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Shortland Street
New Zealand's Longest Running Serial

Shortland Street is a New Zealand, Soap Opera set in an hospital on Shortland Street in the fictitious Auckland suburb of Ferndale. It focuses on the lives of the physicians, surgeons, nurses, and hospital staff that work there, along with their families and friends who all live in the fictional Auckland suburb of Ferndale.


Tropes found in Shortland Street:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Tuesday Warner develops a slight crush on Wiremu Potae and even tries her hand at being "gangsta" to fit in with him.
    • Minnie Crozier's list of boyfriends included a street-kid, a neo-nazi, a womanizer and a control freak.
  • Alpha Bitch: Seem to crop up from time-to-time, mainly at Ferndale High. The earliest example of this was Rachel Mckenna's rival Charlotte Olson. Stuck-up? Check. Tried to make Rachel's life a nightmare? Check. Got a girl's academic award taken off her for getting pregnant? Bullying Minnie Crozier? Manipulating all those around her? Check, check, check.
  • Asexual: Gerald.
  • Asperger Syndrome: Dr Gabrielle Jacobs has this.
  • Arranged Marriage: Dr. Vani Naran went through with her arranged marriage, while Dr. Li Mei Chen and Nurse. Shanti Kumari did not go through with theirs.
  • Asian Rudeness: Dr. Grace Kwan (though she quickly mellowed) and especially Dr. Li Mei Chen.
  • Back for the Dead: After being Put on a Bus in 1995, Dr. Michael Mckenna made two brief returns: Once in 1997, and then again at the end of 1998 which lasted into early 1999. At the end of Mckenna's second return stint, he died of a heart attack as his actor had ruled out any future returns and wanted the character to be killed off.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Streetkid Dominique Coombes had a rough life, with a father who beat her and then having to turn tricks for a living. That was still no excuse to use James Thornton as a patsy, while admitting to his mother that she was only leading him on. While Dominique was never presented as being nice, up until that point she'd been presented as showing Jerk with a Heart of Gold tendencies.
  • The Casanova: Dr Chris Warner.
  • The Cast Showoff: Gabrielle's final scene in her first run has her speaking fluent French. Actress Virginie Le Brun is the daughter of NZ-based French vintner Daniel le Brun.
    • In 2010, a play starring several characters is directed by receptionist Yvonne Jeffries. Actress Alison Quigan is a theater writer and director with over 20 years experience, including holding a Queen's Service Medal for her services to theater.
  • Daddy's Girl: Tuesday fits this to a tee.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Jason Daniel era from 2007-2009, which featured much eviler bad guys than any other year, previous characters coming back as darker and more troubled versions of themselves and most characters leaving were killed off. It was during this period that the show got three Broadcast Standards Authority warnings in two months, having gone 16 years without even receiving one!
  • Depending on the Writer: Played with a lot in the early days of the show, where Dr. Mckenna was depicted as either a Father to His Men or a greedy, self-serving Jerk Ass who was as bad, if not worse as some of the dodgier clinic CEOs.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Played straight with Guy Warner. After finding out about his addiction, his brother Chris tries desperately to get him into rehab, which he eventually agrees to, but not before causing a car crash which injured Tuesday and Harry, and nearly killed him and Toni. Even after rehab, he relapses, much to Tuesday's horror.
    • Ironic, given that Chris himself developed a drug addiction and was in rehab back in 1994.
      • Also caused the dramatic season finale of 2011 with Hunter Mckay's drug addiction spiraling out of control for half of the year.
  • Emo Teen: Lulu Chatfield. Jasmine Cooper went through a period of this after almost dying in 2011.
  • Faking the Dead: Justine Jones in 2008. When a corrupt pharmaceutical company planted a mobile-phone-activated bomb in her car, she used it to her advantage by switching the SIM card with her own phone's, activating the bomb to convince the company she was dead and fled to Australia.
  • Fiery Redhead: Long-time character Rachel Mckenna, and before her, her mother Alex.
  • Frontier Doctor: Subverted with Dr. Hone Ropata, as in the first episode he has returned from a stint in the jungles of Guatemala.
  • Jerk Ass: Early Nick Harrison, Charlotte Olson, Frank Hill, Owen Sutherland. Depending on the circumstances, there are a lot of other characters who may fit firmly into this territory from time-to-time.
  • Lighter and Softer: The Steven Zanoski period from late 2009 to present. Complaints with this era include villains being more annoying, storylines that tend to drag, and characters being less likeable.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Maia Jeffries, Jay Copeland.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Given its long run, this would be inevitable - as of May 2012, there have been over 220 core cast members and over 4000 guest roles.
  • Location Theme Naming: Waverley Wilson's family had the quirky tradition of naming children after the New Zealand towns they were conceived in: Waverley, her brother Stratford, her sisterAmberley (the only one named after a town outside the Taranaki region), and her cousin Eltham.
  • Long-Runner Cast Turnover: It first aired in 1992, and as of 2011 only one of the original cast members remains (Dr Chris Warner).
  • Long Runners: The first episode aired on 25 May 1992, and the show celebrated 20 years and 5000 episodes in May 2012.
  • May-December Romance: Happened twice with Jenny Harrison, once during an affair with Guy Warner, and again with Johnny Marinovich. After Jenny and Johnny split up, Johnny would embark on this with 19 year old Ramona Derby. Would happen again in 2007 with Hunter Mckay and hus friend's mother Tess Adamson.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted. Nicole Miller went into a long-term relationship with Maxwell Avia after her long-term relationship with Maia Jeffries ended.
    • In 2011-12, she left Maxwell and went back lesbian for Lana Jacobs.
    • In 2014, Nicole was caught in a Love Triangle between female doctor Harper Whitley and male nurse Vinnie Kruse.
  • Not Blood Siblings: Theres been a few examples over the years:
    • Carmen Roberts and Greg Feeney, step-siblings who had a relationship in their teens after their parents were married.
    • Minnie Crozier dated her stepbrother Fergus Kearney on and off for several years
    • Donna Heka and Rangi Heremaia (see below)
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Dr. Li Mei Chen is from China, and yet she speaks with a flawless Kiwi accent.
    • Sophie and Hunter Mc Kay are both Australian, yet they don't even attempt to disguise their accents.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: When the show featured an international doctor from the USA, his accent lasted about a week.
  • Put on a Bus: ALMOST EVERYONE. except those who were Killed Off for Real.
  • Rape as Drama: Minnie Crozier, Kate Larsen and Barb Heywood. Averted with Kirsty Knight, she was supposed to have been raped by Darryl Neilson but Executive Meddling changed the storyline into Date Rape Averted instead. It wasn't until Minnie's rape six years later that the trope was played straight. Also played with Minnie's father, Ryan, having raped her mother when they were younger, leading to Minnie's conception. Leads to...
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Averted somewhat with Minnie's father Ryan. He originally hadn't realised he'd raped Ellen, being at a loud party, and being extremely drunk. While presented as being wrong, Ryan was truly remorseful for what he had done once he found out, and Minnie even fell out with him before forgiving him. Played straight, however with Oscar Henry.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: A mild case. Tuesday Warner was born in 1995. She comes back in 2007 at fourteen years old.
    • Tuesday's cousin Phoenix Raynor also went through this despite not being born onscreen, he turned 16 in 2011, but to be consistent with the established timeline of events on the show, his real birth year should be either 2000 or 2001.
  • Surprise Incest: Months after their tryst had ended, Rangi Heremaia and Donna Heka were most upset to find out in the last episode of 1997 that they shared the same father! A two year long Story Arc resulted, during which Rangi and Donna eventually established a friendship, then embarked on intentional Brother-Sister Incest, before breaking up again. As 1999 drew to a close, Donna made the discovery that her mother had had an affair about nine months before she was born: a blood test finally confirmed that Rangi and Donna were Not Blood Siblings. Unfortunately, Rangi had just declared his love for Janet Maxwell. It took several more months before Rangi and Donna got back together.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: Maia Jeffries, who shot Ethan Pierce in cold blood after he did everything in his power to make her life hell.
  • The Other Darrin: Justine Jones was recast with Lucy Wigmore in the role, who replaced Laurie Foell who had played Justine for the character's first two years on the soap.
    • Chris Warner's son Harry Warner has been played by four different actors since his birth: Joshua Thompson (2002), Callum Campbell Ross (2002-2006), Henry Williams (2006-2009), and Reid Walker (2009 onwards)
      • Daniel Potts was played for his first 3 years by Jarred Blakiston. When the character returned as a full member of the cast in 2009, he was turned into a "heartthrob" and so was recast with Ido Drent in the role instead.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Being a soap, most characters will go through this at some point, but the most egregious example in recent years would be nurse Alice Piper. In the space of a year, Alice was kidnapped and almost murdered by a serial killer, turned to drink as a result and then fell pregnant and didn't know whether the father was her partner or a drunken one-night-stand. Said partner was then murdered and her baby was born premature and died (with paternity left unresolved). In her grief, Alice then turned to Ethan Pierce for comfort but he ended up posting a sex tape of them online before promptly being murdered himself. Naturally, Alice was found near the scene of the crime and was a suspect but ended up helping the real culprit (Maia Jeffries) cover up her crime. When Alice went off to Rarotonga to rekindle her romance with Kip Denton, she'd definitely earned her happy ending.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: While not the classic definition of ugly, Lionel Skeggins getting married to the drop dead gorgeous Kirsty Knight definitely counts as this.
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