Finally, Offspring is back. It has been about 10 months since we last saw the Proudmans on our screens – fittingly for the latest plot turn, as 10 months is about the same length as a pregnancy (whoever came up with nine months was soooo wrong).
I feel the same way about this absence as I do about human gestation: it is much, much too long. So welcome back Nina, and welcome back Billie and all you crazy Proudman gang. And a special welcome back to you too Patrick (wink wink).
The promotions have been amping up Nina's pregnancy so the writers have cleverly opened the show with the moment we have all been waiting for: Patrick in the nude Nina in the throes of labour.
And it's quins! (It was never going to be ordinary was it?)
Out of her hairy front bottom* (sorry) comes:
A troll (cute)
An owl (weird)
A pineapple (ouch!)
A fan (double ouch!)
And a basket of kiwifruits (Um, what? Is it a metaphor or does she just need more fibre in her diet?)
But of course this isn't real (the pineapple may have given it away). She is just having a Nina daydream (a Neendream?). She snaps out of, sits up in bed and asks the question posed by parents-to-be everywhere: "Are we ready for this?"
And to that I say: "Hell yes!"
Oh wah, oh wah, ohwahohwahowah.
We are 12 weeks in to Nina's pregnancy and Patrick and Nina are getting relationship counselling, which frankly seems almost too sensible. After all, the last time we saw them they were frequenting rooftop carparks and were unable to speak in complete sentences. It seems like many moons ago for us, but in TV-land it has only been a matter of weeks.
Now, it appears they have gotten their act together and have exchanged the drab carpark for a swish office and are making an earnest attempt to share their feelings. I say "attempt" because it is somewhat of a shaky start. "Nina has an active imagination," says Patrick, which of course offends Nina. "He just did the shut-down face, you missed it," she retaliates.
How does one usually resolve this? Why, with sex of course! Yes, their relationship is a little off the healthy mark at the moment. Their (young) therapist advises the two to start doing some homework (unfortunately he doesn't mean sex).
Nina of course takes this too far and goes all type-A doctory on the preparation. It's like telling a sugarholic to eat more chocolate. She even buys special stationery. (Sidenote: the man who willingly goes stationery shopping with you is a keeper).
Item 1: Set boundaries with Billie (ha!).
Billie doesn't know the meaning of boundaries; she is too busy managing her crazy life to be bothered about silly things like social etiquette. The poor woman has been on a strict diet of self-love for weeks and is in desperate need of alone-time with her man. Unfortunately, Mick is touring (with gorgeous crooner Rosanna) so their catch-ups are of the video-chat variety. And when I say "chat" I really mean filthy sexy dirty talk. As much as I would like to repeat what Billie said, this is a family website, and besides, I'm blushing.
Thankfully, Mick says he is returning home and we leave Billie to her craziness, but not before we hear the word "sexathon".
We have now been in Offspring-land for 15 minutes and there has been a noticeable lack of parties. Never fear, the Proudmans are here. Alfie is coming home and even everyday people – not just Proudman party people – would think it's an occasion worth celebrating. Not Zara though, who continues to hit her KPIs in her role of Chief Proudman Partypooper.
Geraldine handily provides her some perspective: "Darcy wanted to throw Billie a party when she got her first period," she reveals. Which is both horrifying and unsurprising.
Soon all the family is gathered together – Mick too – in Geraldine's living room, the setting of many an awkward family moment. Except that, uh-oh, they forgot to invite mister proud-man himself, Darcy.
And just in case we thought that was going to be the most awkward thing about the family gathering, the family engineers are very elaborate lie to cover it up, which of course Darcy completely saw right through.
And just in case we thought THAT was going to be the most awkward thing about the family gathering, Geraldine starts laying into Nina about her overactive parenting plans. Somehow by defending herself, Nina ends up offending every woman in the room. Of course she did! Oh Neens, they might throw a good party, but sometimes being a Proudman is very hard work.
Billie leaves in tears (oh Billie! I confess to wiping away a tear too), Nina leaves depressed and I assume everyone else just did what we all do at extended family gatherings and got drunk.
A special shout-out to the men in attendance: Martin, the Swiss contortionist, who was giddily excited about being there (he'll learn), Patrick, providing his stoic wisdom (smile, stay neutral and be flexible), Mick, sensitive and attentive, Philip, trying very hard to do the right thing. And Darcy? Well, he was his usual selfish, immature self. Still, he wasn't the worst behaved – that honour for me goes to Geraldine.
Meanwhile the most important male in the room – baby-of-honour Alfie – was largely ignored. Don't worry buddy, you'll get used to it.
Somehow, I have gotten all this way without mentioning The Big Twist. There's a new doc in town and she just happens to work with Nina and have a prior relationship (of some undisclosed-yet-intimate nature) with Patrick. This is just the sort of thing that could send Nina into a tailspin – and quite understandably too. Goodie!
It looks as if life just got even more complicated, which is just how we like it on Offspring.
Yes please (best bits)
* Patrick in tight shirt, tight jeans, tight … everything, attending to a sick child. It's like crack to us, ahem, 30-plus ladies and we will need a hit at least weekly (and that's a conservative estimate).
* Geraldine and Philip taking the empty bottles to the recycling bin, and just as Philip asked "How on earth was this much alcohol consumed?" Darcy arrived, which was exquisite timing.
* Zara and Jimmy: "Alfie survived his first night with us – do you think we are setting the bar low as parents?" LOL. That's the level of parenting I aim for every night and my baby is almost two.
* Nina's mind on a wall – it was very pretty and very exposed. When Billie approached the wall it felt so wrong, like someone was reading your most intimate thoughts, but I guess that's what happens with sisters, the idea of boundaries was quashed somewhere back in early childhood.
* Patrick in the garage building stuff. That is all.
Oh please! (I'm calling bs on these ones)
* A clever person on Twitter pointed out that while Nina was sporting her usual multi-layered look to the Proudman party (boots, jeans, the works), poor little Alfie was only wearing a short-sleeved bodysuit. In Melbourne. Someone was dressed inappropriately for the shooting of this scene and for once I hope it was Nina.
* Glamour photography in the labour room? Surely no one does this. Tell me no one does this. But I did like how the baby clearly didn't give a crap.
Oh god, no, please, no (the awkward files)
* No more throwing potato babies down stairs: it was horrifying, even if it was a very Billie thing to do.
* "Semi-tumescent". I love Martin's overly formal speech, his physical comedy and his general weirdness, but not even he can get away with this one. No one should ever say the words "semi-tumescent" out loud. Ever. Don't even think them.
You know what else shouldn't be said? Parent hot tub threeway. So wrong. Let's hope that was just a Neendream but, scarily, you never know with this show!
And on that note ...
... Oh wah, oh wah.
* By the way, I really am not the kind of person that says "hairy front bottom". I blame Deborah Mailman. Or Debra Oswald. Or any random woman called Debbie.