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Soap Plotlines That Never Happened #2

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Okay, first a confession. I used to watch Neighbours (an Aussie "soap opera"). But then everyone did around then, so I guess I shouldn't feel too bad.

Now the plotline that I came up for Neighbours involves what I'd consider to be the most interesting fact you'll find in any of the character's biographies.

Jim Robinson was a Vietnam vet.

That's right, boring, mild-mannered family-man Jim Robinson had fought in the Vietnam War. It was mentioned one episode when he met up with another bloke who'd fought in the war, and they spent the evening swapping stories about bars in Saigon.

And then it was never mentioned again. The most interesting thing in the life-story of any of the programme's characters, and they didn't think it was worth mentioning.

But here's my idea for the plot they could have come up with...

Say that Jim Robinson's service hadn't been in some back-up logistics unit as he'd told everyone. What if he'd actually worked in a special forces unit, responsible for assassinating Viet Cong leaders?

Imagine if all that stuff was buried in his past. Ticking away. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

Until one day he cracked and went schitzo.

My plotline starts with him going out one day to buy some milk, and not coming back. For the first few episodes (there are five a week) no-one really notices, although occasionally someone will say something like: "Has anyone seen Jim? He's seems to have been gone quite a while."

Meanwhile, every now and again, there will be a long-shot of people talking in the street, while behind them a man-hole cover lifts up for a second, with a camouflaged head beneath it.

What's happened is that Jim's cracked. He now thinks he's back in Vietnam, and that Doug Willis is leader of the local Viet Cong.

Every now and then, when Doug's outside in the street talking to neighbours, or perhaps sitting in front of a window, the close-up camera shot will change to a long-shot, showing the view through a telescopic sight.

In one case, Jim will actually fire his sniper's rifle, only to see Doug move his head forward at the last moment (ala Day of the Jackal), the bullet firing straight past him and into Bouncer, the dog, who was frolicking behind.

"Mummy, mummy, Bouncer's exploded!" one of the kids will shout.

I never did quite figure out how to end the storyline.

And then Jim Robinson died of a heart attack. So it will never happen. Oh well.


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