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

Mel O'Drama

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The character is back in amongst the silliness but it makes all the difference to keep it together
It really does, VF3. It's been the nicest surprise of Season Five for me.


Wayne sounds like S&Ds version of Henry XIII.
Ha. Now you mention it, he is.



Gosh your galloping through the episodes. You’ll feel sad when it’s finished
Yes, I'm whizzing through now. At this rate I may well finish the series in a couple of weeks.

I will miss it when it's over, but with so many of us watching and posting here about it I'll still be getting my fix that way.



What to watch next?!
Oh - maybe nothing. I don't normally watch anything like as much TV as I have with S&D, so I may need to decompress for a bit.

After that; as it's been mentioned here a couple of times I'm very interested in A Place To Call Home. But I plan to wait a while as I know others are interested in it and it would be fun if a few of us ended up watching together again.


There's also the First Season of Home And Away, which someone mentioned is available on Amazon Prime. That's quite tempting, as it's my favourite era of the show. It also seems a natural successor since it essentially replaced S&D as The Seven Network's flagship soap. After what's happened with S&D, though, I'm a bit worried about starting a series with over seven thousand episodes.
 

Mel O'Drama

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#868

Change and denouements - two hallmarks of the new season - were quite prevalent in the latter part of the Fifth Season. In many respects it feels like the final season is already well underway.

So it’s out with the old:

David and May have both departed - ostensibly temporarily - only to be written out for good with a few throwaway lines in the same exchange between Beryl and Fiona.

Susan also appears to have made a permanent departure - wading into a watery grave in the penultimate episode of the season. I’ve always liked the haunted atmosphere of this scene. How grim, isolated and wintry the deserted beach looks. The dark clouds. The grey water and huge waves towering over Susan. And the John Carpenter type electronic music adding menace. I love that shot where Susan drops her white shoes onto the sand with some driftwood in the foreground. Then she keeps walking barefoot into the distance, her baggy top, long flowing skirt and matted blowing hair creating the impression of a troubled spirit whose soul has long since been murdered by Wayne.

Caroline has been freed from her black market asylum with the menacing characters hastily killed off (a bit of a shame. Kevin is a character who could have been explored just a little more).



And in with the new:

Doug’s returned to sweep Caroline off her feet with a new house and a marriage proposal. With the timing, it strikes me that Doug is partially intended the rough diamond role left vacant by David.

Gordon and Beryl seem on the verge of becoming a couple. It's happening fairly organically with both of them being concerned about Susan and Wayne (with good reason) and finding they have common ground. Charlie is seething marvellously about this new twist.

Wayne’s long lost “son”, Tick has appeared. I’d completely forgotten the twist that we knew from the start that he wasn’t Wayne’s real son, but a streetwise escapee from a children’s home who ran with a failed plot Alison had started. I’m still undecided about Haydon Samuels as an actor, but he’s endearing, gives great attitude and has really good chemistry with the cast in general and Ian Rawlings in particular who is more alive and interesting during scenes with his son than I remember him being before. What's more, the same feat has been achieved here that was formerly done with Wayne's chat to Michael Benson. After a few episodes of going full on villain by tormenting his pregnant wife to the point that she felt ending her life was the only option it could seem there's no redemption for Wayne. But then he has a paternal twinkle in his eye while spending time with Tick and Wayne's made up of shades of grey and making great strides to winning me back over.

Strangest of all, the brand new set of opening titles debuted towards the end of the Fifth Season. It was obviously to remove David, but I’d have thought they’d do a Teri Austin and keep him there until season’s end to give the Sixth Season a fresh new look. It was only around eight extra episodes, after all.



The season finale and premiere episodes are some of my most-watched, partly because I tended more often to keep and re-watch recordings of these episodes on videotape, and in the last decade or so they’re the episodes that have been immortalised on official DVDs.

It occurred to me this time that while the cliffhangers are great fun when watched in isolation like that (as standalone episodes, they possibly fare better than even the earlier season finales), when watched in context they’re really just a series of events with very little emphasis on character. Unlike, say, the first three season finales which had all built to their respective final acts for weeks or months. The events in #868 have little to do with what’s been happening in the series recently.

Three characters being attacked by animals simultaneously while in different situations is stretching it. In terms of going wildly OTT with events, that final shot of the fin appearing behind Wayne gives new definition to the term “jumping the shark” (incidentally, it’s always slightly bothered me that the fin indicates an Oceanic Whitetip, while the shark shown in the preceding shot looks more like a Reef Shark of some kind and clearly has no white at all on the tip of the dorsal).

There’s also the “about to become a bigamist” revelation about Doug; Janice apparently losing her virginity to Henry Mitchell; Tick falling onto a knife while marooned on a desert island with Glen and Ginny.

But I’m a sucker for characters in peril and for animal attack thrillers. #868 brings some of my favourite things together.

Deep and meaningful they're not but I’ve always considered the Fifth Season finale’s multiple cliffhangers to be some of the series’ most exciting and eventful. And that still holds true. With all these events packed into twenty three minutes, there’s no doubting I’ve just witnessed the end of a season. And the final big annual cliffhanger. There's a sense that the writers understood where the series was at this point and decided to have some crowd-pleasing fun.

The Fifth Season has been far more than I expected. Perfect it isn't, but some new arrivals have worked and there's been some decent plotting. The biggest standout for me is how many opportunities have been taken to tap into the characters' - and series' - histories. In amongst the twists and turns have been a satisfying number of moments featuring quiet reflection and gentle remembrances. Rather like some of the characters, it's reached that time of knowing that its true glory days are over, while recognising that it's more interesting for the experience and there's life in the old dog yet.

The final season awaits!!
 

Mel O'Drama

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To break up the seasons, I decided to watch the S5 finale with commentary from Ian Rawlings.

He won me over with the story about his very first scene on the show in which he ruined the shot of the stallion rearing a couple of times because his voice broke with nervousness. And Brian Blain was so sweaty during some of his first scenes that his roll up cigarette went all droopy.

Apparently Danny Roberts' arm was broken in #868 because he was showing off between takes claiming he was a great horse rider.

And Normie Rowe (via his daughter) obtained Ian's autograph at a telethon some years before joining the show.

Words of praise, too, for Peter Phelps, Kim Lewis, Rowena Wallace, Pat McDonal and Rima Te Wiata,


It was interesting to get his perspective on these later episodes. From what he said, it was generally understood that the series was an inferior product by this time, and he put that down to the loss of the original cast members.
 

Mel O'Drama

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The new title sequence, with newcomer Normie Rowe jumping immediately into fourth place has put a question in my mind about billing: are the characters added randomly or is there a hierarchy to the order?

I've generally assumed there is a kind of order of importance, with the older, more experienced cast members being first (twins aside) and the young newbies last.
 

Mel O'Drama

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Huh, what? Commentary?
The 2 official DVD sets have them. Tom Richards and Belinda Giblin did one or two on The Best Of Pat The Rat. On Classic Cliffhangers Ian Rawlings did a commentary for the S5 finale. There's also a commentary on the very final episode from a cast member who, bizarrely, doesn't appear in the actual episode.








Oh, I'd love to some day. This takes me back to coming home from school for lunch.

It's a shame the DVDs are so darned expensive now (as most Aussie series seem to be).
 

Mel O'Drama

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#881

Leila Hayes did the most (presumably unintentionally) hilarious cross eyed thing when Beryl went into a dead faint on learning of Susan’s apparent suicide. But then all was redeemed in a truly beautiful performance during her next scene as she shared her grief with Gordon and he spoke to her about Nancy. Even Kevin and Lynn managed to send Beryl a telegram when they heard.

Gordon’s proposed to Beryl. But she held off… until she found out Gordon was willing to evict Wayne if she agreed. Although this actually led to another sweet Gordon/Beryl scene when Beryl convinced him not to part on bad terms with his son and spoke about her brother Terry who fell out with their father never to be seen or spoken of again. It sounds like a cliche, but it rang true.

Gordon and Beryl’s twitterpation paired with and Wayne crying over comatose Tick has led to a whole lot of schmaltz. But at the moment I’m enjoying the warmth and heart it brings. Plus the latter scene involved a very nice piano version of the theme.

There are less sparkly storylines though: Doug and Billie turning Caroline’s living room into a casino, for instance. Or anything involving Craig, Debbie and Andy. #879 is quite possibly the dullest episode of the entire series, and even worse, I was joined by someone while watching the second half of that episode and found myself wanting to apologise for subjecting them to a CraigandDebbiethon. And as the Sixth Season episodes go by, there are more of their dreadful domestic scenes.

I can’t get used to characters just wandering into Beryl’s house while she’s away. Susan, Doug, Caroline. Even Wayne. Wayne! It feels wrong. In spite of all its comings and goings in previous years, the Palmer house feels like it’s been sacred. A home, rather than a house. With Beryl away it started feeling like a halfway house.

Susan’s return from the dead has felt like vintage S&D. It’s got secrecy and a little suspense. The collaboration with Caroline, too, is enjoyable at the moment. A memorial service for a character we already know for certain still lives isn’t commonplace. I’m sure there are other examples, but I can’t think of any. Incredibly, it also proved one of the series’ more moving services. The beautiful score. Tick showing up in his smart little suite with his hair brushed. Gordon reading Wayne’s heartfelt eulogy. Leila Hayes crying real tears. This series still has it.
 

Mel O'Drama

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#887

Wayne deciding to sell the mansion led to a nice flash of anger from Fiona:
Damn Wayne. And Damn you too, Gordon. You could have stopped it if you’d have wanted to.
For a moment I was taken back to earlier fallings out, most notably Scott’s grave. A little reminder of how much the characters have been through together. The anger quickly passed and Fiona apologised in her very next sentence. Progress.

Anyway, the mystery buyer is… Alison. This could bode well for clashes with Fiona, but I must say that their exchange of words at Bumps & Grinds felt quite flat and lifeless, so we'll see.

Janice has had a pregnancy scare after getting so close to Henry Mitchell's winkie, and after she thought she'd miscarried only to learn there was no baby, we got a nice Karen Fairgate Small Surprises moment when wheelchair-bound Janice held a strange woman's baby and had her own version of an emotional breakthrough by managing not to drop the child on learning that the mother was a "Miss". She also has an unrequited crush on Michael, who I think looks very much like a young Dirk Bogarde. Very apt since he’s S&D’s very own Doctor In The House.


Gordon’s agreed to move into Beryl’s Melbourne home. It should be good to see them home, but Gordon just looks so out of place there. His moustache demands bigger things.

Debbie’s got a creepy stalker speaking to her over the CB. It’s surprisingly watchable, even though it’s screamingly obvious who the stalker is.

Things Ain’t Goin’ Too Good At Bumps & Grinds in #886 when drunken Wayne turned up at A Very Eighties Party only put in his place by Alison in front of his father and soon-to-be-new-stepmother:
You’ve lost your wife. Your money. Your son. Now your self respect. How does it feel?
With Wayne drink-driving off in his German sports car à la Sue Ellen, Glen and Ginny take up the Micky Trotter mantle and pursue… in a Mini Moke!!

Wayne stops to avoid a fallen tree. Glen comes round the corner and doesn’t stop, flying off the road. It’s real season finale stuff. And it didn’t end there, because in the next episode Ginny had one of those Christie-esque “eyes wide open” deaths and Glen had a Bobby Ewing Swan Song, dying in hospital after coming round to find Susan holding his hand.

Poor Susie. She’s really going through it at the moment: just back from the dead; isolated from practically everyone she knows; bearing the daughter of her evil husband; watching her lover die of catastrophic injuries. Thank God she’s now played by an actress with the range and charisma to pull this off.

Even so, her overnight gambling addiction was just gilding the lily, I’d say.
 

Mel O'Drama

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#895

The name of the bestselling book My Sister, My Love sounds very Caress. And indeed, it was written by S&Ds very own feline Morrell as she languished in prison.

In truth, it’s actually S&Ds very own Capricorn Crude. As we discovered when Charlie read extracts to Alison:
He had run away from the crime - the murder of his employer - thinking he was running to a new life. But instead he found his past: a mother who had abandoned him and a twin sister he never knew he had. And in a moment of shocking realisation, he knew that he loved her. Despite the fact that he knew now she was his sister, he still loved her. Worse… he wanted her.
Pamela opened the door, wearing the smile of a cat surveying its prey. So this was the stablehand with whom Angelica was so taken. Handsome, admittedly. But no doubt a low life opportunist with eyes on her money. The bitch in Pamela rose to the surface - not a long journey - and her eyes narrowed. “Come in, Jack”. She stood aside to let him enter, noticing with satisfaction that he brought a bottle of cheap wine. Pamela thrilled with anticipation at the prospect of showing up this young man in front of her husband, Gardner, and Angelica.
I can buy Caroline as the author of a salacious novel, but the idea that she got so many details of early S&D episodes from David (who in turn must have been given in depth accounts from John and Angela) and filled in the gaps with business reports is really stretching things.

The book prompted Alison to make a phone call:
Angela. It’s your mother. Yes. Yes, it has.
It certainly has. Post original Patricia, there’s just no place for Angela and John in this series outside of veiled references. When Alison tries to manipulate the situation for them to pay her a visit we know it can’t possibly happen. And even if it could, it just wouldn’t work. Even Alison’s side of the phone call to Angela just didn’t ring true.

On the other hand, Alison’s confession to Charlie afterwards did work and - rather like Val’s Knots admission to Karen that she’d lost touch with Lucy - addressed the elephant in the room that is the twins’ absence:
It hurts, you know Charlie, when your children don’t want anything to do with you… You tend to hold back when all you think you’re going to get back’s a slap in the face… Oh God, I wish I could just put my arms around them and hug them and tell them I love them. Hear them say they love me. I want to be part of the family. I want to be part of their lives. I’m just scared. I’m scared.
This led to one of the biggest teases so far, as Alison readied herself for the twins’ arrival at Charlie’s as there’s a knock on the door.

Fortunately, the inevitable anti-climax was drastically lessened to find Rob standing there, having come as messenger to say they had no intention of coming. I enjoyed that there was only a flicker of recognition at first and she had ask “Patricia?”. And while not as powerful as previous Rob/Patricia scenes, there was still some enjoyable friction:
You may have a new face, but I’m sure that underneath it’s still the same.
Rob then popped next door to try to persuade Susan to move up north with him, Angela and John. This got him into conflict with Wayne. As a character whose journey was entwined with the remaining originals, Rob seems to fit back in the series well in these initial scenes. I still have his second (and final) episode to watch and I’m looking forward to what I’m expecting to be a low-key farewell.

Beryl’s reunion with Susan was beautiful and unsatisfying at the same time. The chemistry and real tears between them was very touching. But then Beryl repeated the ultimatum she previously gave Gordon: Susan had to choose between Beryl and Wayne. It’s not entirely reasonable considering the bad feeling, but I can’t help thinking that it’s most out of character for Beryl to keep making these demands. Especially as she’s just gone through the pain of Susan’s “death”.

Susan, meanwhile, has an “assertive Sue Ellen” revenge plan about being with Wayne on her terms now that she stands to inherit Glen’s money. It doesn’t make sense at all when one stops to think about it.

Not to be outdone by new soap superdoc Michael performing her appendectomy in the bush, Fiona insisted on assisting her own operation. While seeking help, Janice formed an unlikely friendship with biker Angel Jones. I have to admit it was a very nice introduction and the relationship already shows great promise.

Debbie’s predictable stalker story did its predictable stalker story thing. Now she’s back to doing her tedious romantic thing with Craig who has proposed to her, causing Debbie’s voice to go into over-wobble. One can almost hear the producers on the phone to Angry Anderson.
 

Victoriafan3

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I picture John and Angela being neighbours (pun intended) with Scott and Charlene.

And in my mind, Jill is up there too with John as those two were the bees knees :)

I enjoyed Robs brief return. I’m glad him and Angela are happy together :)
 

Willie Oleson

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Karen's death becomes an old-fashioned murder mystery, and they all say the wrong things or fly off the handle when they're being questioned by the police.
And all these actions are followed by an "oops!" close-up.
Except for Isabella of course, and that's why the police believes her. It has to be Wayne - who goes by the name of Hamilton again.
Not too keen on criminal charges he decides to run away, and shortly after that Liz Smith confesses to be the one who pushed Karen over the bridge ("that's where you belong! in the mud!") not knowing that Karen lost consciousness and drowned.
Here's a bizarre interpretation:

Because she's feeling sorry and also a little responsible for Wayne's ordeal she gives the newspapers the full front page story, hoping Wayne sees it and realizes he's no longer the suspect in "The Dural Murder".
Thankfully, Wayne (wherever he is) is going to buy a newspaper - but wait! He doesn't buy the one with Liz's front page news, he buys another one, and for the moment he's still none the wiser.
However, his doppelgänger is very intrigued by the high society scandal, and with the help of his mate (a young man with a characteristic stammer) he moves into the Hamilton mansion, pretending to be Wayne with amnesia.
How delightful!

Leigh's half-brother Tim shows up, he hasn't done very much yet so all I can say is that he looks very fresh and very fit.
Leigh herself isn't very impressed by the fact that she's David's daughter, just like Angela refused to accept Martin Healy as her real father.
The baby Robert drama becomes a brilliantly frustrating story when they continously dangle a "happy ending" in front of us, only to snatch it away in yet another last-minute twist.
It's the perfect way to hook the audience, possibly the most addictive storyline so far.

Leigh hates Beryl because she refused to buy baby Shane, and she continues to torment Beryl in the most despicable ways.
Ironically, David and Heather, in their efforts to help and comfort Beryl, have become Beryl's worst enemies - which only adds to the frustration!

FakeWayne & StammerFriend decide to burglarize Charlie's place, it's funny to see that all they collect is junk (a portable radio, a vase and a big porcelain cat).
It reminded me of the burglary in the Morell mansion ("we got the couches, we're rich!")
Too bad it didn't work out that way, I wish they had had the opportunity to steal Katie's gigantic computer because that ugly thing always dominates someone's entire living room.

Stephen and Caroline are getting back together again, but then out of the blue appears Stephen's off-screen interim girlfriend Jenny Turner. It's a very lazy way of creating conflict, especially at this stage of the Morell's relationship. Or maybe it was an easy way to show Caroline's bitchy side, but it's just not convincing at all.

After operation Rescue Andy and Rescue Barbara, it's time for operation Rescue Jill, who's gone back to her whore-y ways.
The show's depiction of prostitution is quite uneven. It's perfectly alright for Liz Smith, and Fiona's past sometimes paints a romanticized picture of pimps and whores being more like a family. "It was different in those days". I'm sure it was, but you still had to spread your legs for all and sundry.
And just the very idea that one of the show's romantic leads (Jill) is an ex-prostitute shows how insignificant it can be if they want it to be.

Either way, they manage to rescue Jill - that's the good news. But then it morphs into a love story for Andy Green and a Greece girl named Helena (she's got a lovely voice, btw).
I'm sure there will be many more "Helenas" before the show's finished, but what makes this particular storyline even worse is that the episodes alternate between this and the fantastic baby Robert storyline. I think I would have preferred commercials.
 
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Mel O'Drama

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It has to be Wayne - who goes by the name of Hamilton again.
I never noticed when he reverted to Hamilton. It was probably mentioned, but I couldn't tell you when it happened.


The baby Robert drama becomes a brilliantly frustrating story when they continously dangle a "happy ending" in front of us, only to snatch it away in yet another last-minute twist.
It's the perfect way to hook the audience, possibly the most addictive storyline so far.
What's striking about the Beryl's Baby story is how mundane it became at times. There were chunks of episodes where it was barely mentioned. I could believe they were all living in this incredibly outlandish situation because it all seemed so normal and ordinary.



But then it morphs into a love story for Andy Green and a Greece girl named Helena (she's got a lovely voice, btw).
I feel for anyone playing Andy's plus one of the month. They're doomed to the scenes over which everyone prefers commercials.
 

Mel O'Drama

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I picture John and Angela being neighbours (pun intended) with Scott and Charlene.

And in my mind, Jill is up there too with John as those two were the bees knees :)
That's the great thing about characters being written off this way. You can create your own universe for them.


I enjoyed Robs brief return. I’m glad him and Angela are happy together :)
It's difficult for long running series with occasions like weddings and funerals because there's always got to be some casual mention of why so and so isn't coming. Like Beryl's Mum and Dad were apparently on holiday while she was marrying Gordon. Rob being there softened that blow a little bit, though it also highlighted who else wasn't there, such as Angela and John. It was so good to see him back and felt like he hadn't been away that long. I thought he fitted really well back into the series at this point.
 

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#902

So Gordon is now Rob’s father-in-law and brother-in-law. He’s Susan’s father-in-law, but now also her stepfather. And then there’s Angela, Alison and the rest of the Hamilton-Palmers. It’s all so incestuous. And just as I was musing on this, Beryl got the giggles at her wedding at exactly the same idea.

After a couple of episodes of freezy discy thingy, I discover Wayne’s been shot after annoying everyone around him. Cue lots of No More Mr Nice Guy type shots of Wayne almost remembering whodunnit. And P.O.V. shots of the gun-person trying to suffocate Wayne in his hospital bed.

Somehow, the prime suspect in the shooting is Beryl. Perhaps it’s not that much of a stretch. I think she must have dished out more slappings than any other character on the series. And she’d probably give record-holders in other series a run for their money. She’s well into double-digits by this point.

Wayne’s used this as an opportunity for blackmail, and the upshot is that Beryl has been arrested. This gave Gordon the chance to cut loose with a Season Six variant of his “I’m ashamed you’re my son” speech in a most menacing tone:
There is, of course, one vital thing that you’ve overlooked. Because of your stupid jealousy, you’ve totally ignored the fact that there is somebody out there who really wants to kill you… I know Beryl didn’t do it. And you know Beryl didn’t do it. But by being so bloody clever and putting her behind bars you’ve left the way wide open for whoever it is to do whatsoever they want. You’d better be very alert from now on Wayne. Cause you’ll never know when they’re going to strike again. And if you weren’t my son, I would wish them all the luck in the world.
Such implied threat. It’s kind of like seeing Miss Ellie subtly suggested to have shot JR. You know they couldn’t have, but at the same time you kind of hope they had.

Susan’s personality change feels like a bit of a waste. Oriana Panozzo is such a likeable actress and I enjoy her take on Susan and her chemistry with the cast, but it feels like they keep trying to take her to the dark side.

Alison is parading round Bumps & Grinds in leotards that would make Cathy Geary blush.

I always appreciate atmosphere, especially when it feels accidental. A great example is the scene in #901 in which Janice and Angel chatted on the steps outside the mansion while thunder rumbled and rain came down. It wasn’t commented on, nor was it building to a following scene in which a character had a stormy nightmare. It was just nature doing its thing. Always a good thing.
 

Willie Oleson

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What's striking about the Beryl's Baby story is how mundane it became at times. There were chunks of episodes where it was barely mentioned
Yes, you'd expect it to be the #1 topic of discussion. And especially Beryl and David in a state of outrage and panic, and in contact with the police 24/7.
But apparently the writers had no intention to solve this case whatsoever, and that's why all characters had to interact and be able to influence eachother (mostly Leigh).
It was the same with Jill and Terry.
There's plenty of dramatic pay-off, but not at the expense of the plotting. Sort of a "have your cake and eat it" situation.
 

Mel O'Drama

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#910

My lingering memory of Pamela is of the series’ supreme example of shallow stunt casting, the end result being just a hollow echo of former glories. I wasn’t particularly looking forward Rowena’s return.

It’s fair to say that my memory wasn’t wrong. Subtle they’re not. Well-crafted they’re not. But, with expectations lowered, the initial episodes of Rowena’s return are proving watchable enough.

There’s the Cathy Geary novelty factor of seeing reactions of long-term characters - Beryl, Fiona, Gordon - to Patricia’s doppelgänger. After Gary Evans and Ruby Hawkins you’d think they’d be used to it, but it’s one of those soapy fallbacks that works every time.

Rowena playing a hardened refugee from Cell Block H - a character worlds apart from Patricia - isn’t as novel as it sounds. Partly because my mind’s own defences have worked overtime to make sense of Rowena’s presence for my own sanity. But mainly because Rowena as S&D’s Bea Smith is actually convincing. It’s written lazily and with minimal creativity (already we’ve had the cheap “twin sister” revelation from Alison). It’s fanfic territory. But Rowena is so believable that it works much better than it should.

In a way, it’s a performance that’s too convincing. Believing the characters are just interacting with a newcomer almost detracts from the novelty of a Patricia lookalike being friends with Beryl, Gordon and Fiona, clashing with Alison and looking at Charlie in horror.

But all the same there’s the unconscious buzz at the back of my mind that every scene in which she features is an attempt to boost the ratings. No matter what the cost to the dignity of the series.

Compared with the “Craig hides his secret job from Debbie” rot that it runs alongside, Pamela’s introduction is practically art. But that’s not what most of the audience is going to be comparing it with. And when viewed through the prism of the series' Pat The Rat heyday, it doesn’t come out that favourably.

Pamela is just one symbol of a pervading sense that the series has exhausted every twist and turn possible. Things feel a little tired. There are even examples of what feels like an attempt to double-bluff the weary audience (presumbably including the millions of returning old viewers Rowena was meant to grab) by having the characters respond with preemptive incredulity. Take Michael filling in his long lost brother Nick (an Aussie proto John Slattery) on Wayne’s wives:
Two are dead… One was pushed over a bridge; the other one died of a drug overdose. The fourth was his half sister. They had to get an annulment. The first left him standing at the altar when her real husband - who everyone thought was dead - turned out to be alive. And there was a sixth… Julie somebody. Now she was the smartest of the lot. She got out before they tied the knot… It isn’t difficult to see why Beryl had reservations about Susan marrying him.
Rather than traditional soap dialogue, it’s the kind of conversation one would have with a friend who was watching their first episode of the series, (“yes. We know our stories are OTT and silly. But keep an open mind because I know you'll love it" Wink). So this feels like an attempt to ground the nonsense by acknowledging the silliness of it. Just like Beryl plotzing over the family tree when she married Gordon. It's an entertaining conversation, but it also feels a little defensive. In the case of Nick's comments, the effect is that newer characters seem both fatigued and turned off by the old school soap into which they’re breaking. And if they don’t take “our” characters' histories seriously, why should we care about them?

Meanwhile, Beryl undergoes a Sue Ellen hypnosis to an Eighties synth pop beat in an attempt to remember the day Wayne was shot, and sees a sustained close up of an identifying ring. It’s terrible. But she takes it seriously. And so I care.
 

Willie Oleson

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My lingering memory of Pamela is of the series’ supreme example of shallow stunt casting, the end result being just a hollow echo of former glories. I wasn’t particularly looking forward Rowena’s return.
It’s fair to say that my memory wasn’t wrong. Subtle they’re not. Well-crafted they’re not..
Funny, I've been thinking about this a few days ago, and I also felt like "wish they hadn't done it".
But, with expectations lowered, the initial episodes of Rowena’s return are proving watchable enough.
Maybe timing has something to do with it, and maybe also the idea that at this point in the series it doesn't really matter anymore*.
The best part of the introduction of Alison is that they have given us time to get Rowena's Patricia out of our system, as it were.
I think it would have been tacky if she had shown up 2 or 3 episodes after Rowena had left. But they gave her a significant amount of off-screen time to "develop" as a new character.

*maybe they should have pulled out all the stops to make it the most outrageous plotline ever: the twin sister is Alison's lookalike.
 
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Mel O'Drama

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at this point in the series it doesn't really matter anymore
That's certainly true. It's a very different series at this point. When I think of how invested I was in stories like Patricia changing the curtains in the Palmer house, or David arriving at the boarding house, not knowing John is inside it makes me feel a little sad that I feel such ambivalence towards the revelation of a secret Dunne sister.


The best part of the introduction of Alison is that they have given us time to get Rowena's Patricia out of our system, as it were.
I think it would have been tacky if she had shown up 2 or 3 episodes after Rowena had left. But they gave her a significant amount of off-screen time to "develop" as a new character.
Yes. It was very carefully and cleverly done. We got to fill in the gaps ourselves so that by the time Alison walked out of that airport we knew in our hearts who she was.


maybe they should have pulled out all the stops to make it the most outrageous plotline ever: the twin sister is Alison's lookalike.
That would have been as much fun as what we got.

I also quite like the idea that Alison is an imposter and Pamela is, in fact, the real Patricia. After all, Rowena was born to play Patricia. Seeing her play a different character can only ever be second best.
 

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589.5 :lol:

Oh my, there's been a wave of new characters and returnees!
And I'm beginning to notice a new trend in this fourth season: characters are being (re)introduced with a certain "trouble" storyline - secrets, bombshells, violence etc.
Not that this hasn't happened before, but now it feels like these characters are not allowed to develop themselves properly.
It's as if the writers have created a need for non-stop sensationalism, and I guess that's what happened to the other prime time soaps too.

We had no idea what would happen to Rob Keegan, Tony Parker or Irene Fisher - they got involved with the soap and new stories derived from this involvement.
There were no instant thrills, but it definitely felt more soapy.

Caroline makes a surprise announcement during the engagement party at Dural.
It looks a bit cheesy because it's so obviously staged, but it also belongs in that mid-eighties soap zeitgeist when they were aiming for these fabulous watercooler moments e.g. "incidentally, which one of you bitches is my mother?"
The aftermath is surprisingly touching as Stephen himself admits that he deserved it. It's simple payback, but nothing like the destruction Patricia had planned for Martin and Margaret.

I think it's always difficult to conclude a fantastical storyline like doppelgängers in a perfectly satisfying way because there's that moment when the characters are getting too close to the truth: they're in a soap.
Having said that, I applaud S&D for being more honest about it. Barbara mentions the possibility as being far-fetched, and they also point out the various phsyical differences.
The mistaken identity shooting is an interesting twist, but there's something about RealWayne...I can't quite put my finger on it.
Or is it because he looks like a pale imitation of the high-testosterone FakeWayne?

And then there's his new fiancée Julie Webb, which makes me think that he actually did suffer from amnesia.
There's something familiar about Julie's name, maybe it reminds me of this:
upload_2019-10-25_15-3-41.png

Julie has a secret. It's her old, alcoholic father, Arthur Webb. He's actually a very colourful character so at least the secret-for-the-heck-of-it results in something positive.

There's a similar storyline going on with the return of Leanne Watson because it also feels like a lot of unnecessary trouble, and of course they shift the Kingsford problem from Leanne to Beryl.
Tracy & Co are one-dimensional unlikeable characters and of course I hope they'll have their comeuppance, but more important is how it creates a reason for Jim O'Brien to stay with Beryl - and then Tim and Leanne move back to David's place, much to Leigh's chagrin.
Incidentally, I couldn't help but snigger when Leigh remarked that Leanne "isn't safe with Jim about the house". He totally deserved that.
He's also sort of a parasite - "Wanna join us for dinner?"/"Oh, sure!", "You could share the bedroom with Tim"/"Great, thanks!". Miserable lazy bum.

The O'Briens move to Perth to work with Jim again (but he's not there!) and they take baby Jaime/Robert with them. Thanks to Leigh and Tim's fake birthmark scheme they finally manage to convince Beryl that the baby isn't hers after all.
With baby Robert out of sight I'm feeling strangely comfortable with the situation. You could almost say "it wasn't meant to be".

Jill's gone too, but her departure is completely upstaged by the Greek guest stars drama. Thankfully they're on the ferry back to Greece, hopefully this means Andy will disappear into the background again.
I honestly don't mind Andy popping up every now and then, as long as he steers clear of anything remotely dramatic. Because that's when the shouting starts.

Irene Fisher returns, and she brings Samantha Morell with her, and Samantha brings the resurrection of Roland Armstrong into the series.
His story, the-unfortunate-witness-of-an-organized-crime-crime-therefore-forced-to-fake-his-death is quite plausible, and the Two Husbands situation has all the elements of traditional soap opera.
But Gordon's fragile health excuse ("we must not upset him!") is getting a bit stale now.

There's an explosion of big blond hair when Samantha reunites with her sister and mother, thank God it's not the incorrect widesceen version.

And now I'm going to check the Sons & Daughters website to find out what Leigh and Tracy are up to
 

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The series’ attitude towards prostitution continues to be somewhere unusually fluid: The clearest message is that prostitution is bad - something from which someone needs to be rescued. This is reinforced by Jill’s evident sadness and violent rape at the hands of her pimp.
And yet at other times it’s presented in a way that falls somewhere between progressive and romantic
Yes, a wicked past is fun, but a wicked present life is not done.
But the past is irreversible, so you may as well make the best of the memories.
I can’t help wondering if it’s going to be a plot device. if it’s a case of either casting an actor with a genuine stammer or giving a character a stammer Jerry Booth style I’m impressed
I remember a phone call between him and Gary, and I thought "haha, he forgets to stammer" but then he did it in the last sentence.
There was a woman’s shoe in the foreground, and it took me a few seconds to realise that there was a woman’s foot in the shoe. Helena was hiding under Andy’s bed. I think the intention was suspense, but the comedy was more welcome anyway
It was so bizarre, it made me think of Hitchcock's Frenzy, or something in that style.
but then there’s a scene like David restraining her while baby Robert is removed from her home. It’s enjoyably, theatrically cruel. But I didn’t feel as much as I could. And while it’s not entirely out of character for him David felt like a convenient foil in the situation
It's his child too. In cases like these people will do anything, anything to keep the hope alive, logic be damned.
But he didn't even try, it was almost like a nuisance. Someone should have told him "it's your kid, for God's sake!"
There are too many contrivances where Leigh overhears a conversation, we get a close-up insert of her face at a key point
I agree, she's a very lucky villainess.
Lisa Crittenden is an odd choice for the role of Leigh Palmer, I mean let's be honest, she's not a Mary Crosby or Heather Locklear.
But she has the spunk and attitude that works really well for this little she-devil.
Tim, while far from thrilling, has at least improved the scenery
Since he's the person in the middle, between Leigh's dark machinations and Beryl's unthinkable ordeal, I sometimes find him even more unlikeable than Leigh.
To be fair, he doesn't know that Jaime is Robert...but still….
Too bad Mike has left because Tim looked really good in his runner shorts.
Then there’s Samantha Morrell brought in to replace her sister but with a welcome little crossover time
Oooh...that means...but I don't remember how. I remember it as being an unsolved case, and Caroline's Twin Peaks-esque dream or vision of a zombie-like Amanda.
Is Mitch coming back?
Her voice and her demeanour put me very much in mind of Lynne Howard
To me she comes across as very American. Maybe I see a little bit of Cassidy "Models Inc" Rae in her.
Tony Ward has a reassuringly avuncular presence that allows me to feel I already know him.
I agree.
It’s like she’s stumbled into one of Patricia’s storylines while possessed by the spirit of Angela.
:D
These are names I associate with the most trying times for diehard viewers and somehow it seems far too soon. And now Spider himself has arrived
Uh-oh...I thought I was going to like him. Thanks for the warning:)
But it has to be said that Julie’s inferiority complex is a little testing to watch, primarily because all that’s missing is her carrying a placard reading “nervous proletarian” with a downward pointing arrow
LOL @ bitchy comment.
She could play Beryl Keegan in S&D "The Early Years".
Charlie living in the country has been good for a few cheap laughs that echo back to the time she was helping Patricia and David move in here
Hmm, still not feeling it.
To me she'll always be the guest of the Hamiltons, making a peculiar situation even worse by describing the possibilities in the most gruesome and sensationalist way.
And I think she's also the Dominique Deveraux character, there's always money to finance something or someone.
There’s been a little redecorating going on, I think
I wonder if Kevin is going to like it.
 
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