In his 2010 TED talk Taika Waititi describes working on the script for his Oscar-nominated film "Two Cars, One Night," dressed in only a G-string in between takes for this show. Watching one of New Zealand's most celebrated filmmakers-to-be treated as a sexual commodity and knowing how un-into it he actually was does dampen the aphrodisiac effects of his performance. I have to think that the character roles he later created for himself, like the feral El-Alamein in "Boy" and adorkable Viago in "What We Do In The Shadows," were part of a strategy to camouflage his boyish handsomeness and make audiences and the industry take him seriously.
The seven star rating is a split between Waititi's performance, which is a ten, and the show itself, which I'd give a four, as I just don't enjoy this kind of witless softcore fantasy. Waititi-watching almost exclusively (you can fast-forward through the bits without him and not miss a beat) it seems to me that whatever he got up to with his writing (isn't that him with his notebook in at least one scene?) he gave his employers on "The Strip" full value for what they paid him. Mostin is written as an arrogant stud, but Waititi the actor-auteur modifies him into a more pleasing form, a happy natural man who's just really comfortable with his sexuality and wants to share. Which is the fantasy that the sex industry wants us to believe about its laborers. This series should serve as a reminder that we need to be more thoughtful about our young people, no matter how much they tingle our libidos, because behind every sex worker is a potential New Zealander of the Year.
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