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The Courier-Mail

1 December 2006

"SHHHHH -- Homey."

That's when I knew I had a problem. My two-year-old was telling me to shut up because Home and Away was on.

My husband guffawed. I tried to act incredulous and muttered "ha, where does she pick these things up", but it just didn't wash.

Children are perfect mimics.

I have a confession to make -- I love Home and Away.

Yes, it's trite trash, soapie slop, even rotting rubbish, but I can't help it. And tonight is the season finale.

What am I going to do at 7.08pm (it always runs late) every evening? I have the routine down pat - finish dinner, do dishes (err, well, pretend to help), flip to ABC News at 7pm, catch the top stories, flick to Today Tonight promo for the next night, tsk-tsk a few times, and settle in for that wonderful "diing, ding, ding, ding, ding . . ." that announces what was on Home and Away previously.

Ahh, my idea of a night in . . . parking my brain and suspending belief. True, I did swear I wouldn't watch it ever again after resident ex-LA-vixen-with-a-heart Amanda started dating her long-lost-now-found-rebel daughter's boyfriend Drew, the illegitimate son of Detective Peter, who is now Amanda's main squeeze.

And I just couldn't bear to watch wholesome-beauty-with-a-tragic-love-record Martha cheat on wholesome-handsome-copper-with-a-past Jack with his best friend, once-a-rogue-now-reformed-or-is-he Ash.

But it's highly addictive stuff. No doubt if Ten's rival Neighbours wasn't on when I was having dinner, I would probably watch that, too.

But I do have an excuse. I love it because it's one of the few shows I can watch while cuddling my daughter, without fear of her hearing swearing, seeing a murder, watching a sex act or thinking everybody in the world speaks with an American accent.

We point out the beach, talk about the cars and laugh when someone does something silly. We laugh a lot, most of the time at nothing much.

Then she goes to bed and dreams of surfboards and seashells and muffins sold at the diner (yep, she asked for a flamin' muffin the other day. Gotta love Homey 's alpha male Alf Stewart).

But for serious fans of Home and Away, don't miss tonight's episode. Because of the power I hold as almighty TV-columnist-for-a-day, I know what happens. It's delicious. What would a soapie be without a cliffhanger?

Everyone's favourite Aussie soap is over for another year and no one does a better cliffhanger than the folks at Summer Bay. Over the years there have been floods, mineshaft collapses and, more memorably, Ailsa's heart attack. This time, more plausibly, a gang is wreaking havoc on the bay. It all ends in tears when a long-standing character is viciously stabbed and left for dead in a deserted car park.

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