City Life - oh the lipstick horror!

  • Joanna,

    I've often wished that TVNZ would rescreen Gloss, but the next best thing is now showing around 2.30am on weekdays - ahh City Life, how dated you look! Did we really wear that much lipstick and eyeshadow together ten years ago?

    I'm surprised at just how much The Secret Life of Us totally lifted most of its characters straight from the show - I remember thinking that they were similar but didn't click that they were so the same. And it's fun playing the "spot the actors now" game with the cast.

    Anyone else watching the show too?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

24 Responses

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm surprised at just how much The Secret Life of Us totally lifted most of its characters straight from the show

    I believe both City Life and The Secret Life of Us took inspiration from This Life, a BBC series about 20-somethings in the city, where the drama in their lives came from ordinary things, not the high concepts that had previously fuelled drama series.

    Anyway, after reading this thread, I tuned in and was pleasantly surprised. For a 10-year-old series, it's not looking anywhere near awful as 10-year-old cultural things usually seem.

    City Life was really fun to watch, including Justine From Shortland Street lezzing it up with her gym instructor, who seduced her by revealing she'd been molested by her step-father.

    Throughout, I noticed that everyone's hair looked kind of messy. It couldn't quite put my finger on it. It wasn't just that it was 10-year-old hairstyles. There was something different about their hair to the TV hair of today. Then I realised - ceramic hair straighteners hadn't been invented then. Blow drying was as good as it got, resulting in flyaway ends. I'm glad it's the future now.

    And the closing credits, with the cityscape of Auckland at night, was so pretty. But the special bonus was that the Sky Tower was but a concrete stump back then, giving the skyline a somewhat different feeling.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Then I realised - ceramic hair straighteners hadn't been invented then. Blow drying was as good as it got, resulting in flyaway ends.

    I spoke too soon! Today the Guardian reports that blow-drying is coming back in a big, curly, bouncy way.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    I spoke too soon! Today the Guardian reports that blow-drying is coming back in a big, curly, bouncy way.

    And high waists are coming back in too! So probably I'd say in two years everyone will look like a cast member of City Life. Eeek. Let's hope there will be no lip liner though.

    I was imdbing the show last night to see where the people who aren't on Shorters now are, and discovered that both freaky-looking Gideon and eye-browed Angela are probably whooping it up on the comic convention circuits. Good for them!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    Just for the record, City Life was already in production (or pre-production or very close to production) when This Life started screening so there was no influence whatsoever - just coincidence.

    Funny old world, eh?

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Am I right in vaguely remembering it got canned for being "too Auckland" ?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    It got caned (rather than canned) for being too everything. Then it got shifted to a later time slot where it saw out its final days. Then it sold all over the world. Go figure.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    You might not feel able to comment James, but I seem to recall tell of it getting pushed around a bit before production by TV executives who thought it should be more ... conventional.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    It's ancient history, so what the hell...

    It started life with the working title Twenty-odd; then it morphed into 96 Oriental Parade when it was going to be set in Wellington; then it came back to Auckland and became City Life. It was, originally, much more about the day-to-day life of being in your twenties and behaving badly and making shit decisions. But the network kept using the words Melrose and Place, which was rather disconcerting.

    All of which is indicative that, yes, there were many forces (usually coming from conflicting directions) at work on the series. Weird things happened - like, I remember, we were forced to take the scripts for episodes 2 & 3 and turn them into one new episode 2 that was going to be the paciest thing on TV (because that's what the programming people wanted - pace, pace, pace!) Too much pace (coupled with a shooting style that was, to say the least, eccentric) doesn't necessarily make something any better, was the lesson learned here.

    It was a very odd show to work on. The oddest day was turning up for work and being asked if I was coming to the meeting. What meeting, I asked. The meeting where everyone was being told the series was being dumped from its timeslot, I was told. Its always nice when you're the last one to find out.

    I later found out there was a senior TVNZ executive (now departed these shores) who said I would never write for another TV show as long as I lived, all because of City Life

    Funny funny funny old world.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Hurrah, thanks for the inside story. This is what makes internet forums so great, the opportunity to hear things straight from the people involved.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Just for the record, City Life was already in production (or pre-production or very close to production) when This Life started screening so there was no influence whatsoever - just coincidence.

    After I wrote that bit about This Life, I checked out the dates on IMDB and noted they both came from 1996 and wondered if perhaps they weren't related.

    At the time, I remember disliking City Life, but after seeing last night's episode, I can't think why I didn't like it, because it pushes all my Auckland buttons (Courtville!)

    When I watched, and love, The Insider's Guide to Happiness, I wished there could be a similarish series in Auckland. I mean, can't we have interesting people in their 20s doing things around here on the telly? Please?

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    This Life very recently had a special 10th anniversary reunion special, so I have decided that City Life should do a similar thing. I'm not sure if anyone will watch it, but it will be awesome nonetheless.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    I agree. James, get to work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    I don't think they give 10th anniversary specials to shows that were flogged to death in front of the viewing public.

    Of much more intrigue is the fact that 2007 (somewhere round October, I think) is the 20th anniversary of Gloss going to air.

    Hands up all those who would like to find out what the Redfern family and nefarious associates are up to these days?

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Hands up all those who would like to find out what the Redfern family and nefarious associates are up to these days?

    I certainly want to know where my Gloss bitches at.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    I certainly want to know where my Gloss bitches at.

    Hells yes! Did Gemma float back to the beach and decide to live? Did the Redferns really live forever as Maxine toasted? Why did Magda decide to go into infomercials?

    And I can't remember the other cliffhangers, since I would have been 10 when it ended, but I'm sure they were great.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I was figuring this out when I was drifting off to sleep last night.

    I've decided that the entire Redfern empire has gone broke, which of course leaves room for a massive comeback.

    Maxine has become a Paula Ryan-type business woman, but worse, running dress for success workshops, i.e. giving the business woman of the new millennium advice on how to dress like an '80s busineswoman.

    Rex Redfern, having grown up surrounded by fabulous frocks, has become a transvestite and is living as Miss Regina Redfern.

    Jasmine has left the fashion industry and is presenting the cooking segment on Asia Downunder. Oh, hang on...

    And that's all I've figured out. All other suggestions are welcome.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    Enough about why City Life got the axe... whatever happened to the hot actress... mmm... I had such a crush... her name escapes me... I think she was a lawyer? Angela? Possibly an Australian.

    She came into the cafe I was working at in Devonport once for lunch. She gave me her phone number. Admittedly it was on the back of a cheque...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    I should really let my fingers do the walking before opening my mouth... turns out she went on to do quite a lot including SG-1:

    http://imdb.com/name/nm0085227/

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    So if you're that much of a fan boy, Damian, will you be lining up at the next Armageddon to get her signature?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    When she was Angela the lawyer on City Life, I might've had a chance... but as some mega famous sci-fi goddess, I fear she may have slipped a little out of this wannabe's league...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Oh no, was last night the final? Has all the lipstick come to its end? What's going to happen to the Callet fortunes, James? Will they be safe? Is Bron going to get her heart broken? Will Aaron make a good father? Will Stephanie ever find love?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    I don't know, I was asleep at that hour of the morning. Yes, most definitely. I have no idea - if they invested in inner-city real estate I guess they'll be okay (and it's Kellett, by the way). Probably not. Undoubtedly. Yes, but a lousy partner. Yes, but not on Shortland Street.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    Thank god my Beverly Hills 90210 box set has finally arrived from Amazon then although I am terrified to see that some of their hideous clothes from 1990 can be spotted on the streets these days...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Dromgool,

    In 1996 I used to do a bit of work with Creative Profile postcards - the free cards on stands in cafes that advertisers paid for. One of our clients was TVNZ. They printed individual postcards for each character on City Life and I kept the set. I spent a couple of months hoping that City Life would be a worldwide phenonmenon - the card set would be worth heaps today. After watching the first couple of episodes and attendant newspaper critiques it became obvious that international success was not in City Life's future. I threw the card set out six months ago when I shifted house. The one for Claudia Black would probably attract some interest from sci-fi fans. Maybe I should have hung onto them. I'm sort of glad I didn't though - it was a bit like being a TV fashion victim!

    Ponsonby, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

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