Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Isn't it nice that people can be good neighbours and become good friends? I have just set the body corporate onto my fucking neighbour, who likes turning up his telly to ear drum piercing levels. He also wears a CAP despite being 40 odd – tool. But then I live in an apartment in the inner city in the noughties, rather than Eastern suburbia in the 80s. Go figure.

So once upon a time there was a show called Neighbours. It took Australia and the UK by storm, even ending up on the cover of Time Magazine. These days it is still apparently big in the UK, as the busloads of pommy backpackers who depart the Elephant and Wheelbarrow to go down and see the set in Vermont will attest to, but is considered a bit of a filthy secret if you watch it as a Melburnian these days. FOAH actually has to leave the room when Karl Kennedy comes on screen because she cannot abide it. But this episode, made over 20 years ago, was actually made when Neighbours was, well, quite good! This episode was described as the wedding of the year or summat, so a bit of background on this before I start this recap.

It's 1987 in the deepest darkest burbs o Melbourne, in a place called Ramsay St, your typical suburban hell cul de sac. Think brick bungalows, gumtrees and cricket in the street. Scott is a schoolboy and getting married to Charlene, an apprentice mechanic and the girl next door. They are about 18 and and 17, a pair of babies, but the alternative was them living in sin so the 'rents eventually relented. (Totally believable, except for when I was 17, I got caught playing mummies and daddies at my boyfriends house and got grounded for a week, but whatevs.) The episode is all about their wedding, in all it's 1980s glory. Lady who plays Charlene went on to become international megastar with huge gay following and a range of bottled perfume shaped like her bottom, however right now she is in a budget Aussie soapie with a really bad perm.

We start at number 22 Ramsay St, home of couple Paul and Gail, Paul being Scott's older brother and lately married himself. But in contrast to the pending romantic union of Scotty, Paul and Gail's marriage is one of convenience, they tied the knot to secure a lucrative deal with rich Jap businessman. It was the 80s after all – almighty dollar and greed is good – nowadays we get married for convenience for such things as UK visas and student allowances, but there you go.

Catsbum faced Cousin Hilary is in town for the wedding, their guest at present, and is gently rousing her hosts by knocking on the bedroom door with a breakfast tray and announcing that it's '6.30, time to be up!'. Now I don't know about you, but anyone who knocks on my door before 10am – even if they did have a food laden tray – would be receiving a glass to the face, but that's just me.

Oh, problem though! Gail and Paul don't have that sort of marriage of convenience, i.e. no convenience sex, so they have separate bedrooms, sorta like house mates (who don't shag). And they have kept the little fact that their marriage is a sham on the QT from their families as well (as you do.) Of course Paul comes out of the spare bedroom, and Hilary's like... the fuck? And then Gail pops out of her room, and its obvs that they are not sharing the same bed. Busted!

Christ Paul looks young. I mean he is young. This guy is STILL in Neighbours all these years later, and is a bit long in the fang now, and all the scheming, lying, murdering, defrauding, womanizing etc has not been good to him, but here he is almost shaggeable. I say ALMOST because his yellow jarmies are like my grandfathers, and coupled with the fetching brown dressing gown, matters are not good. Small wonder his wife doesn't want to share a room with him. Imagine waking up to that. You would be expecting dentures in a glass on the bedside table.

Hilary is downstairs being her (bitchy) self, dressed like a librarian despite the early hour. (That hair that looks like a pudding bowl cut. Boys at my school had that hair. In standard 2). Hilary accosts GailPaul, all 'I thought people who were married sleep in the same room' and Paul's all 'er, er, er' but clever Gail thinks on her feet and explains that she and Paul had a fight last night and that's why they slept in separate rooms. They immediately begin to reenact their supposed domestic, and Hilary tells them off. She leaves and they burst out laughing. Would I be imagining it, but I think these two actually are actually rather fond of each other, despite their housemate type marriage.

Meanwhile at Chez Robinson, everyone is running round like bluearsed flies as the reception is to be held in the lounge, and the wedding's at 11. Quite quaint really, and budget weddings are totally going to come back with the global financial crisis. Youngest child of the Robinson brood, spoilt little brat Lucy, possibly the worst child performer ever to grace Aussie screens (and that is saying something) is whining about plucking her eyebrows and Big Dad Jim ain't happy the youngest wants to pluck her eyebrows. Encourage it Jimbo, at least she isn't piercing her eyebrow. Matters could be much worse, for sure. We learn that Lucy's pet mice, Victoria and Albert (yup) have gone missing and are running round the house somewhere. UH OH. Mice droppings in the passion pop! NOT. GOOD.

Hils comes in and opens her big yap to Jim and street matriarch Gran Helen that the Pail marriage might be in trouble cos they were rowing last night, and Jim immediately is about to charge over and stick his nose in – (involved much? Ugh). Scotty rushes in all sweaty palmed about getting married – oh Scotty you hunk with that wonderful mullet! And he even got it trimmed for the wedding! BLESS! I saw an interview recently with Jason Donovan and he confessed to being a mad coke head at the time Neighbours was at its peak. Frankly, I can see this. Running round the house like a mad thing, dude has been hoovering off the mirror that very morning if you ask me.

Over at the Casa Del Ramsay, house of the adolescent bride, Madgey is ironing her outfit for the day. Love practical no nonsense Madge - no drycleaners for her. And that sixty fag a day gravelly voice. Legend! Brother Henry comes in, shirt open and being his curly blonde larrikin self, moaning that he didn't get any face time with the bathroom due to his little sister monopolising it. Dude, cope. Takes time to arrange all the gipsofola in your hair you know.

God Kylie is a tiny little thing isn't she? Has she even reached puberty yet?? She's kind of sweet though, stuffing her face with a croissants and getting scolded by Magdey, despite the fact she weighs about the same as a handful of wasabi peas with less fat. She even still sounds like an Australian in this rather than the half baked Pom she is now. Was she from Camberwell or am I imagining that? Chief bridesmaid Jane comes in with her apricot dress and white shoes. So. Fucking. Chic. (Whatever happened to Jane? I have a feeling she starred in a nudey scene once and everyone was aghast just like they a were when Julie 'climb ev'ry mountain' Andrews got her kit off, and that was that.) Anyhooo, Charlene's grandparents from up north are there and give her a garter to wear for the day, and everyones all.... awww. I am such a cynic, but this scene just wants me to turn bulimic.

Cut to the church, and the boys arrive to be greeted by some of the old gang from school. ZOMG @ the amount of mullets on display here. Its like walking into the fish section of the Queen Vic Market. Best Man Mike was a bit fretful cos most of Charlene's family couldn't make it and the church would have seemed empty, so he let everyone at school know and a few people have shown up having bunked off 3rd period biology. Onya Mike! These are all extras, playing characters who we haven't seen before and won't again, but nice one anyway. And to think that Mike is played by Guy Pearce, who in a few years will cruise through the outback in sequins, and who now actually earns money from being an actor all these years later. His craft as an actor isn't readily apparent right now – however he is borderline sexy in those charcoal tails (rowl) so I will let it go.

Scott's still a bit strung out with the whole thing, hyperventilating he will forget what to say and Charlene won't turn up etc. Bugger me, here she is. Charlene is wearing much much much eyeshadow. And it is peach. Small wonder she was late, you would need a trowel to put on all of that slap. And she is flanked by her bridesmaids in glorious 80s peach. Hmmmm peachy. (I used to threaten Hoself and Rox with outfits like that, complete with pearls in the bodice and puff sleeves if I ever got married, but have gone off that idea now.)

Hang on, is that a bit of maybelline I can see on Scotty as well? Angry Anderson is singing as Scott & Charlene get married. This really is one of the worst songs I have ever heard and it makes me want to stick pins in my ears, so I have just put the telly on mute. Cut to montage of the Ramsay Streeters, Madgey having a sook (emotion, I think, rather than disappointment) and another Ramsay St couple Des (local bank manager) and Daph (ex stripper, but comes from Toorak family) looking all lovey dovey at each other. Mrs Mangel, resident old trout, gives Harold a bit of a glad eye – methinks she might have a few designs on our favourite wobblechops! Hee !! (Harold is such a legendary character with those awesome jowls of his. And Ian Smith is cool as well – apparently some dork English backpacker asked him on one of the neighbours tours once why he was so fat and he said 'cos everytime I shag your missus she gives me a biscuit.' LOL)

OH the 80s fugliness filling this church. Good fucking grief. I mean, I know it was a bit budget, I know it was in the years before SABA and Alannah Hill but CHRIST. And then camera lands on Gail, sporting the best violet lippy, and looking a bit taken with this whole marrying for love thing, and Paul picks that moment to turn round and look at her – they share a rueful look. BigJim isn't crying, he just has that intense concerned Dad look about him. Have a bit of a soft spot for Jim considering he is a. a kiwi and b. wore his replica all blacks jersey on Neighbours more than once. He's not wearing it now more is the pity, just another Kiwi in a city full of kiwis. Despite their young age, no-one gets up and says they object, so Scott & Charlene are pronounced man and wife and have a great big game of tonsil hockey right there in the church /shudder.

Cut to sausage rolls and party pies at Chez Robinson. Old Codger Grandad pops open a bottle of the bubbly, whilst Grandma Edna urges Dan to lay off the drink, and he insists he's only filling the glasses. Silly old sod. Big DadJim, having done an aboutface on the whole concept of his sons teenage marriage, tells Scott he is proud of him, and welcomes Charlene to the family. Daphne thanks Mrs. Mangel for calling off the law suit, and then Mrs Mangel comments that her solicitor thought $1000 was not enough compo. (Mrs M fell off a ladder in their house in a previous episode, and Daph is up the spout so Des didnt want to worry her about the whole thing, hence the out of court settlement.) Hilary snipes to Gail about how she noticed Rob was missing from the service, and Gail pushes the fuckoff button on Hils, by trying to excuse him by suggesting he was probably busy at work. If I were Gail I would be getting the serious shits with this family I had married into. (This looks like quite a lame reception actually, I don't want to sound nasty but where are the groomsmen groping the drunken teenage guests, and the bridezilla going all prima donna because the table settings aren't perfect? Off!!)

Harold finds Madge crying in the kitchen, and comforts her as she laments 'losing' Charlene. Time to pop a xanax Madgey, things aren't that bad and its not like you had to pay for the shindig. Madge is seriously phoning it in here. Harold gives her a little cuddle, aw. Everyone gathers in the living room to hear the emails telegrams being read out. Daphne pulls Des aside and gets stroppy about the out of court settlement she has just heard about. Oh Des we have some couch sleeping to do tonight matey! As Jim gets up to do his 'not losing son gaining daughter speech' (puke), Grandan spots one of the missing mice and tries to pick it up. He accidentally hits off Mrs. Mangel's foot, and she is outraged, accusing him of groping her leg. Dan protests that he was looking for the mouse, (sure sure) and then an argument erupts between most of the guests. Ah, this is getting better now. I love how fights happen at weddings once the booze starts flowing – wouldn't be a proper celebration without one.

Later, Scott and Charlene are foreplaying on Scott's bed, and hear giggling, and realise Paul and Lucy are at the door looking at them, (GROSS! Seeing your sibling getting it on is hardly a laughing matter, but what the fuck would I know.) Lucy whines to Scott about how much she will miss him, despite him only moving next door. Scott cheers Lucy up by giving her his skateboard and she runs out to practice on it in her spiffy bridesmaid gear. God Lucy is a dreadful character, you just want her to fall off that fucking skateboard, preferably into some heavy traffic on the Nepean. Fingers crossed.

You would think if you were getting married in this suburban nightmare it would be to elope and escape forever, but no, it looks like they are coming back, they are just off on their honeymoon (somewhere very exotic, like Daylesford. Sort of holiday where you don't go outside a lot, wink.) Everyone is out on the street waiting to see the couple off, and they come and get into the rusty old kingswood which has been defaced with shaving cream and coke cans. Kitsch!! Madge realises Charlene forgot to throw her bouquet, and yells after her. Charlene gets out of the car and throws it over to the crowd - and Mrs. Mangel catches it. She turns around and gives a totally porno look at a worried Harold. Ooooer dude!!

Thats all for now you lot. I think if I had been one of the guests I would have hung round the drinks table all day and then seduced Mike and got the fuck out. Again thats just me.

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