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 – August/September 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

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Sizzling Chemistry

Months on, and we’re still absolutely obsessed with Paulrese. There’s something special about the couple and we can’t quite put our finger on what. Ordinarily potential couples that have been drawn out this long have begun to lose their lustre due to the myriad of plotty reasons preventing them from giving it a go, or just as bad, a couple is rushed together and it’s clear to see that the pairing is nothing special. Unlike Paul and many of his past loves (including the lovely Rebecca), Paul and Terese are the very definition of slow-burn and whilst they currently claim to ‘hate’ each other, the absolutely incredible stand-offs between the pair absolutely ooze with sexual chemistry. Even when they’re at odds, it’s clear they’re besotted with each other. We know we may still be waiting a while for them to finally get together but we are truly excited about their potential to become a classic couple.

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The Cannings Can

While we can’t quite believe a pigeon race formed such a crowd-pleasing event (and was sponsored by a major hotel) in Erinsborough – are their lives that unexciting?! – we have really grown to love Gary Canning. There’s something very ‘Neighbours’ about Gary and the rest of the family that we can’t help but love him. Whether he’s being a downbeat dad or a reluctant and hopeless lacky for Paul, his uselessness is likeable and endearing. We really enjoyed him bonding with his pigeon and his boyish excitement reminds us so much of his much-missed son Kyle too. He’s the sort of ‘normal bloke’ character Neighbours needs and while he might be setting his sights a little high with his interest in Terese, it would be nice for him to settle in the street for a long time to come!

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Bright Young Thing

There’s probably not a Neighbours character we love more than Xanthe Canning right now. She’s fun, cute, hopelessly romantic and we loved her mournful tuba playing. This past month we thought she deserved far better than the badly (read: horrendously) told assault storyline and we’re bloody thankful that it’s over now. It was a really bad move of TPTB to tell the story in such a vague and misjudged way and we hope that Neighbours stay away from plots like that if they can’t be told properly in a G rating. On the bright side, Xanthe proves herself a true Canning, because like her gran, brother, father and sorely missed Auntie Nomes, Xanthe can handle comedy and drama brilliantly. And even though Ben doesn’t always deserve her, her crush is so damned endearing we can’t help but really root for them together and hope he treats her like the princess she deserves. They have sparks a plenty and it’s about time she had some happiness.

Misses

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Snakes and Stalkers

Snakes. Why have we spent the greater part of two months on a plot involving snakes? It’s not like we don’t enjoy the occasional villainous plot, or indeed the occasionally soapy, ‘Sunset Beach’ OTT craziness but a lot of the menace of Steph’s stalker ordeal was ultimately lost due to the rather strange decision to have it revolve around snakes on the loose with a tenuous link to the Bible in order to give it depth and meaning. Whilst we praise them for originality in terms of how a villain may choose to target their victim, it sadly got a little too silly for us and worse still, never seemed to reach a proper end – instead lasting at least a couple of weeks longer than it needed to. It did provide some good stuff and the return of the fabulous Ellen Crabb but we think there were better ways to eek drama out of a stalker plot and this probably wasn’t the way to go…

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Maddie-Sue

Another month, more Madison. Thankfully it seems the character is finally on her way out but why we’ve been forced to put up with her this long, we’ll never know. Setting aside the acting for a moment, even the writing for the character is bizarre. Why is everyone so obsessed with Madison?! In the truest of sense of the term ‘Mary-Sue’, Madison is seemingly perfection personified. She has great dress sense (apparently), she’s a great journalist, EA, businesswoman, and now a singer. Is there anything she can’t do? Apparently not, and everyone fawning over, singing her praises constantly, feels insincere and only highlights how unbelievable the character of Madison is at being able to do all these jobs with the efficiency and ability she apparently possesses. We hope she nabs this job on the Gold Coast and let’s face it, of course she will because she’s Madison and we can forget she ever happened.

Hits and Misses – 27 June-22 July

hitsandmisses

Hits

Night To Remember

er72_0004_Layer-2Whilst the build-up has divided viewers with some questionable behaviour from some of the characters, obsessed with dresses/Tyler respectively, the big much-hyped formal finally arrived. Now as any long-term viewer will know, even characters mentioning formals fills us all with a deep dread, so damaged are we from Kate Ramsay’s formal era from hell. This, however, was much more bearable and the event itself actually resulted in quite a great turn of events. Whilst all the cloying references to Instagram, likes, vlogs and general youth culture has been prevalent (and we’re not fans), the episode set all this aside for what Neighbours does best – old fashioned, character led storytelling. Xanthe and Ben finally got it together  after months of build-up and provided some very sweet moments. Xanthe’s destroyed dress prevented things from being too saccharine, thankfully! The real fun came from the arrival of Elly Conway and the effect she had on Piper and Tyler’s already-faltering relationship. Piper drenching her love rival (and accidentally Xanthe too) in sangria before realising it was her new teacher was a brilliant episode end and capped off a very goo episode indeed.

Making a Mark

er72_0004_Layer-1Last week also saw the return of famed, iconic character and Neighbours icon, Elly Conway. Oh wait, who? Yes, Elly made her unremarkable first appearance back in 2001 and lasted less than a year before he packed off to live with her mum again as the show reinvented itself and soon populated the teen cast with much stronger characters such as Sky. We all thought we’d never hear from Elly again until the casting announcement earlier this year and it’s safe to say she’ll be working much better in her current incarnation than she ever did back then. Jodi Anasta brings all her previous soapy experience to the table and really hit the ground running in the role. It’s so nice to see the show hiring experienced actors in comparison to some questionable signings lately. Elly is fun, flirty, mischievous, and just a little bit bitchy. She immediately gave the show a fun and much-needed kick of life and we’re really excited to see what trouble she can cause.
Belinda’s Back

er72_0004_Layer-3This month saw the surprise return of the slightly unhinged Belinda, Steph’s ex, with the incredible hair. We loved her in her first stint, even when she donned a surgeon’s mask and got a bit too involved in Toadie’s operation, so we were thrilled to see her return to screens. This being Neighbours, her return was all down to Paul Robinson’s meddling with a cunning plan to split up Steph and Mark. Luckily for Paul this has already worked out pretty well, what with Steph and Belinda’s chemistry and Mark’s paranoia over their history. Belinda’s presence seems to have already driven a wedge between them and this only increased when the fabulous-haired-one planted a smacker on Steph! Even though we know Belinda is a bit of a loose cannon, her scenes with Steph are consistently watchable and despite her dark side we wouldn’t be opposed to the two of them making a real go of it and ditching dull Mark!

Misses

Character Regression

er72_0004_Layer-4We’ve already mentioned that the big formal night set piece was a great climax to the teen plots but the lead up to it seemed never-ending! Anyone would think Xanthe was planning her wedding not just the end of the year dance for school. It was disappointing to have Xanthe’s fun and complex character reduced to a sole focus on a designer dress and pouting over whether Ben would ask her out. It seemed crazy too that Ben, who is usually so morally upstanding would take the money Gary offered him to ask Xanthe out (let’s be honest, he’s smitten with her anyway). Piper’s character regression and giant fall in maturity was the worst offender of the lot. Since Josh and Doug’s death, we’ve seen Piper really grow up and the romance with Tyler seemed not only inevitable but actually pretty believable. And then things rapidly went downhill. Pipes began lying and stropping and screaming at her parents Kevin The Teenager style. Yes, Piper life is unfair. We know she’s a teenager whose always thought of herself as an adult, but what happened to the smart and mature young woman who has now regressed into a baby at the thought of not getting her own way? Just as we had begun liking ‘Typer’, alll that we enjoyed about the pairing seemed to be reversed. Can we have the teens we’re fond of back? Heads screwed on?

Eternal Paige Rage

er72_0004_Layer-5Where to even start with Paige? She’s the one character in Neighbours that gets steadily more unlikeable as the weeks go on. Since she fell in love with John/Jack in his coma, we’ve been questioning whether she hit her head SO hard during the hotel explosion and her personality damage was caused by that, OR she really is just THE WORST. The latter probably. Paige’s main problem is that at every turn she’s enabled, told what a great girl she is, yet behaving in a completely selfish and loathsome way. Now that she knows Jack is a priest, you’d think it was about time she gave up on her defrocking fantasies and either got a hobby or sorted herself out with a trip to the Erinsborough equivalent of Ann Summers. But she hasn’t. She’s continued to whine and sulk and try and make Jack feel guilty for sticking to his vocation, even going as far as stripping in the pool to try and lure him away. We’ve even seen her move away from nipple-flashing and try other tactics – jealousy (didn’t work), being a charitable, Godly citizen maybe in an attempt to force a threeway between her Jack and God (also didn’t work). The sad thing about this whole mess is that now her entire personality is a selfish obsession with herself. Not only can she not cope without a man’s affection and attention, but she never thinks of anyone but herself. Hold onto your hats readers – Paige might have just crossed the “worse than Amber Turner” line.

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.

Hits and Misses – 21-25 March 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Unexpected Romance

er64_0003_Layer-1Steph and Mark hooked up again this week and what can we say, we’re fans. We liked Mark and Paige at the start and we have a love/hate relationship with Mark because let’s face it – he can be quite a boring stickler. But him and Steph seem to have real chemistry, something they were unable to deny last week when their pact to just keep things simple as friends lasted all of five minutes. We weren’t totally sure on Mark as the family man going on picnics with Charlie (even though his babysitting for Nell is really cute) but it’s when Mark and Steph got their flirt on that we really enjoyed their scenes. Even Steph was up for a bit of saucy “handcuff me” role play (which is surprising considering her past, but we’ll let it go) but their bonding scenes were nicely played and we’re interested to see where things go from here – that’s if Paige doesn’t cause more trouble (see below!).

Ditzy Fave

Is it just us or is Xanthe becoming a bit of a star? We’ve long bemoaned er64_0002_Layer-4that Neighbours has lacked one of its most iconic character ‘types’ in recent years – the warm, funny, somewhat ‘dizzy’ blonde. The show has a long tradition of these strong, comedic young females and their presence often livens up many scenes, particularly the teen relationship dramas which do sometimes veer into the less than interesting territory. The last two teen gangs (both awful in our opinions) were made up of the fantastic but not necessarily funny Imogen, the dreadful Amber and the less said about the likes of Summer and Tash, the better. So Xanthe has been a real breath of fresh air and as she settles into the show, she’s become a real stand-out. We loved her absolute ineptitude at Harold’s, her inexplicable ability to hold onto the job and the complete disregard for the customers and indeed, food hygiene. We hope the character continues on this high note and doesn’t succumb to, or bogged down in, forced drama.
Comedy Cameo
er64_0004_BackgroundVery randomly there was a cameo from Andreas this week who appeared to give Imogen something to look at and for Paige to suggest she move on with. Ah Andreas, remember him? He used to work at The Waterhole and Harold’s and had a strange comedy subplot with Sheila where it was revealed he couldn’t speak English and was utterly hopeless at the job. Breaking things, wrong orders and so on. But Sheila liked him. It’s the sort of bonkers plot only Neighbours can do but we loved it at the time. Well he reappeared at the end of last week, complete now with ropey English and an endearing smile. We always love when guest characters and extras make regular appearances, especially someone as sweet and silly as him. Even if Imogen wasn’t ready we could do with seeing Andreas every now and then if there are more deliveries in the street.
Misses
Snappy and Unhappy
er64_0001_Layer-3Our long-term readers will we that we’re big fans of Imogen Willis. We even stuck with her through that odd period in where she became obsessed with Mark Brennan and generally made herself a bit of a nuisance but the character soon got back on track and Ariel remains a great screen presence. That said, we can’t be the only ones bored of Imogen and Daniel? The show has done that most annoying of soapy traits but refusing to allow characters to be happy and make any and every hurdle a break-up situation. It’s got to the point where we’re rooting for the characters to be apart because the constant to-ing and fro-ing just isn’t entertaining. What’s worse is that Imogen’s typical neurotic aspects (which we love) have went into overdrive with the character snapping at everyone and generally being all over the place. Why Tyler gives her the time of day between her hot and cold all the time, we have no idea. We can only hope future rumoured events bring back the Imogen we know and love and put her trivial love problems into perspective.
Paige Rage
er64_0000_Layer-5Is there anyone more infuriating in soap right now that Paige Smith? What happened to the fun and independent girl we loved when she first joined? We enjoyed Paige and Mark but since it went sour (and Paige wasn’t entirely blameless here thanks to her sulky immaturity) she’s not behaved to her best. We get it, break ups are hard – even harder when the man you were meant to marry hooks up with a neighbour in record time under your nose. But we’d have more sympathy if she hadn’t been making doe eyes at Tyler last year, talking about having feelings for him and being a petty brat most of the time. She’s showing her worst colours lately in her reaction to Steph and Mark. Using Tyler was another cruel move and the cat fight with Steph made her look even nastier. She’s been a nasty piece of work lately, from her treatment of Sonya and now with this show – claiming Steph only wanted Mark so it would look better for her custody appeal. The irritating thing is, with parents like Brad and Lauren enabling her behaviour she’s not going to grow up anytime soon.

Hits and Misses – 29 Feb-18 March 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Nasty Nene

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