Mcleod's Daughters: articles

Hold the mushy peas, Tess

THE Melbourne culinary scene must be in total disarray, for the punters are queuing to devour great steaming plates of Tess's apricot chicken served with mushy peas.

What next? Sushi with french fries? Someone's got to stop the girl before she single-handedly destroys the city's palate.

Tess then, is home on the range again, the kitchen range that is, having abandoned the delights of Drovers Run.

Drovers Run, for the benefit of those blessed with ignorance, is nowhere near Banrock Station. In fact, it's not a chardonnay at all but the imaginatively named cattle station on which Tess and her sister Claire toil.

Home, home on that other range, the one in McLeod's Daughters where the clichés and stereotypes play, Claire is having a particularly tough time of it.

In the finest tradition of country and western music, the boyfriend turns out to be married, the mare's pregnant, sister Tess is partying in the Big Smoke and it would be safe to presume that the chooks have stopped laying and the dog's off its tucker. One way and another, things are looking crook.

"No one ever died of a broken heart, did they?" asks Claire of the doctor, looking as if she's just crawled out of the cattle dip.

No, Claire, but there are recorded cases of people's careers being terminally affected by over-acting.

McLeod's Daughters, then, continues to canter along, a nicely photographed bush soap opera full of boofy boys and sweet, hard-working women, ever determined to save The Family Farm.

Claire is lost in the depths of despair and whenever this occurs, which is often, she announces she is going to sell the farm.

Fair go, Claire. This is no ordinary farm. This is The Family Farm left to you and your sister by your dear old dad.If you sell up, where will the remaining episodes of the series be set?

Here's a thought, girls. Instead of selling the farm, sell the name Drovers Run to Yalumba and rename the property The Family Farm. Brilliant!

Back in Melbourne, Tess, not content with having destroyed their tastebuds with her cooking, is now boring everyone witless with her descriptions of the sunrise at Drovers Run.

"It turns the paddocks to gold," she says with an expression reminiscent of someone trying to read a parking sign in poor light. Tess has seen the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended!

Will she give the diners of Melbourne a break, hang up her apron and head back to the sun-blessed plains of and golden paddocks of Drovers Run?

Once there, will she perform some splendid task such as retrieving a long-lost family heirloom to remind her pining sister of their ancestral links with the land?

And what of that pregnant mare? Will it give birth, the arrival of a new life a metaphor for a new start, the rebirth of Claire's life and Tess's connection with the land?

Every chance, dear viewer.

McLeod's Daughters, Channel Nine, Thursday, 7.30pm.

Mike O'Connor
July 04, 2002
The Courier Mail