Hits and Misses – Jan-Feb 2017

hitsandmisses

Hits

OMDee

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Well, well, well. It has been the biggest talking point in years, probably ever. The holy grail of Neighbours plot. The biggest unsolved mystery. The stuff fan dreams are made of and it’s finally happened – Dee has returned. Or has she? After 13 years, we fell off our seats as ‘Dee’ appeared Toadie’s doorstep and spun him a long, convoluted and still, not unbelievable story about her miraculous survival and like Toadie, we bought every word. And while many theorised that things weren’t as they seemed, we were honestly shocked to the core when it was revealed that Dee wasn’t Dee at all – but rather, being a manipulative con-woman named Andrea. Words honestly can’t do justice to this story and its impact and to do so would be to undersell it. We experienced Toadie’s joy with him, shared the scepticism of Sonya and Susan as the clues added up and felt the stomach punch when we finally realised the truth. The story is rife with incredible continuity and tender heartfelt moments that served only to become harrowing punches in the stomach when Andrea revealed her cruel plot. It brought us the return of the wonderful Sindi as Andrea’s partner in crime and took a hammer of the Rebecchi marriage and by extension, Steph and Mark. What we’ve loved most of all is the intricate plotting at play here – the type of plot that’s rarely seen in soap. Everything, every twist dovetails into the next and it’s effect on the characters and how it’s gradually drawn more in has been a masterstroke. Last but not least, Madeleine West effortlessly proves her worth as an actress convincing us not only as the troubled, fragile Dee but the ruthless Andrea. What a delight it is to see her back onscreen and we have to admit, deep deep down we’re still hoping that Andrea can serve us one more massive twist and reveal that she really is Dee after all…

Messy Ties

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Speaking of characters that have been drawn into ‘The Web of Dee’, we’ve been delighted to see the return of fan favourite recurring cop, Ellen Crabb and by extension, her ex Victoria and daughter Josie. When Victoria first popped up again the other month as part of the IVF story, we failed to realised it was actually rather brilliant foreshadowing of the bigger role she was soon to play in Steph’s life. As Steph feared she was losing Mark to the other woman in his life, and mother of his child, Sonya, Victoria was there to support Steph and ultimately make a move on her. We can’t lie, we live for Victoria’s tragic desperation for Steph as the show toes the line between two women with a connection and at the same time, two women who are escaping from messy relationships together. The fact that Mark works along with Ellen has made things even better – and of course, more complicated. It was great to see Josie return after such a long time and we’re hoping to see so much more of this brilliant little unit and dare we say, they’d make excellent additions to the core cast.

Classic Neighbours

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What can we say about the Cannings that we haven’t said before? They continue to be a highlight in every episode of Neighbours they appear in, bringing classic comedy, warmth and quirkiness to our screens. Their rivalry with the Kennedys was a fun watch with the Romeo and Juliet style romance of Ben and Xanthe at the heart of it. Ben and Xanthe have been such a funny and cute couple, the kind of made-to-be teen romance Neighbours has been lacking for a few years – but really, we just love every aspect of Xanthe from her feminism to her Japanese phrasing. Just like his mother, Gary fits into the community so well and we love his scenes with Paul and Terese and the recent sausage plot has had us howling at the innuendos. The Cannings just keep on giving and we don’t think we’ll ever get sick of them.

Pregnant Paige

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When Paige was revealed to be pregnant just before Christmas we were dreading it. Hormones and extreme mood swings – we just couldn’t imagine that was going to make Paige, who had become rather insufferable at times, anything but hateful. But surprisingly becoming pregnant has made Paige far more watchable. We’ve started to see glimpses of the Paige we liked and remembered from her introduction – the independence and the empowerment. Even though we’re not looking forward to the inevitable Jack merry-go-round, it’s been good to see Paige making decisions and being confident rather than just chasing a guy. Through this storyline we’ve also seen Paige form an unusual friendship with David which has been warm and interesting and given someone else for Paige to confide in and also support and done wonders for both characters. Here’s hoping that Paige becoming a mother will lead to new directions for the character and continue to take her down a less selfish path.

Misses

Bratty Behaviour

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We’ve really enjoyed the Tyler and Piper chemistry for ages – from their friendship to their romance – so much so we’ve been able to look past the slightly iffy age gap. However, we’ve not seen them in their best light since they got together and we haven’t enjoyed their scenes so much lately. The main problem is that we actually agree with Brad and Terese’s reservations and Typer aren’t exactly proving themselves to be mature by acting out this way. We know they’re in love and want to be together but Piper just comes across as a brat when she tries to fight for their respect instead of trying to approach the problem rationally. Moving out of home and having to cope alone is not going to end well and it’s a fairly well-trodden plot that we’re a bit tired of. We’re sure somehow the Willis family will come around to the idea, maybe with Tyler doing something to prove he’s worthy of their daughter’s heart, but for now they’re less star-crossed and more unlikeable.

Hits and Misses – Oct-Dec 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

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Big Issues

You know us, we love a big, dramatic, character-led plot and they don’t get much bigger than this – the surrogacy plot. It’s been an absolute joy to watch unfold in recent weeks, but particularly because it all comes from a very real place for the characters. As quick and hasty decisions may have been, the show has made a point of showing them as deliberately so – and as such, that’s how the characters have ended up in the frosty, friction-filled mess they’re currently in. We’ve loved everything – Steph’s desperate longing and doubts, Mark’s sincere joy at becoming a dad, Sonya’s eternal optimism and selfless nature and poor Toadie’s feelings of inadequacy and betrayal. The show hasn’t shied away from the maturity of the situation and it’s great to see the show use appropriate language when discussing the ins and outs of what the surrogacy involves – instead of the cliché Neighbours euphemisms. Our particular highlight is the devastatingly real scenes where Toadie and Sonya employ therapy tactics to get through their issues but sadly, we’re fearing for the future of one of our favourite couples…

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Family Matters

There’s something so very “Neighbours” about the brashy and bubbly Cannings that have just made them one of the best parts of the show. The last few months have seen Gary embark on a very surprising but brilliantly entertaining affair with Terese where we learnt far too much about their sex life in scenes which actually had an intense and unexpected chemistry. We’re not sure we can get the image of Gary naked in a bush out of our heads very easily. Of course just as it looked like Terese and Gary might be getting a bit softer and more serious (if you ignore Terese’s sizzling feelings for Mr Paul Robinson), Xanthe’s con artist mother, Brooke showed up to give things a good stir. Brooke’s arrival – though familiar territory for Neighbours – gave us some good family drama, especially for our favourite, Xanthe, whose heart was bound to be broken when she idolised her mother so dearly. With all Brooke’s meddling it seems like cute teen sweethearts Ben and Xanthe could be on the rocks too which is a bit gutting after all their heart-eyes on the Gold Coast. But one moment we won’t forget in Neighbours and Canning history was their surreal and hilarious appearance on TV gameshow, Family Feud. Love live Sheila’s teeth gritting!

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The Return of the Lamb-Crabbs

Not only has the surrogacy delivered some great scenes four our regulars but it’s been made all the stronger by the presence of two great recurring cast. It’s not secret we loved every second the brilliant Ellen Crabb is onscreen and we’re sad to learn she and her partner had split. What we didn’t expect, however, was to see her significant other, the very lesser-seen Victoria Lamb to return and play a much bigger part than she ever got to in the past. Showing the Lamb-Crabbs experience with surrogacy as an aside to Steph and Mark’s struggle, was a masterful touch and showed a great, alternative opinion about how their own surrogacy plight had a detrimental effect on their relationship. We’re hoping so much that the plot somehow brings the two women back together and that there could be a much more permanent future for the pair on the show, complete with the return of the much-missed Josie.

Misses

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Insufferable “Love” Story

All these months later, and Paige and Jack are STILL absolutely insufferable. The on/off relationship, the boxing, the bizarrely prominent ‘Blaze Outreach’, more of the on/off relationship, the one sexual encounter, snarking, bitterness, promising they’ll get over each other, theological discussion… it never ends. A slow burn relationship is usually, without fail, the way to progress in soap. It gives the viewer something to get attached to, to root for and enjoy seeing things move at a realistic pace. When things get in the way of the characters getting together, we should be annoyed for them – certainly not at them. Paige and Jack’s mutual stubbornness and at times, very unlikable character traits make them impossible to root for and there’s not end to the dramas in sight. All we can hope for is that the inevitable happens, Jack leaves the church and they might be a bit more bearable when they’re together…

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Hopelessly Devoted

These last few months you’d be forgiven for thinking Neighbours was a medium for launching pop careers rather than the tagline of “unmissable drama” because not only did we suffer the tedium of Maddie’s pop career but we had to endure Angus’s too. Performances, moody autotuned strumming, pop video making – it felt like Neighbours was a big advert for Jai Waetford rather than really giving Erinsborough’s answer to Dick Van Dyke a story. Then did come a story, the tried and tested teacher crush, this time with added sexual assault. Sure the issues of consent raised were worthy (even if it was so soon after the messy portrayal of Xanthe’s assault) but a combination of soppy crooner Angus and Elly the lush – it was never going to be a great story. Elly’s own back and forth flakiness, her ex, her “love” for Ned and the wine-fuelled self pity are becoming tiresome too, but at least now that this student/teacher ordeal is over and Angus is gone we might see something more watchable from her.

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!

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 – 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.

Scene of the Week – 11-15 Jan 2016

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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.

Hits and Misses 4-8 Jan 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Unwanted Affections

er57_0001_Layer-4Oh Lou, how we love you so. Not content with getting himself into bother and feeling the need to fake his death, he was panicking that his holiday fling would turn into something serious. Wannabe lothario Lou was desperate to get rid and get on a plane, but as luck had it, besotted Rochelle was there in the Turner garden! The scenes when she arrived and tried to snuggle up to him were hilarious and remind us exactly why we always want more Lou. Then there was his genius move to get his love/hate nemesis Sheila involved and pretend they’d been having an affair. Sheila was as hilarious as ever, slapping Lou, sharing insults with Rochelle. It was one liner after one liner, ending in a double dumping for Lou and absolute comedy gold for us. A great start to 2016!

Domestic Dramas

er57_0000_Layer-5This week we really enjoyed the Rebecchis getting caught up in Steph and Belinda’s domestic drama. The aftermath to last year’s finale cliffhanger didn’t disappoint and we loved, and cringed, at desperate Sonya charging into the operating theatre and potentially putting Toadie’s recovery at risk. And of course, we loved the soapy drama of Toadie beginning to regain feeling in his feet – as well as his acceptance of Sonya’s mistake in a really heartwarming scene. Time and again they prove themselves the worthy modern day equivalents of the Kennedys. As well as this, we really liked seeing Sonya and Steph bond over Toadie despite all their differences in the past. We’ve really enjoyed having Belinda around and were glad she wasn’t turned into a cliché soap villain. Her final scene, lashing out after losing not only her job but Steph too, was great and will surely set up some future friction as Sonya is left worrying whether Steph still loves Toadie.

Picking Up The Pieces

er57_0002_Layer-3The Paul storyline was a real highlight this week. After losing everything (how many times has that happened?) Terese offered him a place to stay at Number 22. It just feels right seeing Paul back there again, doesn’t it? And not to mention Terese and Paul scenes are always a joy to watch. Paul even had to lower himself to wearing Josh’s clothes while Terese tried to organise a welcome to the street party for Paul. We were slightly dubious that Amy would agree to go into business with Paul but her pep talk to him was no nonsense and we liked that. Speaking of no nonsense, Paul didn’t sugar coat his words to Daniel, giving him some really harsh home truths. Yikes. Great scenes from the ever brilliant Stefan Dennis!

Misses

Dimato’s Retun

er57_0004_Layer-1When Dennis Dimato rocked up again this week, it didn’t exactly fill us with joy. We had more than enough of his 2D cartoon gangster routine last year and hoped we’d put that plot to bed. Unfortunately he rocked up with a new suit, dodgy facial hair and more unconvincing police interviews. Why?! That was our main question. He’s not popular or charismatic and we were filled with even less enthusiasm that he saddled up to our firm favourite Paul with plans of investing in his business and sticking around – nooo! It’s the last thing we need. We can but hope there’s some sort of disaster on the horizon to get rid of him for good.

Hostage Situation

er57_0003_Layer-2It was the weakest cliffhanger of last year’s finale and was without a doubt the weakest plot this week, yes, it was Paige’s kidnap. Neighbours’ greatest strength is not these kind of gangster-y, hostage situation plots and sadly this was no exception. Despite their best attempts, the entire situation lacked any real drama. Lauren and Brad toddled around but lacked any real conviction in their concern and the less said about Mark’s reaction the better. We were sad to see Dimato make his official comeback (seriously, why?!) and we’re not looking forward to his continued presence on the show. The plot needs to shut down soon and Mark and Paige need to be moved out from these criminal dramas because it doesn’t bring out the best in the characters or the actors. Our highlight? Terese, quite rightly, showing little concern for Paige given how frosty and cruelly Paige has treated these past few months.