Episode 4 – DRINK THE PISS YOU CLOWNS
We open with the wedding party sitting in a graveyard awaiting news of their absent groom, speculating wildly: Did he get cold feet? Did he run away with the maid of honour? Is he trapped in a well somewhere, waiting for an acceptable timeframe to have passed before he can get away with drinking his own piss? Paul, shrugging like a little scamp, suggests that he may have “accidentally” told the groom too many wedding horror stories, or as they’re known in Neighbours, “wedding stories”.
Before long, they’ve made their decision. He’s run away with the maid of honour, and they’re probably shamelessly guzzling each other’s piss as we speak. There’s a slow-motion True Detective montage walk down the aisle. The jilted bride has only this to say to the solemn crowd: “I’ll understand if you want your gifts returned.” She then retires to the bridal suite and begins to take down the congratulatory paraphernalia designed for a mercifully swift and productive love-making process: a laminated placard reading YOURE MARRIED, a bed covered in sticks and what look like grapes? Again we are reminded that the Neighbours writing staff only knows about weddings through ancient books and campfire stories. The rest of The Neighbours retire to the pub to process the day’s tragedy. We all lament the waning of the miracle of love, between two so young and pure. Delta Goodrum, the great romantic of our time, has something to add: “At least there’s some good news: I’m writing music again!” Unbelievable.
Down the well, things progress slowly. Groom refuses to believe he won’t make it back in time for the wedding. The maid of honour, recently confessed of her love for him, checks his injury: a brown-looking foot. “Why didn’t you TELL ME it was this BAD,” she screeches, and he answers by taking off his shirt. “Here,” he says, “you’re cold.” It’s easy to see why she would fall for someone so generous and resourceful, with weak, brown feet. But things aren’t all chipper down here, and they’re already considering their survival needs. How long can they survive without food? Without water? You can almost hear the collective roar of Neighbour’s viewers across the world: GET TO THE PISS DRINKING ALREADY. DRINK EACH OTHER’S PISS YOU FRAUDS. WE’VE SAT IDLY BY FOR THIRTY YEARS AND NOW IT’S OUR TURN TO SPEAK, AND WHAT WE SAY IS PISS. PISS RIGHT INTO EACH OTHER’S BLACK SOULS. While we may consider this to be some way off (they’ve been trapped maximum 4 hours) the show is clearly hinting at the inevitability: close-up shots of dry lips with the sounds of cascading waterfalls; memories of the once-controversial “DRINK PISS FOR LIFE” posters in Lou’s shop (deleted scene).
Meanwhile, up top, The Neighbours are drinking their own kind of piss: we have “convinced” Delta to sing at the closing of the Edinborough Festival (again, which never seemed to have started in the first place) to a pitiful smattering of ten or so people. The reception doesn’t deter her, and she sings beautifully. In the ensuing montage we see again the great misery shrouding The Neighbours: a weeping bride, a torn family, and an injured groom, trapped and scrambling for a way out. But what should he find there in the darkness? It’s the ring! The rumours were true! Maybe things aren’t so bad after all, maybe there’s still a chance. Sure, time has not been kind to the ring, but there’s always hope, because we all know what will clean it right up: a quick, blessed visit from our old friend Professor Urine.
Jack Vening writes short fiction in Brisbane. He has taught in the writing programs at UQ and QUT and has a tiny collection of stories, ‘Work For a Man or a Horse’, available through Momentum Books. He tweets @JerkVening.