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!

Hits and Misses – 28 March-1 April 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Ben’s Back

er65_0000_Layer-4It was lovely to see Ben Kirk back on Neighbours this week. Felix Mallard gave great performances the last time he was on the show and it’s always nice to have characters in the show who are links to the past. The Kennedys’ place was feeling a bit empty with Nate gone so even better to have grandson Ben back in the family home. This time Ben’s trying to knuckle down with his studies, as well as playing his guitar, but we hope he still makes time for fun with his friends. When he was in town before we watched his great friendship with Tyler develop and with Piper too. But Ben might have more on his hands than he bargained for if Xanthe Canning has any say, seeing as she is completely smitten with the boy. We loved their scenes together as Xanthe took on Paige’s advice to be a ‘bad girl’ and ended up getting drunk with Ben. Vom all over Susan’s shoes – yikes!

Control Freak

Ter65_0003_Layer-1he Brodie plot stepped up a gear this week and we quite enjoyed the darkness of it (if you ignore the number of times they said the word “dumped”). Chas/Brodie/Chas/Brodie had his pride hurt this week when Brad pushed him too hard on training and after sulking wanted to move away (he’s only been around for five minutes). Enchanted by his pouting Piper was seduced into a night away at the motel. But things so moved onto a darker path when Brodie began deleting texts from her phone and sending messages on her behalf. The controlling alarm bells began ringing. Driving a wedge between Piper and her family and running away to Perth sounded all very Romeo and Juliet to her at first, but having discovered he’d taken her phone and had locked her in the car, Piper got a wake up call. Luckily for Pipes Tyler came to her rescue and she left him crying by the roadside. But with Brodie bitter, twisted and controlling and looming omniously over Tyler in the Lassiters boiler room, we’re not sure this is really the end…

The Quill-ainous Family

er65_0001_Layer-3Now look, the accents may be all over the place and don’t even get us started on trying to work out the Quill extended family tree… Honestly we have no idea, we’re pretty much smiling and going along with it at this point but we’ve loved the increasing presence of the Quills on Neighbours recently. The show’s decision to open up Erinsborough and create an expanding wider community makes the show feel bigger and full of life for the first time in years. We’ve loved the likes of Courtney, Tim, Andreas, Hilary, Doug… We could easily go on… And the Quills are no different. So long has Lassiter’s been under control of the Robinsons that you often forget that for a period in the early 00s, the small (but no means bad) Lambert family were providing plots for our regulars. And so too are the Quills. We love the nasty Julie throwing her weight around and going up against Paul. And we’ve really enjoyed Erinsborough expensive shoe connoisseur Tom exploiting naive Aaron. We highly suspect some combo of the family is responsible for upcoming events but we hope the show is in no rush to get rid of them entirely when they provide so much villainous fun – and having such active guests stirring trouble mean our regulars aren’t driven to out of character villainy in order to further plots.

Misses

Bad Decisions

er65_0002_Layer-2It was a week of really bad decisions and look no further than two of our favourites, Steph and Terese! Steph, obsessed with trying to get Charlie back and being able to provide for him by running a successful basis could have seriously undermined her chances this week by trusting her friend. Cutting costs she may have been but Steph surely knew that there was no way the goods were got by entirely legitimate means and when Paul is the one moralising, you know you have problems! This proves that she really needs Paul’s business acumen and why the pair make a surprisingly good team. And poor Terese, stuck between a rock and a hard place, is torn between loyalty to Paul and fear of upsetting new boss, the power-suited, icy Julie Quill. But by putting her faith in Julie and her (incredibly mobile) scale model Lassiter’s future plans, Terese runs the risk of upsetting friends, family and getting sucked into the Quill’s dodgy deeds. Furthermore, she might also regret assuming Paul is responsible for all Lassiter’s current maintenance issues! Hopefully Steph and Terese, both intelligent, strong women, soon see the light and do what’s best for them and keep things above board.

Trust Issues

er65_0004_BackgroundIt wasn’t a good week for Kyle and Amy as the ghost of Georgia (not literal, but with upcoming events, who knows!) coming between them. We’ve already said that Amy’s mistake to go behind Kyle’s back to read the letter after he threw it away and affirmed his commitment to her, was a crucial mistake. It showed Amy’s lack of trust in Kyle, but worse, showed how her curiosity got the better of her despite the fact that, at that point, she had no real reason to doubt Kyle. In the aftermath, instead of letting the subject drop, Amy’s guilt and insecurity drove a wedge at the heart of her relationship in a way that the mere existence of the letter couldn’t. By finally telling the truth, the damage was unfortunately already done. How could Kyle continue to trust Amy? And how could Amy be angry that Kyle’s curiosity was now piqued by Georgia’s letter?! No one is coming out of the story smelling of roses and it’s sad to see the happy relationship implode at a disastrous rate, even though we’re loving the reality of the drama.

Scene of the Week – 21-25 March 2016

sceneof theweek

sc68.png

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 – 15-26 Feb 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Parental Pain

er62_0004_BackgroundCharlie returned this week and Steph’s issues with motherhood returned with him. She’s suffered so much with her mental health that you could see her so desperately wanting to be a part of Charlie’s life even though she knew she shouldn’t. Watching them bond over bikes and making badges for each other was pretty lovely and above everything we just want Steph to find happiness again. We all held our breath when we thought Charlie might call her mum again and now that Steph’s made it her mission that she wants to be a part of his life again, we want nothing else more. Steph’s character development and battle with her mental health is a really strong positive for Neighbours at the moment and their heartfelt goodbye was pretty gutwrenching. It’s a real asset to have Carla Bonner back on the show.

Doug’s Dementia

Doug’s dementia has been a real slow burning storyline since he first made a return to the show back in 2014. We were delighted that the er62_0001_Layer-3Willis family history was being explored onscreen ¬†and it really helped tie the modern day Willises back to the original family’s stint in the early 90s. And of course, Doug’s continued returns have been much welcome. However every visit is always tinged with a certain sadness as, every time Doug returns, his illness seems to be worsening. This recent stint being the most tragic yet as it’s clear that Doug is beginning to lose his battle with dementia and finds himself more forgetful and confused than ever. It’s incredibly sad to see Doug’s confusion manifested in various different ways and even sadder to see him, in his lucid state, mourn his condition. His chat with Lou, reinforcing a decades long friendship, was very hard to watch and Terence Donovan played a blinder. As the weeks go by, it becomes more and more obvious to us where the story is headed and we think we’ll need a lot of tissues before this year is out.

Real Potential

er62_0002_Layer-2We don’t mean to keep banging on about Xanthe Canning in every blog post but we really like her. This fortnight she saw her dad in prison, nicked Brad’s iPad, got in major trouble at school, got offered a job with Paul, threw a big party and caused Sheila to have heart problems. One of the reasons we really like her is that she comes across as a bit of a ditz with her princess routine, but underneath all that high maintence stuff she has a real solid heart, like the rest of the Cannings. She already has a pretty sweet relationship with Kyle, bonding over bed designing and him trying to get her to be sensible at school and as we already mentioned in our Scene of the Week, she sparks off really well with fiery Sheila. We’ve got a feeling their relationship is going to have many ups and downs as Sheila struggles to parent her, but it should be fun in the meantime. Xanthe also seems to bring out the best in Piper – even if they have rushed to BFF status already. We didn’t like her stealing from Sheila when she has welcomed her so lovingly but she’s a far cry from the squeaky clean teens we once had in the show and we’re loving her for it. Comedy, drama – it looks like she can do both.

Misses

Quill Developments

er62_0003_Layer-1This Quill story is all a bit weird isn’t it? It almost reminds us of the infamous Simpson’s monorail plot with a devious and dodgy company trying to take over the community. Thankfully Julie Quill is a bit of a character with her hybrid accent and it’s been quite fun to see Terese in the thick of the action with her being a little put out about Julie and Paul’s history. It makes a change to see another character acting more underhand than Paul in order to get what they want. What with the Lassiters plot and Paul opening a motel, there’s been a lot of business talk and to-ing and fro-ing and frankly it’s all been a bit rushed and baffling, we can’t keep up. Who’s going into business with who? Who’s keeping secrets? Where’s all the money coming from?Why would they even want to build a mega sized hotel when Lassiters is always so empty (and they only seem to have one hotel room!).

Even More Paige Rage

er62_0000_Layer-4Now, any long term readers will know that despite being very keen on Paige when she first arrived, our opinion on her character has dropped dramatically as the months and years have passed. Bratty, immature, manipulative, selfish bitchy and generally, very unpleasant and unrepentant about her behaviour and treatment of those she decides to have a go at. However, last week Paige truly hit a new low and has probably marked herself as one of the nastiest regulars the show has ever seen. Buoyed by her new uni pals (who cares), Paige fancied herself an environmental right activist (of course she did) and keen to make her voice heard (when doesn’t she) proceeded to berate, attack and humiliate her neighbour, and generally one of Neighbours’ kindest characters, Sonya. The scene where Paige led a demonstration at Sonya’s event in The Waterhole was actually quite hard to watch and our hearts bled for poor Sonya. Paige was smug, rude and in our opinion, utterly vile. Sadly once again, everyone tiptoes around Paige and never calls her out on the nasty so and so she is. Please, Ellen Crabb, arrest her and let her rot.

Hits and Misses – 18-29 Jan 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

The Real Terese Willis

er59_0002_Layer-1Let’s face it, when long running couples break up in Neighbours, one of two things happen. They either become better, more complex, fully rounded individuals (step forward Susan Kennedy) or they stagnate, unable to really move past their defining relationship and live up to past greatness (step forward Lyn Scully… although more on that next week) and when Brad and Terese broke up we were worried. Terese was a great character but could removing the arc at the heart of her characters for so long potentially leave her with nothing to do? Thankfully we are delighted to say our worries were unfounded as Terese successfully made the transition from the better half of a partnership to one hell of a brilliant individual. Number 22 doesn’t feel empty without the traditional set up – if anything, it’s better. Terese rules the roost like a proper matriarch in true soap style. She effortlessly moves between parenting the kids, having heart to hearts with new friend Sonya and seducing Paul Robinson of an evening. The separation has only served to cement Terese’s role as an iconic character of the modern era and a fantastic all rounder. Her new friendships and interactions with Steph and Sonya are great, her willingness to move on from Brad is brilliant and her relationship with Paul has the potential to be fantastic. Last week Sonya questioned who the real Terese Willis is, and frankly we can’t wait to find out.

Classic Comedy

er59_0004_Layer-2You can always always rely on Susan and Karl for some good quality Neighbours comedy. First of all we had Aaron walking in on them playing Doctors and Nurse – complete with costumes – then they won a free stay at Lassiters. Karl being Karl thought he’d take real advantage and try selling off all the freebies to the residents of Ramsay Street who apparently can’t afford fluffy robes! Karl had to live-tweet their experiences to hilarious results and he took the liberty of all the services on offer. So demanding – especially his requests during his pamper session! Susan didn’t appear to be having too much fun and the naughty pair (Blue Box in hand) were thwarted by Daniel in the end.

New Girl

er59_0003_Layer-3We’ve not seen very much of Xanthe Canning yet but we already thinks she could be pretty funny. We quite enjoyed her tottering in her platforms and her bubble-gum look and reckon she’s going to be quite the opponent for Sheila, especially now we know she’s schemeing against her family – yikes! Like father like daughter? We love the Cannings and we could always do with more of them and their big personalities. Now that Kyle needs less guidance in life, Xanthe might be good for Sheila to show off her maternal skills especially as this newbie has trouble written all over her!

Misses

Flake

er59_0001_Layer-4Daniel was a real pain in the arse this fortnight. Imogen is too good to be messed around but he defined flake these past two weeks. After his hippie drippie musings he decided he couldn’t be with Imogen but he wasn’t happy about her moving on either. That didn’t really stop him from getting so involved in her life when she was trying to have a clean break and do what was best for both of them. Not to mention him cosying up to her to get a look at Paul’s laptop. We’re sure these two are destined to get back together and things seem to be on the up but Daniel needs to work hard to prove to her he’s worthy of her.

Do We Care?

er59_0000_Layer-5While the fabulous Terese has only gone from strength to strength in light of her proper break-up with Brad in the closing weeks of last season, the same can’t be said for Brad and Lauren. We’ve always maintained that the bond between them was based more in nostalgia and a shared link with Paige than any real meat, or drama, or substance to their attraction and indeed, their time as single, available people has done little to disprove this. They umm and ahh and stare and share a multitude of awkward interactions. Yes, there’s some residual drama from not wanting to hurt Terese’s feelings and we do appreciate that display of respect for her but what else is there? There’s no fire there, no passion, no drama. That said, now they’re together we’re glad that brings an end to the skirting around and constant mooning at each other from across the complex. What’s next for Brad and Lauren? Who knows? And, more importantly, do we care when the other potential new pairing, Paul and Terese, seems so much more exciting?

Scene of the Week – 18-29 Jan 2016

sceneof theweek

sc64.png

Now anyone who reads our blog or Twitter knows how we feel about Ramsay Street’s resident pooch, underwear thief, ball stealing and all round gorgeous girl, Bossy. So you can only imagine how badly we’ve dealt with this recent illness story. We’ve been in floods! Both Chris Milligan and indeed, Bossy herself, really sold it to us and turned what could have been something trite or sentimental into something really heartbreaking. This was nowhere more evident in last week’s scene where Kyle faced saying a final goodbye to Bossy. It was one of those scenes where Neighbours ceased to be a soap and instead was more of a mirror of that most heartbreaking experience in real life: saying goodbye to a pet. I doubt anyone who has ever lost an animal could watch the scene and not get misty eyed. Seeing Bossy grow up from puppy to full grown dog before our eyes made it all the sadder as it felt like we too might be saying goodbye. Amy’s 11th hour heroic act had us overjoyed as we really, really couldn’t face the idea of losing Bossy in such awful circumstances. The last-minute save, however, didn’t take away from a powerful and very human scene. Now, please, Neighbours, no more pet illness plots ever. We can’t cope.

Hits and Misses – 11-15 Jan 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Doggy Drama

er58_0000_Curves-1We had our tissues handy this week when everyone’s favourite canine, Bossy, suffered a bout of strange behaviour and what seems like a life threatening illness. We have all barely recovered from the time Georgia’s stupidity led to Bossy falling sick but this is even worse! It was alarming to see the ordinarily friendly Bossy lash out, not only at Kyle and Amy, but also sadly, Jimmy – an action that could have dire consequences for our beloved kelpie. It’s speaks to the talents of Chris Milligan and Bossy’s excellent training that the scenes were realistic and indeed, involved some better acting than a few past cast members we could mention! Alas, knowing Bossy is clearly ill broke our hearts and Paul sending her to the kennels made us feel even worse! We hope Bossy is soon vindicated and what’s more, nursed back to health immediately. Number 26 just isn’t the same without her!

Realising the Truth

er58_0001_Layer-2The scales fell from Amy’s eyes this week as she (once again) found out what her father is really like. It’s common knowledge that Paul Robinson is a dodgy guy but Amy had just come round to loving and trusting him (and going into business – really now?!) when Sonya dropped the bombshell that he’d tried pushing Steph into a breakdown. After that Amy was fuming and we got to see some great performances from Zoe Cramond again. One of our favourite things about Amy is her friendship with Steph and it was great to see the two of them in scenes together again, listening and being supportive.

Original Story

er58_0002_Layer-1There’s something very original and admirable of Neighbours to tackle post-natal depression from a father’s point of view. Since Matilda’s birth, Josh desperately struggled to bond with her and then went through the hell that every new parent seems to suffer – no sleep, low moods and lack of faith. Josh has got it bad, and now it’s made even worse now that Amber has left town with the baby and it takes a flight to reach her. While we hated the whole Jamber and baby plot, it’s an unusual route to take for the plot. It’s not the loudest or the most dramatic plot but Harley Bonner brings a lot of heart to the story even when we’ve spent 80% of the year hating what’s become of Josh’s character. It’s a difficult story to tell with mother and baby absent but Neighbours are giving it a good crack.

Misses

Teenage Crush

er58_0004_Layer-5First things first – Tyler is great and we also really like Mavournee Hazel who plays Piper…we just Piper pretty irritating. Honestly an on-screen version of a opinionated teenage vlogger is a hard sell to make entertaining to watch and now this new story with Tyler isn’t really helping. The teenage crush on an older guy story has been done plenty of times and we have no problem with it, and we can easily see why Piper would fancy Tyler – but there’s just something missing. Whether it’s because it’s been a bit rushed or the lack of chemistry we’re not sure. There’s also the slight issue that on Piper’s front it’s just a bit cringey and it’s bound to end in her heartbreak when Tyler inevitably goes sniffing back round Paige again.

No End in Sight

er58_0003_Layer-4The longest running story continued this week without a conclusion in sight. Yes, everyone, we’re talking about the reign of terror from everyone’s favourite villain Dimato. We’re not adverse to Neighbours villains, indeed they can really liven things up every now and again – but not like this. Dimato himself isn’t the charming, compelling love-to-hate villain he needs to be and what’s worse, the plot itself is left without a compelling protagonist. Mark and Paige’s involvement is dull, dull, dull, and the plot is convoluted lacking structure, coherence or momentum. The only saving grace was the surprisingly effective scene of Michelle being slapped by Dimato which brought some proper drama and action to proceedings.