Guy Pearce was named "MVP of the Neighbours Finale": haven't we all fallen back in love with him?

 Guy Pearce was named "MVP of the Neighbours Finale": haven't we all fallen back in love with him?

Guy Pearce was named "MVP of the Neighbours Finale": haven't we all fallen back in love with him?

Pearce was so engrossed in the love story from his past - the actual past, all those years having truly passed - that he allowed us to imagine the life lived between then and now. He invited the audience to reflect on their own passage of time, at the risk of overstating it because this is an afternoon soap opera and not a Guillermo del Toro film.

He was no walk-on. He wasn't just a pixelated face on a television screen. Guy Pearce was completely convincing and enthralling when he returned to Erinsborough this week. For a few nights, he pretended to be Mike Young.

And no offense to those who couldn't do the same for entirely reasonable reasons (though: a little offense to those blaming cancel culture), but it did make Pearce an outlier. There was a sense of gratitude for his acting, reflecting what the show had given him and what he has now given it in return. It was kind and generous.

Despite - or perhaps because of - his fame and success, he approached this old role with the same professionalism and dedication he would any other. Hollywood? Nunawading? Exactly the same.

That's also what happened in the finale. The promised cameos turned out to be a few seconds in a video montage, which was to be expected, but we still went "LANCE!!!" when he appeared on screen. Other returns were even less convincing: Kylie Minogue's much-anticipated appearance occurred in almost complete silence, leading fans to speculate that no one could explain her London accent.

It didn't detract from the episode, which was always going to hit its audience with a memory lane map, but it did highlight Pearce's investment by comparison.

It may seem obvious that an Emmy-winning actor would deliver a strong performance, but there seemed to be more to it. Pearce was one of the few international stars to return to the street in its final week, and the only one to take on a real storyline.

It would have been simple to phone it in (I assume, having never been an actor). That's how nostalgia entertainment works: it's an inside joke that rewards the longtime fan who recognizes an old character or obscure storyline. That is why there are so many reboots, sequels, and reunion shows. It's the reason we still have Rick Astley.

One character stood out in this sea of people we once knew. He rolled into Ramsay Street like a delicious cheese, better with age and snacks, with no hint of publicity stunt or sarcasm.

These first few paragraphs are a long way of saying: Guy Pearce can do it.

The Mare of Easttown star was especially popular on Twitter, where he was still trending the next morning.

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