It all started in May. I had finished binge-watching The Good Wife, and my DVR was full of stuff for the kids and hubby, but nothing for me. So, I whined to my librarian.
She told me she had heard good things about a series called, A Place to Call Home. You probably gathered from the title of this post, that it is an Australian drama. I enjoyed it a great deal. The story takes place in the 1950’s and deals with the aftermath of WWII, among other things. There is a fifth season, but the disks aren’t available through the library yet, so I was left hanging at the end of Season 4 (I should mention, we live out in the country. We have limited internet options, and limited data, so Netflix is not something we can do).
Besides enjoying the plot, I liked watching for similarities and differences in Australian culture vs. American culture. Of course, they drive on the wrong side of the road. Then, there’s the accent. I was more surprised by the commonalities than the differences, even 60 years ago.
So, when that was over, I searched online for Australian dramas, and found McLeod’s Daughters. It ran in Australia from 2000 through 2009. It’s about two half-sisters, who had the same father, but different mothers. Long story short, now all of their parents have died. Both daughters run the ranch they inherited from their father. They fire all of the male employees for theft early on, and now it’s all women running the place.
It’s admittedly a little soap-opera-ish at times, but entertaining. Tess is the younger sister, and she’s always trying new things (organic farming, growing hemp, etc.). She buys some Alpacas. Her neighbor, Alex, doesn’t think too much of the animals. Here’s an exchange between the two of them:
Tess (about the Alpacas): “They guard the sheep. Keep the foxes away.”
Alex: “Is that right? I’m not surprised. The fox is probably paralyzed with laughter.”
Come on! It’s funny! Isn’t it? You know – Alpacas are kind of goofy looking. Maybe I’m easily amused. What’s not to like about Australian ranch humor?
And, have you heard the saying, “Bob’s your Uncle”? There’s a restaurant with that name not too far from here. I just thought it was a peculiar name, but I kind of liked it. Good food too. Once I had kids, my brother, Bob, was my kids’ Uncle, so I liked it even more. But, I didn’t know it was a real saying. They say it in Great Britain and apparently Australia too. It means, “there you have it” or “everything’s alright”. In the case of McLeod’s daughters, it seemed to mean, “And we’re back in business.” It sounds real nice with that Australian accent. But, what doesn’t? Nothin’, I reckon.
Then, there are the Utes. Bet you didn’t know about those either – did ya? Well, don’t feel bad. I didn’t either. A couple episodes in, I noticed a vehicle that looked remarkably like the El Camino my parents had in the late 70’s. So, I thought to myself, “Self . . .” just kidding. Actually, I thought, “Wow. That really looks like an El Camino. I don’t remember the last time I saw one of those.” So, after seeing them a few times on the show, I decided to do a little research about the Australian El Camino.
That’s when I found out that, in Australia, they call it a Ute, which is short for utility vehicle. It’s rather ugly, isn’t it? They even have a rural festival that revolves around the Ute. I suspect, from the photos, that it gets a bit out of hand. But, there is something about the Australian culture and enthusiasm that I like. I am happy I have another 7 or 8 seasons of McLeod’s Daughters left. When that’s over, what will I do? Well, find another Australian drama, I reckon.