Scene of the Week – 16-27 Nov 2015

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There was lots to love about our chosen Scene of the Week in Neighbours. First of all we love a return, whether it’s a regular return like Hilary or a one off appearance it adds a nice slice of history to the show. Even better is when it shows that Neighbours hasn’t forgotten a big event (a Pappas-Robinson baby, obviously) and when it feeds in nicely to current plots. It was so lovely to see Chris and Lucy (and their new baby) again, even if it was just via Bla Bla (aka Skype). It seemed only right that Amber had baby chats with them with what she’s going through with hers and it made Nate thoughtful about his relationship with Aaron. It did make us slightly nostalgic for the Chris and Nate romance though. Please visit soon Chrucy!

Hits and Misses – 6-10 April 2015

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Hits

Turner Tragedy

er25_0002_Layer-2This week we waved goodbye to Matt Turner and I think it’s fair to say after the rushed and underplayed response (apart from Paul’s fantastic depression arc) to Kate’s untimely death, we were all wondering how the show would deal with Matt’s death. We were pleased to see Neighbours learn from last year’s mistakes by both giving us a proper response to Matt’s death in the aftermath episodes and not rushing into the funeral and jumping ahead in the timeline, thereby sacrificing dramatic potential. Kate Kendall gave a powerful and raw performance as always and in particular her scenes with Tom Oliver tugged at our heartstrings. Matt’s death also meant that Amber’s self pity over her non wedding was put into perspective and we were really happy to see Calen Mackenzie give his best performance so far as Bailey struggled with his father’s death. With the funeral to come and Sharon still around, we can’t wait to see what developments the next few weeks bring.

Tension Down the Well

er25_0000_Layer-4The well plot was pretty ridiculous and we spent time last week moaning about it, however our minds were almost changed this week as we found ourselves pretty gripped by the cliffhanger and tension surrounding the drama. Even though we knew there was no possible way Daniel and Imogen wouldn’t make it, as the water started pouring and Imogen began hallucinating we couldn’t help but be gripped. Switching between the scenes in the well (great set!) and over ground where a clueless Josh and Kyle continued with their mission to drain the lake, oblivious to the trapped pair, was a great touch. We think Tim Phillips and Ariel Kaplan did a great job convincing us of their plight. Great scenes.

Bailey and Alice

er25_0003_Layer-1Space Alice was back this week and completely clueless to Bailey’s grief over his dad’s death as she berated him for not being around on social media. We’ve always been big fans of Bailey and Alice so we were thrilled to see them reunited even in such sad circumstances. As Bailey pretended everything was fine to cope with his pain, Alice carried on in her usual manner only aware of Bailey’s problems when he grew a little hot and heavy. Bailey’s final breakdown was incredibly simple and moving – Calen Mackenzie did a great job and left us feeling genuinely choked up.

Misses

Cheerio Christos!

er25_0004_BackgroundThis week saw everyone’s favourite injury-prone mechanic Chris Pappas leave Ramsay Street for good to start a new life in New York with baby mama Lucy Robinson. We are pretty sorry to see Chris leave Neighbours as our freckled friend made quite the impact as Neighbours’ first regular gay character, but we were pleased he had a fairly upbeat exit. Sadly Chris leaving meant a disappointing and rather rushed end to the rather touching Chris and Nate relationship which we had grown rather fond of. Chris’s final scenes with his friends were nice (although Josh’s inclusion was a little strange considering the history) although we think the obligatory ‘taxi goodbye’ scene might have been a nice touch.

Driving Miss Danni

er25_0001_Layer-3Now, don’t get us wrong, we know Neighbours has a limited cast for budgetary reasons and that also includes guest cast. Therefore if a recurring or guest cast member pops up, it usually means there’s a proper purpose for them. This was nowhere more evident this week when Danni Ferguson popped out of the Erinsborough black hole of guest cast to promptly run Matt over. We are big fans of Danni and at one point suggested she be made a regular and while it is great to see her get her biggest story so far (and potentially her final story), we would’ve liked to have seen her establish a bit more of a regular presence at the garage before the story began. But if having Danni around meant we lost out of the recent influx of returnees then the right decision was made! That said, we’d have happily sacrificed a Dimato appearance or two if it meant some more Danni!

Hits and Misses – 16-20 March 2015

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Harold and Madge

er22_0002_Layer-3It was a welcome and surprising return this week for one of Neighbours’ most iconic couples – the legendary Harold and Madge Bishop. Only Neighbours could make Madge’s imaginary return from the dead work so well – it’s warm and funny and touching to have her back, but it also breaks our hearts a bit to realise just how much we miss these two on screen. Harold and Madge being together again is like watching your beloved grandparents and it’s great to see that their dynamic is still as enjoyable as it ever was. Madge and Harold have always balanced each other perfectly and it’s been great to see her catch up on what she’s missed, to see her nag Harold a little (like old times) and pass the judgement on Daniel and Amber that we’ve all been thinking. The only problem is, now they’re back – we don’t want them to go!

Nostalgia Fest

er22_0003_Layer-2In the show’s UK anniversary week celebrations, it seemed fitting that we were treated to some nostalgic references to the past and boy, were we treated. Not only did we have the fantastic return of Madge as stated above, but this week saw the return of Lucas and Vanessa, last seen in 2013, with their ever-growing brood of baby Fitzgeralds. It was quite refreshing to see the return of two characters who got their happy ending and not have it be ruined by Erinsborough’s laws of unhappy relationships! Not only did we get these physical returns but we also got a multitude of past references via the Erinsborough festival. The pause button was made for the boards in the community centre and quiz brought mentions of iconic characters and disasters past, like Helen Daniels and the 2004 Lassiter’s fire. Our personal favourite was the reveal that Mrs Mangel was alive and well giving Naomi an earache down the phone. What a great start to the show’s anniversary celebrations.

Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite

er22_0001_Layer-4It wasn’t only the stars of Neighbours that reunited for the 30th Anniversary this week as viewers old and new, throughout the UK, came back to join Ramsay Street in a big, cosy documentary which saw Neighbours trending all over Twitter. Not only did the show interview some of the biggest names ever to appear in Neighbours (hi Kylie, hi Guy!) but it also took us through clips of some classic moments in the show’s history. We could have watched a four hour show celebrating Neighbours and while it left out a few of our favourites (no Timmins family clips?!) it was great to see some of our favourite moments like the plane crash and Dee’s death. UK viewers were given an even bigger treat as Channel 5 aired Scott and Charlene’s wedding episode in full, followed by the very trippy first ever episode of Neighbours. We loved it so much that we only wish we could watch all thirty years’ worth on TV again.

Misses

Relationship tensions

er22_0004_Layer-1It’s not secret that this blog are fans of ‘Chrate’ and have just recently praised them for the sweet, comedic plots we’ve had lately. This week looked set to change that dynamic as Lucy Robinson revealed her pregnancy. While we were excited (the Chris and Lucy baby story has been a favourite of ours) it was clear that Nate didn’t share Chris’s, Lucy’s or our enthusiasm for the news. This is great continuity as it was very clear when the idea was discussed that Nate was never into the idea as much as Chris was and only agreed to keep the peace. As the idea becomes reality, we fear it’ll be too much for Nate. While we hope the pair talk it out soon, we fear trouble on the horizon and it will be a shame to see a promising relationship potentially brought to an end.

Strange Sock Puppet Show

er22_0000_Layer-5“It might be a bit out there” Paige said about this week’s insane moment in Neighbours. Her grand idea to sort out Bailey’s problems (exhaustion from pushing himself too much, the weight of the family’s money problems, tempted by alcohol again) was by staging a sock puppet show. Baffling. By the time Bailey was home from the hospital, Lauren, Amber and Paige had knocked up a puppet theatre and stitched faces on some old socks and then staged a bizarre performance using characters from the family. Lauren and Amber’s left us cringing away from the screen and we’re surprised Bailey himself didn’t bolt. But even more bizarre – it seems like it worked. A new Neighbours record for curing someone’s problems! Maybe someone should tell Matt.

Hits and Misses – 9-13 Feb 2015

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Hits

Saucy Secrets

er18_0000_Layer-4This week saw a surprising and very, very welcome return of the Book of Secrets plot. It’s no surprise that we absolutely adored it, not only because Neighbours doing their cheeky and saucy comedy is TV gold, but because it included so many much-loved characters and nods to the past. We had Lou’s cover design and planning which actors would play the roles in the movie, Kyle getting involved in the accidental airing of Karl’s first draft and of course Paul’s surprise role! We loved the reference to the Paul and Sheila cling-film in the cool room incident and once again the Blue Box mention. Karl and Susan getting kinky inspiration from the novel is exactly the sort of thing we expect and it gives us a great big warm laugh. This seems like it might be a conclusion to the plot and while it was fitting end, we hope it’s not the final chapter of EM Williams.

Classic Comedy

er18_0002_Layer-2Now, if there was one unexpected star of this week’s episodes, we were certainly shocked that it was The Waterhole’s latest barman and apparent sex god, Andres. Yes, the smiling klutz amused us by being utterly terrible at his job and reiterating what seemed like his one line of English. And it was hilarious! It was classic Neighbours comedy and better yet, led to some fantastic scenes between Lou, Sheila, Paige and Bailey. The war of Lassiter’s businesses was gold and the sight of Sheila throwing herself off the wheelchair won’t soon be forgotten. More please! “Okay?”

Bringing Up Baby

er18_0003_Layer-1Lucy and Chris continue to be a real highlight of the show at present and this week was no exception. Chris is one of our faves and we’re really hoping the show ties down Melissa Bell on a regular contract because this plot has so much potential. This week it was great to see the drama ramped up as Chris and Lucy confronted their different ideas on parenting and their potential child’s future. We loved seeing Paul sticking his oar in and Nate continued to be brilliant as the mediator between Chris and Lucy, despite his own lack of interest in fatherhood. What’s more it was intriguing to see the issue of SMA raised between the prospective parents. It proved to be a real unexpected curveball in their plans and have to give kudos to the show for tackling a condition that his rarely, if ever, been explored in TV drama.

This week was so great here are the other things we loved:

  • Gen X vs Gen Y vs The Babyboomers cricket!
  • Cat and the ongoing Erin plot
  • Imogen and Paige’s sisterly chat
  • Lou getting stuck into brilliant comedy plots

Misses

Dad Dilemma

er18_0001_Layer-3Oh Matt Turner, what are we going to do with you? Let’s get one thing straight, Neighbours’ dads tend to be a bit hit and miss – and indeed have a shocking miss rate in comparison to the multitude of strong matriarchs over the last 30 years. Matt Turner is the latest in the line of bland, overprotective dad like many, many more before him. And this latest plot regarding the Turner house does little in revealing anything new and interesting about the character. Matt is consumed with his own pride, and money struggles are never the most watchable stories in any soap. It just feels a little same old, same old. Hopefully Matt’s desperation for money could take the character down new paths and provide somewhat edgier stories but until then, the jury is out.

Party Pooper

er19_0004_Layer-5In what was a great week for Neighbours, there was only one real low point to the week and unsurprisingly it was yet another plot centred on Amber Turner’s love life. We don’t need to tell you the age-old story, we’ve seen enough of it on screen, needless to say it made Josh look even more desperate and Daniel didn’t come out of it well either. We’re beyond fed up of this plot and having it all set at a pool party of extras didn’t make it any better. Naomi slightly improved things but we’re not sensing much chemistry between her and Brennan so we found the whole party flatter than a deflated palm tree. Please Neighbours, we’re begging you, stop with this Jamber or Danber stuff – it’s awful.

Hits and Misses – 2-6 Feb 2015

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Hits

Real Love

er18_0004_Layer-4I 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

er18_0004_Layer-3It’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.

Teenage Kicks

er18_0004_Layer-1Erin’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.

Misses

Water Works

er18_0004_Layer-2If 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.

Sherlock Moans

er18_0004_Layer-5Does 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!

Hits and Misses – 26-30 Jan 2015

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Hits

Great Grandson

er17_0002_Layer-3Another tough week for Kyle and another week where our love for him cemented. Not only did he have to deal with Sheila coming out of hospital and looking after her (which he did a great job with) but he also had to say a final goodbye to dad Gary. These scenes were fantastic and genuinely emotional and Kyle struggled with his conflicting emotions. He might have realised he was better off without Gary, but after everything he left his dad with a small glimmer of hope. We saw some lighter sides to Kyle too as he helped Sheila with her gnomes and panicked as Naomi cleared the fridge of all the bad food. We love how well rounded Kyle is a character and think Sheila is pretty lucky to have him as her doting grandson.

Team Work

er17_0000_Layer-6This week we were delighted to see former enemies, Terese and Paige, make a great leap forward in their relationship as they pulled together to help create a business plan for Brad. Now it’s fair to say that Terese and Paige have had fairly rocky ride since the truth about Paige was revealed, and it seemed like any progress was quickly undone by Terese’s insecurities in her relationship. However with the Willises reunited, it seems like the two fierce and independent women have finally made peace. We loved to see them, not only civil but genuinely friendly with each other and we really hope to see much more of it in the future.

Welcome Return

er17_0001_Layer-4We were delighted to see Lucy make one of her frequent returns at the end of this week to continue her baby plot with Chris. It’s always great to see an original character back onscreen and Melissa’s chemistry with Stefan Dennis really lights up the screen. It really takes us back to the show’s golden days and the Robinson heyday. As fun as it was to see Lucy celebrate Paul’s birthday, the biggest reason we were excited to see her was down to her baby proposal to Chris. Since then, Chris’s life has changed drastically and it was interesting to see how the presence of Nate looks set to cause ripples in what seems like a done deal. Despite the potential conflict, we really hope Lucy and Chris go ahead with it – giving Chris a link to one of the show’s biggest families and a reason for Lucy to stick around for good.

Misses

Boarding Bore

er17_0003_Layer-2It wasn’t a great week for Brad as he found himself frustrated by Terese and Paige’s grand plans for his business but, is it just us or was Brad out of line in his reaction to them? We know he viewed making surfboards as a hobby but his family were only trying to help him to make a career out of something he loves – and give up teaching, a career he doesn’t. For us, Brad’s reaction was a little too heightened and showed a lack of respect for his wife and child. We hope he pulls himself together and quickly realises that with his family’s help, he could achieve the career satisfaction he seeks and maybe channels the laid-back personality pf Brad of old.

Deserving Better

er17_0004_Layer-5Our thoughts on Danber and Jamber are well documented – even last week we talked about how much we hate Josh and Daniel fighting over Amber – the unfortunate thing is that it continued this week and got worse. Frankly we think both the Willis twins deserve better than pining over Daniel or Amber and it doesn’t make anyone look good. Daniel looks stupidly oblivious to an insane degree and came across as childish and bitter against Josh; Imogen, whilst sweet, needs to stand to Daniel before he uses her strong feelings; Amber needs to get a hobby and Josh needs to get well away from this car crash and be the Josh we loved from 2014.