Everybody needs their Neighbours
IN 1984 Bob Hawke was prime minister, men went without socks thanks to and the first Apple Mac was released.
The Mac had just 128KB of memory, which meant you turned it on and waited for it to crash.
It was also the year the TV soap the small screen.
Fast-forward 30 years, and Bob Hawke is a pensioner, socks are back and Apple is now worth $700 billion. But lives on … and on.
There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the show’s 30th anniversary: some of it justified, some of it totally ridiculous.
Let’s face it, these days is a shadow of its former self, clocking up a mere 350,000 viewers a night on Ten’s digital channel.
Even the much-publicised 30th anniversary special failed to attract many more viewers.
If it wasn’t for lucrative overseas sales, the Ramsay St gang would have been killed off in a cliffhanger for sure by now.
However, the milestone is worth celebrating because it’s a reminder of the special place holds for many people.
For me, it’s all about Kylie Minogue’s character Charlene Mitchell, a feminine-but-feisty plumber who did Year 12 the same year as me (1987).
To my mother’s relief, I didn’t follow Charlene’s lead and marry my boyfriend after my final exams.
(This was mainly because I still had braces and zits, so didn’t have a boyfriend – let alone someone as spunky as Jason Donovan.)
Like many of you, I suspect, I haven’t watched the show for 20 years or more. Luckily, this doesn’t stop me from remembering some of the show’s defining 1980s moments in alarming detail.
I can tell you by Angry Anderson was sung at Charlene and Scott’s wedding. I can tell you that in Charlene’s first scene, she tried to break into a house and punched Scott in the nose. And I can tell you the dog was called Bouncer.
Back then, the show was a major part of our lives – along with magazine, SAFM and detachable shoulder pads.
It was the must-watch show for people aged eight to 80.
It is hard to imagine any mainstream free-to-air show having the same impact now.
Now there are so many cultural and digital events vying for our attention that people are much less likely to watch the same show at the same time.
Then, single cultural moments united us, like Scott and Charlene’s wedding, Molly dying on
and finding out who killed JR on Back in 1984, Adelaide didn’t even have a casino, an Entertainment Centre or the grand prix. (Actually, it still doesn’t have a grand prix). There was no Foxtel, movies on demand, Netflix or the internet.
This meant regular TV shows like a much bigger deal than they are today.
Over the years has evolved and reflected changing social times. In 2009 it had its first Korean character and in 2011 an Indian family removed in. Producers have just unveiled the first regular gay character. He’s Nate, an Afghani war veteran with PTSD played by an indigenous actor.
You wouldn’t have seen that in 1984, where a week’s worth of storylines would have focused on a spat between a surfer and a skater over who stole the lolly jar from the local deli.
Throughout it all, hasn’t taken itself too seriously. For instance, school principal Susan Kennedy has had a relationship with a priest, been married three times, divorced, widowed, become a stepmother, a grandmother and been in a plane crash. She was a surrogate mother to her daughter’s baby, developed MS and had amnesia.
Yes, has had some bizarre moments, but there has been a lot of fun too. Who could forget Annie Jones and her eyebrows? Bouncer the dog’s dream wedding sequence? Nasty old Mrs Mangel the busybody? Plain Jane the Superbrain? The day Daphne came back from the dead to play herself as dead? Afro Harold? It’s a reminder that, despite today’s low ratings,
is a cultural icon that should be revered after more than 7000 episodes.
I guess you wouldn’t want to be the Channel Seven exec who signed off on the show’s axing after six months before it was picked up by Ten in 1984. Or the Nine exec who passed on the idea initially.
We may not watch it, but we still
were love it. Blog with Susie at susieobrien.com.au, Facebook.com/NewswithSuse and follow her on Twitter @susieob