosses? Just because someone shows Maori in a negative light is it always your reaction to accuse them of being racist?

      If anything it shows that the stupid and vacuous have a shot at living the highlife if they put the effort into working in Oz which is something they probably couldn't do living on the dole in NZ.

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  14. If we accept your analysis, Morgan, it's interesting that in the US* and NZ the underclass is depicted racially, but in the UK it's a class-based underclass.

    *I've got to admit the idea of Italian-Americans as "fringe white" doesn't really work for me. Maybe one hundred years ago, but not nowadays. The list of Italian-Americans who have achieved high political, military and corporate office is enormously long.

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  15. While I won't dispute your assertion that the GC is racist, class and race re often mixed up and I wonder if the message of the GC is not more primarily about class. In particular, all these shows explicitly recycle the hoary old class perennial that the lesser classes are somehow more base, more bovine and therefore deserving of their lowly status closer to the animal kingdom than their refined and civilised betters.

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  16. I may be wrong but I honestly believe the show is based on Maori because they are very popular in Australia. Due to the White Australia policy the place isn’t abundant with attractive Athletic Brown men.. The GC suffers from Racism by those who want it cancelled – Jealousy of wealth , low tolerance for Maori etc. The GC is also criticised by Maori as the actors lack Mana but don’t complain about the lack of Mana of Maori on Police Ten 7. I believe the Target Market is young Maori Woman from 15-25. What television show in history was designed specifically for young Maori/Polynesian Woman they can’t get enough of the show. NZ on Air funding has been criticized heavily in the Media why?

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  17. Is GC racist? No, just stupid, the two are easily confused but there is more stupid in this than there is racist. mark

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    1. If The GC was so stupid what compelled you to watch it so intensely for 30 Minutes. In the first 5 minutes you could have changed the channel,Read a book,Played a game. You decided to watch it for the full 30 minutes and then decided to voice your dissaproval on this Blogg. We can all pretend that that we live in some fluffy care bear world but if the show had of been Southland Farmers the media would not have complained about NZ on Air expenditure.

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  18. I'd say the backlash against The GC has little to do with Maori-bashing, and much to do with the fact that it's cranked the ersatz factor up to Jersey Shore levels.

    It seems to be the long-awaited trigger for an issue that's been brewing for some time - the issue of televised prolefeed.

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    1. We can pretend that Elephant isn't in the room I've witnessed alot of derogatory remarks about Maori on the GC Facebook Page (Child Abuse,Violence etc). Where is the "Cancel Outrageous Fortune" FB Page. Eventually the show is going to be released in Australia and the complaints about Kiwi Immigration will start. Australians will pretend they aren't Maori Bashing.

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  19. I am happy to hear Maori going to Australia to make a better life. good on you Maori.
    Australia is the best country in the world.
    i wish i could live there with you

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