Melissa Jarrett

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Melissa Jarrett
Melissa Jarrett.JPG
Neighbours character
Portrayed by Jade Amenta
Duration 1989–91
First appearance 8 August 1989
Last appearance 9 April 1991
Introduced by Don Battye
Classification Former; regular
Profile
Occupation Student at Erinsborough High (1989–91)
Home America

Melissa Jarrett is a fictional character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Jade Amenta. She made her first appearance on 8 August 1989. Melissa departed on 9 April 1991.

Casting[edit]

Amenta won the role of Melissa in a competition and she joined the cast of Neighbours at the age of fourteen.[1] She said "I didn't think I'd get it, but I'm glad I did."[1] The role of Melissa was initially to last for two months and she was introduced as the girlfriend of Todd Landers (Kristian Schmid).[1]

Storylines[edit]

Melissa is first seen when she begins taking piano lessons with Hilary Robinson (Anne Scott-Pendlebury at Number 30 Ramsay Street. She is immediately smitten with Todd Landers, who lives two doors down from Hilary. Todd is shy at first but admits he likes Melissa and they begin dating. When Todd is caught in Melissa's room one night, her domineering parents, Ben and Rona ban the couple from seeing each other. Melissa and Todd date in secret, but Melissa's brother, Sean (Jamie Churchill), continuously plots to split Melissa and Todd up. Eventually the Jarretts relent when Todd's aunt Beverly Marshall (Shaunna O'Grady) and her husband Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) convince them that Todd is not a bad boy.

At the end of 1989, The Jarretts leave for America, putting a strain on Melissa and Todd's relationship. When the Jarretts return, Melissa finds out Todd had kissed classmate Cody Willis (Amelia Frid) while she was away and they break up. Melissa later dates the newly arrived Josh Anderson (Jeremy Angerson) but Josh realises Melissa still loves Todd and the relationship fizzles out. Soon after, Melissa sets Josh up with Cody but it does not last long when Cody discovers she still has feelings for Todd, and Melissa begins to like Josh the more time they spend together. In the end, Melissa and Josh become a couple as do Todd and Cody.

One afternoon, while being influenced by Todd's criminal friend Gary "Boof" Head (Stephen Hall), the teens begin a drinking session which immediately proves dangerous for Melissa as she suffers from epilepsy, luckily Beverly is on hand to help.

Melissa becomes close friends with animal rights activist Kerry Bishop (Linda Hartley-Clark) and is distraught when Kerry is shot and killed protesting against duck hunting. Melissa and Josh then concoct a scheme to expose Lassiter's for using frozen tuna and they sneak into the kitchens and head towards the fridge where they find the tuna but a kitchen hand shuts the door, leaving Josh and Melissa trapped. Josh quickly stops the fan from freezing them but Melissa is in danger due to suffering from epilepsy and not having her medication to hand. The couple are saved but Paul Robinson (Stefan Dennis) is unimpressed with the damage the fridge and demands payment for the damages.

When Melissa hears rumours of new teacher Mr Gibbs having previously sexually assaulted a girl at his last school, she begins a crusade against him and immediately becomes paranoid that Gibbs is after her. In the end, Melissa is forced to apologise when Gibbs tells her his side of the story.

When Todd, Josh and Cody accidentally causes an explosion in the science lab while trying to brew their own alcohol, Melissa, who is leaving for America with her family, takes the blame so she cannot be punished for it. However, her friends will not allow her to accept the blame and tell principal Dorothy Burke (Maggie Dence) that Melissa is innocent.

Reception[edit]

In 1991, Barbara Toner of The Sydney Morning Herald said Melissa had the "Best entrance on the year's first episode of Neighbours."[2]

During a feature called "Twelve golden TV sex moments", men's magazine, FHM declared 1991 was Neighbours' finest hour.[3] With Amenta as Melissa, Rachel Friend as Bronwyn Davies and Natalie Imbruglia as Beth Brennan, they said "Good God: that was when being unemployed or permanently bed-ridden really meant something".[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Hopwood, Clive (1990). Neighbours Special. World International Publishing Ltd. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7235-6895-7. 
  2. ^ Toner, Barbara (5 January 1991). "Excitement Bubbles Over In A Night Of Balls And Border". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). p. 22. Retrieved 29 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b French, Paul (18 June 2009). "Neighbours during 1991". FHM. Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 19 September 2010.