Home and Away
Episodes #3292 - #3322
June 4, 2002 - July 16, 2002 (Australia first-run)

This youth-market Australian Soap, set in the fictional town of Summer Bay, has been running since 1988. It follows the lives of the people in this tight-knit community, especially the teens, as they mature, interact, and find themselves.

One of the most popular couples on the show is Hayley (Rebecca Cartwright) and Noah (Beau Brady), and in the 2002 season, the writers decided to shake things up a bit. They introduced Aimee Cooper, portrayed by Rhiana Griffith, a wild teen whose appearance in Summer Bay would have a profound impact upon the couple.

Originally met by Noah at the town's Drop-In Centre, Aimee was looking for work and a place to stay. Noah recommended her to the local diner, but that ended up going badly after Aimee got into a tempestuous relationship with one of her coworkers there. In the aftermath, Noah's guilt over having put Aimee in a bad spot led him to take her under his wing, as did his girlfriend Hayley. This even resulted in her moving into the house they and several other young adults shared, and joining them in virtually every aspect of their days and lives.

But Aimee had become infatuated with Noah, something that would soon spin out of control. She began trying to take Hayley on "walks on the wild side," encouraging her to do things that the other people in her life wouldn't be able to approve of. And slowly, she began to insinuate herself between the couple, trying to drive a wedge into their relationship so she could have Noah for herself. Eventually, Noah and Hayley realized who was behind their misery and confronted Aimee, who tearfully protested that she'd just wanted to belong... before fleeing Summer Bay altogether. Left behind among her things was a small newspaper clipping about the tragic death of her parents, perhaps a motivation behind her deranged behavior.

Aimee's character arc was half Fatal Attraction and half Single White Female. Like Glenn Close's "Alex" in Fatal Attraction, Aimee was drawn to Noah because he was one of the few people who had shown her compassion. And like Jennifer Jason Leigh's "Hedra" in Single White Female, her obsessions led her to try to become Hayley, mimicking her appearance, and trying to get Hayley to become more like her. She wanted to be Hayley, and have Hayley's life -- especially Noah -- for herself. It swiftly became apparent to viewers that Aimee was capable of almost anything, because she felt no remorse over her actions. This was never made more clear than when Hayley fell down an embankment and was trapped on the rocks... and Aimee almost left her there to die, only deciding to help her once witnesses arrived.

Rhiana's performance was riveting and multifaceted, and utterly convincing to the show's die-hard viewers, who came to revile Aimee the way American audiences once reviled Joan Collins's "Alexis" on the Prime Time soap Dynasty. A villain is a very challenging role for a young actress, but Rhiana carried it off with style, grace, and authenticity.

Home and Away has started the careers of a great many actors and actresses who went on to make it big in the film industry, including Heath Ledger, Guy Pearce, and Naomi Watts.

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Media Files:

The Bikini Carwash (MPEG courtesy of Andy; left-click to play, right-click to download)

The Surfing Lesson
(MPEG courtesy of Andy; left-click to play, right-click to download)

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