Thursday, 30 July 2009

The State of the Street - July

A new baby arrives. Not many people on soaps seem to have normal hospital deliveries, do they? This one was born in a beach hut! I guess it's better than in a cabin in a snowstorm. Tony gets more and more confused and guilty. I still can't decide if he's actually developing feelings for Maria or if it's all in his plan to keep her on board. Maybe it started that way but it's possible that he was so touched by helping to birth the baby that he's developing feelings though it's a classic case of rebound. Yes, he *must* have some kind of feelings because he's getting manipulative and possessive, classic Tony. Problem is, Tony doesn't have a realistic sense of what love really is. Maria, too, is vulnerable and lonely and scared about her future and would naturally gravitate to a man who's handsome, helpful and apparently supportive. I just can't wait for Carla to come back and see all this. And I loved the conflict between Maria and her in-laws. Mammy Connor was definitely being overbearing and pushy but it probably wouldn't have come to a chucking out if Tony hadn't stuck his oar in so menacingly.

Molly's very good at flirting and teasing isn't she? Well, it's a full blown affair now. Kevin in a mid life crisis is not a pretty sight and judging from most of the feedback I've seen and heard, it's one of the least regarded storylines Corrie has come up with. It's very off putting to me, too. It's not the fact that Kevin is having an affair, it's the fact that it's his best friend's wife and someone barely older than his daughters. Given his attitude when Rosie turned out to be flinging with Stape, it's highly hypocritical, too. Kevin being pursued by maneater Natalie at least made a bit more sense. Molly was supposedly so happy with Tyrone and people seem to think it is out of character for her but i do think that it's probably not the case. I've said it before, she had no problems trying to steal Fiz from Kirk and she chased Tyrone away from Maria or tried to. I think it's a game to her, not a crush or falling in love with someone else. It's going to blow up in her face and then it might actually be worth watching. Funny, though, they have Molly and Kevin do the deed and then whisk her away for two weeks of sun and sand with her husband. One night with Kevin, 2 weeks with Tyrone in a romantic location. A sure-fire set up for a "who's the daddy" storyline you mark my words. Standard Soap Opera Plot. And i reckon Tyrone will not leave Molly when he finds out. He's gormless enough to blame himself and succumb to her begging and pleading when she finds she's pregnant and Kevin doesn't want to know. Mark my words. Another SSOP.

Still loving Graeme. He's driving poor Ashley mad but he's so "Greek Chorus" and off the wall isn't he? Jesse and Eileen flirt so much better and Molly and Kevin and it's a joy to see Eileen happy and having fun. Tina and Jason are fun together, as well, and it's back to his usual psycho self for David, between going off on one on Jason when he found out about Jay and Tee and then turning around and playing games with Joe's Addiction. (Sounds like the name of a band, doesn't it!) Nobody expected his reformation to last. The only real stability David seems to have in his life is his relationship to his newly found Granddad, Ted. That may be his salvation or it may not. Time will tell.

Claire and Ashley are in crisis. Again. Talk about loser! How many bad things can happen to one person? He nearly lost Claire and did lose a baby, well miscarraige but same thing really. And then he bottled out of the vasectomy and didn't tell her. Why do they *ALWAYS* keep secrets on soaps!! It drives me insane, it really does!

Becky's in bother. I do like Becky. She's edgy even now that she's a bit domesticated. I don't think you will ever manage to tame her completely. She's come so far from where she was and Slug is her old life and not good for her and it's being proven out. He's in cahoots with the corrupt cop that has a grudge against Granger though I'm going to hazard a guess that the cop is forcing Slug to set up Becky, I don't think he's a willing participant.

Another brief glimpse into Peter's struggle with alcohol. I was wondering where he'd gone. He fessed up and disappeared. He took the whole "fam damily" to a meeting and it all turned into a viewers' delight, and the dirty laundry was overflowing the hampers! Marvellous stuff!

August will bring Steve and Becky and another attempt at getting married but it's not going to turn out as well as they hope. Liz will be back and Jim will make another (welcome) appearance. Jay and Tee get domesticated and there's a new bird on the street. Literally.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Will Nick Tilsley choose a babe or a broad?

News from ITV this week is that Nick Tilsley could very well be back on our screens by the end of the year, recast with a new actor, thank heavens! Some people might have thought Adam Rickett was a good actor but I never did. He was a pretty boy who, even in his second go-round as Nick, after some acting experience, was still painful to watch. Nick would be nearly 30 now and no doubt they'll still cast a good looking man, someone to make Weatherfield hearts flutter.

Which ones, though? Well, there's always Rosie Webster, the neighbourhood trollop. She likes an older man. Then there's Tina. A romp with his brother's ex could make for even more psychoDave antics. Just because Nick is his brother wouldn't hold David back. Besides, David hardly knows Nick anyway. Nick spent most of David's childhood in Canada either at school or working for KBec then back for a short time and off to Birmingham again.

Nick has form with bubble headed broads, too, he used to date Candice Stowe and Maria Sutherland! Speaking of Maria, might she find the flames fanned again? What about Leanne? The actress is on maternity leave but surely she'll be back. She was always more than a match for Nick but maybe he's grown up and turned into a force to be reckoned with. Nick? Nahhhh!!!! Peter might have been lusting after Michelle but Leanne was still under his skin. They were a good couple, well matched, I thought, and even better with his drinking under control.

Nick... I can see him fancying Becky but she wouldn't look twice at him. Molly would likely have a go, she's shown that she can be easily persuaded by a wink and a smile. If Tyrone has found out about her fling with Kev by then, she could be out on her own and looking for love in all the wrong places. I don't see Fiz and John lasting so maybe he'll pick up the pieces and mend her broken heart.

What about an older woman? Julie certainly isn't backward in coming forward and she doesn't seem to mind younger men...Kirk and Jason, for instance. There also Michelle, too. Luke Strong is leaving, and Leanne is returning. That might mean Peter and Leanne together and Michelle left hanging and vulnerable.

My best guess? None of the above. Nick's last two paramours were both hairdressers so I reckon Natasha will be his choice. She's beautiful, tall and blonde and if they cast Nick in a similar form as Rickett, they'll make a stunning couple. She's a bit scatterbrained but not too bubble headed. She might be just right for Nick. What do you think?

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Passive Aggressive vs Total Manipulation

According to the definition, "Passive Agressive" is a personality trait said to be marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations. That sounds a bit complex. What it means is when someone seems to be on your side or seems to go along with things, but they're putting obstacles in the way either consciously or unconsciously. For instance, someone asks their partner to take on a household job such as the laundry or the grocery shopping. That person doesn't particularly want to but agrees anyway and then does it wrong all the time. Therefore, the original requestor ends up redoing it or taking the task back. Result! thinks the requestee, because they didn't want to seem to be negative or unhelpful and can now say, "well, I did try my best" when really, they didn't.

It can also be seen as a bit controlling, especially if they are doing it and they know they are doing it. They're making the other person do what they want without having to directly persuade them. They can use the behaviour to cause trouble, to control, and to manipulate and some people are very, very good at it.

There are two characters on Corrie that deserve the Olympic gold standard in passive aggressive behaviour, and both have crossed the line. One is more classic than the other, more weak and more likely to show P.A. only somewhat consciously where the other is very much in control and uses P.A. to maneouver people like pieces on a chess board.

The latter, of course, is Tony Gordon. He's a master manipulator and control freak. He doesn't appear to have a conscience, not often at least. He is arrogant and selfish, cold and sarcastic. Did he truly love Carla or was it an obsession? Was she a possession that slipped through his fingers due to his own manipulations? Carla was probably the only woman that was close to Tony's equal, both in intelligence and in ruthlessness though she did show a softer side now and then.

Tony lost Carla to Liam and he had Liam killed in revenge. He then actually got his hands dirty and nearly strangled Jed Stone, one of the flies in the ointment but Jed was instrumental in Carla finding out the truth about Liam in the end. Maria discovered evidence of Carla and Liam's affair and leaped to the conclusion that Tony had Liam killed. She nearly got herself locked in the mental ward after weeks of hysterical campaigning trying to get everyone to believe her. Now, it looks like she's falling in love with Tony and he with her. Or is he? My feeling is that he started wooing her to put her off the scent. He also has shown a guilty conscience for killing Liam but only because Maria was pregnant. If she hadn't been, she might be as dead as Liam now for all the bad PR she was hurling Tony's way.

I think Tony may see his helping Maria as a way to atonement. He may actually be developing feelings for her and he has surely been touched by the birth of the baby, the baby that he brought into the world on a remote beach. Don't get too comfortable, Tony is already showing those signs of possessing the woman he "loves" by subtly pushing visitors away and making sure Maria's in-laws know he's been staying nights by retrieving his razor while they were there. That was calculated and it pushed the right buttons. The end result? He's hoping they'll get so upset that they'll leave and never return, thus cutting Maria and the baby off from Liam's family. Classic P.A. move.

Granted, Tony does not really have a classic P.A. personality, he just uses it for his own ends. The character that really is classic, is John Stape, aka Prisoner 666. (I love that moniker, the one Sally hurled at Fiz in the factory one day!) He knows exactly how to keep Fiz where he wants her and get her to do what he wants without seeming to be a controlling bastard like Tony. But he's equally destructive, maybe moreso. He puts on the hurt, puppy dog eyes, he uses flattery and poetry. He puts subtle ideas into Fiz's head and lets her run with it in exactly the right direction he wants. He lies with ease. He's weak and has no self control.

Recently, during a prison visit with Fiz, he talked about his anti-depression pills and being well enough now to be off them because of her, talking about weddings before giving her the idea of getting married while he's still in prison then pretending it's a mad idea, pretending it's not what he wants. Fiz has grabbed onto the idea, however, and is now determined to make it happen. When she left the visitation room, he had that tiny little smirk on his face, the smirk in this photo. Result! See, the sooner she marries him, the sooner he has her trapped. Then when he gets out of prison, he can put her firmly into an invisible walled prison. He's not as obvious about it as Charlie Stubbs was when he was manipulating Shelley but the end result will be the same.

He's already chipping Fiz's self esteem away. He's ruined her sparky fire and turned her into a needy puddle of tears. She's turning into the kind of woman that thinks that she is nothing and has no self worth if she doesn't have the man she loves. Last year, before he kidnapped Rosie, he thought it would be a good idea to move Fiz out into the country to his gran's house, away from all her friends and family. He didn't think about bringing Chesney along, only as an afterthought. He didn't think about her job, her friends or her responsibilities. He just wanted to get her away because her friends didn't like him or what he'd done, cheating on her with Rosie. But that went a bit too far, and Fiz, still with a modicum of backbone, balked.

What does John do? In a fit of temper, blaming Rosie for his downfall, kidnaps Rosie and keeps her in his gran's locked attic for 5 weeks until Fiz discovered her. Fiz thought she'd never set eyes on him again but she still couldn't help seeing him sent down and when she couldn't deal with Ches, she gravitated to him again and he's ramped up the PA behaviour even more. She is completely under his spell, even though Chesney is rebelling hard against it, she continues to blindly slip further and further into Stape's web.

How will it all end? Will she see what he's doing to her when Chesney goes right off the rails? Or will Prisoner 666 ensnare her and leave her a shell of her former self? Will Fiz come to her senses eventually? I hope so. I hope the writers have a purpose behind all this and we get a sadder, wiser Fiz back after it's all over.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Ashley... loser in life?

Don't get he wrong, I like the character of Ashley. He's a bit mild mannered and not very dynamic. But, while Eileen is the loser in love in residence, I very much believe that Ashley is turning into the loser in ... well, pretty much everything. How much bad stuff can happen to one man? When you think about it, it's been nearly non-stop! Early in our aquaintance with Ashley, he was accused of setting fire to Mike Baldwin's factory. It was actually set ablaze by Don Brennen with whom Ashley lodged. That got sorted out.

Then his world was rocked when he discovered Fred Elliott wasn't his uncle, but his father. He came to terms with it though, and they became very close. He took up with a runaway teenager, Zoe, and her baby but the baby then died of meningitis and Zoe left him to join a cult.

It all goes downhill from there.

He and Maxine got married... on the day that the wife of his best man, Gary Mallet, died in her back yard pegging out baby clothes. Great start to married life, eh wot? He discovered that his "swimmers" weren't performing suitable well enough for Max to get pregnant but one single night in a hospital with a quick operation fixed the problem. Only that one single night, his wife got very drunk and shagged her doctor and gave birth 9 months later to his baby! Ashley was crushed!

Not long after that, Maxine was bludgeoned to death by murderer Richard Hillman and Ashley had his world come down around his ears again. He hired a nanny to look after baby Josh, fell in love with her and then the trouble *really* started!

Little Josh's father came back into the picture and decided he wanted to be part of the boy's life. He took Ashley to court to get access to the boy and rather than lose Josh altogether to a custody suit, Ashley finally broke down and allowed Dr. Matt to spend time with him. That seems to have been forgotten as Matt is only mentioned on very rare occasions when Josh has to be out of the picture for storyline purposes.

Ashley's dad got into a rivalry with a fellow butcher whose son was a boxer. Ashley was coerced into competing in a grudge match but, while training, got a knock in the eye that threatened to blind him. It turned out ok, though, but it was a worry!

They had a baby, but Claire suffered from debillitating Post Natal Depression and even believed the baby was not hers. A couple of weeks in hospital and a good course of drugs got her back on an even keel, just in time for Ashley's father's wedding to Bev Unwin. Except his beloved dad keeled over and died on his wedding day! Six months after that, the lady Claire had made friends with turned psycho, tried to kill Claire by setting the house on fire and when that didn't work, broke up Ashley and Claire, got obsessed with Ash, lured him into bed and kidnapped the baby when Ashley firmly told her to bug off. She threatened to jump off the balcony of her flat high in the tower block but of course, it didn't happen and she was dragged off to a friendly neighbourhood psych ward.

Things have been quiet since then in the House of Peacock but it's about to start up again. That little cloud of doom following Ashley is about to pour torrential rain into his world again. Claire is taken suddenly ill with a blood clot and in the course of saving her life, she miscarries a baby. Then, feeling guilty that she didn't really want to be pregnant in the first place, she is going to contemplate jumping off the hospital roof.

How much more can one man take? One wife dies violently, the next one nearly dies in a fire and has severe depression, his oldest child was fathered by someone else, his father died. I know soaps thrive on conflict and drama but isn't this taking things a little too far?

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