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

Discussion in 'Australian & New Zealand Soaps' started by JROG, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    She's very watchable.

    I think the mark of a good character is that you can put them with any other character or any combination of characters and it creates an exciting energy. This is certainly the case with Janice. None of the other characters are indifferent to her and it's fun to try to work out what other characters are "thinking" about her during their reactions. Just last night I watched a scene with Janice and Wayne, and it occurred to me that even Wayne became more interesting during their shared screen time.

    Any scene in which she appears is more entertaining for her presence.



    That's great. Cool is the word that comes across in interviews. I'd love to know more about how you came to meet.



    Craig has just arrived. We'll see what I think of him and Debbie this time round.



    Absolutely. It feels like there's a conscious effort that's gone into changing the tone and making some casting choices that are a bit more interesting.



    I believe it's what she's best known for to most people. I imagine it helped that she had the history of working on a Grundy series.
     
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  2. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star

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    I'll keep this and use it as a mantra when I reach The Janice Age.
     
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  3. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #740

    I can’t think of a time in S&D history where the high drama plots like doppelgängers and evil husband-stealing has contrasted so starkly with more comedic efforts like a teetotaller discovering Fluffy Bunnies or series regulars popping up in bunny suits and even as muses in erotic paintings. And yet, it’s somehow working. The quirky stuff is very middle years Number 96, while the melodrama doesn’t let us forget we’re still watching Sons And Daughters.

    The wartime painting of Fiona has given us Australia’s very own Fallen Madonna With The Big Boobies. Like everyone clamouring over the mansion house, now half the cast are passing this painting round trying to work out if it’s a genuine Aussie Van Clomp. It sounds terrible, but it worked for me. Even Donald Fisher got involved. Appropriately for such a cartoony storyline, it ended with Alison cracking the painting over Wayne’s head. It's certainly a far cry from the shooting at Woombai. And there's certainly no danger of anything as subtle as the art of eating bread roll in the current climate.

    Caroline’s unlikely friendship with David feels quite unconvincing to me. Her sudden venture into working in a bunny costume perhaps even more so. But the latter was silly fun and happily brisk.

    Now Caroline and Doug Fletcher have met cute. Once again, this was a pairing I felt somewhat downgraded her character when I watched first time round. I have a feeling I may view it very differently now, just as I’ve grown to really enjoy Bet with Alec on Corrie (there are definite similarities with these odd couple pairings). Normie Rowe - with his yellow highlights, thick necklace, clean shirts and wide boy suits - is convincing as the flash entrepreneurial parvenu, strutting round his shopping mall empire like lord of the manor. One can easily imagine the Doug we first meet buying up the entire high street today, having irritated football fans by buying their favourite clubs and gaining some sepia freeze frames from his whistleblowing dramas. Still, Doug is refreshing and Rowe likeable enough, if not as adorably endearing as he probably thinks he is.

    If I close my eyes, Craig is Clive from Neighbours. Frankly though, his scenes are more enjoyable with my eyes open. He’s already snatched baby Robert and dramatically announced that he’s Beryl’s long-lost son, which promises to be fun.

    Craig is all over the series at the moment (including usurping Barbara and Irene in the opening credits, the cheeky little pup). He’s hopped from the old Sydney manse to Beryl’s Melbourne home and David’s place in the country. The journey from Sydney to Melbourne was shown to be an arduous one for him, which is refreshing in these jet setting days. But it is a little jarring to have characters like Craig and Tim involved in a quest together when there’s no formal introduction to one another.

    Beryl has effectively gained two long lost children in as many days, what with the new Susan arriving. Oriana Panozzo is very likeable and a better actress than her predecessor. It’s just unfortunate that since returning Susan is operating in a vacuum. She’s essentially a new character, and badly needed her familial ties to be firmly (re)established. But instead of catching up properly with Beryl and David she’s been involved in a dull romance with doctor who is (gasp) already married.

    On the plus side, Susan’s return and Craig’s delving into Beryl’s character has given a fair few nods to the series’ history. We’ve had talk of Bill, of course; and the twins; Kevin and Lynn; even Davey.

    Gordon’s amnesia - S&D’s very own A Love Remembered - has also raked up the past. There have been numerous mentions of Patricia, including her first meeting with Gordon on the steps of the boarding house and the day Patricia and Gordon gave Angela the stallion. Gordon even enquired how things were at Ramberg, only for Alison to tell him it's now called Hamilton Industries (I found this very helpful. Since the business stuff is so vague I don't think I even knew this).

    The storyline has been effective in many ways. I’ve felt twinges of anger towards Alison for moving in on Gordon and pushing out Barbara at such a vulnerable time. There have been dirty tricks, destroyed letters and hasty exits.

    The hasty exit - one of several - has been one of the series’ bigger disappointments. While we’ve seen Barbara leave and return a few times before it was most out of character for her to simply walk away and effectively concede defeat to Alison. Barbara deserved far more for her final exit from the series. Her absence means there will be no satisfactory denouement regarding Gordon's amnesia.

    Irene’s hurried departure was equally unsatisfying. A few throwaway lines with Fiona, before she walked away, leaving Pat McDonald to turn to camera, the triumph at being the alpha mare and the last Aunt standing plainly written on her face (at least that's how it looked to my admittedly very subjective eyes). These two pillars of the series leaving is nothing short of wasteful. But their final scenes being so run of the mill, and with little sense of finality, adds insult to injury.

    Relative newcomer Samantha was given more of an exit than either of the longer-termers. Just about. She received almost a whole 30 second half hearted reunion with Caroline before falling off the face of the series forever.

    Meanwhile, Alison - in common with Charlie and Samantha - has set her sights on Glen. Alison watching him chopping his wood was rather proto-Alexis and Sean, I thought. But the absolute best was Charlie on first seeing him and drooling as though he was the rich dessert she’d skipped lunch in order to devour. All that was missing were love hearts superimposed over her eyes.

    Glen, as has been made clear, is very much objectified by the characters. He’s the series’ latest concession to a Ken doll. Completing the fantasy are two key factors. Firstly, Glen is a handyman. Always on hand with offers to help the ladies’ needs which have everything but innuendo-laden subtitles (it’s perhaps worth noting that Wayne’s newfound likeability includes a plot where he, too, is doubling as a somewhat less competent handyman at the apartment complex). Secondly, Glen has no apparent objection to the hungry looks he gets. There’s even an implicit suggestion that he uses his sexuality and angelic looks to ingratiate himself with the ladies. This in turn gives the audience the opportunity to buy in to the fantasy, guilt free.

    With all the comings and goings, I’ve been trying to work out the series’ dynamics based on the character types: Craig is neo-Andy - a troubled but nice young man searching for a long-lost parent. Susan is neo-Donna (who may or may not have been neo-Leigh). Or is she neo-Samantha (who was neo-Amanda)? May, as the stubborn and quirky older foil is neo-Spider (yet another character who practically dropped out in between scenes). Janice doesn’t have much in common with Jill, but they both brought out good things in Fiona. Glen… well, he shares early John Palmer’s penchant for being unencumbered of luxuries like trousers and t-shirts.
     
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  4. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    :eck: You're the S&D watch-and-review juggernaut!:clap:


    540

    Rosie makes a short guest appearance to introduce David Palmer's niece, Leigh. Rosie looks completely different now, more like a friend of Fiona from "the good old days", if you catch my drift.

    Beryl visits David's place in order to patch things up with the newlyweds, only to be insulted by her new nemesis and stabbed in the back by her old nemesis.
    Leigh has become a key character from the minute she appeared on screen, and since I like the idea of a long-running revenge plot this isn't necessarily a bad thing.
    Her character had to be established as soon as possible because there wasn't much time between her arrival and Rowena's departure.
    Leigh's off-screen shenanigans in Perth - as described by Beryl (yet another stellar performance by Leila Hayes) - laid most of the groundwork, but even without that it's very easy to see what the young Palmer girl is all about.
    Her outspoken, deep affection for animals strikes me as an attempt to create an interesting contrast, but since that also has to be understood from the very beginning they have her stumble upon several dogs in distress for no other reason than to create some over-the-top reactions.
    Incidentally, I wonder if Jim is coming back or not.

    Good news about Katie now she's coupled with Ross Newman. There's something delightfully dirty about it, it's what I wanted for her and Roger Carlyle.
    Barbara still hasn't begun to see Ross' true colours, and since Heather has forgotten all about her pill addiction, Barbara decides to pick up that storyline for herself.
    "Just for a few daaayys, to calm your nerves", Ross says with his trademark sinister vocal fry.

    Patricia escapes via a fitting cubicle (shades of "Narnia") and on the plane to Rio De Janeiro she meets a foreigner (I think he's going to beat her up?).

    The squeaky-clean O'Briens now live in a caravan. I don't know whether to giggle or cry, but all this misfortune makes me like them even more.

    Two old plots are getting rehashed: Jill stands by her paralysed man, and David causes an accident due to lack of sleep. This time they showed the accident, and for a moment I thought they were going to add expired toddler #3 to the list.

    The three months time jump actually worked for me because it creates the idea that Leigh has been searching (to no avail) for the weak spots of her targets.
    It's really fun to watch her catching up with "our" stories, and the telegram from "Mitch" shows a promising resourcefulness.
    Karen and Wayne realize that the culprit is one of the wedding guests, but they have no idea who it is!

    Beryl is looking at the pictures in her family photo album, there's a synthpop song playing in the background.
    ♪ I sit and listen to the radio...the song makes it all come back again ♫
    Songs as mood enhancers isn't very unusual, especially in modern tv dramas, except that this particular song isn't part of a score, it actually plays on her radio!
    Heather had informed her that David's unhealthy, post-Patricia's lifestyle had spiralled out of control, and now, looking at those old pictures it triggers a feeling of duty and sympathy.
    She walks around the property, searching for David, but suddenly she plunges into the old mine shaft!
    And to make this shocking event look even more unexpected, they start the end credits tune before they show the accident, thus giving a last-second twist to the freeze frame!

    Oh my God!
     
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  5. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Reg Grundy's death seems to be trending, even though it happened around three and a half years ago. This BBC article is featured in today's news as thought it's just happened.

    This happened a while back with another celeb, and there was some discussion about algorithms and the like. Darned if I can remember the details now though.
     
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  6. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    Was it Leslie Nielsen?
     
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  7. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    That's it!

    Thanks Willie. You've saved me from a potentially sleepless night.
     
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  8. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #748

    The main cast is now credited in alphabetical order rather than grouped by family. A sign of the changes in the series. The original intertwined families premise has taken a back seat and we have something more disparate and non-specific. It could be viewed that this is a byproduct of the original premise working too successfully. Everyone is now so intertwined that lines have blurred and family boundaries are indistinguishable. In other words, the setup of S&D has become more traditional.

    Locations have always been important in setting the scene in this series. Each set has its own associations, whether it’s Beryl’s kitchen, the entrance hall at Dural, Charlie’s living room, the Morrell apartment with the ornate sliding glass doors (from which I kept expecting to see someone in Geisha garb appear and recommend the sushi) or that covered area outside the kitchen at David’s country home.

    The newest such set - the rescued Sydney mansion occupied by Fiona, May and Janice - has a nicely established feel to it. With Fiona being one of the more nomadic main characters on the series (this is at least her fourth“permanent” home on the show), it helps that it has a personal history for her. The drabness of it obviously complements the quirky throwback vibe of its main residents. But it also (perhaps unintentionally) harks back to early S&D with its gloomy, forbidding atmosphere. It’s been taken to new extremes here, and I’m enjoying the Nancy Drew haunted mansion character of the mansion, complete with secret doorways behind revolving bookcases. This adds instant cosiness for me, and it’s most welcome in a time when other sets are becoming a little more bright and pastel.

    Everyone in Sydney has just attended the most peculiar barbecue in the grounds of said mansion. Half the women wore Scarlett O’Hara dresses, while May was attired in full Gwendolen Fairfax regalia. And, I kid you not, Janice slinked off with Neville to teach him how to toss a salad!

    The new direction seems to have done Fiona good. She’s spending more time these days in full Dorrie mode, with less of her teeth grinding high drama and attempts at middle class airs, and more lighthearted resignation. For me, this makes her far more watchable. In not so great news, those glottal little old lady sex grunts she sometimes makes seem to be on the increase.

    Speaking of weird sounds, Charlie is on overgasp at the moment, inhaling air wildly in between sentences. Has she always done this? Because I’ve only just noticed it. I find it really funny and can’t help but be cheered by it.

    I really like the new, improved Susan. She’s very endearing indeed. Thankfully the dull married medic has gone, and Susan remained undoctored. And the writers have wasted no time in getting her involved with Wayne, which in turn has lured her to Sydney to care for Gordon. It’s contrived, but the closest thing to the early days on the series at the moment and so clearly not a bad thing at all.

    Also a good thing (if equally contrived) is the instant tension between Susan and Alison. Slightly ironic since when nursing her, Susan was one fo the few characters to remain neutral towards Patricia after everyone turned against her. They even seemed fond of each other. This history makes Alison’s behaviour seem even more unpleasant. Some of the tension is run of the mill Bechdel related stuff as they wrestle over Glen. As part of this, Alison hired (I’m assuming so, anyway) the services of a singularly camp escort. She even revived her former self’s “Boring Beryl” sobriquet. Which, sadly, mostly made me miss drunkenly slurring Patricia. Not that Alison’s unwatchable. Things aren’t going her way at the moment and she’s becoming rather bad-tempered, which is a good colour on her.

    How surreal is it that Susan would fail to recognise the Patriciaesque Alison while, conversely, Alison instantly recognised the drastically different neoSusan so completely that she momentarily forgot she hadn’t met her as “Alison” and almost gave her secret identity away. And amnesiac Gordon - who didn’t recognise his own wife and son - immediately knew who Susie With The Light Brown Hair was. There was even a slightly cheeky line when neoSusan said she was worried Gordon wouldn’t recognise her.

    Another odd couple feud involves Caroline and Beryl. There’s something really off about their scenes. Caroline entering Beryl’s modest home should feel like two worlds colliding - just as it did when Patricia, Charlie and even Angela first set foot there. Instead it feels like two characters who are in between storylines just vamping until something more interesting comes along. It’s as convincing as her McFriendship with David.

    This is the case for most of Caroline’s current stories. The newly poor Caroline trying to find her place is very similar to Anne Matheson’s (later) journey. But Anne never lost her narcissism, and that’s what’s strangest about the new, earth mother Caroline. I could buy her as a confidante and sometimes competitive mother to Amanda and Samantha (the kind of mother who’d be irritated if she wasn’t mistaken for their sister). But that’s as far as her maternal instinct should go. Now she’s having heart to hearts with Craig and Tim. And there’s not even a hint of flirtation. There are no flirtations à la Colin Turner, subtly encouraging the younger man to fall for her charms, thus affirming her status as a desirable woman. And, to me, that’s how Caroline operates. Even though I really like this take on Caroline, I’m struggling to accept her being this out of character with no sense of journeying from there to here.

    Tim has left for good, chasing after Donna. I think it was time. He brightened up the scenery, but was most unconvincing in angry or emotional scenes. His replacement in the Palmer household(s), Craig, is proving a surprisingly watchable character for me this time round. As previously mentioned, I wasn’t particularly fond of him the first time round. But Jared Robinsen (or Robinson as was) is proving a very nice fit. He ticks the boy next door box and is a competent actor. It’s a while since this series has managed to get both those things in one package.
     
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  9. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh - I've slowed right down over the weekend. But I'm getting there.


    Yes. It's so sordid and nasty. I didn't remember this at all, and it did set the scene for her arrival.


    Oh lord. I have no stomach for Lisa Crittenden's Snow White bit.


    This made me smile. Because I could completely hear his voice as I read this, but then it went back to you and the effect was like watching someone do a spot-on impression. Which is all kinds of weird.


    Oh Willie. You've reached that point already! I consider that plane scene the true end of an era.



    Yes. If it's done well, a new character coming in allows us to enjoy the series through fresh eyes. It's a little like showing someone round your favourite haunts.


    Ah. A true classic. Though it pales in significance to the vacuum cleaner.
     
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  10. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Mystery solved. It was Reg Watson who's just died. Seems this has confused several people.

    Reg W. is even more fitting for this thread since he created Sons And Daughters as Head Of Drama at Grundy's at the time.

    https://www.atvtoday.co.uk/135928-atv/
     
  11. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #755

    Just a mention of Micky Pratt’s name excites me. I associate it with book 4 in the series, which covers Patricia’s exit and Alison’s arrival and ends with the Micky Pratt storyline. When I first read the book (and I still remember clearly reading it for the first time), Patricia had already left the series in episodes currently airing in my ITV region, and Alison was either imminent or in her earliest episodes. This was my transition book. The previous ones had been historical, most of them episodes I’d missed. This one took me through recent history - the storyline that had cemented my fandom - and into the future. The stories that had yet to play out.

    On the day I bought it, I can remember flicking to the last page to see how far the story went, reading the last couple of lines (don’t ask me why. It’s something I’d never normally do) and realising I’d just spoilt my reading as it covered a story I hadn’t seen yet. I knew two people died. But I didn’t have the context. I didn’t know who died. Or why. Nor what any of it had to do with Patricia’s story. The last line of the book resonated in my head as I read, tantalising me. It became hugely important and hung over both the book as I read and the early Alison Carr episodes which were airing at the time.

    One aspect of the story piquing my curiosity this time round is Gordon’s involvement. It’s a refreshing change to see him hanging out at the boarding house, chatting and sparring with May and Janice. Very enjoyable indeed. But the dynamic along with Fiona’s absence makes me wonder if he was standing in for her in these scenes. That feeling became one of certainty when Gordon was intuitively suspicious of Micky Pratt and Ned, and in all the right places at the right time to put the pieces together. Omniscience is usually Fiona’s territory, while Gordon's is blissful ignorance.

    Gordon being increasingly sure something’s wrong; limited by being confined to the wheelchair; listening helplessly while May investigates upstairs. There’s more than a touch of Rear Window.

    Jennifer Ludlam as Micky is better than I remember. She seems very familiar. And not from this, if that makes any sense.

    Anyway, with Gordon safely at home, the siege took off with Wayne, May, Janice and frightfully British (although not really) Neville. With suspenseful phone calls with to Gordon and a visit from Susan. Exciting times. Kind of.

    Four minutes into episode 753, Charlie mentions Alison in connection with Micky Pratt. Glen asks what it has to do with Alison, and I could have sworn Charlie growled:
    I’m still not clear exactly what she said, and the ever-thorough S&D synopsis doesn’t include this line. I think “shite” was actually “Charlotte”, so have to assume she was cursing herself for dropping Alison in it. My original interpretation, though, does seem somehow to appropriately sum up the nature of the later seasons of an ongoing series.

    Craig’s story has, as I feared, become a victim of blatant Neighbourisation. He’s met a feistily independent overall wearing young woman and fallen in love at first sight. Leading to a series of “romantic” almost and actual meet cutes involving him behaving like an absolute prat (and not even a Micky Pratt). Driving like an idiot and without a licence. Jumping over fences to tackle her to the ground. And instantly, she falls for him. Suddenly he’s become Jason Donovan (not a flattering association. I could never take to him despite the hype) to her Kylie. If we had to rip off Neighbours, I preferred him when he was the Mike Young rather than the pseudo Scott Robinson he’s instantly become.

    Debbie herself is smiley and bubbly. And she grates on me like a gratey thing. And if this twosome isn’t bad enough, in walks Andy Green, dressed like Sonny Crockett. And smiley, bubbly Debbie has also instantly fallen for him.

    Craig is so twitterpated he’s lost interest in insignificant storylines like trying to find his birth mother. That baton has been handed to Beryl who checked into a women’s refuge.

    The build up to Ruby’s arrival is proving enjoyable, and never more so than when Beryl is mistaken for her and either insulted or clobbered. Then, among all the plot comes a moment where Beryl realises she’s missed Robert’s first steps and we’re unexpectedly taken back to the beating heart of the series.

    In other news, Caroline and David have sported his and hers plaid flannel shirts. And Glen’s bum has been given its own dramatic sepia freeze frame. A new low for the series? Or could a spinoff be in the wind?
     
  12. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #760

    This isn’t Sons and Daughters’ first siege, but it’s certainly been the longest running. In soap, these things are typically events packed into the last act of a season finale (Woombai back in Season Two) or compressed into an hour long episode (Dallas’s Winds Of Vengeance; Knots Landing’s Moments Of Truth/Night/House Of Cards). All of which create a claustrophobic intensity.

    You would think that the siege becoming another ongoing story - scattered in amongst such thrilling plots as Andy trying to set up a small business and Debbie baking Craig a birthday cake that goes "comically" wrong - would be somewhat diluted. And up to a point you’d be right. But that doesn't mean it's not effective. This soap-within-a-soap approach is certainly novel for this kind of event. But if you stop and think about it, this medium is designed to let stories breathe and grow organically. What better approach for a soap to take than to serialise a siege. The only other example of a serialised siege I can think of is the one in Brookside, the year before the current S&D episodes aired (and lasting for a piffling three episodes), but those three episodes still had a sense of event. As time went on, the siege at the manse started to feel almost humdrum. But in the best way possible.

    What it loses in concentration and intensity it gains in allowing the viewer to experience a kind of Stockholm Syndrome, spending time with these characters, being permitted to leave for brief periods but always coming back to that same situation. We’ve played board games, been outdoors; had tense visits from other unsuspecting regulars who had to be shooed away on pain of death; we’ve seen failed attempts to get help. Ned popped to Dural for Gordon’s heart medication and almost raped Susan (only stopped when she told him about Bill being in prison). Micky popped over to Alison’s to talk about making a statement to get Patricia off the hook. And yet we still keep coming back to that situation.

    Even the hostage takers come with a soapy backstory. One ties in with the series’ own history: Micky is the cabby who drove Jeff to the hospital.* Ned was escaping prison with his best friend - Micky’s fiance, who was shot dead by prison guards. Only for us (and eventually Ned) to learn that Micky and her lover had planned for Ned to be the one shot, leaving them to escape using the two passports.

    More importantly, it’s given time for character within the plot and is proving something of a rite of passage for some less familiar faces. May has been shown to be made of hardy stuff, using her sharp wits to outthink her captors. And she bellowed out possibly the most impressive sustained cry for help I’ve heard. Susan, too, kept her head in a life threatening situation, her instinct for survival meaning she didn’t fight Ned, but worked to connect with him and find the common ground while she undid her blouse in order to reason with Ned.

    Janice’s character, too, has been explored. The scene in which she brushed Glen off while Micky hid behind the washing line like Michael Myers is the closest this storyline came to Val tearfully sending young Julie Williams away knowing it may be her last human contact. An unfair comparison, perhaps, but considering Janice is such a neophyte we did OK. More than that, it was this moment - being coerced into lying - that pushed her over the edge
    And so out came defiant Janice, making me want to cheer. There followed a scene in which Janice watched May and Neville playing cards while Ned watched Gordon sleeping:

    Ned: Dead to the world. That stuff you gave him did the trick all right.
    Janice: It’s a pity you didn’t have any.
    Ned: Get me something to eat.
    Janice: Get it yourself.
    Ned: What?
    Janice: You heard.
    Ned [producing his gun]: Get me something to eat.
    Janice: No. I’ve had enough of you.
    Ned [moving towards her]: GET IT!
    Janice: No!


    Back and forth it went, and while Janice eventually relented, it was only to give her time to throw pepper in Ned’s face, wrestling his gun away and shooting him. Understandably, she’s a poor shot and so only got him in the leg. But she’s better than I thought, because at first I thought she’d plugged poor proper Neville.

    By the end, the siege story had become its own beast, climaxing in multiple cliffhangers: Wayne and Susan locked in Gordon’s study; Gordon, Janice, May and Neville locked in a boiler room filling with gas; Micky killed in a hit and run on her way to give Alison the statement that would prove her innocence. And Alison being used as a human shield by Ned.

    The secret of Alison’s true identity has been a fragile thing of late, and not the sacred cow it's been for her entire run on the show. Doug (Doug! Of all people) put the pieces together and confronted her with it before telling Alison (prompting Alison to have sex with him). Doug then told Caroline. Who then compared notes with David and ended up in the same position of not being able to use her new information because she doesn’t want David to get into trouble (really - would David and Beryl be in that much trouble? They’ve only known for a matter of weeks and haven’t exactly given her shelter). Alison also told Glen because she appreciated his help and wanted to level with her.

    The fact that so many people, along with Beryl and Charlie, suddenly knew this significant secret hinted that it may be running out of road. At least as far as the writers are concerned.

    And immediately after the siege, at her moment of triumph in saving the day, Patricia’s prints were found on a gun and Alison was promptly arrested; her eyes glistening, her lips quivering and her voice breaking with an emotion that evoked the spirit of the wonderfully neurotic Patricia of old. Her over the shoulder plea of "Help me" is firmly embedded in my mind from the first time round and I’m truly impressed by how exhilarating I’m finding it in 2019.

    I'd be interested to know how it was promoted at the time. Contradictory as it sounds, the thread in the last ten episodes feels big... but in an understated way.

    There’s a sense of cohesion that’s been absent for a while. Characters paths are more tightly entwined: an action in one storyline has a consequence in another. Dare I say, this particular run of episodes feels more carefully plotted than anything we've seen for some time. And I can’t wait to see where they take us next.





    * Recent episodes have referred to the night of Luke’s death as “a couple of years ago” and I think in one episode “a few years ago”. I suppose it’s probably around 18 months in real time. Plus a month-ish in time lapses. So one of those statements at least is reasonably accurate. All the same, soap time should be studied.
     
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  13. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    I had expected some post-Patricia withdrawal symptoms, but the kidnap drama and the confusion over Mitch's death-or-not required all my attention.

    Karen's idea of bonding with her son is to reveal how she manipulated Wayne into marrying her. Well at least it's something very personal.
    Just when Leigh is getting closer to the truth, Wayne decides to confess, which is immediately contradicted by Karen who claims that Wayne is depressed and delusional.
    And then the police actually finds a body in the lake, but it's not Mitch's - and everyone except for Karen is still none the wiser.

    Charlie visits Patricia aka "Margaret Stone" in Rio, only to find out that she's in the hospital. Patricia persuades her doctor to tell Charlie that's she has died in a car accident (or should I say Carr accident?).
    It's strange that her "death" seems to have little impact on the characters and story, but because the woman in bandages says she wants a complete new face it feels suprisingly real to me.
    Probably because the surgery will be the proverbial point of no return.

    Todd's nurse Cheri Nolan arrives at the boarding house, her passion for euthanasia means that the writers no longer have to remember that Robin is still in a coma.
    I enjoyed the jolly mood of Fee's birthday party. The silly birthday hats and the puppet theatre, it almost seems like a necessity in a story full of exciting plots.

    There's an interesting confrontation between Fiona and Mrs. Bainbridge.
    "I suppose it's your bizarre way of pretending to be a decent, honest person."

    Ross' partner in crime has disappeared with the money and the baby, and Alan is flattened by Leigh's cruel words. Oh boy, what an ordeal!
     
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  14. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    This must have occurred to me when I first watched, because my memory of it is that life just went on as normal. This time round I was pleasantly surprised and touched by how deeply the news affected Charlie and David.


    You're going to like Season Five, I think.
     
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  15. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #768

    So spoke Alison to Fiona who was a little behind with the news. And after some one hundred and forty episodes and the best part of a full year it felt like a complete anti-climax. We didn’t even see Fiona’s reaction, but that’s more a symbol of the quandary this creates for the series.

    It’s plain that the powers that be felt Alison was accepted well enough by the audience that the characters, too, would be able to quickly accept her as the new Patricia. The writers were also canny enough to realise that it worked because Alison was a distinct character rather than a direct replacement. And so we get that almost throwaway line from her when Wayne makes a toast to Patricia:
    The only real purpose for this, I'd think, is to avoid direct comparisons between Rowena Wallace and Belinda Giblin. It’s a choice that makes complete sense for the writers, actors and audiences' sensibilities. But it lacks truth because it makes no logical sense at all for the characters onscreen. Patricia now has no reason to hide her identity: the murder charge was dropped in the blink of an eye, and based on something that happened offscreen to do with a letter. There’s no hint of any kind of legal proceeding to verify events and so it seems as inexplicable and hard to swallow as Patricia retaining her nom de plume.

    Considering Luke Carlyle's death has been hanging over the series for eighteen months the hurried denouement is as anti-climactic as Alison's bombshell. A couple of hundred episodes' worth of story, wrapped up offscreen. Most unsatisfying. The disappointment is all the greater because recent weeks seem to have a sense of direction.

    What remains to be seen is what kind of character Alison will become. The intrigue of her true identity has been such an enjoyably integral part of her character up until now. That layer of mystique has been stripped away and she's suddenly left to interact with the characters on a new level. These first post-reveal episodes have seen her rolling up her sleeves and being generally nice to people. She even bought Fiona some perfume. I already miss the enigmatic Alison whose life depended on guarding her secrets.

    Post-amnesia Gordon is far more intuitive than he ever was before. In addition to his gut feeling about Ned and Micky, he finally worked out that Alison was Patricia after she made a small mistake. He’s also deduced that Barbara is his wife. Considering there is no Cornelia Frances, this completes the hat-trick of anti-climaxes. Rather than a dramatic turning point, it’s simply a reminder of what the series has lost forever.

    Gordon's also realised that Alison was driving the car which caused his and Barbara's accident. Gordon plans to tell the police. ("C'est la vie", she said to a disappointed Wayne in an enjoyably glib response to the news). So she may face charges, but with recent writing I'm not counting on it being followed up. She might have got off already for all I know.

    Björn Nilsson has arrived. In common with Dallas’s Naldo Marchetta and S&D’s very own Phillipe Souchon his primary characteristic is that of speaking in an exotic accent while his eyes sparkle under his lustrous dark hair. All of which hides his lack of substance as a character. Naturally, he’s also a womaniser. Oh, and because he’s Swedish he’s in an open marriage. It would be offensive if it weren’t so dull.

    Where else would the consequences of attempted mass murder be addressed in such a flippant way? It helped that Fiona was speaking innocently, not associating the huge charge with the drama in the boiler room. I appreciated the combination of dark and light. May’s equally unthinking response added to the slightly silly fun:
    [both burst out laughing]

    And to hammer that one home we cut away to our first meeting with Ruby. In her two establishing scenes she tries to lure Debbie into prostitution and rips off a young child to the tune of $10 while Craig watches in horror. A far cry from “Boring Beryl”. Leila Hayes must have been having great fun with it.

    Beryl herself is busy fretting because David's taken a job from Doug: driving a tanker of nitroglycerine from Melbourne to Sydney. Presumably he got the job based on his impeccable track record with lorries!

    Andy is being intolerably arrogant since returning. It's intentionally written as such, with him stealing Craig's ideas and passing them off as his own and winding Craig up about Ruby. It almost feels like the writers have tired of Danny Roberts' ego and started typing him. In other words he's too convincing. The problem is that I've never found him likeable to begin with and this reinforces that. So it begins to feel as though there'll be no way back for the character. Maybe that's the intention. A case of masterful writing and acting. If so, I've been completely taken in.

    Foreshadowing 101: in #767, Wayne locks Alison in a room to stop her foiling his plans. Then he is pursued by a wild animal while someone he loves is in jeopardy in the middle of nowhere. This series of unfortunate events will reoccur in the season finale, one hundred and one episodes from now.

    Unfortunately, Wayne’s predicament was whack you round the face unfunny comedy. One minute Susan on her canoe stuck in the middle of the river feels eerily like Alice at the end of Friday The 13th. Then we cut to Wayne stuck up a tree with cheesy matador music.

    The lighthearted character based exchange between May and Fiona regarding the gas bill fits in well. It’s pure Number 96. While everything about Wayne vs. the bull smacks of trying to force a tone that doesn’t fit the series. Yet again, I blame Neighbours, which was reviving a trend for quirky, tongue-in-cheek situational comedy to balance the drama. The difference being is that Neighbours at that point wasn’t really doing melodrama. Sons And Daughters most definitely was. So we cut from Gordon discovering Alison is actually Patricia and having a heart attack to a “comic” scene of Wayne being pursued across a field by the bull like Terry Scott in Carry On Camping. They counteract each other, and so neither is effective.

    On a superficial note, Wayne’s now got weird copper highlights in his hair, giving him a David Platt quality.
     
  16. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Shannon Kenny appears to be the VP of S&D. Her IMDb and Wikipedia pages say she was born in May 1971. Which would make her fifteen years old in these 1986 episodes.

    Oh - and she’s married to the eyeliner guy from Lost.
     
  17. Victoriafan3

    Victoriafan3 Soap Chat Well-Known Member

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    Oh dear Mel.

    You don’t seem too fond of 1986 yet lol

    Just give in to the silliness it has become. It’s all camp, glam and it plots now. Enjoy it for what it is and go along for the ride

    But fun and still easier than 1985 for me ;-)

    Andy should’ve had the axe instead of Barbara but never mind. He was never a fav of mine either.

    Yes it’s a shame writing didn’t keep the history and detail it did in the first yearly two. It really kept sharp with who knew who and references to the past. The producers and writers just wanted to forget the characters they loved. It was an insult to those characters and to us but what can ya do

    Oh I met Rima when she was in a couple of plays and musicals, including Oliver, at the professional theatre in town. I’d bought my tickets and we chatted after the show. Fabulous woman :)

    Doug grows on you. He is good with Caroline and come quite watchable. I saw Normie Rowe in Les Mis and Peter Cousins too in the same show on 1989

    I met Abigail in 1988 (she’s short) when she was doing a play in Sydney. I had one night free and it was either her or Pat McDonald in a play. It was very hard to choose. But Abigail was very nice she chatted and signed my programme. She played a prostitute in Rattle of a Simple Man. Glad I went. Stretched her acting chops from S&D. I was touched how she had zero hesitation to talk to me after and it was lovely to meet her

    I keep missing Kim :-( she was in Sydney in a senior moments comedy play a few months ago and if I’d have found out earlier about it I would’ve gone. Hopefully I will find out in time next time...

    And I think I mentioned I interviewed the very Lovely classy lady Cornelia Francis, in 1987 when she visited my town, for a school project. Really liked her. A gem she was

    I’ve just watched the 1982 cliffhanger. I know it won’t be the same after this. But gosh what a humdinger of an episode that was!! Rowena and Tom were on fire in that scene! So raw. Sooooo good

    I will enjoy 1983 as Jill features heavily this year. Golly her and John are very sweet together. It would’ve made much more sense if John, on Jill’s last episode, did a Peter and Tania in TYD final where he phoned her from offscreen and she went to live with him and live happily ever after. That would’ve been far more satisfying than the under the carpet brush off exit they gave her visiting Terry, her rapist and child kidnapper, never to be seen again

    The press started to quieten down those last couple of years about S&D. 1986 only saw 4 TV Week covers - two of which were Rowena returning the day it was cancelled of all days - and 0 for 1987. So not much fanfare about Alison being finally ok to be Patricia again. The glory hey days of The show were sadly behind them.

    Anyhoo the final episode of S&D which you are galloping towards Mel at an epic pace has a perfect completion and conclusion for each character and still gives me goose bumps when I see the final credits. Awww. Bless. It used to be such a great show those initial years. It always holds a special nostalgic place for me and I’m so enjoying rewatching it now. Thank you!!! :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019
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  18. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    In spite of my criticisms about a few liberties with the writing and casting choices I am enjoying 1986. It's been far more watchable than the previous season and Craig, Janice, May, Glen and neoSusan have all had some nice moments as new additions to the team.




    I was quite indifferent to him back in the Eighties, but he seems to get worse each time I watch.



    I'm still struggling to forgive the series for losing Cornelia and Judy. It's such a mistake and Barbara's absence in particular is having a very negative impact on current storylines.



    Lucky you. What great experiences those have been, and I can imagine it makes watching their episodes even more special. I'm rooting for you to meet Kim one of these days.



    It's a key moment in the series. Enjoy the magic of Season Two.




    So did they know the series was cancelled before they began filming the final season?





    I agree, the ending takes it to the perfect full circle and knowing this helps make the investment all worthwhile.
     
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  19. Mel O'Drama

    Mel O'Drama Super Moderator Staff Member

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    #790

    Glen is essentially young David, isn’t he? I can’t believe it didn’t jump out at me until their first shared screen time. They make a nice team.

    When I watched these episodes back in the Eighties, I remember being surprised at David’s pronunciation of “gist” (#784) with a hard “g”, as in “give”. At the time I thought it was an error on the part of Tom Richards, but I’ve heard it pronounced this way in a couple of Australian series since.

    I hadn’t realised that both Dennis Harpers appeared on S&D. While Luke Carlyle was busy playing Dennis in the Return To Eden series, the earlier mini-series mini-Dennis arrived for a job in David’s market garden, kidnapped Debbie, ran riot in David’s nitroglycerine-loaded tanker and was duly carted away. All in the space of two half episodes. Jayson Duncan has certainly grown a lot in the three years since the RTE mini-series. In fact he makes the Peter Cousens Dennis seem less SORASed.

    The Dennis Harper kidnap looks thrilling on paper, but it just wasn't. It was, though, at least an attempt to be in the vein of classic S&D melodrama. A stalky man attempting to rape Debbie is another one which has "dramatic potential" written all over it, but even before the first episdoe had ended, I found myself pondering the pointlessness of it. And, perhaps harshly, the pointlessness of Debbie. Craig was a reasonably interesting character on his first arrival. There were shades of Paul Shepherd to him in the intensity and obliqueness and the way he freaked characters out. It was promising. But since Debbie's arrival he's been handed almost exclusively disposable Neighbours type B-stories. Most of which seem to be a moveable feast because there are no consequences or real developments to character or plot once they end.

    In one such example, Debbie put her friendship ring onto the counter while baking biscuits with Doug, Caroline and Craig (this scenario alone makes The Terrace seem like Season Three of Melrose Place). The ring was baked into a biscuit and thought lost forever. Craig got a metal detector and saved the day. All of this happened in a single episode, resetting everything and highlighting just how inconsequential it was. More fool the person who tries to operate heavy machinery after watching Debbie and Craig.

    And then there’s any scene featuring Owen Brooke. The male version of Janice thing might be good for a cheap one-off gag, but there is just no more mileage beyond that.

    There’s also silliness that would have been unthinkable a couple of years earlier, perhaps encapsulated by the dressup sessions. There’s no way the Patricia of Season One would have dressed up as a bimbo and done a Charlie imitation while sitting on Wayne’s knee and looking at it with direct comparison does evoke images of shark-jumping. But I can suspend my disbelief if it entertains, and on this level it works. Likewise, I didn’t think I needed to see Beryl and Charlie teaming up to covertly enter Dural in a quest for evidence against Wayne. But one look at Charlie dressed as the Milk Tray man convinced me I did.

    Most of Caroline and Doug’s scenes have been leaving me cold, but there was a sweet scene between them where they moved into the mansion’s reception room accompanied by twinkly music. Perhaps it’s something about the space. It’s incredibly atmospheric - like something from a 1970s British kids TV series - and was previously used in another beautiful scene in which May lost herself in memories of past dances until reality hit and she realised she was old, poor and lonely. May is turning out to be a gem: part Mummy from Number 96, part Edith from ‘Allo ‘Allo and part tragic older woman from Play For Today.

    Musical homes continue. A first time viewer could make a game of it by trying to guess which character belongs where. Which is easier than it sounds, because many of the current combinations are quite incongruous. Pre-mansion, Doug moved into Beryl’s where he spent half his time wearing a pinny and baking biscuits while Caroline was living at David’s country house. Now they've both moved again - Doug to the States and Caroline to Her Majesty's. Beryl and David are both in Sydney, but not together. I’ve lost track of where David is, but Beryl is sharing Charlie’s house with Alison(!!) while Charlie flitted down to briefly stay with Caroline at David’s. Glen, too, was at Beryl’s for a while, as well as starting to buy Charlie’s Hawkesbury retreat (which seemed very familiar - right down to the two gorgeous mid-century orange armchairs. I'm sure it was used as a different interior just a few episodes before). But now he’s back in Sydney. Previous hardcore Melburnian Susan is happily settled in with Wayne. And so, it seems, has Andy. This was after leaving Sunbury in a huff and then being thrown out of the mansion by Fiona. Twice.

    Strangest of all, Gordon has got himself a pied-à-terre, moving into a rented room at Seabreeze Towers. And the retirement home vibe ties in nicely with my current rewatch of Waiting For God. Gordon leaving Dural is akin to Miss Ellie leaving Southfork for a downtown apartment because she likes the idea of watering a window box. This setup has entered a life force draining stretch now that Gordon is mixing with the proletariat in the form of a cleaner who moans about money all day long and her daughter, played by one of those child actors whose acting range is limited to school nativity levels. All the same, it’s refreshing to see Gordon in a more relaxed environment. He somehow seems freer and happier with the simplicity of it, dressing down and enjoying the company of Rags the dog. In a nice touch, Gordon placed the framed picture of Woombai - a present from Barbara - on a shelf when unpacking.

    Barbara herself was permanently dispensed with in the course of a scene. She sent a letter from overseas telling Gordon she’d bumped into Roland and they’d become a couple again. It’s a solution that rings true up to a point. After all, we’ve seen Barbara agonise over choosing between Gordon and Roland. But then she did choose Gordon in the end. And with good reason. To wrap things up this way in absentia seems somehow unfair to actors and audience.

    Another character from the series’ earliest days - the first episode, in fact - has been permanently removed from the landscape, despite not appearing onscreen for over four years. Bill Todd was killed in a prison brawl with a makeshift weapon. A sad ending for a character who was a compelling part of the series at the beginning. Before there was Terry or Leigh, Bill made a terrible mistake with consequences for numerous characters. And there was a fragility and even a kind of nobility to him in his final episodes. The best part of this latest development was the opportunity for a little nostalgic reflection on the series’ seminal storylines. Beryl to Alison:
    There’s something a little indulgent and almost fourth wall breaking about Beryl discussing the importance of the opening episode. But I’m very grateful that the series took a moment to get back to its roots. It’s a risky move, because it also highlights how different the series is today. Beryl’s words were spoken to Patricia. Susan grieved on the beach shortly after remembering happy childhood times with John and Kevin. But Patricia is now Alison. John and Kevin are both long gone. And Susan (thank heavens) is no longer the sensible-but-boring big sister (this might explain why, despite saving herself for Bill for four years, Susan was engaged to Wayne on what seemed to be the day of Bill's death). But Beryl’s reflection was beautiful, because I was in the moment with these characters.

    This is one of several examples of what seems to be a conscious effort to remember characters’ history and pre-history recently. Beryl and David’s first meeting over a spilt pav in the roadside café came up again.While travelling to Sydney to try to prevent Wayne getting a hold on Susan, her bag was stolen at Les’s Café and in order to get the cash for a bus she worked there for a few hours, only for David to show up, causing Beryl to drop a plate. This deepens the parallel with Beryl and David’s Knots counterparts, Val and Gary, who also reenacted their diner meet-cute several years into their series while separated.






    Heartening news on the continuity front. Alison and Caroline have both now been sentenced, with Caroline getting three months inside. Alison's sentence, meanwhile, is tantamount to legal torture: community service with Ginny Doyle who looks like the Eighties exploded all over her.

    Ginny, of course, is the new Leanne. Far more than even Leigh was. She's enjoyably shrill so far (it may get wearing). Even though she's what Alison appropriately described as "a mod-punk thing" who mooches round trying to ooze attitude, we know she's nice deep down. Not least because she keeps a diary into which she vomits all of her gentle inner thoughts.

    She's a character I had my struggles with the first time round, but I'm watching with the benefit of hindsight, and that's helped. I'm enjoying her.

    Oh, and I haven't been able to look at her in her initial scenes without seeing The Vixen from The Chase.
     
  20. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator

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    They mentioned how upset they were, and David had already done most of the "grieving" when she left him, he figured he would never see her again. And then the kidnapping overshadowed everything.
    But no reaction from Fiona or Wayne.
    Funny you should mention that. In the last episode I've watched Jill has started to work as a prostitute again.
    And I thought maybe this is the time for John to whisk her off to the Sons & Daughters Afterlife, like Angela had done with John. As far as we know John is still single so it would have made perfect sense, and a nice tribute to the first season.

    [​IMG]
     
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