We all know a Mr Udagawa. Even if you’re too young or too old to have been into late 80s Neighbours, you’ll have met the sort. He’s the Daleks. He’s the God of the Old Testament. He’s Sir from Terry and June. He’s every bad boss or client you’ve ever had, and he’s you after your next promotion, if you’re not careful.
But just as each of those terrifying figures has a more palatable opposite and equal who completes them — a Doctor, a Lucifer, or a Miss Nora Fennell — so, in those long-ago Erinsborough summers that never seemed to end, did we have Bouncer.
There are too many Mr Udagawas in the world, and not enough Bouncers, I said on Twitter a while ago. Actually I might have said Mr Udigawa or even Udugawa, but spellings seem to vary across the internet and who can really be sure. On a completely unrelated note, a big hello to anyone who’s found this article through a search engine, whichever variant spelling you used.
So while Mr Udagawa stands for the sort of stern disapproval and control freakery that leads to people accidentally getting married to their managers just to clear up a hilarious dinner party misunderstanding, it’s Bouncer who runs around on the beach with a ball in his mouth.
And while the cold, tight fear of displeasing the generally unseen Mr Udigawa led to many a late night “going over the figures” in the Lassiters office, no-one ever felt anything harsher than affectionate surprise at the idea that Bouncer might be watching over them.
I’m not suggesting that a labrador would make a good international business associate — far from it. But I can’t say that Mr Udagawa made a particularly good job of it either, not with the human cost considered. Most powerful people would benefit from a little less steely fist and a little more joyful instinct. Mr. Udagawa might get things done, and Bouncer might get nothing done (well except for occasionally saving people from chip pan fires and the like), but there’s got to be a middle way – hasn’t there?