Hits and Misses – 11-22 April 2016

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Hits

Power Couple

er67_0003_Layer-4Paul has had many wives and girlfriends over the 30 years of Neighbours’ existence, some much better than others, but let us nail our colours to the mast and say that a relationship with Terese has the potential to be one of the greatest. Their scenes this past fortnight have been electric and full of chemistry. It’s been made all the better than there hasn’t been the cliché affair we all suspected back in 2013 but rather a slow, organic story and gradual growth of feeling on both sides to this point. Terese seeking comfort in Paul provided some emotional moments and we loved Paul providing comfort by recalling his own losses. Their night together, sleeping on the sofa, was wonderful and maturely handled and of course, was made all the more devastating when Mark arrived to take Paul in for questioning the next morning. Terese’s rage in the middle of the Lassiter’s complex as well as at the funeral was fantastically acted by Rebekah Elmaloglou and was made all the more powerful knowing that it wasn’t just from a place of grief over Josh and Doug – but a place of the deepest betrayal. We think Neighbours may have found a new iconic couple…

Willises in Woe

er67_0001_Layer-3After #HotelDeathTrap week or what was probably more like #WillisWeekofHell, the Willis family struggled to cope losing both Doug and Josh in one day. We have to commend Neighbours for their great aftermath in showing the family’s grief and the solid performances – especially by the Willis ladies who kept managing to break our hearts with their impressive emoting skills. We were also given an appearance by Dream!Vision!Josh and Corpse!Josh (nice work Harley) when the funeral featured a creepy open casket. In the funeral service, Ariel Kaplan once again delivered heartbreaking performances as she cried over her twin’s death, saying she just wanted to be whole again. We were also glad to see a softer, more vulnerable side to Piper as her first few months she was quite hard to take to. All the family grieved in their own way, including Pam who arrived with a grudge against Ned and making the family reunion even more tense. It was another powerful week for the Willis family, cementing their place as a very central part of Ramsay Street.

Trio of Trouble

er67_0000_Layer-5After the angst and tears of the Hotel Death Trap Week it’s been a joy to have the light relief of Xanthe Canning on her screens. We’ve already expressed our love for her before but now she’s paired up with Ben and become BFFs with Piper, it’s a trio made in heaven. It’s the sort of friendship that works because they’re all so different. Ben, with his 90s hair and earnestness like his uncle Billy, is brooding and serious, Xanthe is zany and ditzy and Piper is level headed and a little pretentious – but together they all just work. We loved Xanthe and Ben’s dilemma over their money discovery and their awkwardness over how to deal with Piper’s grief. It didn’t take much to cheer Piper up – seeing Xanthe’s desperate attempts to stalk her way into Ben’s affections was a good start. We love all three actors too and hope there’s lots more to come, they could be the great young cast of the future.

Misses

Sarah’s Secret

er67_0002_Layer-2Now, we love the return of a legendary character as all you regular readers will know, so we were overjoyed to see the return of one of Ramsay Street’s most iconic ‘other woman’ – Sarah Beaumont. With all the sadness and drama of the hotel explosion, her return brought some much needed intrigue and was a great callback to one of our favourite Kennedy plots. Two weeks on and we’re still loving having her around but we have to say, we 100% agree with Susan on Sarah’s behaviour! While we now know Sarah is sick and has a very big favour to ask the Kennedys – one that isn’t an easy ask – Sarah did little to help herself with her suspicious actions. Her nervousness and awkwardness around Karl and Susan understandably wound Susan up and her constant delay in telling the truth led to all sorts of suspicions. As for working out the stability of the Kennedy marriage by propositioning Karl as a test? Perhaps not the best idea. But as ever, Sarah never means to cause harm and we can’t wait to see where the story goes from here.

Bedside Manner

er67_0004_Layer-1Honestly, we’re surprised Paige managed to drag herself away from coma guy’s bedside to attend her own brother’s funeral this week. Just what is she playing at?! We love the new ‘do but did she have a few brain cells snipped in the process. Okay John Doe (as we currently know him) is fairly cute and saved her life, but Paige’s behaviour is weird to say the least. Grief affects people in different ways but at the time her family need her most she’s hanging around the hospital as if John Doe is Sleeping Beauty! We all know when Paige has an obsession she just can’t let it go but this is ridiculous. First she spent all her hours trying to find out who he was – FYI not Alex Jones – and now he’s awake she can’t stop staring at him with her big doe eyes. She even missed the memorial of her precious Pop! She hasn’t a clue who he is and at the moment, neither does he. Is she that desperate for a date? Get a life Paige!

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Hotel Death Trap Week – 4-8 April 2016

Hotel Death Trap Week definitely lived up to the Neighbours tagline “Unmissable Drama” and because it was so good, we thought instead of our usual Hits and Misses we’d just talk about what was so damn great about the week.


The Willis Family

er66_0001_Layer-6One thing we’ve been so thrilled about this week is the Willis family totally coming into their own as a key family in Neighbours. They’ve been involved in some really big dramas during their time in Erinsborough but this week really took them to hell and back and cemented them as an iconic family within the show. No death has been as tragic or effective as Josh’s for a long time and all the crucial reactions were played perfectly. With Terese at the heart of the hotel and Brad’s father dying at the same time his son returned – these made the family central to the show’s big week. We’re very excited to see how the family moves forward in the light of these events, especially with Terese so close to Paul. Terese especially deserves to fulfil her potential and become the queen of Ramsay Street that we knew she could be from day one.

Ned Willis Arrives

er66_0004_Layer-4For some time we started to wonder if we’d ever see the hardly mentioned Ned Willis, Brad’s first son (who’s mother is Beth Brennan aka 90s pop princess Natalie Imbruglia) but thank god for his arrival this week. As we’ve already said the Willis family have stepped right into front and centre of the show this week and Ned’s arrival only adds to their complicated family drama. There’s obviously a lot of unresolved history there between Ned and his estranged dad and we can’t wait to get in the thick of it. There’s bound to be awkwardness in the whole family considering they haven’t seen each other for years and Lauren has already got her suspicions seeing after seeing a gang tattoo on his chest. Is Ned going to have a bit of a dark side? So far we’ve been impressed by actor Ben Hall and we’re excited to see what Ned gets up to in Ramsay Street!

Goodbye Kyle (and Bossy)

er66_0000_Layer-7-copyJosh and Doug were not the only neighbours we waved goodbye to this week – though at least this one was in better circumstances. Yes, after eight years, Kyle departed Ramsay Street, beloved Bossy in tow, to start a new life in Germany with Georgia. The character has been on such a journey since 2008, from recurring school bully to much-loved regular and a real fun, charming part of the Neighbours community. Kyle found his life turned upside down this week with Saskia Hampele’s return as Georgia and her revelation that she wanted Kyle back. We loved how the scenes were handled this week. Despite our worries Kyle might leave on a sour note, all three characters – Kyle, Georgia and Amy were written with sensitivity and a real sense of believability about the situation they found themselves in. Chris Milligan did some very fine acting work as Kyle struggled to work out what his confused heart truly wanted and after a brush with death, he decided it was Georgia that truly had his heart. And as much as we love Amy, we found it hard to disagree with the resolution as Kyle and Georgia had such a history. Sadly, with Kyle departing, we also said goodbye to the delightful Bossy, Kyle’s faithful companion. We wish she could’ve stayed on Ramsay Street but there’s something quite fitting about Kyle refusing to leave behind the one woman who never left his side. We’ll miss you terribly, Kyle and Bossy!

Doug’s Demise

er66_0003_Layer-3This week we waved goodbye to not one, but two members of the Willis family – and one of the longest running characters in the show. Arriving in 1990, Doug and the first incarnation of the Willis family lasted four years give or take and after a long, long absence, Doug made a brief return for the 20th anniversary in 2005. No one could’ve guessed that the Willises would become a permanent fixture again in a new guise and that Doug would return and we’d see his sad dementia story play out. It sometimes seemed that we may see Doug waste away from his illness, or be placed in a home, and so we never would’ve thought he’d be a second casualty of last week’s drama. His final actions – reuniting Brad with his estranged son, Ned, were very poignant and a fitting end to a character with such a legacy and history in the show. His ghost, watching over his grieving son and grandson, smiling and walking away was oddly touching despite our feelings on ghosts in soap! It seemed that in death Doug was free from his pain and confusion, and happy again, and that’s how we’d like to remember him.

Sarah’s Return

er66_0002_Layer-5The big week wasn’t complete without a high profile return so we were delighted to see Karl open the door on Sarah at the start of Tuesday’s episode. Long before Izzy Hoyland, there was Sarah Beaumont, the original other woman and was arguably part of the story that really cemented the legendary status of the Kennedys. Last seen in 2013, we thought we’d seen the last of Sarah and received closure on that part of Karl’s life, so it was surprising to see the character return and even better to see that she’s got a secret locked in her closet. Despite how much Karl and Susan have moved on and made peace, Karl’s behaviour around Sarah awakes Susan’s deep insecurities and before we know it, all the tension long since put to bed (so to speak) is unsettling the Kennedy union. We never like seeing Erinsborough’s most iconic couple fighting but we love when their rich history is explored and proves that Karl and Susan have earned their place as the show’s most enduring characters. What’s Sarah hiding? We have no idea but we hope this isn’t a flying visit!

Rebecchi Drama

er66_0005_Layer-1It seems no big week would be complete without Toadie somehow managing to get himself caught up in at all and being at death’s door – the Lassiter’s explosion was no different. Yes, let’s get it out of the way: Toadie’s life is in peril a lot, and yes, so soon after the Erinsborough High fire, it may have been better to swap characters and have Sonya in peril. However, putting that aside, you can’t help but be quickly won over and engrossed in any kind of Rebecchi drama on the strengths of the actors involve. Ryan and Eve are one of the longest-running couples the soap has ever seen and as the years pass, their relationship grows even more real, deep, and immensely believable onscreen. Eve seizes any dramatic acting opportunity with both hands and her despair, worries and upset never fail to move us. Their conversation (one that could well have been their last) tugged at the heartstrings and the tantalising hint that Toadie has something he wants hidden from Sonya make us hopeful that some big Rebecchi drama is on the way.

Other things we loved: Nate’s return! Nene’s meltdown! Paul’s panic!

Scene of the Week – 21-25 March 2016

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Nene’s major nono was revealed this week and we loved it! She’s not been here long but we’ve really enjoyed how quickly she’s made an impact with her manipulations and lies. She’s set her eyes on Karl in record time (even Izzy took a month or two!) and took advantage of Doug’s illness to protect herself. But Doug is no fool and we loved him standing up for himself and quickly making old friends, Karl and Susan, aware of Nene’s deception. All the actors delivered in the reveal scenes but particularly Ally Fowler who plays Nene in such a believable way that she remains grounded and free from panto villainy. We also loved the friction she’s caused between Kyle and Amy, the Kennedys and of course, for the Willises. We were glad to see that this was really only act one in Nene’s story and with the truth out in the open, the character isn’t being shipped off quite so quick. We think she has the makings of a great long-term arc in her and we’re excited to see what happens next.

Hits and Misses – 29 Feb-18 March 2016

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Hits

Nasty Nene

er63_0003_Layer-2We do love a Neighbours villain when they’re done well (sit down, Dimato, no one’s talking about you) and even better, we love them when they’re genuinely a bit more grounded and manipulative as opposed to OTT gangster drama, so it’s no surprise we’ve enjoyed the arrival of Nina ‘Nene’ Williams. In a short space of time she’s already got her eye on Karl and has weaselled her way into a job, manipulating all around her. It’s so typical Karl would fall for Nene’s ‘charms’ but we love the growth in his relationship with Susan. There’s no threat of infidelity here, thank God, and it’s great to see Karl and Susan bluntly discuss Nene and her fixation on Karl. Susan really sparks onscreen when faced with characters like Nene and we loved that she caught onto her in record time. The highlight (or lowlight) has been the dreadful way Nene has been exploiting Doug in order to protect herself and get closer to Karl in the process. With Doug as sick as he is, seeing Nene lie to him as she did was really shocking and we hope Doug gets a chance to reveal her for what she truly is! That said, we’re in no rush to lose her…
Steph’s Struggle
er63_0000_Layer-5It’s been a busy few weeks for Steph as she’s struggled to deal with the stress of her custody battle for Charlie. As sad as it was to see Charlie turn on her and for Philippa to seem on the verge of ruining Steph’s chances, we loved the drama of Steph breaking down during the hearing. The mix of the heat and lack of meds took their toll on Steph and it was shocking to see how quickly she unravelled. The show has done a brilliant job making Philippa more than a 2D villain but someone who seems to genuinely care about Charlie, even if he intentions to removed Steph from his life is anything but noble. It was brilliant to see the two ladies come to an amicable agreement with the help from wise sage, Lucas. Thus finally brining closure between him and Steph and cling a chapter on Steph’s darkest moment – kidnapping baby Patrick. Other highlights in recent weeks have involved the show’s unlikeliest friendship between Steph and Paul. Even if Paul’s advice was misguided, we loved seeing him try to help Steph. Finally, the burgeoning romance(?) between Steph and Mark has taken us by surprise. Whilst we would prefer Belinda to return, we did enjoy Steph and Mark raking over the past (particularly the Marc and Flick mentions!) and it’s nice to see Mark interested in someone more on his wavelength.
A Sad Goodbye
er62_0001_Layer-3As the weeks progress on what his been a very welcome lengthy guest stint for Doug (and hopefully a sign that the show will continue to invest in longer guest runs!) it’s been tragic to see his condition gradually deteriorate. Terence Donovan, well aware that he’s in the latter days of Doug’s time on the show, is doing some very fine work and bringing out the heart in a man who is beginning to lose every sense of himself. His unwillingness to go into a home, to the point of genuine anger and hurt at the suggestion, is heartwrenchingly realistic. So too is Josh’s constant defence and care for his grandfather, and Brad’s gradual realisation that the family unit is struggling to care for him adequately. As Doug’s daily challenges become greater and moments of forgetfulness increase, it’s nice to see a character like Lou, a longstanding friend, around these past few weeks providing a much needed sounding board for Doug’s frustrations and sadness. Whether Doug is your favourite or not, you can’t deny that he has a wealth of show history behind him and a large part of the early 90s era of the show. It’ll be very sad to close a book on that and it’s made all the more powerful seeing an iconic character, played by the same actor, doing so all these years later.
Misses
Fools Rush In
er63_0004_BackgroundOh Aaron. A sniff of a leather shoe and a designer shopping bag and he’s apparently anyone’s. It didn’t take long for Tom Quill’s obvious flattery and flirting to get Aaron’s attention and that spells disaster for the future of Lassiter’s. Okay, so we can’t blame Aaron for feeling a little bit sore that Nate’s back in the country without so much as a phonecall to his so-called boyfriend, but did that mean he had to drop everything for Tom so fast? Tom comes across as a little bit of a slime ball and we know Aaron’s naive, but is he that stupid that he can’t tell he’s being played. Aaron’s struggled to find a place in the show with Nate gone and has flitted from one character group to the next without really finding where he fit. He works well as Sonya’s EA (how did he get that job from exotic dancing?!) but he’s generally pretty clueless. Now that Tom’s got him on side and smuggling information right under Sonya’s nose there’s only one way this can end, and that’s VERY badly for dopey Aaron. Let’s hope if and when Nate gets his butt back into Erinsborough he manages to ground Aaron again.
Swimming Stories
er63_0002_Layer-3One unsolved Neighbours mystery was answered these past few weeks with the arrival of Brodie aka Piper’s mystery texter Chas. We had kinda hoped for a slightly more exciting reveal that just some random vest-wearing swimmer, but it’s a testosterone dominated Willis plot so what can you expect. We could buy the idea of Piper having a secret lover that she had to hide away in Canada because of Shakespearian family strife and Pipes being Pipes, of course he was older for her to gaze starry-eyed at, but the backstory? Pur-lease. We’re meant to believe that Brodie caused such a disruption to Brad and Josh’s swimming/trainer careers and yet they’ve never talked about him? Not a moan from Brad as he carves another hideous sculpture? Not a mention in a man-paining wail from Josh post-shoulder injury? As if, we know those Willis men, they carry their grudges and their chips on their shoulder to the grave. Brodie’s arrival just meant every scene was weighed down with exposition and we had to revisit those awful memories of swimming championships and Brad as this training superstar. Yeah right. And if Brad being Brodie’s trainer is the highlight of his career then we seriously suggest he needs to get out more.

Scene of the Week – 1-5 Dec 2014

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Like his scene with Paige the other week, Doug’s ‘prom’ scene with grandchild Imogen was another touching moment. He didn’t sugar coat the problems in Terese and Brad’s marriage but was honest with Imogen telling her that it was going to be difficult. We really liked how he brought up his memory problems too when he said Imogen could speak to him over the phone any time if she was upset. It really felt like a scene between a grandfather and his granddaughter. We must praise Ariel Kaplan again for continuing to show the vulnerable sides to Imogen’s personality as she deals with her parents’ break-up alongside her complicated feelings for Daniel Robinson. Great scene!

Hits and Misses – 24-28 Nov 2014

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Hits

All About Eve

er11__0001_Layer-3It’s been a terrible week for poor Sonya as she struggled with her addictions in light of the ongoing poison pen letters but an absolutely fantastic week for the actress behind her, Eve Morey. One of the show’s finest, Eve never fails to play Sonya perfectly. Her nuanced and realistic portrayal of her character is powerful and moving – and we have to credit Neighbours for the brilliant depiction of an addict struggling to stay clean. This plot has afforded us a great opportunity to see this darker side of Sonya and the stark realities of her daily struggle. Eve is a true talent and we can’t praise her enough for turning Sonya into one of the all-time greats in our opinion. She has us hooked and we can’t wait to see where it goes next but we can imagine, whatever twists the plot takes, Eve will continue to give her all in the role.

The Cannings

er11__0002_Layer-1It was a big week for the Canning family as they dealt with the shock return of Kyle’s wayward father, Gary. For characters that are normally involved in the more comic side of Erinsborough life, it was refreshing to see Colette Mann and in particular Chris Milligan receive some meaty material and they totally delivery. We’ve loved the various rows and arguments but above all we love that they’ve managed to come through it as a family. It’s also great to see the unusually stable Georgia and Kyle relationship continue to go strong. Yes, Kyle may have been a bit too quick to buy Gary’s obvious lie as an excuse for his absence but we’re intrigued to see what he’s hiding and hope Naomi is back soon to stire things up!

Elvis the Pig

er11__0000_Layer-2This continuing saga of Elvis, the porcelain pig, had us smiling all week. It goes without saying that actors Alan and Jackie clearly relish every minute of the fun and humour and that’s so clear in their performances. They can make us smile with a single facial expression and because they’ve been their so long, the characters’ quirks feel real and all the funnier – Karl’s tightness with money and Susan’s exasperation at his latest notions. Not only that but it was nice to see Chris and Nate get involved with the comedy and gave us a chance to see a lighter side to their relationship. More please!

Misses

Willis Woes

er11__0004_Layer-1This is a superb plot – don’t get us wrong, we adore it – but we have a real problem with Brad’s behaviour right now. He is well aware of Terese’s feelings and that she has struggled to accept his kiss with Lauren and their closeness lately but still he seems to spend every waking moment around Lauren and is forever asking her for marriage advice. Er hello! What a stupid decision. We understand him wanting to spend time with his daughter Paige but he’s not even trying to be mindful of Terese’s feelings. If there’s one shining light it’s that Brad made his feelings about how much he loves Terese clear to father Doug whereas recently you’d have believed he was sabotaging his marriage by choice! We love the Willis family so we hope some time apart works to mend their relationship.

The Cult of Rain

er11__0003_Layer-1The one poor plot in a great week of Neighbours drama unfortunately falls to another Amber and Daniel plot – this time with Daniel’s ex Rain. It’s incredibly difficult to find any enjoyment in characters who talk about ‘zen’ and have dreamy ideals when in real life we’d stay well away from these flaky people! This sustainable New Eden community development isn’t an interesting plot to watch and Rain is nowhere near charismatic enough for us to believe that she can win Amber over. The guided meditation sequence was creepy rather than enchanting but if Rain steps up her creepy hynoptic powers we might like her a little more.

Hits And Misses – 17-21 Nov 2014

Hits

Part of the Family

er10__0000_Layer-5    Paige is a big favourite with us and every interaction she’s shared with her new extended family has had us glued to the TV. This week it was nice to see Paige meet her granddad Doug for the first time and such a meeting was given the attention it deserved. It’s always nice to see an old character return and it’s realistic ot see Doug return often given his current health. His scenes with Paige were a joy to watch and surprisingly emotional. We got a little misty-eyed as he gave her an ankle bracelet and welcomed her into the Willis family which she’d felt so excluded from. We hope she gets to meet Pam soon!

Courtroom Drama

er10__0001_Layer-4The show provided some great drama this week as Josh’s “coward punch” trial finally took place. Dodgy courtroom aside, we have to admit our happiness at Josh’s sentence. Much as we empathise with Chris, we didn’t want to see poor Josh jailed. We really must praise this entire story for its shades of grey: there were no heroes or villains but rather, one drunken mistake and two victims. It’s provided some fresh material for Chris (although please no more hospital stories) and solidified Josh’s position as a young man truly redeemed. We hope that Josh and Chris are able to put the incident behind them in time and Chris makes a proper recovery.

The Adventures of Alice

er10__0002_Layer-3This week we said goodbye to Alice, Bailey’s brainy and space mad girlfriend. We loved their antagonism from day one and it was even better that through their rivalry they forged a cute relationship. It’s great to see two young ambitious and clever Neighbours characters and Alice’s outlook on life was really refreshing so we were sad to lose her to space camp. Not as upset as Bailey, mind you, who’ll be left friendless and girlfriendless once again with only his telescope for company. Aw. But their goodbye scene (and snog) was a nice way for her to leave the show, making Bailey even more determined to reach Mars but making us wish she could stick around.

Misses

Hot and Cold

er10__0003_Layer-2Remember not so long ago when we had three Neighbours couples we loved? Now that Bailey/Alice, Josh/Naomi are no more, the only lingering hope we had was on Paige and Brennan reuniting. Well, Brennan had to go an cruelly dash those hopes this week just as Paige clung to his twinkle-eyed smiles thinking he was still into her. Damn you Mark! We thought he was pretty mean. Sure there’s an age gap and they’ve both been through a lot but with a bit of communication they could be good together. They’re strong willed, got great chemistry and let’s face it – smokin’ hot. If Brennan doesn’t want to lead her on then he should get on with telling her instead of playing hot and cold.

Bad Dad Brad

er10__0004_Layer-1Brad, Brad, Brad. He’s not been in our good books lately for his terribly unsympathetic treatment of Teres and inability to stay away from Lauren for more than a couple of hours but it was his actions leading up to the trial that riled us up this week. Not only could his stupidity have cost Josh his freedom but it could’ve negatively impacted Toadie’s career when Toadie had the decency to represent Josh. Worse still he took advantage of Imogen’s position in Rebecchi Law and potentially jeopardised her own future. Both his kids could have found themselves much worse off due to an action that you wouldn’t expect from a grown man! Brad needs to try hard to win his family, and us, back.