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.

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Hits and Misses – 9-27 May 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Longing Looks

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

Winning Character

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

A New Family

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

Misses

Clingy Girlfriend

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

Spoiled and Unlikeable

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

Hits and Misses – 25 April-6 May 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Ned Willis

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

Happy Ever After

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

Changed Opinion

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

Misses

Please Don’t Return

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

Awful Angus

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

Hotel Death Trap Week – 4-8 April 2016

Hotel Death Trap Week definitely lived up to the Neighbours tagline “Unmissable Drama” and because it was so good, we thought instead of our usual Hits and Misses we’d just talk about what was so damn great about the week.


The Willis Family

er66_0001_Layer-6One thing we’ve been so thrilled about this week is the Willis family totally coming into their own as a key family in Neighbours. They’ve been involved in some really big dramas during their time in Erinsborough but this week really took them to hell and back and cemented them as an iconic family within the show. No death has been as tragic or effective as Josh’s for a long time and all the crucial reactions were played perfectly. With Terese at the heart of the hotel and Brad’s father dying at the same time his son returned – these made the family central to the show’s big week. We’re very excited to see how the family moves forward in the light of these events, especially with Terese so close to Paul. Terese especially deserves to fulfil her potential and become the queen of Ramsay Street that we knew she could be from day one.

Ned Willis Arrives

er66_0004_Layer-4For some time we started to wonder if we’d ever see the hardly mentioned Ned Willis, Brad’s first son (who’s mother is Beth Brennan aka 90s pop princess Natalie Imbruglia) but thank god for his arrival this week. As we’ve already said the Willis family have stepped right into front and centre of the show this week and Ned’s arrival only adds to their complicated family drama. There’s obviously a lot of unresolved history there between Ned and his estranged dad and we can’t wait to get in the thick of it. There’s bound to be awkwardness in the whole family considering they haven’t seen each other for years and Lauren has already got her suspicions seeing after seeing a gang tattoo on his chest. Is Ned going to have a bit of a dark side? So far we’ve been impressed by actor Ben Hall and we’re excited to see what Ned gets up to in Ramsay Street!

Goodbye Kyle (and Bossy)

er66_0000_Layer-7-copyJosh and Doug were not the only neighbours we waved goodbye to this week – though at least this one was in better circumstances. Yes, after eight years, Kyle departed Ramsay Street, beloved Bossy in tow, to start a new life in Germany with Georgia. The character has been on such a journey since 2008, from recurring school bully to much-loved regular and a real fun, charming part of the Neighbours community. Kyle found his life turned upside down this week with Saskia Hampele’s return as Georgia and her revelation that she wanted Kyle back. We loved how the scenes were handled this week. Despite our worries Kyle might leave on a sour note, all three characters – Kyle, Georgia and Amy were written with sensitivity and a real sense of believability about the situation they found themselves in. Chris Milligan did some very fine acting work as Kyle struggled to work out what his confused heart truly wanted and after a brush with death, he decided it was Georgia that truly had his heart. And as much as we love Amy, we found it hard to disagree with the resolution as Kyle and Georgia had such a history. Sadly, with Kyle departing, we also said goodbye to the delightful Bossy, Kyle’s faithful companion. We wish she could’ve stayed on Ramsay Street but there’s something quite fitting about Kyle refusing to leave behind the one woman who never left his side. We’ll miss you terribly, Kyle and Bossy!

Doug’s Demise

er66_0003_Layer-3This week we waved goodbye to not one, but two members of the Willis family – and one of the longest running characters in the show. Arriving in 1990, Doug and the first incarnation of the Willis family lasted four years give or take and after a long, long absence, Doug made a brief return for the 20th anniversary in 2005. No one could’ve guessed that the Willises would become a permanent fixture again in a new guise and that Doug would return and we’d see his sad dementia story play out. It sometimes seemed that we may see Doug waste away from his illness, or be placed in a home, and so we never would’ve thought he’d be a second casualty of last week’s drama. His final actions – reuniting Brad with his estranged son, Ned, were very poignant and a fitting end to a character with such a legacy and history in the show. His ghost, watching over his grieving son and grandson, smiling and walking away was oddly touching despite our feelings on ghosts in soap! It seemed that in death Doug was free from his pain and confusion, and happy again, and that’s how we’d like to remember him.

Sarah’s Return

er66_0002_Layer-5The big week wasn’t complete without a high profile return so we were delighted to see Karl open the door on Sarah at the start of Tuesday’s episode. Long before Izzy Hoyland, there was Sarah Beaumont, the original other woman and was arguably part of the story that really cemented the legendary status of the Kennedys. Last seen in 2013, we thought we’d seen the last of Sarah and received closure on that part of Karl’s life, so it was surprising to see the character return and even better to see that she’s got a secret locked in her closet. Despite how much Karl and Susan have moved on and made peace, Karl’s behaviour around Sarah awakes Susan’s deep insecurities and before we know it, all the tension long since put to bed (so to speak) is unsettling the Kennedy union. We never like seeing Erinsborough’s most iconic couple fighting but we love when their rich history is explored and proves that Karl and Susan have earned their place as the show’s most enduring characters. What’s Sarah hiding? We have no idea but we hope this isn’t a flying visit!

Rebecchi Drama

er66_0005_Layer-1It seems no big week would be complete without Toadie somehow managing to get himself caught up in at all and being at death’s door – the Lassiter’s explosion was no different. Yes, let’s get it out of the way: Toadie’s life is in peril a lot, and yes, so soon after the Erinsborough High fire, it may have been better to swap characters and have Sonya in peril. However, putting that aside, you can’t help but be quickly won over and engrossed in any kind of Rebecchi drama on the strengths of the actors involve. Ryan and Eve are one of the longest-running couples the soap has ever seen and as the years pass, their relationship grows even more real, deep, and immensely believable onscreen. Eve seizes any dramatic acting opportunity with both hands and her despair, worries and upset never fail to move us. Their conversation (one that could well have been their last) tugged at the heartstrings and the tantalising hint that Toadie has something he wants hidden from Sonya make us hopeful that some big Rebecchi drama is on the way.

Other things we loved: Nate’s return! Nene’s meltdown! Paul’s panic!

Hits and Misses – 28 March-1 April 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Ben’s Back

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

Control Freak

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

The Quill-ainous Family

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

Misses

Bad Decisions

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

Trust Issues

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