I’ve watched Neighbours for thirty years. Even if I didn’t still adore it, thirty years is way too much of an investment for me to stop now, so I just have to accept that I’m going to keep watching Neighbours until they stop making it, or I die – whichever comes first. And after all that time, it isn’t really surprising that Neighbours has bled into my daily life and shaped my brain in some really quite bizarre ways.
1. No Worries
I’m sure there are things I say on a near daily basis that I have picked up directly from Neighbours. “Dobbing someone in” is quite a common phrase in the UK, but I am almost certain that it didn’t enter the vocabularies of a lot of people over here until we started hearing it from the residents of Ramsay Street. Aussie words like “unreal” or “stoked” have definitely only entered my vocab because of Neighbours and I often catch myself saying “no worries”. I’m kind of sad that “rack off” never took off over here (or anywhere, for that matter) – I remember that one being used a lot in the days of Cody, Phoebe and Todd. Maybe I should try to make it a thing.
2. Erinsborough High
One weird side effect of watching Neighbours is that I have more knowledge of Australian educational qualifications than your average Brit, and it’s information I have absolutely no use for. I know what a VCE is, and now I am also familiar with the UMAT. I don’t need this knowledge at all, in fact it has probably pushed something vital out of my head, like the name of my dentist, or what pressure my car tyres need to be inflated to. I can only think that this is going to prove useful in one of two scenarios – either in a pub quiz, or if I suddenly decide to go to Australia and retrain as a teacher. One of those is slightly more likely to occur than the other.
I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts, including a few Australian ones. Normally when I listen to crime podcasts from another country, I have no knowledge of the little towns and suburbs that crop up in the stories, but thanks to Neighbours, I often recognise the names in the Aussie ones. I know a grand total of two things about Frankston: they had a serial killer and it’s where the Cannings are from. I remember Mount Isa popping up in a podcast recently, and the only reason I’d heard of it was because it’s where the Turners lived before they moved to Erinsborough. Almost everything I know about Australia is related to either Neighbours or murder. Or both.
4. I’m Sorry, Did You Have a Name?
I am completely incapable of recognising actors and actresses as anything other than their Neighbours character, even years after they’ve left. The case in point is the famous actor, Mike From Neighbours, who left the show in 1989 and has been in a lot of movies since, but will never be anything other than Mike From Neighbours to me.
5. My Complete Lack of Imagination
Finally, and by far the weirdest way that Neighbours has moulded my brain, is the house layouts. If I am reading a book, and I need to imagine a character in a house, my brain genuinely defaults to one of the Ramsay Street houses. Usually it’s either the Canning house (which I still have to fight not to call the Robinson house), or the Kennedy house. I am so devoid of imagination that I cannot make up a house in my head, and even when I think I’ve managed it, if you strip away the new imaginary furniture my brain has created, it’s the floorplan of number 28 underneath. I imagine the Ramsay Street houses over and above even my own house. Which I live in. Brains are weird.
I’d love to hear about the ways Neighbours has wormed its way into your lives. Please tell me it isn’t just me….