Feuds for thought: who does it best on TV?

No holds barred: Andrea Moss, left, and Gino Liano, of the Real Housewives of Melbourne, are mistresses of the insult.Love stories are nice – but it’s the dramatic rivalries and fiery clashes that really capture our attention. From squabbling reality stars to warring drama protagonists, here are five of TV’s most entertaining fights.

Gina Liano versus Andrea Moss (The Real Housewives of Melbourne)”You called me that slang word for female external genitalia!”

The epic feud between these former friends had been building for weeks. But once Gina apparently branded Andrea a “C word”, as the other housewives called it, it was on. (None could bring themselves to utter the actual word. Because they’re too classy.)

It’s hard to remember life before Jackie’s angels, Lydia’s malapropisms and Janet’s date with Marty, which she prefaced with the declaration: “I’ve got to get back in the saddle and break the spell!”

It was the fights between Gina and Andrea, though, that really got us hooked. Mainly because their disagreements involved perfectly quotable insults such as:

“You’re an insignificant arse hair” (Gina).

“I heard you’re doing a soap range. Is that so you can wash your mouth out?” (Andrea).

“F— off, you idiot. And when you get home, why don’t you get your husband to review your medication, ’cause clearly your testosterone level needs to come down and everything else needs to come up” (Gina).

Maggie Simpson versus Monobrow Baby (The Simpsons)”Everybody needs a nemesis,” Lisa tells Bart, trying to put his feud with principal Seymour Skinner in perspective. “Sherlock Holmes had his Dr. Moriarty, Mountain Dew has its Mellow Yellow, even Maggie has that baby with the one eyebrow.”

That monobrow baby has a name: Gerald Samson. In his semi-regular appearances, he and Maggie wordlessly taunt each other through glares and aggressive dummy sucking. Which nicely captures the nature of many real-life feuds. With no strength left to argue – or perhaps forgetting what we were fighting about in the first place – we seethe and brood, silently stoking the flames of bitterness.

Mrs Mangel versus Ramsay Street (Neighbours)Perhaps Erinsborough’s greatest villain, the meddlesome and pious Nell Mangel (Vivean Gray) made life hell for the entire neighbourhood. Husky-voiced Madge (Anne Charleston) was a favourite target, as was frizzy-haired Charlene (Kylie Minogue), who tended to react to “old Mrs Mangel’s” provocations with elaborate groans and eye rolls. Even poor Bouncer, who’d cop the occasional spray, wasn’t safe. Gray inhabited her character so perfectly that she could rarely set foot outside without fans castigating her for whatever on-screen transgressions she’d committed that week. To make up for this abuse, producers gave her a nice send-off storyline in 1988.

Diane Lockhart versus Viola Walsh (The Good Wife)The great thing about this feud is its subtlety. Diane (Christine Baranski) and Viola (Rita Wilson) used to be university pals. Now, they find themselves opposing each other in various high-stakes legal cases.

“You know, Diane and I were great friends in law school,” Viola tells Diane’s legal partner Will (Josh Charles). “But we were always in competition. The same jobs, the same boyfriends, the same everything.”

Neither resorts to outright hostility, choosing instead to convey their dislike through raised eyebrows and carefully chosen words. Often, they allow their simmering resentment to fuel their desire to win. Which makes their stoushes articulate, clever and a delight to watch.

Amber versus Laurina (The Bachelor)The great thing about this feud – much like the music, the decor and Blake’s awful one-liners – is its complete lack of subtlety.

Amber is mad. Amber swears, stomps her feet, begins wailing, storms out and slams the door. Reading between the lines, viewers may detect just a hint of tension.

Laurina, naturally, makes it her mission to goad Amber into at least one public breakdown per episode.

“You do realise you’re projecting your own fakeness onto me?”, she asks, carefully modulating her tone to achieve maximum passive aggression.

Amber tries to resist the bait but her hot-headed nature – or perhaps her horse allergy – gets the better of her, and we’re treated to another explosion of tears, name-calling, arm-waving and dramatic walk-outs.

And let’s not even mention the time Blake took Laurina’s dog on a date but left Amber at home.

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