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 – 13-24 June 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Prayers or Paige

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

Family Tension

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

Top Dog

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

Misses

Sad Goodbyes

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

Unwelcome Return

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

Hits and Misses – 30 May-10 June 2016

hitsandmisses

Hits

Judgement Days

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

Pashing Problems

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

Sparks

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

Misses

Social Issues

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

The Kids of Erinsborough

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

Hits and Misses – 9-27 May 2016

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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!