Hits and Misses – 13-24 June 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Prayers or Paige

er71_0004_Layer-1THANK GOD (literally) we discovered the true identity of John Doe this week in a scene which we won’t be forgetting in a hurry. He’s only a bloody priest! It’s not something we would have seen coming had it not been for the clever suggestions of it that we saw on Twitter but him turning up to tell Paige in full frock and dog collar was priceless. Even more so was the drama that he’d seriously been a suspect for the explosion and had shared a snog with Paige right before his oh-so convinent flashback memories! Watching Paige hang around John (it’s ridiculously hard to think of him as Jack!) like a bad smell certainly hasn’t been our favourite plot but we like Jack. Although we’re dreading Paige’s jealousy of Jack’s relationship with God and she’ll probably whine at him to choose between her and the church, the reveal scene alone is worth our top spot.

Family Tension

er71_0004_Layer-3Even though we’re never happy to see grief for Toadie and Sonya, we can’t deny we do love watching them handle the struggles in their marriage. We’ve often said how much we love the realism between the couple and the natural chemistry between Eve and Ryan, developed from years of working together always shines through – and of course, makes the moments of tension and anger between them that much harder to watch. Recent weeks have seen Walter continue to be a source of trouble between them and the reveal that he wanted bone marrow to save the life of Zoe, Sonya’s half sister, was a great twist. It’s really added another dimension to Walter and casts light on his motives for contacting Sonya. The ambiguity has been interesting to watch and despite some other recent poor signings (*cough*Madison*cough*) Zoe was a joy to watch onscreen and quickly developed chemistry with her onscreen sister. With Walter and Zoe both off so soon, we hope we haven’t seen the last of them.

Top Dog

er71_0004_Layer-2Gary Canning got freed from prison this fortnight after we had a brief spell of seeing him be top dog in Erinsborough’s version of Oz. He didn’t stick around long to help Paul, in fact he landed him in it, but we were pretty glad to see Gary’s return. There’s something interesting about the dodgy guy that we like and we’re interested to see how he fits in with the rest of the family, especially his daughter Xanthe. Only time will tell what kind of influence he’ll be on her and if he’ll manage to stay out of any bad behaviour while he’s on Ramsay Street. We only wish Kyle was still around so that they could repair their very damaged relationship.

Misses

Sad Goodbyes

er71_0004_Layer-5Over the past few weeks, we’ve waved goodbye to a few residents, some temporarily and some for good – but neither especially welcomed. We were sad to see the lovely Nate go, breaking our hearts as well as Aaron’s. For weeks prior to his exit, it was clear that Nate was unsettled with the current direction of his life but that didn’t make it any easier to watch him go. Though he returned for such a short time, we were glad to see him back to give his character a proper exit and have him leave under less of a cloud. Speaking of leaving under clouds, Ned also bid Ramsay Street farewell after failing to seduce Lauren and making things difficult with his family. We’re gutted to see Ned leave and by the looks of it, so is everyone else. Ben Hall has been a brilliant find and with news that he’s already on his way back, we hope the show begs, borrows or steals the money to make him a permanent cast member. The Led romance can’t die before its even begun!

Unwelcome Return

er71_0004_Layer-4In a fortnight when we lost a newbie favourite, Ned, we had the unwelcome return of Madison Robinson. Sure, she’s the daughter of famous Ramsay Street legends Scott and Charlene (aka Jason and Kylie) but she’s also as wooden and unexciting as they come. She’s a blonde, budding reporter – she’s almost Elle Robinson but with none of the edge or charm. Her dialogue is stilted and her purpose, apart from being there to cheer up Paul, seems to be a walking mannequin. We ask, what really is the point of her? We’re really hoping this isn’t a longterm return because frankly the show can do better and Paul deserves more than Madison as a cling on!

Hits and Misses – 30 May-10 June 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Judgement Days

er70_0004_Layer-2After weeks of build-up, the long-awaited trial to find out whether Paul would be rightfully set free or wrongfully sent down for the Lassiter’s bombing arrived and boy, did it deliver. First and foremost, it was great to see some more location shooting. It’s one of the things Jason Herbison was quoted as wanting to do more of this year and considering the show can sometimes feel insular and cramped, we loved every minute of seeing the characters out and about on real streets and in real buildings. It heightened the drama of the week and really hammered home the impact of the trial. Although it was predictable to see Toadie represent Paul, we also really enjoyed seeing him taking on his neighbours and doing his most to help Paul escape conviction. Terese’s distress and ultimate moment of redemption by admitting her lies was great to watch and we can’t deny we’re still rooting for Paul and Terese to find some way to put this all behind them and get together. The scenes were stolen by Stefan Dennis’s very fine acting as the ruling was announcement and reminded us why, all these years later, he’s still one of the show’s MVPs.

Pashing Problems

er70_0004_Layer-3This fortnight saw more excuses for Ned to get his kit off and swan around the pool area (we approve) and then after weeks of sexual tension, give Lauren a full on snog. Their scenes have been simmering and a pash seemed so inevitable that we’re surprised Lauren was so taken aback by it. Sadly for Ned, and us, Lauren pledged her allegiance to dull Brad and denied that there was anything between her and Ned. Shame really as Ned and Lauren had more chemistry in their flirtatious scenes than she’s ever had with Brad. Plus who doesn’t love to watch an illicit hook up that’ll tear a family apart? We’d like to hold out hope that Lauren could change her mind, if only because it would be fun to see Brad’s life ruined and wouldn’t it be good to see a different side to straight-laced Lauren?

Sparks

er70_0004_Layer-5Longing looks, lingering smiles, driving lessons, metaphors about toy cars and Pad Thai – oh yes, it’s the simmering tension between Tyler and Piper. We weren’t a fan of them a few months back but there are definitely sparks between them now and thankfully Pipes has matured and mellowed and Tyler stopped mooning over Paige so it looks like they have real potential. Tyler seems like a big hearted guy and even if he has worked his way through most of the Willis women, his affection and caring for Piper seems like it could be long lasting. Piper could really do with the support and while some might think the age gap is icky, Tyler is goofy enough that it doesn’t seem too jarring. Piper is shaping up to be one of our favourites so we’re hopeful the relationship might lead to some long deserved happiness.

Misses

Social Issues

er70_0004_Layer-1Xanthe’s plots have been really disappointing lately. While we love her slightly ditzy sense of humour, her relationship with gran Sheila, her scenes with BFF Piper and the sweeter scenes with crush Ben, the body image stuff has been really lacking. Xanthe’s issues were really rushed and the plastic surgery appointment stretched believability even for Neighbours standards. And we’re not sure what it is with Neighbours and their buzzword plots but the moment they try and use ‘social media’ (said in that vague way that your granny might say it) everything just feels very cringey and after-school special. Aaron’s involvement seems bizarre and pointless and we can’t believe a few old rags from the neighbours would actually raise more than a few dollars. Angus is of course another big factor spoiling our enjoyment of Xanthe and each time there’s a threat he might go back to London we want to buy the plane ticket for him. Frankly Xanthe deserves better stories and we hope she gets them.

The Kids of Erinsborough

er70_0004_Layer-4Look, we’re not ageist but it’s fair to say that we’re fairly curmudgeonly when it comes to the use (or overuse) of young characters in Neighbours. We all remember the dark days of 2007/2008 where the young kids were overused to the point where that good old cliché running away plot was lathered, rinsed and repeated on a monthly basis. It’s fair to say we’ve come a long way since then with the younger kids actors as supporting components to the drama as opposed to creating it. That said, every so often it can still grate and that was nowhere more obvious than it the last couple of weeks. While Jimmy’s anger at Paul was well-done and we must say, very well performed, the ‘Jimmy joins Paul on the run’ episode was not something we ever wanted or needed, nor was the blindingly obvious ‘Jimmy gets himself injured’ “”twist” the plot took to facilitate Paul’s return. And frankly, the less said about Charlie versus TheEvilQuillSon, the better. We don’t see that much of Charlie and we certainly don’t want to see any more of Julie’s bizarre offspring, nevermind the two at loggerheads!

Hits and Misses – 9-27 May 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Longing Looks

er69_0004_Layer-3He’s spent weeks fishing the leaves out of Lauren’s pool but it seems like Ned wants to do a lot more than that – and we bloody love it. Ben Hall has made such an instant impression on us and we find each and every scene he’s present in to be utterly riveting. What’s more is his continued lack of faith in his deadbeat dad, who, as much as he insists this is all Natalie Imbruglia’s fault, fails to get any sympathy from us. Therefore it’s no surprise that as Ned began to look longlingly at Lauren, and even better, she began to reciprocate, we were willing the pair to share an illicit kiss! What we’ve loved most is that it isn’t as simple as Ned wanting to ruin his dad’s life, he seems to have found a genuine connection with Lauren and while he may be pressing all the buttons to make her doubt her relationship with Brad, it’s clear she too is enjoying Ned’s growing fixation on her. Is it wrong for us to be willing the pair to get together and really teach Brad a lesson? After all, his treatment of women is far from admirable and perhaps this is just what he needs…

Winning Character

er69_0004_Layer-4Have we said lately that we love Sonya? Because if we haven’t, we do! It goes without saying that time and again, the fab Eve Morey delivers scene after scene, week after week. She’s a natural with comedy and is surely one of the finest dramatic performers the show has ever had. What’s even better is that Sonya is such a nuanced, wonderfully written character and every action, everything she does always feels real and makes sense – it’s all a reflection on who she is and where she’s come from. What we’ve love lately is how her mayoral career has given the character a much stronger standing in the community and providing some great new interactions. Her continued marriage troubles with Toadie always feel so raw, real and natural. The current plot with the real Uncle Walter is giving Eve a chance to flex her acting muscles once again and as we’ve said many times before, we love her past getting explored in depth. We can only hope Walter doesn’t break her heart but we aren’t exactly hopeful…

A New Family

er69_0004_Layer-1Sheila and Amy shared some great scenes in the last few weeks and a lovely hug. After Xanthe’s attempts to take things to the next level with Angus (ugh) both Amy and Sheila had words of wisdom to impart and their own unique ways of going about it. Amy wanted the honest, safe approach – matey advice and lessons on how to use that big box of condoms Xanthe had – it is 2016 after all. Sheila, true to form, went in all guns blazing and embarrassed the poor girl. But both matriarchs realised that they both wanted the same thing for Xanthe and bonded over their mutual respect and reluctance to let Xan get up the duff when she wasn’t ready! They’re their own little family now and it’s pretty nice!

Misses

Clingy Girlfriend

er69_0004_Layer-5Despite being fairly intrigued as to who John Doe is and what connection he has to the explosion, we’re a bit sick of Paige’s creepy stalker routine. We get that she feels a “vibe” because he saved her from injury in the Lassiter’s explosion but her behaviour is pretty intolerable. This story is showing us the worst of all her traits. Bratty, immature, selfish – you name it. It almost seems like she doesn’t even want John to learn about who he is because she’s scared of losing him. Paige has form for blinding trusting dodgy strangers and yet she’s fallen into the very same trap. Argh! To make matters worse she even ran to her ex, Mark (who she was going to marry five minutes ago) to see if he’d suss out if John fancied her. So playground! We miss the fun, independent Paige who arrived on Ramsay Street, not this girl who drops everything to follow round a cute guy with amnesia. It’s growing old.

Spoiled and Unlikeable

er69_0004_Layer-2If there’s one thing we don’t like about soap is the tendency for guest cast to get away with far too much merely because they’re ‘troubled’ or had a tough background. It’s particularly more annoying when said guest character is spoiled, and genuinely quite unlikeable. Step forward Angus, who ticks all the boxes for us in the annoying character stakes. He’s ungrateful, sarcastic and generally not very appealing to watch. It doesn’t help that Karl and Susan are tripping over themselves trying to placate him over their own grandson. We know they’ve agreed to help Sarah but it’s all a bit much. Even worse is the way Angus has toyed with Xanthe’s feelings, stringing her along and knocking her confidence. Not to mention it hasn’t brought out the best in Xanthe who has thrown her friend/potential boyfriend Ben under the bus for a bit of attention. Hopefully a recovered Sarah quickly returns and takes him away soon!

Scene of the Week – 9-27 May 2016

sceneof theweek

sc73

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that this moment would be our Scene of the Week. As if we could think of anything else after witnessing this! Ned has spent a fair few of his scenes topless, hanging out by the pool and giving Lauren meaningful looks, but he stepped it up again this week by hanging out the washing in the buff and then dropping his towel. Lauren chose this moment to walk into the garden and oops got a sight of Ned completely starkers. Oops. Owing to the ridiculous and frankly alarming levels of sexual chemistry between them, Lauren lingered and stared for a little longer than was needed and Ned took the opportunity to bask in this attention. Sadly for all of us, Neighbours is family viewing so we didn’t get to witness what made Lauren get all hot and bothered and once she was back inside, he wrapped the towel back round himself. But let’s just say this is a scene we won’t forget in a hurry. And neither – understandably – will Lauren.

 

Hits and Misses – 25 April-6 May 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Ned Willis

er68_0004_Layer-5Ned Willis is hands down our favourite thing about Neighbours right now. Not only does he have the whole brooding and slightly mysterious thing going on, but Ben Hall is charismatic and really bringing everything to the role. The hard-done-by kid can come across as slightly bratty (see: Paige) but somehow Ned is sympathetic, watchable AND we’re enjoying his slightly unhinged ways too like when he flipped out and trashed Josh’s grave. We are LIVING for the sizzling scenes between Ned and Lauren too. She might just be helping to fix his relationship with Brad, but he’s definitely got a crush and the chemistry is off the charts. Lauren’s probably a bit too straight laced to go there but we really wish she would. And who could blame her? If someone that good looking was hanging about in the pool we’d not be able to say no either! Reports are saying Ned is only a guest character and we think this is a huge mistake. Ned has made a great impression already and he’d be a real asset to Neighbours if he stuck around.

Happy Ever After

er68_0004_Layer-1After all the Willis heartache lately it was lovely to see light at the end of the tunnel for poor Imogen. We had a nice blast from the past when she received a text from Naomi offering her a job in LA and of course, in true Neighbours style, she had only a matter of days to decide and move away for good. In need of a visa (and also because they love each other) Daniel and Imogen decided to get married in secret, but again – being Neighbours – their families found out and in record time the Willis house was converted into a pretty wedding venue. Luckily Terese had her old dress knocking around and it fitted Imogen without so much as an alteration needed! Amazing! With Susan on hand and emotional speeches the wedding was a lovely, heart-warming affair and although we were really sad to see the pair leave, we were just glad it was a happy ending for them. It’s Imogen who we think will leave the biggest hole in Erinsborough for us as Ariel Kaplan brought such warmth to the role that even in her most self-righteous moments we loved uptight Imogen and her brainy ways. She’s the kind of girl we’d have liked to be friends with and a down to earth character who’ll be sorely missed.

Changed Opinion

er68_0004_Layer-4Tyler and Piper (Typer?) have really grown on us in the last few weeks. Piper has settled down lately and in the wake of Josh and Doug’s death we’ve seen a more mature side to her and with that the chemistry between her and Tyler has grown. Tyler was super shady believing he was responsible for the Lassiters explosion (although now we know he’s innocent, phew!) and spent a few episodes being shifty around her, but Pipes was oblivious, just happy to get close to him again. One reason we’ve found ourselves warming to the pair of them is that this no longer feels like Piper’s silly schoolgirl crush but a mutual affection that runs a bit deeper. Sure, there’s the age gap situation, but they seem pretty well suited. The scene which really stood out was when Piper was torn – relieved Tyler was innocent but hurt that he’d lied. Their relationship has changed now, but here’s hoping it can get back on track.

Misses

Please Don’t Return

er68_0004_Layer-2We’ve waxed lyrical in the past about the arguable successes and failures regarding Daniel, the son of the iconic Scott and Charlene. Whilst some things worked about the character, a lot didn’t and it’s fair to say he perhaps didn’t live up to the massive expectations on his shoulders and perhaps no one could. With that in mind, one character that’s certain never to live up to her parents’ legacy is the dreadful Madison Robinson. In one of the most head scratching decisions we’ve seen in a long time, Madison arrived and immediately disappointed. We’re not going to get into the discussion of the acting skills of Sarah Ellen but what we will note is the failure to show any kind of longer term potential for the character. Madison doesn’t seem like the fiery daughter, journalist type she was supposedly being characterised as. She appeared more like a clothes horse who gifted Xanthe her entire wardrobe (seriously, who does that?) and delivered some terribly twee advice. When she promised Paul she’d be back, we were left hoping she’d get lost on the way.

Awful Angus

er68_0004_Layer-3We’ve loved the return of Sarah and the plot has improved immeasurably once Sarah stopped messing Karl and Susan about and revealed the truth behind her return. We were glad that Karl was able to pull some strings and hopefully save Sarah’s life and we thought the idea of Sarah leaving her son temporarily with the Kennedys was a really interesting move. It’s just a shame that son was Angus! He wasted no time in ruffling feathers, particularly those of Ben, who found himself robbed of Tom Quill’s money. Angus’s personality is rude, abrasive and antagonistic. And that’s without discussing that horrendous accent! There’s little joy in watching him complain about his situation and make creepy moves on Xanthe, who quite frankly can do better than Sarah’s brat of a son. We hope Karl and Susan manage to reform Angus ASAP and that Sarah returns, well and recovering, to usher him away.

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 – 11-15 Jan 2016

sceneof theweek

sc63.png

This week introduced us to an ingenious new friendship that’s fast forming between two of our favourite characters, and for that reason had to be our scene of the week. Yes, we’re talking about the unexpected bonding scene between Terese and Sonya. When Terese’s alcoholism first came to light, we were disappointed that Sonya didn’t get involved to act as support at a time Terese needed it most, so it was a case of better late than never as the pair met at one of Erinsborough’s AA meetings. It was great to see Terese’s alcohol issues touched upon again and we always enjoy the brilliant continuity with Sonya struggling during times of stress. The separate monologues involved some terrific characterisation and was a poignant moment as the characters struggle with their recent life changed. Eve and Rebekah, as ever, were fantastic and we’d love to see more of #Sonrese.