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The Age

Ah, those lazy, crazy days of Summer Bay

Author: Simon Hughes
Date: 09/08/1995
Words: 589
          Publication: The Age
Section: Arts & Entertainment
Page: 17
IT HAS just been my great privilege to take in tonight's episode of Home and Away (Channel 7, 7pm). Summer Bay is not a place I've spent much time in before so the experience was, well, educational.

The first thing to impress the neophyte viewer is that this Pacific hamlet and its residents occupy a perpetual temperate zone.

It goes with the image presented in the intro: salt sea lapping sea strand; toothsome young people (lightly clad) enjoying God's bounty as older folk gaze on with a mixture of nostalgia and envy; more toothsome young people (still lightly clad); and always the sea, the sea.

At this stage initiates would be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled on a paedophile's paradise.

In fact, paedophilia is very much in the spotlight with Selina (the splendidly monickered Tempany Deckert) warding off the predations of someone called Mud.

Mud appears to be Irene's fancy man. Irene appears to be Selina's mum. At least Selina talks to her with complete contempt so I think I am safe in assuming they're closely related.

Selina (whose predicament with the noisome Mud is not to be underestimated) rolls her eyes, sneers and pouts and purses her lips.

Selina, in other words, is your typical adolescent. This despite or perhaps because of the fact that Make-up has seen fit to deck out Ms Deckert like a Puerto Rican whore in a school dress.

Indeed, Make-up's enthusiasm is much in evidence among the teenage population of Summer Bay. Barefaced these people may be, but you will never actually see a bare face.

It is not all tits and tush, pecs and power bodies, of course.

Summer Bay is clearly the place where ugly character actors come to die (I'd best book my caravan now). Or babes that are well beyond squeezing into a wet swimsuit.

Yes I'm afraid we're talking old boilers past laying age.

And the singular thing about the mature folk is that their speech appears to have been run through an accent distortion filter. For a moment there I thought I was hearing a foreign tongue. Then it hit me. These old Aussies are speaking the way an English audience, say, might expect old Aussies to speak.

All the same it must sound like Urdu, requiring subtitles for anyone beyond the continental fishing limit.

But let's cut to the chase. Angel (Melissa George) and Shane (Dieter Brummer) are having problems with young Dylan. He's sleeping too much and he's got a temperature. (I know exactly the symptoms).

Angel and Shane, it should be said, have somehow survived the culling that occurs whenever a young soap star gets beyond the Clearasil years. There are, one suspects, whole armies of young folk, residents of Summer Bay and Ramsay Street, now packing supermarket shelves.

Angel and Shane, presumably, are too big to be killed off.

As for Mr Brummer, his, um, stoic acting style is guaranteed to bring a gleam to a woodcutter's eye.

But nothing beats good old melodrama and I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that Angel can expect some grief from The Hand that emerges from the wardrobe door. Perhaps the producers have decided that it's curtains for Angel after all.

Or perhaps indeed a panto beckons in the Old Dart. It would make sense since pantomime is what Home and Away most nearly resembles.

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