Yes, they may be fictional and 10,538 miles away from me but the residents of Ramsay Street are ‘good neighbours and good friends’ to me, just like the theme tune says.
I’m fully aware that it’s not cool at all to like Neighbours but I can’t stop watching it. Those 25 minutes of pure, slow-paced and gentle Aussie drama is exactly what I need to switch off. I watch it pretty much every week day and can feel my eyes glaze over as Karl and Susan get involved in yet another low-key neighbourhood kerfuffle. My muscles noticeably relax during another of Paul Robinson’s grand masterplans and my thoughts slow as a the story-line trudges towards Harold’s cafe with its familiar herbal teas and flat whites served in reusable cups.
The characters from the fictional suburb of Erinsborough (which would be just outside of Melbourne if it actually existed) have become familiar friends to me. They’ve offered me company during those long afternoons when I’m resigned to the sofa and they don’t even mind when I drop off to sleep because the storyline trundles along at such an easy, Sunday morning pace, I can easily catch up.
It’s not gripping stuff, my bum has never been on the edge of my seat during any episode although, granted, I did cry when Sonya died. It’s easy watching, just like those easy listening Spotify playlists we don’t admit to, it provides a visual stimulant that is interesting enough to distract my mind away from the worries of the day but boring enough to mean I don’t have to try to understand it. There’s nothing complex about Australia’s longest running soap, it’s really quite mundane but it’s familiar enough to be a little bit like a comfort blanket to me. It’s there even on UK Bank Holidays when I’m resting on the sofa and can hear people enjoying the sunshine outside. It’s there when I’m off work feeling rubbish and haven’t spoken to a single other person for hours. Toadie is a character that seems to go through bitter tragedy every other week but that doesn’t seem to raise my heartrate or occupy my thoughts, it’s the familiarity of the gentle BBQs and games of street cricket that keep me coming back for more.
Neighbours empties my mind, it frees up space, relaxes me and renders me sleepy sometimes but most of the time it keeps my head clear, calm and stable. So thanks to all my Aussie friends for being ‘good neighbours with a little understanding’ who have certainly helped me ‘find the perfect blend.’
P.S. Janet Street-Porter turned up unannounced in an episode the other day so don’t worrry, they’re still keeping it ‘fresh.’ 😉