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Tue, Oct. 15

Williams: I’m down under, but totally overwhelmed

My wife and I have been watching an Australian TV series called “A Place to Call Home” that is set in the early 1950s.

The series ran six seasons. As soon as the opening credits roll by, the family fecal matter begins hitting the screen door in terms of domestic distress. That sums up everything I’m absolutely sure about regarding this production.

My fingers are beginning to sweat on the computer keys right now because from here on out, characters fly around not in circles, but in rhomboid parallelograms. As a result, there are plenty of physical and psychological conflicts. As I try to follow the action, my scorecard fills itself with unintelligible scribblings and discordant shapes that I never covered in high school geometry class.

Sarah Adams is a nurse who converted to Judaism for her husband who died in a German concentration camp. She then returns to Australia to work in a hospital somewhere in New South Wales.

She and George Bligh (no relation to Capt. Bligh of “Mutiny of the Bounty” fame) fall in love. George is the son of Elizabeth, the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother in an aristocratic family, which lives on an impressive estate not far from the hospital. This romantic mismatch likely will kill the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth who suffers from a weak heart.

Dr. Jack Duncan runs the hospital and was a Japanese-tortured prisoner during the war. Years earlier, Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth helped him recover from his resulting PTSD and alcoholism, putting him back on the track of a productive life.

Anna Bligh is the rich granddaughter who falls in love with Gino, the swarthy son of the Italian family who works on the estate. This romantic mismatch likely will kill the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth who suffers from a weak heart.

George Bligh’s son James has married a woman on the rebound from his gay encounter with her brother in London. This revelation should have killed the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth who suffers — etc., etc. But it didn’t. James has attempted suicide a few times to escape himself, his rebound marriage and, very possibly, his role in this terribly complicated production.

Incidentally, I just visited my own doctor to confirm that my heart is strong enough to survive all the dramatic contortions in this program. The next appointment is with my psychiatrist to confirm whether my mental state is strong enough.

Carolyn Bligh is a black sheep daughter who was black-sheeped because she had a daughter out of wedlock 20 years previously with Jack Duncan, the doctor. Turns out their daughter is the granddaughter, Anna, who finds herself pregnant from her affair with the Italian son, Gino.

Doris Collins is a busybody who gossips about everyone and who keeps the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth apprised of all the goings on in town. The town would have had a newspaper much earlier, but with tattletale Doris on the loose, there was no need to buy a printing press.

Regina is the widow of a diplomat killed in the war who is the sister-in-law of George Bligh who wants to wed George, herself, even though if she did, it might kill the Manipulative Matriarch Grandmother Elizabeth who, etc., etc., etc.

I’m aware of the psychological strain that this soap opera is placing on me and Maggie, our 15-year-old Black Lab. My wife, somehow, is on top of all the diversions. I’m also aware that we still have five seasons to go and another 349 cast members to meet.

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