I did my last ever Neighbours catch up all night last night. It was a marathon in many different ways, but especially emotionally.
I started watching Neighbours in 1986. I was 12. To see it taken away from me, being such a massive part of my life and most formative years of my life, is gut-wrenching.
The Neighbours direction was heading was cringingly woke. They’d recently crowbarred in another Asian family, the mother of which could not act for shit, and would have been utterly unbearable long-term. They also had a heffalump of an actress with Down’s Syndrome. Now I’m 100% behind inclusion like that, but for fuck sake you can actually find Down’s Syndrome people who CAN act. You couldn’t even tell what this actress was saying half the time. When you’re going to do inclusion like that: make sure it’s not painful to watch. It was also jarring to to hear the gay characters saying “queer” – especially when the exact same character had previously used the word “gay”. It just smacked of Twitter trend influence. And Twitter is definitely something you don’t want to be influenced by, as it has no basis in reality.
We got a final wedding, which was really underwhelming. The character of Melanie did indeed used to be ‘fun and whacky’. But it was like all the energy had been sucked out of her, and no not just because she was about 30 years older – she could have just been anyone. There was no substance and no uniqueness to her at all. No real storyline ever got off the ground. We all wanted Toadie to be with Sonya anyway.
My mind was blown by the sheer number of characters who came back – whether physically or over some Zoom call or other that another character would have with them.
The scenes with Mike and Jane were just beautiful, and beautifully played by Guy Pearce and Annie Jones. We had some incredible flashbacks.
Harold was on top form and Ian Smith managed to get pretty much ALL of the Harold moments and traits we saw spread over decades into just 5 or so episodes which was incredibly well played.
Lots of loose ends were tied up, lots of flashbacks happened. But in the end, what would have actually been a really nice ending, of everyone except Karl and Susan selling up and leaving the street, so we would then be left to imagine their new life overseas or in another state, was all overturned in the end and they all just changed their minds.
The (narrated) speech by Susan Kennedy right at the end was incredible too and really poignant.
Scot and Charlene’s return was muted and a wasted opportunity.
And then just like that it was all over. Credits flashed up at the speed of light over a load of vintage photos of the ensemble cast.
The memories that show created for cast and crew and millions of viewers over 37 years just can’t be overstated. I feel quite empty when I think that I’ll never see it again, and just gutted that its main rival, Home & Away (which last time I happened to stumble on looked like a bad school play), is still going, when the always superior Neighbours has ended.
There really is no justice in this life….