In what may be the first television sitcom about a fictional Pacific Island nation, the series Diplomatic Immunity launched in Aotearoa to mixed reviews. The “bold, quirky and politically incorrect comedy” from South Pacific Pictures (Sione’s Wedding, Whale Rider) follows the misadventures at the consulate of The Most Royal Kingdom of Feausi.
The indefatigable David Fane (Brotown, Siones Wedding) stars as Jonah Fa’auigaese, a self-styled Polynesian potentate with penchant for colonial-style sartorial splendor, who is out to bamboozle kiwi diplomat Leighton Mills, played by Craig Parker (Lord of the Rings), a Foreign Affairs fallen high-flier who’s been sent in to deal with corruption at the consulate.
Spasifik Magazine says the casting of Lesley-Ann Brandt as Jonah’s daughter, the beautiful Leilani Fa’auigaese, has raised eyebrows: “While she has the look of a Polynesian beauty, she is in fact South African.”
Dominion Post reviewer Jane Clifton says the premise may be funnier than the dialogue.
“So is it any good? Yes, in a curious way. So far, there are not many laugh-out-loud moments … the laughs it generates are more for its subtleties – the ironies in the plot, the quite believable farce of the diplomacy involved.”
Audience comments ranged from
“a total and delightful crackup” to “like watching the worst seventies comedy you remember on Valium”.