Some days are tricky, and some days are bad, but we got each other, and for that I’m glad! Brothers and mates, colleagues as well, we’re taking blood together, and hey that’s swell!
If that catchy feelgood theme song doesn’t instantly bring a nostalgic smile to your face, you obviously didn’t grow up in Australia in the 90s!
Blood Brothers was an Australian sitcom that aired between 1990 and 1994 about two brothers, Barry and Darren Blood, who run a pathology centre together. This down to earth comedy had Aussie families tuning in every Tuesday at 7:30pm week after week to see what shenanigans the boys, their interfering mother Ruth, and the wacky receptionist Rhonda had got themselves in.
In honour of the 30th anniversary of this revolutionary program, and the long awaited special edition DVD box set, I’ve decided to compile a list of my top ten favourite episodes of the show.
Barry and Darren agree to babysit Rhonda’s cousin’s sheep but more trouble arises when they realise it’s pregnant! You can’t help but laugh at the scene where Barry teaches Darren how to baa.
Dad’s the Word!
Barry and Darren’s long lost father Greg (guest star Warwick Dunne, regular cast member of sketch show Skit Stirrers) returns to town. Greg uttering Barry’s famous catchphrase “aw bloody heck!” has gotta be one of the series’ best moments
Not the Honda!
Rhonda accidentally crashes Darren’s prized possession, his ‘72 Honda, and must try to hide the truth. The most memorable moment is the final scene where Darren rides Ruth’s pink bike to work!
When the office dog Frank eats Barry’s engagement ring it’s up to the boys to sort out the mess. Features the first appearance of Dr. Babu the Indian Vet (played by Adelaide comedian Jimmy Atkinson).
The boy’s rivals The Plasma Twins (played by famous comedic duo, Cheddar and Chicko) challenge our heroes to a “blood test off” after an argument at a pathology conference.
The season 3 finale where Barry and his long suffering but ever forgiving girlfriend Jo-Anne finally tie the knot is not only filled with hilarious moments like Rhonda falling into the cake and Darren dancing with Ruth, but also some truly heartwarming scenes, like Barry and Jo-Anne’s exchange “I love ya darl” and “I love you more, sweet cakes.”
This special crossover episode features guest appearances from the cast of another top rating sitcom at the time, I Haven’t The Woggiest, as a Greek family that opens a restaurant next door to the pathology clinic and causes nothing but problems.
It’s an absolute joy to watch the classic character Rosie do Rhonda’s hair, the Stefandolopolis matriarch Mary teach Ruth how to cook dolmades, and Barry and Darren trade insults with Vince and Frankie. Nothing beats hearing Vince‘s version of Barry’s popular catchphrase, “Aw bloody heck, ya malaka!”
The Sick Kid!
In this critically acclaimed emotional episode, the boys help out an ill teenager (played by Reg Carrington, who would go on to star as the quirky misfit Tuba on teen drama Sadness Secondary) who can’t afford a big blood surgery. The scene where Darren gives up his “no hugging patients” rule to comfort the boy is sure to bring a tear to your eye.
Pop sensation Jenny Lennox guest stars as herself. Barry organises for her to play at Darren’s birthday party, but his secrecy causes Joanne to think he’s having an affair! All is forgiven though and the episode ends with everyone dancing as Jenny sings her big hit It’s A Party.
In what is arguably one of the greatest series finales of any 90s Australian sitcom ever produced, Barry and Joanne announce that they plan to move to Sydney with their new baby. Darren must make a big decision as to whether to close the centre, or face his biggest fear and run it solo.
It’s hard to name a favourite moment but it’s hard to go past the scenes where Ruth gives an inspirational speech to her sons; Darren finally smooches Rhonda; and Barry Junior’s first words being “aw, bloody heck!”
And there we have it. It took months to narrow that list down to just ten episodes, and I simply have to give honourable mentions to the episode where Barry loses an important vial of the mayor’s blood, the one when Jo-Anne walks in on Darren naked, and of course the epic two parter where the boys must solve the murder of their other brother.
I look forward to binge watching all those episodes and more when the box set comes out this Spring. Hopefully we also get to someday see DVD releases of the short lived but just as enjoyable spin offs Rhonda’s Place; Oh, Dr. Babu! and The Frank Show.
Until then, as Darren and Barry would often say, “see ya when I see ya!”