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Guess who’s coming to dinner?

11 Sep

There were split screens, musical interludes, text messaging effects and slightly weird linking scenes aplenty in Neighbours last week.

Dr Karl Kennedy tried to salvage his marriage by inviting Jim the dying builder to dinner, much to Susan’s surprise and delight. As is so often the case when you ask a relative stranger over for dinner and have a giant and rather beat up map of Peru on the wall, the relative stranger will inevitably ask about the aforementioned giant beat up map of Peru. Susan, feeling it wasn’t right to discuss holiday plans with a dying man, tried to ignore the question completely (rather difficult as Jim has a tendency to talk very loudly as if on a building site). Karl, unable to pretend he was standing a few hundred yards away on a building site and hadn’t heard the question, told Jim they were planning on going to Peru (to be fair he didn’t add ‘so long as you hurry up and snuff it’ though Jim twigged as much). One thing led to another which led to Jim going to the bathroom, hopefully some hand washing, a bickering Susan and Karl, a collapsing Jim (not Bafta winning collapsing acting I’m afraid) and a dash to the hospital. Susan, upon learning that the prognosis didn’t look good (well, less good than it already was), ordered her husband to join the smarmy Dr Rhys and do all that he could to prolong Jim’s pain and suffering.

The once sensible and rather sweet Sonya reached new levels of irritating scarf wearing hysteria when she went to bid at the auction for the Community Garden. She got it, threw up, handed in her notice with the guide dog training association (I’m surprised they knew who she was), realised her monthly lady-type event was late which led to lots of despairing, procrastination, peeing on sticks, positive and negative results, a happy Toadie, a not so happy Sonya, a visit to Erinsborough Hospital, anxious waiting, a negative test result (it was a stomach bug), a disappointed Toadie, a confused and tearful Sonya, a touching mother/sick son moment, a change of heart and a decision to have a baby in a few years time (given the usual success rate of relationships in Ramsay Street I’d say they’re being rather optimistic).

Jade and Kyle caught the aforementioned stomach bug and in a desperate attempt to escape the well meant ministrations of their house mate, the flaky florist Michelle, ended up snuggled up under a duvet together in Jade’s bed. Kyle reminisced about his childhood while Jade gazed adoringly at him. She then reminisced about hers while Kyle dozed off.

The oddly accented backpackers were hastily evicted from the Robinson household when the one legged evil hotelier phoned Andrew to say he was back from his trip to America earlier than planned and was just leaving the airport. It looked like the oddly accented son with the sex obsessed zombie loving girlfriend had got away with his cunning scheme to raise money for schoolies. Alas, Andrew doesn’t know that another van load of oddly accented backpackers turned up while his “daaah” was at home and, worse still, he’s discovered the whisky bottle’s filled with cold tea (don’t ask).

There was a lot of box carrying and more anguished surfing to long musical interludes when Tash traded in part of her dad’s beloved vinyl collection to the mysterious bric-a-brac shop owner next to Grease Monkeys in order to raise money for her nose job (her dad found found out about the credit card). To make matters worse, one of the records was the last thing her mum ever gave Michael, some album by the Badloves which had an old photo of a younger, long haired surfer dude type Michael, his wife and a young Tash tucked away inside it. One thing led to another which led to shouting, tears, an attempt to retrieve the album, sod’s law, boarding school, table-top football, more tears and a confused viewer who thought Tash’s mum had simply abandoned her and Michael years ago and was still alive somewhere. I must pay more attention.

Noah, the guitar strumming wearer of a floppy woollen hat, taught the much younger Sophie how to tune her rubbish school guitar. Oh how she longs for a proper guitar. Oh how she gazes at Noah with wide eyed adoration. Oh does she not remember that gazing with wide eyed adoration at older boys like Noah and Zeke will only lead to heartache and humiliation? Anyway, after a fair bit of moaning about her rubbish guitar an electric guitar and amp mysteriously appeared on Sophie’s doorstep. Were they from the wearer of the floppy woollen hat, as she believes, or were they a gift from the newly wealthy Lucas who shared a $200 bottle of wine at Charlie’s with Michael (in a manly fashion) and decided he preferred beer?

Puzzle of the week: When is Zeke Kinski coming back from his hastily arranged trip to England?

Déjà vu?

3 Sep

If you missed Neighbours last week then fear not. Everything that happened the week before pretty much happened all over again only with less musical interludes and a 24-type split screen special effect.

Susan found out that Dr ‘jealous of a dying man’ Kennedy had asked Jim the builder (pity they didn’t call him Bob) not to rely on Susan quite so much during the last few weeks of his life. Jim, who had not been wandering around lost in a nearby housing estate again but was taking Karl’s advice too far by avoiding Susan altogether, was persuaded by a guilty Karl to seek the support of his anxious wife again. Jim, not wanting to be a burden, was no longer keen for Susan to sign the Medical Power of Attorney which led to a suspicious Susan, a shifty looking Karl, a penny dropping, a blazing row, a flouncing Susan, a miserable Dr K and a hell of a lot more hand holding in an absolutely non-romantic way by the lake. Mal, long lost son of the Kennedys, though not as long lost as the youngest son Billy, though more long lost than the ever so slightly long lost daughter Libby who popped out to visit her genius son Ben somewhere in Australia and hasn’t been seen since, suggested his dad was being daft and pointed out that Jim would be dead in a few weeks anyway so what was the big deal? Nice.

Toadie is no longer being true to himself and has taken the job with the big shot solicitors in the city so that Sonya (who was actually seen training a guide dog for the blind, albeit reluctantly) can get a large loan in order to bid at the upcoming auction for the Community Garden and fulfil her lifelong dream of a few weeks – growing vegetables. Sonya’s happy but Toadie is less so now that he spends most of the day stuck in traffic jams (which is odd as everyone usually flits back and forth between Ramsay Street and the city in minutes, no problems) and works through piles of legal papers late into the night, rarely seeing his green fingered beloved or his adopted son Callum.

Michelle the flaky florist with a Dolphin Statue named Mr Watson, has spent the week cooking, yacking, accusing Kate of being a bit of a floozy, borrowing dresses and generally annoying Jade the personal trainer and Kyle the handyman. Oh how they miss their former and possibly deceased house mate, Mark Brennan, the good looking-in-an-obvious-sort-of-way detective with OCD. Oh how they long to be rid of Michelle. But alas, she’s started dating the recently wealthy Lucas, mechanic, former motorbike racing champion, exhibiting photographer, recovering gambler, part time teacher of mechanics and now stand-in woodwork teacher, which makes such longing to be rid of more difficult. I say ‘alas’ but I don’t quite understand how this prevents them telling her to pack her bags and clear off. I might have left the room for a minute or two and missed something vital.

The surfing headteacher Michael continues to pretend he doesn’t care what his daughter Tash, the mathletic prawn, does with her life, which is a worry as she’s convinced she has a big nose and has ‘borrowed’ her dad’s credit card to book a little plastic surgery. Kate actually went to school to discuss her teacher training (it was convenient for furthering the Michael/Tash plot). Chris, the only gay in Erinsborough, has yet to tell papa Pappas that he’s decided not to go to uni to study mechanical engineering but is going to do a car mechanics apprenticeship instead. Sophie, still inspired by Noah, the guitar strumming wearer of a floppy woolly hat who now occasionally utters the odd sentence, has moved on from percussion and is now learning to play the guitar (taught by a music teacher named Mollie who has never been seen before) leaving her best friend Callum all bereft. And finally, hop-a-long Paul Robinson has gone off to America to visit his daughter Nicole Kidman/Elle leaving his enterprising and oddly Aussie/Scottish accented son Andrew to turn his “daaah’s hoose” into a “horstel” for a van load of oddly accented backpackers so that he can pay for an apartment during schoolies, much to the dismay of his sensible though increasingly sex obsessed, zombie loving girlfriend, Summer, who was hoping to be have sexual shenanigans in every room while the evil hotelier was away.

Puzzle of the week: How does Jade transport her two giant inflatable gym balls back and forth between Ramsay Street and the grassy bit near Lassiters?

Last week on Neighbours…

29 Aug

It’s been a fairly uneventful week in Ramsay Street this week.

Chris Pappas, former boyfriend of Summer until he suddenly turned gay after seeing Andrew, the oddly accented, ne’er-do-well son of peg leg ‘avast me hearties’ Paul Robinson, semi-naked in the changing room of the gym, is now a bona fide part-time employee of Lucas, mechanic, part-time mechanics teacher, recovering gambler and lately a bit of a miserable sod who has inherited $700,000 from his recently deceased father who never truly understood him. Chris has similar father/son woes as papa Pappas, ashamed of fathering the only gay in Erinsborough, had clung to the hope his son would continue captaining the basketball team and study at uni. Alas, Chris has turned his back on the bigoted bullies of the basketball team and has declared that he wants to become a fully-fledged mechanic when he leaves school.

Sonya, trainer of guide dogs for the blind and recovering something-or-other, has spent most of the week gazing enthusiastically at the rather sad and pathetic looking veggy beds of the Community Garden, and absolutely no time at all training guide dogs for the blind. She goes back and forth from slightly manic, hat wearing hope to tearful, mopy despair as she attempts to get financial backing to purchase the Community Garden and run a nursery, a lifelong dream she’s had for a week or two now. Lucas, desperate to be rid of his father’s money which seems to taunt him in a ‘naah naah na naah naah you can’t cope with so much money you huge disappointment of a son’ sort of way, offered most of it to Sonya. Her joy was short lived however as one thing led to another which led to Toadie feeling less of a man, Sonya handing the cheque back to the miserable mechanic and Toadie reconsidering the offer of the highly paid job that he had turned down a few weeks ago in order to be true to himself.

Dr Karl and Susan Kennedy appeared to be trying to pick up the pieces of their tattered marriage (cleverly mirrored by the picking up and pasting together of the tattered map of Peru). After some emotional jogging and a tearful and rather moving heart-to-heart, Susan admitted that she had got too involved with holding Jim’s hand in a supportive and absolutely non romantic way. Alas, Susan promptly got more involved as Jim asked her to sign a Medical Power of Attorney after he got lost walking through a housing estate he had built, which led to the smarmy Dr Rhys casting aspersions on Susan’s integrity, Karl asking Jim to distance himself from Susan to spare her the hurt, more emotional jogging, Jim distancing himself from Susan (or possibly just lost in a neighbouring housing estate), Susan wondering why Jim hasn’t been in touch, and lots of looking into the middle distance in a guilty kind of way from Dr K.

Jade, personal fitness instructor to anyone who may further the plot, confided to her once sensible yet increasingly annoying sister, Sonya, that she has feelings for her house mate, Kyle the handyman. After several minutes of new heights of annoyingness Sonya suggested she just tell him how she felt. If only to shut her sister up, Jade agreed, and was about to confess the aforementioned feelings to the aforementioned handyman during a cosy dinner for two when they were interrupted by their new house mate and plot furthering client of Jade, Michelle, a flaky florist with a dolphin statue named Mr Watson, who has moved in to help them pay the rent to the slightly deranged owner of Harold’s Store, Lyn Scully (who left Ramsay Street so that her grandson Charlie could spend time with his banged up mother Steph, accidental killer of the singing trainee paramedic Ringo, in a new mother and child friendly prison). Alas, Kyle is still besotted with the lovely Kate, former dancer/full-time assistant in Harold’s Store and occasional trainee teacher when the script writers remember, which led to lots of jealous scowling from Jade and crushed ‘oh woe is me’ type looks from Kyle after he learnt of Kate’s drunken naked shenanigans with the smarmy doctor Rhys.

Sophie, sister of Kate, and Callum, son of Sonya, decided to join music class so that they can one day form their own rock band. After their first percussion lesson, Callum, disillusioned with the tambourine, has decided to join the cooler kids in woodwork. But Sophie, she got rhythm, and has been inspired to stick with it by the mysterious new student, Noah, a semi-mute wearer of floppy woolly hats and caricaturist, who drums on lockers and sits under trees playing self penned tunes on his guitar. Cool.

Trashy Tash, in an attempt to see just how far she has to rebel before her dad, Michael, the surfing head teacher of Erinsborough High, will show her any kind of fatherly concern/love, played some dancing game on the Wii so loudly that everyone in Ramsay Street could hear it in their detached houses with the doors and windows closed (a feat previously matched by Harold’s tuba) and didn’t do her homework. To add to her self made woes, she’s being called a prawn (don’t ask) and as result believes she is ugly, not helped by a caricature of her drawn by the semi mute guitar strumming wearer of floppy woolly hats, Noah.

There were yet more woolly hats when the oddly accented Andrew met some oddly accented backpackers (allegedly French) who needed somewhere cheap to spend the night. Andrew, needing cash to pay towards a deposit for an apartment to stay in during the schoolies and hard up after his dad refused to give him extra pocket money, offered them The Shed (the place where the menfolk of Ramsay Street hang out to drink beer, escape their women, avoid their feelings and do general manly stuff). Alas the French backpackers would only pay him half of what he wanted as they found a “gret beeeg poisoness spiddair”. Sacre bleu!