YMMV / Shortland Street

  • Anvilicious: Happens from time to time. The series has touched on various political and social issues in New Zealand from drug use to teenage driving. In some cases, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped.
  • Arc Fatigue: A trademark of the show's most recent Dork Age. Arc Villains would take the longest time to get caught with fans tiring of the dragging and often boring storylines.
  • Ass Pull: You really would think someone would have mentioned a live volcano in Ferndale at least once prior to the show's 25th Anniversary, wouldn't you?
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Sarah Potts is either an interesting protagonist, a strong woman who had some interesting storylines and died in a tragic fashion or a boring, wishy-washy whiner whose entire tenure on the show consisted of jerking multiple men around and not being able to decide what she wants and was around for far, far too long.
    • Dawn Robinson is either a funny character who makes the show interesting or an annoying bimbo who gets far too much time dedicated toward her. See Spotlight-Stealing Squad below.
  • Broken Bird: In a deconstruction of The Vamp, Brooke Freeman was originally introduced, she was presented as a seductress unafraid to use her sexuality to get ahead. It was revealed that deep down, Brooke was a neurotic wreck with an extremely fucked up family life and was in an abusive relationship with Ethan Pierce to the point she couldn't see herself as anything BUT a sex object.
  • Call-Back: Lily Scorpion, Morgan Braithwaite's alter-ego/comic book character was the name Lionel Skeggins used as a ghost writer for a magazine, several years prior.
  • Captain Ersatz: Surprisingly uncommon for a show with such a massive turnover, although not entirely unavoidable. In the case of Leroy Raumati, he seems to have been hastily written in to replace his cousin Curtis Hannah after the unexpected departure of Curtis' actor. Even now, some 7 months later, Leroy still sounds like a younger Curtis.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Luke Durville. Into voodoo, taxidermy and other matters of the macabre with a socially awkward personality. Luke Durville. Also one of the nicest people you could ever meet.
  • Dork Age: The first half of The New '10s were not the show's finest years. Boring storylines coupled with awful characters and repeated attempts to recapture the magic of Joey and Ethan led to an unnecessary number of antagonistic or otherwise creepy and unlikable characters, old characters brought back retaining few of their old traits, no respect for the show's heritage, lazy, uninspired writing and Critical Research Failure led to the show's ratings slipping. Luckily, new writers and a new production crew seem to have turned the show around, as evidenced by a very well-received 25th anniversary episode.
    • An example of this in the early years of the show was the 1995-1996 period where most of the original cast had left and were replaced with characters who while not as outright awful as the ones from 2010-2015 were still incredibly dull and unmemorable with a few exceptions here and there. For example, Dr Mc Kenna was replaced with the unpopular Julia Thornton who was written out of the show within a year of getting there and was replaced with David Kearney as the clinic's CEO. While Michael Mc Kenna and David Kearney are well-remembered, popular characters, Julia... isn't.
    • Happened again in 2000, with most of the cast being written out in 2001 and replaced by new characters entirely. In fact, very few characters from the 90's lasted past 2001 with only a small handful sticking around.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A lot of characters tend to fall under this as the writers start with a base personality and expand the characters as they get to know the actors. Sometimes this will happen within weeks. Rangi Heremaia was originally a stereotypical northern "cuzzy-bro", Lionel Skeggins was an immature prankster, Tiffany Pratt was a bimbo party-girl who wore lingerie to work, TK Samuels was a laidback slacker and Nick Harrison was a juvenile delinquent before they became the characters they're more well-known as, for example. Recent character Blue Nathan was a teenage tearaway who got into a fight after stealing from the hospital in his first episode, something it's hard to see the current version of Blue doing.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Many characters over the years have become this, most notably Nick Harrison, whose original character was retooled from a drug-abusing badboy into a goofy good guy with a comedic side. A similar thing happened to Shortland Street's IT guy Damo Johnson- originally created to be a goofy nuisance and run-ins with popular characters such as Chris Warner and Mo Hannah, Damo became one of the more popular characters of the mid 10's because of his amusingly socially incompetent personality, rather than in spite of it. Damo became so popular in fact that his sporadic appearances were streamlined into a more regular role.
    • The same thing happened with Luke Durville. Originally introduced as a suspect for the Ferndale Strangler due to his somewhat quirky personality, Luke became a constant fan favourite even during the show's Dork Age due to his Adorkable personality and eventual romantic pairing with fellow Ensemble Darkhorse Bella Cooper.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even Ethan Pierce was disgusted when his body-harvesting partner Stirling Haldane's intentional negligence led to a 10 year old boy becoming infected with HIV due to Haldane forging a death certificate for a 59 year old hooker.
    • By the same token, Kieran Mitchell tried to force Ethan to buy his shares in Nessus Bio since while Kieran had dodgy contacts, he drew the line with what Ethan was doing.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Shane Cortese earned a lot of female attention playing the psychotic Dominic Thompson.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Dr Josh Gallagher was originally a nice guy who wanted to do the nice thing. After coming down with a case of Hero Syndrome, Josh started intentionally putting people in dangerous situations so he could "save" them, culminating in Josh setting off a bomb at Chris Warner's batch on Christmas 2013, killing himself and Roimata Samuels.
  • Flanderization: TK Samuels started out as Huia's laid-back cousin who was highly self-confident, although kind, like a Lovable Jock without the sporting background. During the first few years of TK's run, he was a popular character who occasionally lost his temper under understandable circumstances, i.e. when the Ferndale Police referred to Alice as "The Victim" after being kidnapped by Ferndale Strangler and Serial Killer Joey Henderson rather than her name. From 2010 until 2016, TK turned into an arrogant alpha male more akin to a Jerk Jock who often lost his temper, threatened other characters, bullied others and flew off the handle with minimal provocation. He slowly started reverting back to a similar personality to his old self come 2017.
  • Foe Yay: Happens a lot given the nature of the show. TK Samuels and Brooke Freeman went from ripping each other's heads off to ripping each others' clothes off in the space of a few months.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Dr Eve Reston originally seemed rather quirky and unable to express emotion properly while maintaining a very, very fucked up idea of what made a strong woman. Then things took a dark turn when it was revealed Eve had been killing patients and harvesting body parts in order to perform research in the name of "science," all while framing a drug addict nurse named Deb for the murder of one patient in particular. All of a sudden this woman who seemed like a feminist Captain Ersatz of Gabrielle Jacobs was a Distaff Counterpart to Ethan Pierce instead.
  • Fridge Horror: Upon being revealed as the Ferndale Strangler, we were slowly shown what Joey Henderson was up to when choosing his victims via footage he filmed of himself in his lock-up. The fridge horror kicks in after being shown how he treated Alice Piper after kidnapping her while unsuccessfully trying to bump her off. Imagine being one of the girls he killed, being kidnapped for God-only-knows-what reason, waking up tied to a bed in a make-shift operation room, being conscious while being operated on by a psycho pretending to be a doctor and then being violently strangled to death. *shudder*
  • Hand Wave: Zac Smith was certainly never a sex offender during his first two runs on the show. So you'd think there'd be some explanation as to why he suddenly became a Complete Monster in his third run. You'd be wrong. All that we got in the way of an explanation was Rachel Mckenna telling Sarah Potts that "you can know someone for a while without actually knowing them," then never mentioning him again.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Fergus Kearney was originally a thug who burned down his aunt's house and got sent to jail. After getting out, despite the occasional slip-up, Fergus became a decent human being. A decent human being with a temper problem, but a decent human being nonetheless.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Olivia Tennet's character Tuesday laments to Sophie McKay (played by Kimberley Crossman) that she doesn't want to be seen as "a violin-playing music nerd." Tennet went on to portray a violin-playing teen genius in Power Rangers RPM.
    • On Shortland Street, Olivia Tennet played the daughter of drug addict Guy Warner (played by Craig Parker). In Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud, she plays Julie Theilman, a real-life drug runner and heroin addict.
  • Ho Yay: A signature of many brohoods in Ferndale over the years. Young cult escapee Ezra thought Drew Mccaskill and Boyd Rolleston were a couple in 2017. A lot of people aren't entirely sure he's wrong.
  • Hollywood Homely: Five words: Marton Csokas as Leonard Dodds.
  • Idiot Ball: A large cause of the drop in ratings in the early 2010s. Characters would often act in such a ridiculous and unrealistic way for the sake of drama. If a character caught onto another's villainous behaviour, for example, they would generally be ignored by their colleagues no matter how much evidence they had until after said villain was caught.
  • Idiot Plot: Similar to the above Idiot Ball example, a lot of dumb plots took place during that same time period to try and bring some "light-heartedness" which often backfired. One episode in 2012 had a point of view cat-and-mouse chase featuring Luke Durville's cat trying to catch a mouse within the hospital. It was as ridiculous as it sounds.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kieran Mitchell had a lot of dodgy connections and died as he lived- not necessarily making the smartest life decisions. Underneath it all though, Kieran showed he was loyal to his friends and family several times during his run. The complexity made him a fan favourite with many wishing he would return one day.
    • An early example of this was nurse Carrie Burton. Nicknamed "Robonurse" by the other staff for her cold, efficient, stoicly professional manner, underneath it all, Carrie was a loving and motherly woman which became apparent when she gave birth to her triplets Frank, Finbar and Sarah.
  • Light Is Not Good: "The Light" as named by Luke, TK's half-brother is a cult, which if Luke's son Ezra is to be believed, is twisted and evil with Luke being a twisted Dark Messiah.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dr Ethan Pierce had Brooke Freeman wrapped around his finger in a creepy pseudo-master/slave relationship which she tried escaping from. Ethan tried the same thing with other female staff at various points to varying degrees.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • From the very first episode: "You're not in Guatemala now, Dr. Ropata."
    • "Please tell me that is NOT your penis!" Explanation 
  • Really Gets Around: Par for the course with the type of show Shortland Street is, but special note must be given to Chris Warner, well-known as Doctor Love, who in his 21 years on the soap has fathered 7 children, been married 4 times and been in countless other relationships and that's BEFORE we even go into the number of one night stands he's had. Alice Piper managed to do a lot of bed-hopping in her 4 year tenure and was often mocked heavily by other characters for it.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: When he first appeared, Lionel Skeggins was a pretty obnoxious guy. Cue a romance with Kirsty Knight and a personality change to make him less annoying, and Lionel became a fan favourite for the rest of his time on the show.
    • TK went from being a fan-favourite, to a scrappy, to being a case of this trope in the course of 10 years. At the end of 2016, TK reverted back to his original personality, becoming more laid-back than the aggressive, unpopular alpha male he had become.
    • Harry Warner became less of a caustic brat in his teen years. While this can be chalked up to Harry growing up, it can also be Depending on the Writer too, since his new personality coincided with new writers coming aboard the show.
    • Realistically, a whole cast version of this trope happened between 2014 and 2015. After several years of trying to craft the next big villain and instead giving us a cast full of backstabbers and unlikable jerks, new writers took over and crafted several new fan-favourite characters and even gave new life to previously disliked characters.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The show itself during its first 6 months or so. Wooden acting, cheesy scripts, low production values and dated societal values even for New Zealand in 1992 (Oh no! Alison is living with two men! Oh lord, Meredith had a child out of wedlock when she was a teenager! Whatever shall we do? Sam is a Christian, but he gambled!) along with unsubtle and over the top caricatures (The racist ambulance officer who replaced Tom Neilson) made the show charming but with an extreme fromage factor.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The writers in 2017 apparently can't get enough of Dawn Robinson. Bright, bubbly airhead Dawn has been in a lion's share of storylines, slept with a large number of the male cast, interacted with characters she shouldn't normally interact with and appears in most episodes since she debuted. A lot of time has been dedicated to the trials and tribulations of Dawn at the expense of other, more interesting characters. A few snarky letters to the TV Guide have referred to Shortland Street as "The Dawn Show", showing people are starting to get fed up with seeing so much of her.
  • Straw Feminist: Frequently disappearing character Lily Flores only shows up to spout feminist/vegan/other social justice issue rhetoric, seemingly to make fun of know-it-all teenagers and young adults who don't really know it all.
  • Take That!: The writers as of 2016-2017 absolutely LOVE this trope. In the space of a year, their targets have included, but are not limited to: nerds, feminists, vegans, Social Justice Warriors, materialistic teenage girls, promiscuous teenage girls, spinsters and network administrators.
  • Too Cool to Live: Several popular characters who've died over the years including Carmen Roberts, Steve Mills and more recently, Craig Valentine.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: TK Samuels went from being a chill, nice guy to being an overly-aggressive alpha male who would lose his temper and rage at people with only the slightest provocation. Thankfully, he's reverted back to being someone similar to his original personality in 2017.
    • In the 90's, Sam Aleni went through this but with a proper explanation. After his wife and best friend died in the same car crash, Sam took off to England and worked as a sex worker. Once he came back to Ferndale, he was a changed man, bitter and twisted rather than friendly and kind as he had been and gave up on religion. It wasn't until just before he left Ferndale in 1996 that he would re-embrace his faith.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Johnny Marinovich spent his early years on Shortland Street as an antagonistic jerk. While not an outright villain, he wasn't a particularly pleasant guy either, being quite arrogant and pompous. During his last year and a half on the show, due to cast turnover and the like, Johnny became essentially the main character of the show and thus he became a lot nicer and a lot less abrasive. His popularity increased because of it too.
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