I think it’s fair to say that when Nate rocked up in Ramsay Street last year with severe PTSD and found himself in a serious relationship with Chris in weeks, we all feared that the show’s first long-term gay relationship could be too rushed and disappointing. However what has surprised us most has been how Chris and Nate have really grown on us as a pairing. Sweet and loving, Chris and Nate have faced every challenge with maturity and the kind of realism one expects of real people. In the world of soap it’s an unfortunate truth that characters have melodramatic love lives – Amber Turner, we’re looking at you! – but Chris and Nate stand out as a genuine, heartfelt and at times, moving depiction of a young couple. Neighbours have done themselves proud with Nate and ‘Teddy’.
The Perfect Blend
It’s just occurred to us lately that as we enter the show’s 30th year, it appears Neighbours appears to having done a bit of growing up in a completely different way! The show has gone through several reinventions during its time, sometimes edgier and sometimes saccharine to the point where the show lacks its bite. What has been great to see recently is that the show isn’t afraid to tackle bigger issues and darker scenes, even if we do have the odd “substances” reference to put up with! Chris and Nate are being treated like any other couple in the show, and their onscreen kisses and moments of affection are not shied away from – a far cry from Chris and Hudson’s sexless pecks on the lips. The Lucy baby plot, with discussions of IVF and gay parenting are fresh ground for soap. Sonya’s surprisingly effective mugging, finally labelling Sonya and Erin as “junkies” and Erin offering sex for drugs were frank and great moments. In our opinion, the perfect blend of Neighbours is comedy mixed with real, grounded drama – and if that involves the show pushing the boundaries of its G rating, then so be it.
Erin’s daughter Cat arrived this week and with it she brought an injection of fun into the Rebecchi household which has been missing since Callum moved to America. On her bike with bushy hair, Cat reminded us of a female Toadie in his youth – a lot less rebellious of course – but it was great to see his fun dad role return. The Erin plot continues to be a really interesting a well written story and Cat easily added to this, showing us a different side to Erin too. Seeing Cat play cricket on the street with a hapless Bailey made us think that she could quite happily slot into Erinsborough if the show decided to make her a surrogate Rebecchi and we’d be happy with that.
If there’s one thing we hate on Neighbours, it’s overly contrived plots. If there’s two things we hate, it’s stories where characters bear grudges over an accident (and no, we will never forgive you, Miranda and Steve Parker) so you can imagine our happiness this week when we got both plots in one! We are of course talking about Karl drinking Brad’s chemicals when he accidentally mixed up identical water bottles. Leaving aside the fact that they both had the same water bottle (Harold’s must have a sale on), it was the clunky writing that signposted the twist scenes ahead that made the twist so jarringly predictable – even if seeing Karl in hospital, on the other side of the stethoscope, is not a sight we enjoy! It seems like the story may just have been a way to kickstart Susan’s disappointment with Brad as a teacher and if that’s the case, they could’ve found a much better story to begin hostilities. Or, if criticising Brad’s teaching is really hiding Susan’s anger at the accident, we hope she gets over it fast.
Does anyone else get the same deja vu that we do when watching Brennan? It seems a month doesn’t go by when he’s not calling an old police mate and investigating someone who has a set of dodgy eyebrows. And we had that again this week, where once again Brennan investigated and no one believed him. We’ve been here so many times before and it never gets any more interesting to watch. Not even our favourite Naomi could save it and we hated to see her dragged into another boring Brennan plot. It looks like the two are being set up as a new romance which we’re hoping isn’t as stale as it has been so far – vivacious Nomes deserves someone with more life than Mark!