Saturday, 30 January 2010

State of the Street - January

Kevin might be staying with Sally now that he knows where his priorities lie, but Molly got fed up with Tyrone and left him after she found out he wasn't going to take a job and move away. Only Tyrone figured she must be having an affair and jumped to the wrong conclusion and thought it was Dev. How on earth he would think that, I don't know but after all, this *is* Tyrone, not the sharpest tool in the box. Didn't you feel sorry for him though? He loves the bones of Molly but his loyalty to Kevin kept him from taking that job offer once he found out that Sally was ill. Really, though, Molly probably made the right choice. There's no point staying in a marraige when she couldn't have been happy or she wouldn't have had an affair only 6 months into it.

And Sally's prognosis is good and she's only got to have radio therapy. I guess it would have been too long and drawn out of they'd had to show her go through Chemotherapy. I gotta say I am as impressed as I knew I would be about how Corrie has been handling this storyline. They've really shown how it affects everyone around the person who's got cancer. Sally was one of the lucky ones. And it also seemed to take Rosie down a peg too, and she backed out of a boob job that would have been far superfluous to requirements anyway.

I felt so sorry for Tyrone. Does Molly really not love him? She thinks so. She's desperate to get Kevin back but he has seen the light and realized he really does want his wife and family. She begs, she manipulates, but he still rejects her and she might start to realize that Kevin probably was just using her, a crush, an infatuation. But it did my heart good to see that Kevin was forced to support Tyrone, listen to him cry on his shoulder, even return his wife's wedding ring and that is karma coming round to bite him on the arse well and proper. And I relish every uncomfortable moment he's going through after what he did to his best friend and business partner. Pam and Bill both know and now they know each other knows. If Molly and Tyrone are going to get back together eventually, they'll be the ones that engineer it.

More Grandad wars... Ken went off the deep end when he found out that George wanted to pay for private education for Simon. Ken figures it's bad for Simon, who won't have a happy life if he's brought up in a posh school. Deirdre was just more concerned about the smart uniform. Peter was very forthright at the planning meeting which George probably already had sewn up anyway, much to Ken's chagrin. I loved Deirdre's rant at Ken after the hearing. She knows darn well it's got more to do with the rivalry between Ken and George and he should have been supporting Peter rather than pushing him right at George. Maybe Ken's give up the battle because as much as he disapproves of the bar and the private school, he seems to be backing down a bit.

Then there's Gail and Joe, the newly minted McIntyres. El Desperado is in debt up to his eyeballs and illegally so. Surely he could go to the police once he'd paid off the loan shark who keeps coming back and threatening his family? He's scammed money out of Ted. He tried to get money out of Peter and an advance out of Bill. He gleefully accepted Gail's decision to sell the house (and yes, David, she *can* just sell the house you grew up in. Except, he hasn't really grown up has he? Most lads his age would be pleased to be able to move out on their own.) He even eyed up the charity collection jar in the pub! I really thought she was finally standing up to him when she told him she wasn't going to sell the house and Joe gave her insult after insult. I always knew he had a temper and and this just proved it. But no. One apology and one sob story and she took him back. No wonder she's a jinx with men, she has Doormat stamped on her arse! Next up, a life insurance scam by forging Gail's name on a crumpled up form. And obviously making one payment and then pretending to drown immediately after will not make the life insurance company suspicious. Or not.

Yay! Mary's back to be a carbuncle on Norris's backside. She seems a bit more obsessed than she was before she left. I feel a bunny boiler coming on, don't you? It's nice to see Mary back anyway. And it's nice to see Sunita back and with the fiance out of the picture, can a reunion between Dev and Sunita be far behind? Dev is all worked up and Sunita just thinks they'll mess it up again. But really, it wasn't all messed up until she found out he kept the fact of his other children from her.

And there's Becky and Steve's upset. Becky doesn't want kids because she's had a horrible childhood and doesn't want to feel tied down. She's also scared of pregnancy as well. There was a scene with her taking a test on New Year's we found out at the end of the month it's positive. She's been smoking and drinking all month. For as much as she didn't want a baby though, she didn't go get a terminatin behind Steve's back. He'd have never known. So somewhere, she did want a baby and probably not just because she knew he did, too. Probably the fear is stronger and so she pushed Steve away. And because she says she won't have kids just when Steve thinks he might like to have more, Steve goes off the deep end in a major sulk. That makes her dig her heels in and one's almost as bad as the other though i think he's pushing harder than she is. He keeps upping the stakes, with expensive gold clubs and a motorbike (don't you need a bike license for those?) and pushing Kelly in Becky's face.

But Becky's mom died and though there wasn't much of a relationship, it still gets you right in the heart when you lose a parent. I think what really bothered Becky is how little her mother had to her name and how she ended up, and it seems to make her think how she could very well have ended up the same way if she hadn't fought to get a life. It hurts that Steve just doesn't take any notice that something is wrong. He really thought that winding her up would make her come running back instead of pushing her away. Finding out about her mother's death was nearly the death of the marraige but you knew that wasn't going to happen, didn't you?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Is Becky Granger McDonald over-exposed?

Having decided that Michelle Connor as a character has been ruined by over exposure and naff storylines, next up under the examining light is the character of Becky Granger McDonald. Becky is a very different person when compared to Michelle. We never really knew a whole lot about Michelle's past other than her relationship with Dean who died in a car crash. He was apparently the love of her life and the father of Ryan... er... Alex (enough about that, you get the picture!) We know she was a sometime band singer and barmaid. We know she's got an Irish heritage though it seems like she and her brothers may have been brought up in Manchester, judging from their accents, but we really don't know a lot about how her personality came to be formed and in any case, Michelle does not come across as a wholly complex character.
Becky is another matter. Becky is very rough. She's a loose cannon, and she's got a criminal record. She first arrived as an ex-cellmate of Kelly Crabtree, someone that Kelly didn't want to know because it reminded her of her own less than stellar background. Kelly had managed to turn her life around but Becky was still the same person and proved it by setting up Kelly to take the fall for her own petty thievery and she went after Lloyd just for good measure. She was untrustworthy and she was a liability, both to other people and to herself.

She left our screens for awhile but resurfaced in a class that Hayley was teaching to help women find their feet after being in prison. Hayley took pity on Becky and brought her home, much to Roy's dismay. Hayley always sees the best in people and just knew there was hope for Becky and she was determined to help Becky find a better life. Becky was touched that Hayley would have any sort of belief in her as nobody ever did before. Slowly, in spite of Becky nearly ruining things by allowing her old boyfriend, Slug, to steal Hayley's car and by setting fire to the cafe while trying to cook a meal to make up for it all, Roy and Hayley both eventually became firm supporters.

Little by little we would hear stories of Becky's childhood and past life on the street. It sounded very much like she had little family support as a kid and fended for herself for most of her life. She fled the family home, had numerous run ins with the police including the corrupt Hooch who tried to take advantage of a teenage Becky. She fought back and it cost him career points. That brought about a lifelong grudge which was almost successful when Hooch bribed Slug to set up Becky on a drugs charge on her (second) wedding day to Steve last year.

With the love and support of the Croppers, Becky started to bloom. She began to have a bit of self confidence. She had people to consider besides herself and her own survival. She wore makeup, she dressed "better" (a debatable point, but better than the old and tattered gear she wore when she was first in the show). Still, she's fiercely independent and often combatative when defending either herself or someone she's come to love. She's still likely to go off the rails without warning, usually when she's been hurt or had a massive blow to her self confidence. Steve's love has brought her both joy and heartache already because he's not a strong person and has let her down a few times. She still doesn't really believe she's a worthy person a lot of the time and her past obviously still haunts her. Why? We don't know, yet. And these are the things we find intriguing about Becky.

We've seen her character develop. We've seen her in love, in lust, in a drunken rampage, and scared. She's not as tough and prickly as she used to be now that she's been living a more civilized lifestyle but she isn't afraid of most people and she's fiercely loyal. The character has had a lot of important storylines over the last year or two and some might say she's in danger of over-exposure, just as Michelle has been. It may be true but it also seems like the storylines that Becky's character gets are very much in character and fill in more gaps in her past that show us how her character was defined and how her character evolves. Michelle's character was never given that. It's difficult not to have a tendency to "over" use the character, especially now that she's a part of a very central family on the Street, the McDonald's. She works in the pub, she's married to Steve and her pseudo-parents are the Croppers.

What you see in Becky is what you get. There are no games, no coyness, no pretense of being anything or anyone that she isn't. She doesn't usually whine and if she does, she shakes herself out of it. She can drink you and all your mates under the table and yet she can be tender and generous to a fault. She isn't patronizing and has little patience for fools and she can spot them from a mile, most of the time. She's not a liar nor a cheat unless she has to save her own skin or that of someone else. She even has her own set of moral values, though some of them may be slightly skewed. She's still trashy and common as muck. She's got very few social skills and would tell you so herself but she is starting to believe that she's a good person, some of the time at least. Yet there's always that shadow that crosses her face when she's hurt, as if she always half-expects to be thrown out with the bins at any time and any and all hurts are probably deserved.

A lot of people find the character over the top and yes, sometimes she is. Still, it's part of Becky's personality and always has been so it's not out of character. Becky is a survivor and though she's softened a bit, she's still strong and can defend herself and her beliefs when she needs to. There's a danger that she will be over used and over exposed but I think most viewers who have liked her so far won't be turned off unless the Powers That Be start to give her ludicrous and ill considered storylines just for the sake of having her on screen. The actress, Katherine Kelly, is also careful not to plaster her face and her business all over the tabloids and that helps avoid some of the over exposure. You occasionally see her in glam photo shoots but mostly she keeps her private life private. Kym Marsh seems to be exactly the opposite and that has contributed to people getting tired of seeing her face and Michelle's all over their screen. Katherine Kelly also has a huge amount of chemistry with her main co-stars, David Neilson, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Simon Gregson and that makes a difference too.

Becky has been on our screens a lot, and will continue to be at least for the near future. Let's hope the writers can continue to handle her storylines intelligently and evolve her character without losing Becky's edge.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

The ruination of Michelle Connor

When Michelle Connor first graced the cobbles, it was as a singer for Vernon's band. She was a much better singer than Liz who also auditioned and she got the gig. Vernon, of course, was a bit smitten and managed to get Michelle a job behind the bar of the Rovers. Michelle wasn't having any of Vernon's mucky paws on her glossy bonce but neither did she particularly want Steve McDonald's attentions either. He was also smitten but after more than a few false starts, she finally agreed that she might like to be Steve's girlfriend after all.

Therein lies the rub. What on earth would someone like Michelle see in Steve? She was hip, she was rock and roll, she had tattoos, she had manners! She was a young single mum who's husband was dead. Steve was balding, paunchy, he had tenuous apron strings to his mother, he had three marraiges (two ex-wives), a psycho sort-of-ex who was in jail for killing her lover and who is the mother of his child. You'd think Michelle would have run a mile. But noooo. She must have seen Steve as stability. She's struggling on her own with a teenage son. A man that owned two businesses must have seemed just the (meal) ticket. It's easy to see why Steve was attracted to Michelle. She's quite pretty and sexy, after all and let's face it, Steve is attracted to almost anything in a skirt anyway!

It seemed like the powers that be decided that Kym Marsh was going to be the feature actor on Coronation Street screens and with that in mind, they paired her with a major character and from then on it was non-stop front-burner storylines. It really contributed to making Michelle Connor an over-exposed and over-used character and, quite frankly, I think people are bored to death of her. In the process, they've taken her character from a flirty sexy woman to a woman with problem after problem, who seems to jump into bed with any bloke that looks her way. No wonder her son, Ryan, is now calling her a hypocrite for being upset when, at nearly 18, he and his girlfriend decide to have sex. Her angst at all that lasted about 5 minutes and she was off to a posh hotel for a romp with a man she'd only known five minutes. Nice one.

During the year or so that she was the character of choice, she had both brothers die in car accidents, one who was seeing prostitutes and had one in the boot of his car at the time of the crash, and the other who was cheating on his wife with his brother's widow and was killed by his lover's husband. Lots of reasons for Michelle to emote, her beringed hands constantly pressed to her forehead. If that wasn't enough, it was decided that her son was not her son and was switched at birth with another lad. The other lad was a handful and caused no end of upset. Michelle agonzied over wanting to know her biological son, most of the time at the expense of the boy she raised and then became jealous and upset when Ryan wanted to get to know his biological parents. All this, a major storyline, was soon forgotten. The biological son and Ryan's bio parents have disappeared and aren't even referred to at birthdays or Christmasses.

That's ok, though. The next major storyline for Michelle came hot on the heels of all this when Steve had a one night drunken fling with Becky. He covered, he lied, he fled to Spain, and when Michelle was about to figure it out, he proposed to her. She found out of course and chucked the ring into the bin. No longer engaged, she made Steve leave his own pub but eventually forgave him and they reconciled. She became bossy, imperious, she snapped her fingers, Steve jumped. Is it any wonder he ended up falling for good time girl Becky, a woman not all that far away in personality from his most recent ex-wife, loose cannon Karen.

Steve did the dirty on Michelle and fair enough, she was pretty ticked off and hurt when she found out. She took great pleasure in informing Becky that the shiny bling on her finger was the one Steve gave her. She'd picked it out to make sure it was pricey and then chucked it in the skip, remember? So really, she didn't want it anyway but made Becky feel like 2 pennies over it anyway and then, in drunken glee, and in front of the whole pub, made sure she was the one that told Becky that she was not Mrs. McDonald after a thwarted wedding. Becky was drunk and the registrar wouldn't marry them but she couldn't remember.

Dusting off her hands, her work there done, she sashayed next into Peter Barlow's storyline after Jane Danson left on maternity leave. No way to further that relationship so what do the writers do? Chuck Michelle at him instead. After all, he's a known womanizer just like his father. Ah but there's also handsome Luke Strong in the picture too and yes, she went out with him as well. In fact, she jumped into bed with one and then the other within a day of each other before she left town for awhile on a concert tour.

And was I glad to see the back of her for awhile! They had her at a low-ish profile when she returned but when Tony Gordon was revealed to be the man that murdered her brother, she went into hysterics at his court hearing and pretty much made the whole thing about her. As usual. But Michelle's back so we can't have her doing nothing, say the Powers that Be, the same ones that leave other, more interesting characters, like Hayley for instance, or Janice, in the storyline closet for Spare Parts for months on end. We can throw her back between Luke and Peter for a minute, until Leanne gets back, and, ooooh, I know, let's give her a job back in the bar with the man she lived with and his new wife, the one he cheated on her with, and let's give Michelle another man. And so they did. Jake the builder came in through the lounge window and saw her naked. I suppose that took all the guesswork out of it and it was inevitable that within 48 hours she was making doe eyes at him.

There are rumours that she will be put together with returning character Ciaran McCarthy and with Nick Tilsley in the picture, can a romp with him be far away? I think not. What better (that's said sarcastically) storyline than to have Michelle and her former sister-in-law Carla fighting over a man? (Carla is apparently going to be wooed by Mr. T in a bid for the factory)

If ever there was a character in need of a holiday in the spare parts cupboard, it's Michelle Connor. Over exposure and stupid, unbelievable storylines have turned her from a pleasant enough character into a screeching, bossy, man-tease. Enough already!

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