Anonymous: I just discovered your page and it's almost creepy on how much I agree with what you write in your articles! It's a pity you don't tweet about it anymore, I'd really enjoy reading your sarcastic tweets! Do you have this kind of site about Eastenders, too?
Oh thank you kind anon! Sadly the sarcasm got less and less replaced with worse: anger and disappointment. It’s a real shame, I miss the days where I would eat, sleep and breathe Hollyoaks. I don’t have an EastEnders site no. I kind of feel it doesn’t need me and my comments, partly because SO many people watch and write about EE and also because I’ve only been watching properly again since Xmas so I probably seem pretty ignorant to hardcore fans. If I ever do I’ll link to it!
Anonymous: Thoughts on a potential John Paul and Ste relationship?
I know a lot of people like it and yes, they have some similarities but if they’re going to go down a serious relationship route it just seems…lazy to me. Like hey - we’ve got two gay characters floating around, let’s hook them up! I adored their long and bitter rivalry and the scene they had in the deli seeped in their histories and loneliness was beautifully written by Richard Burke. I felt he just “got” it. They’ve both lost their one true love (Craig and Brendan) and it would be ridiculous to turn JP and Ste into some epic love story and this seems the default route. They’ve had their great loves. There is a different type of relationship they could explore: friendship (haha I know this won’t happen) or even a relationship that doesn’t morph into True Love in two weeks. I fear the latter erases everything about the characters and as they’re both favourites of mine it can only be a bad thing if their rich pasts are ignored for the sake of a father and son fighting over the same man or just because any gay pairing will do. But hey, I’m a huge fan of both McDean and Stendan so I was probably never going to be as fully on board as others!
Anonymous: I really miss your blog updates! do you still folllow the show?
Thanks - I miss doing them too.
I tend to still read the news articles and I have a rough idea of what’s going on - it’s a hard habit to break when you’ve been an obsessive fan for 9 years or so! I’ve caught a few episodes in the last few months but unfortunately it just reminds me of how much I used to love it and how little resemblance it has to that great show it once was.
Since Christmas I’ve actually been watching EastEnders (something I hadn’t done for 11 years) and they really seem to have turned it around and given it more heart. Characters - loveable, fun, relatable! Genuine shocks (ones that aren’t violence or death). Conversations and history and slow bubbling tensions. Not a wrecking ball in sight.
Still, Hollyoaks general style is why I’ve always taken to it above all other soaps, but right now I feel like they don’t give a damn about the core audience - the fans - or the characters. It’s just ratings chasing.
Eh, Hollyoaks 2013 has been a bit iffy (so iffy we broke our religious pact and stopped watching). From the huge highs of Esther’s suicide attempt, Brendan’s exit and the brilliant and deserving scoop of FIVE British Soap Awards it fell faster than Sarah Barnes’ cut parachute (ouch). So, because we’d love to see the show back we love, we’ve come up with some New Year’s Resolutions for them!
- Make aftermath as big as the twists
We admit, aftermath has never been Hollyoaks’s strongest feature. We can’t have everyone struggling with PTSD or sobbing into their onesie but aftermath, consequences, reactions can be huge stories in their own right. Lately kidnap, murder, betrayals happen three times a week and the villagers barely blink. When you know there won’t be any impact on anyone why would you care about a murder/explosion/alien invasion?
- Flesh out those wafer thin characters
Close your eyes and picture some memorable Hollyoaks characters. Who did you see? Tony? Max and OB? Mercedes? Double B? Izzy? Whoever you’ve thought of I bet they’re as fleshy and as 3D as Sandra Bullock’s Gravity. Think about the newbies, or even someone who has been in the show for over a year like Patrick Blake - we hardly know anything about them, no more than a blurb. Trevor and Sienna are more like it but will any other newbie be remembered as iconic, or even remembered at all?
- Inject a bit of comedy and fun back
Sometimes Dennis, sometimes Tegan, sometimes Carmel, sometimes Jim, sometimes Ziggy (loosely) - we’re seriously struggling to think of the comedy and fun characters. Everyone’s so caught up in peril and angst that there’s no room for a laugh. Not everyone can be as dorky and silly as Lee Hunter or Duncan Button but even loveable buffoons like Darren have had the fun and campiness bludgeoned out of them. Mixing the two is fine but we miss the characters who were just there for some light relief not bogged down in misery.
- Less gangster more neighbour
Hands up if you know any gangsters? *tumbleweed*. Sure we asked for big memorable characters but not just scheming hard-men and women who got in the wrong taxi from Walford. How about exaggerated versions of people we can relate to? Not boring normals but characters with heart we can relate to.
It feels like it’s been bloody ages since we had a relationship, an eyes-across-a-room, sizzling slow build romance. Yeah there’s Frindsey but that’s about it. (And even that has weddings, triangles, murders to contend with). If a couple got together in 2013 you can put money on a rushed build up, inconsistent behaviour and cheating and a conclusion that left you wondering why they were put together in the first place. For all the love declarations romance is severely lacking in Chester.
- Less is more (aka: calm down)
You might be halfway through your sixth box of Xmas chocs (*hides After Eights*) but ever heard the phrase “Less is More”? Hollyoaks hasn’t. BOOM. CRASH. DUN DUN DUN. OMG. KABOOM. THWACK. Every single week. Can we go a week without someone dying or something exploding? There’s no aftermath, no believability - who freakin’ cares?! It’s like firework shows - if they happened every day they become predictable and boring. Shocks and twists have next to no impact when they’re overused. Used sparingly for effect is awesome: hello Lynsey Nolan’s shock murder.
Happy New Year to everyone who visits this blog. May your 2014 be gangster and explosion free, full of fun and love and great people!
Anonymous: I miss your hit and misses :( do you reckon you'll ever start doing them again?
I miss it too, truthfully :(. I really hope Hollyoaks starts to resemble the show I fell in love with and watched obsessively and religiously but now bleurgh it feels like a different show. If it got back to being a show with heart and soul, with characters who feel real and great stories then I will gladly jump back on board, waving my Hollyoaks flag.
I know there are some people loving Hollyoaks right now - boy, I wish I was one of them. I watched through the dark times of India shitting in a car and Newt/Lauren/Theresa/Anita love quadrangles and Abersoch hashtag-forever days and even that was moderately more tolerable than the current form. (I know, shocking, right? I am actually 100% serious here). At least then you had another storyline to keep you entertained or a character than would give you a giggle. Even the ‘comedy’ characters are sucked into a murder or kidnap plot these days.
No, I don’t want realism. I’m more than happy to see some brilliantly dramatic moments. I could spend forever listing the Hollyoaks plots I’ve loved over the past 8 years as one of those nerdy loyal viewers. All I want is loveable (or hateable) characters who act like real humans, making decisions in-character and react in ways that ring true. I don’t want Nancy jumping in bed with Jack simply because on paper that sounds like a good plot twist. (Please no, I beg of you).
Hollyoaks used to weave together emotive drama, shocks, comedy and huge characters. Now, it’s been visualised as this “outrageous” soap (since when would you describe it as that?!) flipping shock after unbelievable shock - twists start to lose meaning for me when they make no character sense. And literally none of them have any long lasting effect. Sure, aftermath has never been Hollyoaks’s strong point but why would you care about any character or any event if you know by Monday the reset button will have been pressed and no one will give a damn. Love stories become “epic” overnight (quick! play some emotional music and no one will realise they met last week!!) and death becomes as routine as breakfast.
Ooh but look, who cares, Ziggy has his top off.
OMG who saw that coming?
Anonymous: What do you think about the change in the actor for Holly? Personally, it's a disapointment, she used to be so good!
I really liked the sulky sarcasm Wallis Day brought to the role and I liked her with Callum and thought she was one of the best parts of Hollyoaks Later. The new actress certainly looks the part but I haven’t seen her in action to judge. It’s a bit of a shame as I think people were just growing to appreciate Holly with Wallis in the part.
Anonymous: can you visit the hollyoaks village?
Sadly they don’t do tours or anything. There have been a few lucky people who have been fortunate enough to visit (I got to go in 2011 and it was so much fun). It’s exactly like they always say, everything is much smaller in real life than it looks on TV. You would not believe how tiny the actual village area is.
Anonymous: are you not doing a hit or miss for this week??
No and to be honest I’m taking an indefinite break from Hollyoaks. In my 8 years plus of watching I’ve never lost my love for it until now, which pains me to say.
Hollyoaks right now seems to be all about shock plots and melodramatic moments which look good for a 60 second trailer but when you actually sit and watch the episode it stretches believably to the max. Characters behave insanely to further the plot, there’s little consequence to any big event and lately I’ve been left feeling like my intelligence as a viewer is being insulted. Hollyoaks doesn’t have to be BAFTA drama or realistic, but for me it’s so far off the mark right now. I’ve got such love and loyalty to it (hey I’m the saddo who’s just spent £12 downloading the whole of 2011 and 2012 episodes from iTunes so I can rewatch my favourite parts!) and I know it can be better. I want it to be!
Fingers crossed for something better around the corner.
To save you listening to my moans anymore, I’ve put the rest under a cut.
: I was just wondering if you had a twitter account because I really love your tumblr page!?
Yes! It’s @DoginthePond. I haven’t tweeted much lately but I tweet E4 pace when I do so be warned of spoilers.
#Hollyoaks Hit or Miss: It’s all about Frindsey this week and we’re quite enjoying Fraser’s double life and Robbie being an evil shit. We wish Ash and Sinead would go away.