I’m about to expose myself as an old lady with this confession. I love Home and Away. Actually, let me correct that; I used to love Home and Away. Back when the Braxton brothers ruled the Bay and Josh Barrett wasn’t a murderer. I loved it, I would binge watch 2 weeks’ worth of episodes at a time. But then what should have been a fantastic, compelling storyline complete with a big stunt ruined everything. The caravan park exploded, killing Oscar and Hannah, and Home and Away just hasn’t been right for me since then.
Exhibit A: why kill off Oscar MacGuire?! He was the only likeable teen left in the Bay. Despite what producers may think, his twin sister Evie is nothing but a whiny, annoying, pretentious bore who always thinks she knows best in spite of her only being 18 and having next to no life experience. She also never seems to be content without a boy by her side, and manages to make every single situation about herself. Rant. Over. Oscar was the far more compelling sibling. His character arc was far more interesting, and seeing him go from super-nerd to some kind of hipster uni student took time, it didn’t just happen overnight like Evie’s transformation seemed to. Oscar was kind
and caring, and one of the most selfless characters in the Bay. The way he was there for Billie after her ordeal was really heart-warming, and I really felt Billie’s pain when she heard of his passing. I believed her pain and I believed in all the connections Oscar made with other characters because Jake Speer played him so superbly. Speer’s particular stand-out performance was during the storyline in which Oscar battled with issues regarding his body image. He gave such a believable performance, and I breathed a sigh of relief when Andy began to help him get through it all. It really struck a chord with me that Andy was the one to help him through that hardship, and then became responsible for his untimely death. That hurts. Basically, I miss Oscar. He was the only teen character I could stick and he was such a multi-dimensional character that I knew he had more to give. RIP Oscar. I miss you already.
Exhibit B: Repeat after me: Ricky Sharpe does not deserve a happy ending. I genuinely do not understand, are we supposed to be rooting for her to run off with Brax into the sunset? Because I’m not. Need I remind producers that Ricky didn’t think twice about trying to kill Brax when she first turned up in the Bay? But now she’s apparently an upstanding citizen who everyone loves? Come off it. Her marriage to Nate is so completely farcical I actually cringe whenever they appear together. Whether this be the fault of Bonnie Sveen and Kyle Pryor I don’t know, but the two of them have 0 chemistry. I’m almost yearning for Nate to win back Kat (despite the fact that I adore Kat and Ash together). Like Evie, Ricky always assumes she is right about everything. Always. Yes, she does have a lot more life experience than Evie, but I just cannot stick her constant interference in everybody’s problems. I bet she couldn’t wait to say “I told you so” to Kyle when his relationship with Isla took a down turn. Me, personally, I loved Brax. He was a complicated, complex character and I loved that. I loved seeing how Steve Peacocke portrayed all the different sides of his character. And yes, for a time, I did enjoy Brax and Ricky as a couple. They had a spark. But since then, Ricky’s character has taken such a downward turn I was almost willing that caravan to collapse on her during the explosion. Dark, I know. Bottom line is, there were so many more characters who deserved a happy ending. Oscar, being one. Hannah. Kyle. Josh. Andy. Casey. Why should she, of all people, get to be with the man of her dreams while poor, lovely, innocent Casey had to get shot and die in a barn? Why Home and Away, why?
Exhibit C: the Irene situation. Just let the woman be happy, for once. As if having to deal with the demons of her alcoholism all over again wasn’t enough, she’s now been kidnapped by her bat-shit crazy long-lost son (who also, incidentally, is the one who attacked Billie). However, the kidnap isn’t my main problem. It’s a shock storyline, I like it, it has potential. What I don’t like is how long they’ve dragged it out. I fail to believe that Olivia and Leah and Roo and Chris would give up on her that easily. They’ve had one message from her and suddenly everything is okay? Get real: Olivia found her car abandoned by the side of the road. Did she not read Soap Warning Signs 101? The moment Irene heard about Hannah’s death, which she would have, news travels like wildfire, she would’ve been straight back to the Bay to be with Chris. She just would have, that’s the type of character she is. I’m pretty sure this situation is about to come to a head in the UK, and I’m quite looking forward to it. I hope everyone feels bad when they realise how quickly they gave up on her.
Exhibit D: Andy Barrett. Andy Barrett. When Andy first appeared, man did I hate him. He was determined to ruin the Braxtons, and I for one was not okay with that. But then Casey happened; it was revealed that Casey and Josh were half-brothers. And everything changed. Yes, it could be argued that Casey only died because of Andy, but I think the scales evened up when Andy turned off Jake Pirovic’s life support so he couldn’t come after the rest of the Braxton boys. Andy killed a man to save the Braxtons. Andy killed a man to save his conscience. And since then, he’s grown into one of my favourite characters. His on/off relationship with Hannah was compelling, and I always had time to watch his turmoils with brother Josh play out. I liked him. A lot. But then Home and Away did what they always do to my favourite characters (See Romeo Smith, Kyle Braxton) and gave him a cop-out of an ending. They dethroned him. By making Andy responsible for the caravan park explosion, producers were basically ensuring that Andy left the Bay a hated man. And that’s not okay with me. First and foremost, it was an ACCIDENT? AN ACCIDENT? You got that, it was an ACCIDENT? Having Evie and Chris telling him that he murdered Hannah and Oscar is DRIVING ME UP THE WALL. Andy loved Hannah more than Chris ever could. Their spark was undeniable until the very end. He would never, ever have purposely gone out to cause her fatal harm. So shut the hell up, Chris. I know how Andy exits. I know he runs. He leaves the Bay a broken and disgraced man having to live with the fact that he inadvertently caused his one true love’s death. Home and Away, you should be ashamed of yourselves. This is a man who deserved a happy ending. And you gave him the worst one possible.
Listen, there’s so much more I could rant about. Wooden, boring Phoebe, underused Ash and I could easily write a good 3000 words on how worried I am about the new Morgan clan. But I won’t. I’ll stop here. I’ll end on a lighter note, by saying that I am actually loving the storyline playing out between Billie and VJ. I know it’s bound to end in tears, but for the time being, it’s the only thing keeping me watching. Producers need to get back on their game, and fast, otherwise they’ll be losing a usual fanatic viewer.