Sons & Daughters Watching/rewatching/discussing The Aussie Hit Show

Willie Oleson

Telly Talk Schemer
Messages
13,877
Reaction score
16,070
Location
Plotville, Shenanigan
Medals
15
Member Since
April 2002
560

Fiona is being terrorized, courtesy of Barney's fake nephew Chris "Adams" Bainbridge. Yes, he's the son of The Colonel and the Christian woman.
The role of Chris is somewhat nondescript and limited to only those things he needs to do, but the war-game at Woombai looks pretty exciting, and it's also completely on-topic.

If there was ever a reason to hire a private detective...but no, Heather (of all people) thinks it might a waste of money.
She and David think that Beryl worries too much, and maybe she should see a doctor.
It's just as appalling as telling Mike Ryan, after Stevie's death, to get over it and move on. They have a weird sense of priority sometimes.

Charlie's always been some kind of novelty, but it worked when she was Patricia's sidekick.
The novelty style has been toned down a bit now she's been given more story and screen time, but she's still ditzy enough to undermine the tension in the meatier storylines.
I'm not too optimistic about this new development.

It's also the introduction of a new major character: Caroline Morell. She's currently involved with a man who can't provide the luxury that she had when she was still part of the wealthy Morell family.
In order to adjust to his lifestyle - and mostly the lack of it - she dresses as a mousy housewife when he's around.
Obviously that's not what she really wants, so the big question is: why is she in a relationship with this particular man?
There is no answer to this question because it's not relevant. The only thing that matters is that she needs a plausible reason to leave, being reunited with her family and perform a coup "Alexis Colby" style by buying Dottie's shares in The Company - all within a 48 hours time span.
It looks as if a few post-its have accidentally dropped from the whiteboard. But, enfin!

I can't think of any other soap opera that's been so constantly exciting and surprising, but every now and then I wish they'd slow down a little bit.
There's quite a bit of potential good character drama that's being downplayed to make way for the next batch of twist 'n turns.
I still remember the times that Paul Shepard sat in Fiona's living room, sighing his long dramatic sighs and complain about the hazards of soap life.
Fiona, Barbara, Beryl and David still have their big soap moments, but some of the other characters/actors deserve it too, I think.

As Mel has already pointed out, the actor playing Alan Brandon felt a bit like a miscast, sort of a cute wannabe-bastard from a Despicable Me! movie.
His story arc wasn't going anywhere but somehow I began to appreciate him, probably even more when he mellowed a little bit.
Alan's suicide is robbed of any kind of momentum because the focus immediately shifts onto Cheri Nolan, who also does absolutely nothing with her storyline.
We don't get to see Alan struggling with his horrible fate, not even a single tear. Blink and you'll miss it.
I understand the concept of characters-as-plot-devices, just wish they had been more careful in what to keep and what to lose.

Wayne finally discovers the truth about Mitch and Karen, and his revenge is fabulous! Karen herself has never looked more pathetic, and I almost feel sorry for her.
Overall, the tone of these episodes have been pretty dark, but not the dramatic kind of dark that we got from the Healys and Terry Hanson, or even Margaret's death - just to name a more recent storyline.
It's still outrageously addictive, but not exactly the way it used to be.

Leigh Palmer's background proves to be very colourful, I have yet to discover her plans with the baby, but I just revel in her wickedness.
Mother Fran blurts out a soaptastic paternity titbit: Evil Leigh is David's daughter! Oh oh oh, if only Patricia was still around to discover this, she'd know how to make the best (worst!) of the situation.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
The role of Chris is somewhat nondescript and limited to only those things he needs to do
Chris is a character I've grown to really like.


Charlie's always been some kind of novelty, but it worked when she was Patricia's sidekick.
The novelty style has been toned down a bit now she's been given more story and screen time, but she's still ditzy enough to undermine the tension in the meatier storylines.
I'm not too optimistic about this new development.
I'm looking forward to tracking your relationship with Charlie. For what it's worth, I'm continuing to find her watchable and enjoyable.


I began to appreciate him, probably even more when he mellowed a little bit.
Yes. I felt they started the mellowing with the start of Season Four, before the accident.


Alan's suicide is robbed of any kind of momentum because the focus immediately shifts onto Cheri Nolan, who also does absolutely nothing with her storyline.
We don't get to see Alan struggling with his horrible fate, not even a single tear. Blink and you'll miss it.
I understand the concept of characters-as-plot-devices, just wish they had been more careful in what to keep and what to lose.
Yes indeed. Great point.


It's still outrageously addictive, but not exactly the way it used to be.
And it's an evolution. I feel the same way about the episodes I'm currently watching, even compared with your episodes.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#803

A while back I did some Googling and discovered Sarah Kemp was bitten by a dog while filming the 800th episode (which I may have posted about earlier in this thread). I’d forgotten about it until a scene in #797 in which Charlie seemed to be quite expressionless. I assume studio scenes from here on were after the plastic surgery and while she was zonked on painkillers. It would be too great a coincidence for them not to be. It could also explain why her face was covered by that huge mask at the ball. The frozen look possibly enhances Charlie’s character She’s just the type to have facelifts or botox on a regular basis. She even got a freeze frame in #803 that possibly required no effects.

Charlie and Ginny are great fun. Trust Charlie to spot Ginny’s flair for clothes in seven seconds flat.

Janice’s reasoning for choosing a purple mask for the ball makes complete sense to me:
It’s the only true colour, Aunt Fiona. All the other colours have emotional associations - red for anger and green for envy, et cetera, et cetera. But not purple. It’s pure.
David had lunch with Lady Ashley Mitchell. The resemblance is uncanny. Though in close up Laura Banning also has Posh Spice’s original pug nose. And her acting range is somewhere between the two.

Glen was beaten up on the beach by two thugs, one of whom was blonde, tanned and muscly and wore nothing other than a tight vest and an even tighter pair of speedos, both in matching aqua. After a quick roll in the sand, Glen turned into Spider-Man and sprayed his webbing over them complete with whooshy sound effects.

Naturally, Wayne was behind the beating. He’s machinating like Billy-o at the moment. No longer the spoilt brat. He holds up hoops and people start jumping through. Suddenly he’s become JR Ewing, pulling ridiculous stunts that should create more trouble for himself than anyone else: kidnapping Robert in order to blackmail Beryl; assaulting Glen and holding him hostage. But he gets away with it. Alison simply freed Glen with nothing further said about legal consequences for Wayne. Robert being taken again is Beryl’s greatest fear but, after his return, would she really do Wayne’s bidding based on it. And keep it to herself when Fiona and David are on hand. It’s unbelievable. Alison told her she was a fool to give in so easily, and she was dead right.

Wayne’s even had himself beaten up, framing David. And it got him results. David was on top form when Susan and Wayne came to visit prior to this. Keeping them separate and taking Susan away to talk before ejecting Wayne from the house. I did find Susan sitting on David’s lap highly inappropriate. And I noticed they only filmed David from above the waist for some time after he stood up.

David crashed the wedding for a dramatic episode ending, but they tied the knot despite the hopes of the assembled crowd. Now they’re having honeymoon montages and slobbering over one another noisily.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#820

They like their Triumph Stags on this series. First Charlie bought one for Adam, now Alison’s got a speeding ticket while driving another. And who can blame her with such gorgeous wheels.

It still seems a little strange to me when reference is made to a Patricia scene through Alison. Like Susan’s question to her:
Didn’t Paul Sheppard try to kill you?
This led to Alison questioning if she’d changed since then. And she has, of course, in any number of ways. Glen ended up giving her a ceremony to bury Patricia. Not that this hasn’t already been done in numerous ways over the last couple of years.

Years before Kimberly Shaw, Caroline’s donned a short blonde wig to frame Alison. And years after Margaret came out of prison and threatened Patricia by saying she’d rigged a household electrical item to kill, Caroline came out of prison and actually rigged a household electrical item to kill someone. Yes: the legendary and infamous exploding Hoover scene. She hit the wrong target, though, and didn’t even make a great job of that, since Fiona was up and about in minutes.

The location work in Noosa felt very much like location work. There were too many scenes of the newlyweds and their friends being happy, which doesn’t make for great TV. There was Craig and Debbie’s romantic strife, but that didn’t make for great TV either. Said strife means that Debbie’s frequently tremulous voice went into wobbly overdrive. In one episode ending her voice become completely unintelligible, sounding akin to several dogs barking.

Had there been some contract negotiations for Danny Roberts’ recent return to the series? He’s getting a lot of screen time and an inordinate amount of freeze frames. Most of them featuring his new facial expression: flared nostrils and a smirk. He’s currently meant to be broke and paranoid. Most unconvincing.

Meanwhile, Craig had a laughing fit at Ginny’s paper clip dress sketch. She's clearly ahead of her time. Lady Gaga would love it. Ginny, it strikes me, is very much like early Jill.
 

Victoriafan3

Telly Talk Well-Known Member
Messages
780
Reaction score
1,721
Location
New zealand
Member Since
About 2005
Oh yes I remember Glen being in his briefs vividly. An image still held in my mind over 30 years later. And his comment to his captors that ‘he was not that way inclined’. You don’t know what your missing Glen and you clearly haven’t met me ;-)

Anyhoo lol David not being able to stand after a nu susan sat on his lap and filmed from the waist up. Too funny!

Tom Richards must be about to leave. He felt they weren’t doing much with his character :-(

And yes I bet Leila must’ve had fun playing Ruby. What a hoot!

Oh your comments about Robert being kidnapped four times and it being his speciality literally made me laugh out loud. Thank you! Not that kidnapping usually amuses me but that hit the funny bone. Must make him soaplands most taken child? Like his mum, I am very glad to say that Robert has a happy ending. Safe and at home and a last scene that was soooo sweet :)
 
Last edited:

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
Tom Richards must be about to leave. He felt they weren’t doing much with his character :-(
It's understandable. He's a bit lost. He's no longer very involved with either Beryl or Alison, and his friendship with Caroline seems so unlikely. Even so, I find him a reassuring presence even when he's not doing very much, just because of his history with the series.

As I mentioned in one of the comments above, I thought he was great in the scene where Wayne and Susan came to see him, and in the wedding scenes.

I've noticed that a number of the original cast have extended absences every once in a while. This could be for them to do other projects such as theatre, other series or films. But I'm guessing it's largely simply to allow them to recharge the batteries and not get exhausted. After all, they're not getting any younger.


I bet Leila must’ve had fun playing Ruby. What a hoot!
It occurred to me last night that although Ruby has been a running thread for most of the season, we've only actually met her in two episodes (I think) up to the point I've watched. It's really clever. She's made such an impact it feels like more.


Must make him soaplands most taken child?
I'm struggling to think of another that's been taken more. There probably are one or two out there who'd give Robert a run for his money.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#828

The Huntington’s storyline has come out of nowhere. It’s the equivalent of Dallas’s neurofibromatosis: there to create a storm in the new marriage. And the results are the same, with miscommunication and secrets creating a web of lies. Naturally, this discovery - hidden from sight, unknown and unmentioned up to this point - came exactly as Susan discovered she was pregnant.

All this is OK up to a point. It’s how soaps work, and this is a soap storyline, albeit a generic one. Strangest of all, the character of Bones Rowe, someone we’ve never seen at Woombai before showed up and filled Gordon in on the Hamilton family history before being wheeled off stage left. The idea was that Bones had got insight into the situation through village gossip, but it was all very convenient. If this were a couple of years ago, of course, his role in the proceedings would have gone to Rosie. And it would have been a tour de force. But this is 1986 and "Rosie" is otherwise engaged. I thought the Huntington's revelation could explain Rosie's lack of children, but (a) it hasn't been mentioned and (b) according the the S&D website she has a son, Barry (a fact I either didn't know or have entirely forgotten).

There was a scene in which Bones gave Susan a talk about the condition. I couldn’t help seeing parallels with Quint’s legendary and powerful Indianapolis Speech in Jaws: a fictitious, first hand account, peppered with real-life facts with the intention of fully explaining the threat to characters and audience. It’s a slightly controversial move (less so here than in Jaws which distorted a very specific event) but thankfully it didn’t dwell on the “issue”, focussing instead on Susan’s fear and going some small way to explaining her motives.

Vacuum cleaner electrocutions aside, the death threat storyline, while fun, took a while to warm up. Rather like the siege at the manse, it ran on and the consequences rippled out, and it did hit a turning point for the better after a while. Wayne and Susan in fear of the consequences. Alison in hiding with Glen. Andy eating a strychnine-laced stuffed pepper intended for Alison (yet more screen-time and freeze frames for Danny Roberts, who has spent several episodes staggering round the place emoting wildly).

It’s had the nice “twist” of following the culprit as she cuts out notes, plays distorted tapes over the phone and pays visits to her victims to see the results. Because of Caroline’s involvement on this level, it was almost a certainty that the consequences could only be taken so far. But we did get an exciting episode cliffhanger in which Wayne attacked Alison who then shot Wayne with a gun she’d stolen from Glen’s family cabin. It was a bit of a cheat that the bullets were blanks but the best was made of it when Alison put a spin on things by pretending she knew and it was simply a warning.

The stalky part of the story ended with yet another “Caroline screaming for help while trapped in a confined space” scenario, after she fell into the tank outside the cabin in a trap set by Alison. The writers allowed her to effectively get away with her reign of terror when blabbermouth Fiona explained how Caroline had been raped in prison by a warder, for which she blamed Alison and Wayne. It was the second time Fiona had blabbed this confidential information to people without Caroline’s consent, and much everyone knows now. The way Fiona is so controlling around using and divulging “secrets” is a very ugly side to her, but one that’s also very real (without trying, I can think of perhaps half a dozen people I know in real life who regularly do this). It’s also a characteristic that feels truthful for the character. She’s been doing this since the earliest days.

Now Glen’s doing his No Miracle Worker “lock in and face the truth” bit with Caroline, beating Abby Ewing to the job, I believe. It’s not exactly gripping, but it is showing previously unexplored facets to both characters and they’re more likeable for it. It’s also a form of redemption for Caroline.

When I belonged to a S&D appreciation society during its original run here, someone there had visited the set. As I remember it, they’d watched one of Caroline and Glen’s cabin scenes being filmed. Randomly remembering that has added a little interest for me.

David's gone to visit Alison to make sure she's OK after the stalking storyline and there were a few beautiful moments of almost nostalgic reflection in Charlie's garden. It was a small touch, but a very welcome one. As with any nod to the series early dynamics, their character arcs suddenly felt linear, planned and organic and we got back to character.

#824 introduced two new characters. One is a temporary resident at the mansion who has possibly the worst American accent I’ve ever heard. The other is Koko the dog who looks identical to Isabella and is unbelievably adorable (is it the same actor, I wonder? Just like Beryl and Ruby, they haven’t appeared onscreen at the same time). The “k” spelling was correct for his introduction, by the way. It’s been explicitly discussed, and Charlie was horrified at what she perceived to be a misspelling of Ms. Chanel’s name. Koko’s been given his own plot: turning out to be a boy and possibly impregnating Isabella. It’s head and shoulders more watchable than any scene featuring Debbie, Andy or Owen.

Some of the sitcom material is still a little iffy though. Janice giving Wayne lessons on changing nappies in #826 was good for a scene but not as a thread running through the whole episode.

Even worse, much of the “drama” in that episode related to Debbie’s addiction to uppers, which was telegraphed a mile away and took off in the space of two episodes. The perfunctory repercussion-by-numbers was also spelt out in huge capital letters way in advance. Beryl, immediately after commenting how tired Debbie looked, thought it would be a good time to give her more to do:
Some of my luggage came down on another flight. Could you stay and keep an eye on Robert while I go out and get it? And make sure he doesn’t go near the heater. It fascinates him.
Which is greater, I wonder: the number of viewers who didn’t guess what was going to happen at the end of the episode. Or the number of viewers who cared.

Ruby has just shown up at the country house to visit Craig. So this bodes well. Will she finally come face-to-face with David? Or even Beryl?!!
 

Victoriafan3

Telly Talk Well-Known Member
Messages
780
Reaction score
1,721
Location
New zealand
Member Since
About 2005
Oh wow Dectictive Mel find a new S&D forum. Thanks :)

Rowena went to Ethiopia for world vision or save the children on one of her extended breaks

We never saw Rosie’s son Barry, a no-gooder, but that’s how Gayle came into the show. When Rosie went to Melbourne to find him but found a granddaughter she didn’t know she had instead
 

Victoriafan3

Telly Talk Well-Known Member
Messages
780
Reaction score
1,721
Location
New zealand
Member Since
About 2005
Did you laugh at the vacuum cleaner scene Mel? One of those comments on the new old forum you found said it wasn’t meant to be funny but they laughed out loud for five minutes as a man in a wig dressed up as Fiona flew through the air on visible strings. I can’t wait to see it again with new eyes ;-)
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
Oh wow Dectictive Mel find a new S&D forum. Thanks :)
Well, we can't have too much of a good thing, can we?


Rowena went to Ethiopia for world vision or save the children on one of her extended breaks
Thanks for this. If it was Dallas or Dynasty, Rowena's break from the series would be common knowledge and probably have its own thread. But there's so much mystery behind the scenes of S&D for me. I think that mystique and the quest to find information adds to the appeal.


We never saw Rosie’s son Barry, a no-gooder, but that’s how Gayle came into the show. When Rosie went to Melbourne to find him but found a granddaughter she didn’t know she had instead
Ah yes. Now it's come back to me. I've got a shocking memory for family tree details, so thanks for the reminder.


Did you laugh at the vacuum cleaner scene Mel?
I certainly did, Vf3. I didn't look too closely, so didn't notice any wires or the gender of the stunt person. But it's just funny to see the vacuum cleaner sparking and sending "Fiona" flying across the room.

Caroline is proving to be very practical indeed: crossing the wires on the Hoover to electrocute Fiona, and jamming the steering on Glen's Moke. I can just about change a lightbulb and the extent of my car knowledge is knowing which hole the petrol goes in, so I'm very impressed with her skills.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#837

When David was seeking legal advice, Beryl recommended someone with a very familiar name:
There’s Tony Parker. We’ve used him before. He’s a good solicitor.
Surely it couldn’t be?

Another familiar name came up in the same conversation when Beryl suggested Victor might steer David in the right direction. Sadly, David didn’t take it up with him there and then, as a return visit would have been nice. But it’s comforting to know that he’s still next door and probably cross about something.

Ruby’s tall tales and hustling proved thoroughly enjoyable. A couple of her poignantly intimate conversations with Craig were shown to be so much blarney, but it’s easy to see why he would fall for it. I’m looking for the substance, and so find myself taking what she offers as fact. That she looks like Beryl adds further layers. It’s almost like being ripped off by someone we love.

On the one hand she’s coldly blackmailing Jean Hopkins and putting Craig to work like a Fagin of the Eighties. On the other, she’s doing montages with Craig, complete with flute music.

The duality is perhaps best summed up by a scene in which she did a Stella Dallas, brutally driving Craig away because she thought it was best. And the irony is that she may have used the truth to do it. But the lines between her truth and her lies became so blurred, even this was implicit.

Beryl and Ruby’s one and only meeting was great fun. A really nice choice with the direction which was more kinetic than a usual S&D location scene. Rather than static head shots or even a “two in shot with a straight line in between” image, Beryl (and Leila Hayes’s body double) paced back and forth on either side of the stall table. While Ruby glared at her and continued playing with her trinkets, Beryl got tough:
Do you really want to take me on, Ruby?
Alison meeting Ruby in the market, warning her to stay away from Craig was even more fun, because the actresses didn’t have to worry about the technical aspects of the Beryl/Ruby meeting and could therefore get stuck in. The resemblance throwing people off and the consequent change in energy between two players reminded me greatly of the Verna/Abby diner scene: the glamorous, wealthy blonde woman stepping into a proletarian environment for the purpose of meeting someone who looks like someone she knows, but who doesn’t recognise her, and ending up on the receiving end of a down home directness she’s not fully equipped to deal with.

Rather than admire Alison’s beauty à la Verna, though, Ruby was a little more vehement in her choice of words:
Ruby Hawkins does what she likes, when she likes. And no-one - I mean no-one - stands over her. You an’ your friends chew on that. If I want to see the kid I’ll see him. Now you get out of here before I take those earrings and shove ‘em so far down your throat they’ll dangle on your tonsils.
A full-on catfight between faux Beryl and new Patricia in the middle of a bustling market could have been great fun (though hell to film). Frankly, though, I'm happy with what we got. The sight of Leila cutting loose with threats of violence was pure joy.

Ruby - all eyelashes and attitude - was great fun down to her last scene in which we saw her take a puff on a cigarette and then give some hilariously funny lip action after popping some gum or a sweet into her mouth.

I’ve always found the scene in which Craig finds Ruby’s body effectively creepy. It’s presumably a result of the limitations enforced by the genre, scheduling and network at the time, but just showing Ruby’s body from the back with her furry blue hood up preyed on my young mind the first time round and I still found it so this time round.

With the benefit of hindsight, the slight twist in the mystery of Ruby’s death (still to come) is made significantly less effective by the fact that the killer still hasn't appeared on screen and so isn't someone we've "met". It’s a cheat. Fortunately, we know that Craig didn’t do it right from the start, which at least added some urgency to the need to find the killer.

Getting in touch with the series’ roots, as per Series Five’s more synergic approach, David referenced not believing John when he was accused of murder. There was a sense of catharsis to him freely believing Craig’s innocence despite all evidence to the contrary:
Some time back, my son John was accused of murder. I didn’t believe him when he said he was innocent. …I’m not going to see Craig framed for something he didn’t do. It happened once before with John and I’m not gonna make the same mistake twice.
Casting an eye back on another of David’s key relationships, Alison visited and roped him into filming to gain evidence about Ginny’s stolen designs. There was a nice bit of business where they were giving the camera a test run and Alison - on camera - spoke about the time she dislocated her shoulder doing a backflip. Then she faked David out by pretending she was about to do another before going into a cheesy dance routine. There’s more references to Alison’s history as Patricia (both on the series and in its pre-history) than I remembered. And this is a very good thing.

After some more time spent together - including one of those soapy almost-kisses as she put Dettol on his digit - Alison and David had what felt like an almost final form of closure in their teasing-but-warm parting scene:
David said:
You know what your trouble is? You always want to be able to control everything. Always wanted to. You’re a hell of a lot better than you were, but it’s still there. Do us a favour: next time you’re itching to stick your bib in: don’t. It’ll save us all a lot of trouble.
Alison said:
That’s the nicest ticking off you’ve ever given me. We friends?
On the subject of sticking bibs in, Edna Burns - the gossipy shrew who stirs up trouble by telling Wayne about the Huntington’s - is uncannily similar in character to Mrs Mangel from Neighbours, who was at that point becoming popular. Fiona was furious that Mrs B. had spilt the beans. She doesn’t like anyone other than herself controlling who is told what.

If I were making a compilation of key Wayne episodes, #834 would be one of the first I’d choose. I enjoyed Wayne trying to connect to the kid on the ferry (whose mother just happens to resemble his wife). The implication that he was speaking either to his future child or even his younger self added a sweetness. I also appreciated that he couldn’t fix that situation with money because he remembered he’d forgotten his wallet And it ended with the child’s mother ended up looking at him with a combination of pity and fear. Then his tentative bonding with Ginny, leading to a wild party (offscreen) and then Wayne kneeling on the beach at sunrise, telling her he’s dying. Kind of a MacGuffin, but if it makes Wayne two-dimensional, that’s all well and good.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#852

Susan has given Dural an Eighties makeover, complete with Venitian blinds (which strobe like anything), Royal Blue walls, matching checked curtains and dining chairs that look like the backdrop to a primitive video game; silver carpets and a bit of industrial luxe going on with the sideboard. The entrance hall is a little warmer for being carpeted, but the iconic draughtboard floor will be badly missed. So many classic scenes took place on it.

More Eightiesness with the arrival of Bumps & Grinds, Charlie’s gym which has no real windows other than the opaque rice paper type seen in the former Morrell apartment. Waste not, want not, I suppose. The backdrop of men in short shorts gets distracting, but that's the idea I suppose. There’s already been something dangerously close to a NSFW slip when someone turned over after faking a hamstring injury on a weight bench.

There have been a few nice Charlie moments, including a winning monologue to Ginny which pulled the emotional rug out from under in being so unexpected:
Everyone thinks I'm fun Outrageous. Scatty. All of those things. But I wasn't always like that, you know. I was very serious as a teenager. I had these terribly crooked teeth and I had to wear huge braces until I was 16. When I smiled, I flashed more iron than BHP smelts in a year. So, obviously, I wasn't very confident with boys.

Then one day I met Bradley Mortimer. Oh, he was so handsome. Charming. Witty. He had everything going for him. For some unearthly reason, he liked me. We started seeing each other and... everything was wonderful. Really wonderful. Until one day I saw him in the street with another girl. He had his arm around her and they were looking in the window of a jeweller’s: looking at engagement rings.

Obviously, I was shattered. I ran home and I told my mother and she said I should go and see him. Talk to him about it. But I refused to. I mean, I just couldn't. So, I sent him a letter. I told him I'd changed my mind about our relationship and I didn't want to see him anymore. It was a very cruel letter. I wanted to hurt him as much as he'd hurt me. I told him I'd never really loved him at all.

Then, about a year later, I found out he'd asked that girl to go with him and choose an engagement ring for me. He was going to ask me to marry him. But by that time, it was past being repaired.
Charlie should never be a serious S&D character. She’s occupies a completely different planet to, say, Martin Healy. But I appreciate these occasional moments which give her a little depth or show a slightly different side to her.

Another such facet being hinted at is her implied attraction towards Gordon (I’d forgotten about this). If I really stop and think about this it is just so unlikely considering some of their past interactions and Charlie’s usual taste in men. But it’s being sold well and so I’m believing it. Gordon and Beryl have also had some deep and meaningfuls. In what could turn out to be an ironic twist, Gordon has encouraged Beryl to rekindle things with David if she feels it's right.

Wayne tricked Charlie into signing a fool’s contract, but she’s not worried. Caroline is, though, so Wayne is doing a little moustache twirling framing-stroke-gaslighting to get her committed. Very J.R. and Sue Ellen. These storylines usually involve a degree of contrivance, of which I’m not especially fond. This is a case-in-point, ticking the usual boxes: the usually intelligent target responds irrationally and extremely to any provocation or setup in front of disbelieving witnesses.

That said, I’ll suspend my disbelief if it’s a good story. But only up to a point. This line was crossed with the nighttime gym scene in which Wayne used Caroline’s recent rape to tip her over the edge, which just didn’t sit well. We’ve seen sociopathic elements to Wayne’s nature before, but this was extreme even for him. It was jarring, and Wayne started feeling like a scripted character, moving another scripted character towards the next contrivance. Ditto the follow-up when he showed up at Caroline’s door with two men in white coats. It has to be said that Abigail was, unusually, effectively understated in the scene. And believable. But Wayne was so villainous and smirky that it almost cancelled the subtleties out. Above all, I do not believe that if Gordon had been involved in making the decision to commit her, he would not then have come along to support her. That might have told us something about character, but it would not have moved the plot along quickly enough.

Ruby’s murder has been the story of the moment. There's been a whole lot of tedium with endless scenes of Andy and Debbie doing their worried bit and teaming up to investigate (it strikes me that Andy and Debbie feels very similar to Andy and Lynn on a number of levels. Not that this helps at all).

But there's also been decent stuff. And a welcome touch of nostalgia with Craig ending up at Fiona’s place and her mentioning the parallels with John. I do enjoy these acknowledgements which make these thematic revisits feel organic and even necessary rather than simply recycling.

The Hopkinses were blandly arch but effective. There were some moments of excitement as the story plodded along to its conclusion: Jean Hopkins taking a leaf out of Katherine Wentworth’s book after her attempt to kill David failed by coming to the hospital in nurse’s uniform intent on plunging a hypodermic full of nastiness into him; and Beryl dressing up as Ruby to get the inevitable “if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids” confession. This particular doppelgänger-of-the-season story, beginning to end, is one that I’m fond of. Re-watching it has only strengthened that fondness.

Then there was David and Alison locked in the freezer. While it had little-to-no sense of real jeopardy, it did tap into character with the two facing up to their feelings for one another. They also needed to strip to their underwear for some reason that made sense to them (shades of Dempsey & Makepeace, I thought). In hospital after the event, David decided he wanted to try again with Beryl. He did soften the blow to Alison with a bedside chat but even the accompanying flutey version of the theme did little to console her. Patricia, just as she thought there was hope for she and David, being dumped for Boring Beryl is another dynamic that harks back to the early years. Just another way that S&D is allowing the past to inform its present. And possibly shape its future.
 

Mel O'Drama

Super Moderator
Staff Member
Messages
6,938
Reaction score
9,548
Medals
12
Member Since
28th September 2008
#860

In this last stretch of the penultimate season, plot-based twists and soapy cliches abound. This is proving to be no bad thing, however, because character is shining through and keeping the series on solid ground.

The most powerful and memorable moments of the last few episodes have involved founding characters sharing tantalising glimpses to their past to newer characters. Earlier times from before the series began, but which to us, the audience, are already part of its very fabric as absolute truths.

First, Beryl - after an outlandish storyline in which she ended up pretending to be her own, deceased doppelgänger then found herself back on with David for the umpteenth time - came home. Stepping back into her little kitchen, which serves as the series’ heart, memories of starting married life there with David were stirred and, while Craig listened passively, she took a few moments to walk down memory lane :
He carried me over the threshold and brought me straight out into the kitchen. I could have hit him! Do you know what he said? ‘There you go, love. Cook all the pavs you want.’ We met over a pav. Well, under one actually.

Funny… I’ve had the place redecorated but it still has the same feelings. Same memories. I’ll never forget the day we brought Susan home from hospital. David had done his darnedest to make the place spick and span. All except the stove. Apparently he tried to cook himself an omelette and was so nervous about picking us up from the hospital he forgot about it. So when we got back, there it was - all over the stove. I just dumped the baby in his lap and got to work with the Jex. He’s never let me forget it. Silly thing to remember, isn’t it?
Wayne was on the verge of gaining super villain status after buying a black market psychiatric hospital and arranging for Caroline to disappear in order to be held there against her will forever. And caught up in further stereotypically soapy storylines: Susan, expecting a child that might inherit his Huntington’s, has been trapped in a cabin with Glen - the ex-lover she still has feelings for. This gave several tedious episodes’ worth of Wayne walking through woodland to get to Susan and Glen. But it all became worth it when Wayne collapsed and was found by the series’ latest super-doctor Michael Benson. In the shadowy atmosphere of the lamp lit tent, Wayne found it easier to talk to a stranger than a friend, and so shared his problems, and their root cause:
My real mum died when I was a baby. I was raised by a witch called Patricia. Alison, she calls herself now. Alison Carr… She’s poison. Absolute poison. I grew up watching her operate. She seemed amazing when I was a kid. Anything she wanted, she got. Didn’t matter what she had to do; who she had to take down. She got it… My problem was that I adopted Alison as one of my role models. Anything she’d do, I’d do. And that’s how I grew up. Copying Alison. I couldn’t - haven’t - stopped. I have to get what I want.

I’m not a good person, Michael… but that was all to do with my upbringing. That’s why I want everything right for my kid.
It's an epic monologue. Imagine it playing over silent flashes of Wayne's most dramatic moments and you have the trailer for Wayne: The Movie.

By the time Wayne stumbled in on Glen and Susan kissing in the cabin, I cared for him again, in a way that gave this triangle and Wayne's machinations meaning that they was starting to lose.

Hearing those stories, those legends, again brings us home in a way that no amount of action and drama could. I hope there’s more.

The big news is that Isabella II has become mother to triplets. She gave birth on a fur coat. Not even The Colbys, for all its Eighties decadence and glamour thought of that one. Neither can monikers like Channing, Fallon, Cash and Miles hold a candle to Charlie's new babies' names: Coco, Chanel and No. 5.
 

Victoriafan3

Telly Talk Well-Known Member
Messages
780
Reaction score
1,721
Location
New zealand
Member Since
About 2005
I’m so glad you’re enjoying this season Mel. The character is back in amongst the silliness but it makes all the difference to keep it together

There’s a reference from Michael soon I think about all Wayne’s many wives, which his good. Wayne sounds like S&Ds version of Henry XIII. He even kills one of them.

Yes Beryl and the Palmers kitchen is the heart of the series

Gosh your galloping through the episodes. You’ll feel sad when it’s finished lol

What to watch next?!
 
Top