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Critic's View - Neighbours vs Home and Away

Guest Andy

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28 April 2005

The Age

Despite unimpressive ratings, you can tell that the writers of Neighbours are working hard to distil some contemporary significance into their nightly excursions to Erinsborough.

Over at Home and Away's Summer Bay, things are really heating up this week with the unmasking of the serial stalker who's been creating a tidal wave of fear all the way to Yabbie Creek. It's quite exciting, really, with a kidnapping and a psychopath who communicates via email.

And that's just so typical of Seven's bogans-by-the-sea drama and its continual game of one-upmanship with fictional suburban Melbourne. Neighbours comes up with school truancy, Home and Away counters with teen pregnancy. Shonky doctors? Jailbird lovers! Delta? Bec Cartwright and Lleyton Hewitt. Trumped!

Ten's poor little drama can't win a trick these days, what with Kylie pleading schedule clashes to avoid the 20th anniversary celebrations, and the name Holly becoming a byword for tacky, lip-synching, and dumped by your record label.

But where both shows are mined by record company execs, Home and Away is also beloved of FHM - and thus Neighbours may be trying to win ground back this week when Liliana goes into a reverie imagining hot passion with Paul Robinson on a table at Harold's cafe.

It's about as steamy as this show ever gets - but that's not all. It gets all newsy and topical with a storyline featuring drink-spiking, and shakes off its G shackles and heads recklessly for PG territory as Erinsborough's most unlikely police officer Stuart "Chooka" Parker and his annoying blonde girlfriend get jiggy with a pair of handcuffs. It's enough to make you blush over your chicken tikka Lean Cuisine.

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Not all of us ukers like 'absolute tosh'. Neighbours is poor and it's only out of loyalty as a long-standing viewer (and the fact that there's nothing else on at that time) that keeps me watching.


Breakers used to be on at the same time, now it's on at 5pm

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