I will admit, this is an issue that’s been gnawing away at the back of my head for a long time. Apparently, at its peak, Neighbours garnered almost a million viewers. What.
There is a huge variety of different TV programs, and the interesting thing about television is that, like music, almost every one has a fair share of detractors, no matter how popular they are. I, for instance, think that South Park, with the exception of a precious few episodes, is a terribly unintelligent show espousing, basically, internet forum views, trying to attract viewers with shock value and crude humour. However, I know people far more intelligent than me who love the show and tell me to stop taking myself so seriously before rolling their eyes at me. On the flipside, I loved, for whatever reason, Desperate Housewives – I thought it was funny, didn’t take itself too seriously, had (well, slightly) an overarching storyline, etc. But in the few times I’ve admitted this fact, those same people chuckle awkwardly and change the conversation topic.
Actually, can you do me a favour? Can you not know me in real life, or if you do, never mention that I liked Desperate Housewives again? Thanks.
Perhaps, then, I’m simply being closed-minded – perhaps there were people who watch Neighbours and love it as much as I love The Thick of It, and I should continue looking at them with the sneering belittling glare I’ve always arrogantly had for people who watch shows I don’t like. But think about it. How many people do you know who actually watch Neighbours? Everyone knows someone who’s a Simpsons aficionado, or a Game of Thrones fanatic. Who’s a Neighbours fanatic? Are there any? I don’t think so.
Or maybe there are. The perfect demographic for Neighbours are those most dreaded people of humanity, the ones who have too much free time and break wheelie bins (well they broke mine): school children. They’re suitably vacuous and empty (well at least I’d like to think so), and more importantly, they want to watch adult lives, which is exactly what Neighbours offers – a look into a neighbourhood of adult people doing normal things that cannot possibly be exciting to anyone else. Thinking about it, when I was in high school, I knew one or two Neighbours watchers. But most of them didn’t follow the storyline that well, because – and this brought me to a revelation and my theory for why Neighbours had a viewership at all – they were usually eating dinner when it was on.
Think about it. When you still lived with your parents, did you leave the TV on when eating? Be honest. I certainly did. And when you were eating, did you bring the remote so you could change the channel in case something as horrendously bad as Neighbours was on? Yeah, I thought not. Besides, you didn’t even notice how bad it was; you’re eating dinner and being forced to talk to your parents about your day, why would you bother bringing the remote? You left it on the channel you were watching before dinner. So what was on before Neighbours that made you choose Channel Ten?
It was The Simpsons.
When Neighbours moved to 11, they lost half their viewership. All of a sudden, everything makes sense.