Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Peter's choice

Spoilers say Peter Barlow is going to drink again and is going to finally give in to his feelings for Carla.  I know that happy families on soaps are said to be boring and hardly anyone stays married for long. Love triangles are the staple of soaps and with Peter and Carla sniffing around each other for so long, I guess it was inevitable. But it still makes me sad.

I really liked Leanne and Peter and Simon as a family. They've managed to overcome an awful lot and still stick together. They're a far better family than Peter and Carla and Simon would be even if Carla discovers her inner maternal gene. I don't think Simon will take to her easily if it goes so far as to have the three of them move in together. There's no word on the horizon yet what the outcome of this all will be but if and when Leanne finds out about an affair with Carla, will she be able to get past it? Or will she take it as Karma after her fling with Nick?

And does Peter truly love Carla? We know he probably feels she understands him better than Leanne because she, too, has a drinking problem. But then, she's never really completely accepted she's got one and has never stayed sober for very long. She's not a raging drunk, but she does drink too much and she knows it but she doesn't really consider herself an alcoholic, I think.

Carla always seems to me to be the epitome of "The Other Woman" with her dark, exotic and sultry looks. She's not the type you would expect to see in the kitchen with a pinny on, busy baking chocolate chip cookies is she? She always looks more like the glamour girlfriend of a footballer. Leanne, on the other hand, is pretty but less glamourous but does have that homemaker ability.

Both women are strong and both women came from a rough background. Both are flawed and have made some big mistakes in the past but have clawed their way past them to make better lives for themselves. They've loved, lost, loved and lost again. Leanne is softer, less brittle. Carla just might have the edge over Leanne in determination.

What of Peter? Certainly, he's not a strong man. He's definitely got parent issues. He lost his mother when he was a child and his father sent him away to be brought up by his grandparents. It felt like he was abandoned by both parents. He seems to have inherited his father's gene for the lack of ability to resist women and he's carrying a chip on his shoulder the size of the Blackpool tower. He's an alcoholic, one still prone to lapses. He means well, but he doesn't always manage it. He's a screw up and a bit of a nightmare but somehow, I always thought that he and Leanne really fit together.

Carla seems to have touched something inside him. Maybe it's two damaged people reaching out, trying to keep each other from going under. For her, it does seem like she's grown to love him. This is at least the second time she's fallen hard for a man that she shouldn't. The first time, she was with Paul Connor when she fell for his brother and this time, she's gone for Peter who's married. She runs to other men that she doesn't really love (Tony, Frank) when she can't have the ones she really wanted and look how that's turned out? Also, two of her lovers/husbands have died with rumours of a death in store for Frank as well. Should Peter be worried?

Each coupling has their fans. Some do think Peter and Carla are better together than Peter and Leanne but I don't. It makes me sad that the little Barlow family may be split up. I'm also not surprised that Peter will start drinking again, though it's unknown as to whether it will be a long stretch or just a short lapse. Peter being the type of person he is, is more likely to fall off the wagon numerous times. He's weak when it comes to resolve for anything and seems to be able to resist anything except temptation.


If Peter leaves Leanne for Carla, I suppose it will provide storyline ramifications to play out into the future, which is what they need. How will Carla cope with a very unruly Simon who will resent her for ousting Leanne from his life? We'll definitely see little Simon acting out, maybe running away, getting into trouble. Will Leanne fight for Peter? Will she even want to ? Or will the classic soap twist happen all over again, same as when Liam was going to leave Maria for Carla... Will Leanne get pregnant just as the marriage crumbles? Carla may see her nightmare happening all over again. This time, though, maybe Leanne will refuse to take Peter back and raise the baby on her own.

In soaps, it all goes around in circles. There are only so many storylines you can tell but you can tell them each in different ways. People complain about repetitive storylines. Why do they never complain about yet another love triangle? They are the stuff soaps are made of, with standard plots and plot devices. Marriages will always fall to the influence of another woman or man. Babies will be conceived via a fling with someone, usually ill-advised. Alcoholics usually fall off the wagon. Murderers die or go to jail. Long time "villains" (like Mike Baldwin) always have some redeeming qualities. Some people are perpetual losers in love.

Thus, Peter falls off the wagon and is going to have an affair. So it goes.

edited to add: On a very related note, Inside TV has a great interview with Jane Danson and Chris Gascoyne on just this very thing!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lloyd's Heartbreak

Usually when a man gets his heart broken on a soap, he gets drunk, he gets angry and maybe he shags or at least snogs someone else, someone he shouldn't. He might stare off into space moodily. He might snap at his mates. Maybe, just maybe, he might squeeze a little tear out or punch a hole in a wall.

That's why it's refreshing to watch pool Lloyd in bits and pieces. I don't mean that in a smug way. I just mean it's unusual to see a man barely holding his feelings back and it's unusual to see him baring his soul to his male friends and even a female friend without there being any other agenda or mis-placed snogs. You just don't see that side of a male character on a soap.

When it first happened, when he found out about Cheryl and Chris, we saw Lloyd and Steve in the bog of the pub, Lloyd crying in Steve's arms. Have you ever seen that before, one bloke holding another comforting him, in a bog no less? Girlfriends, yes. Absolutely. Then one will help fix the other's runny mascara and shore her up to go face the world again with her brave face on. But two men? Straight men? Never! Most of them are written to be far too macho for that. It's booze and broken knuckles and shattered glass usually.

I also loved the scenes with Lloyd and Becky, who wanted company to drown her sorrows the day she got her final divorce papers. The two of them listened to sad soul music ("What Becomes of the Broken Hearted" comes to mind) and downing shots of tequila while comparing notes. 

I feel so bad for Lloyd! I want to cry every time I see that adorable puppy dog face with tears brimming over. If Lloyd were a woman he'd have had mascara streaks down his cheeks for weeks! It makes it seem so much more real, seeing a man in that much distress over a bimbo that broke his heart. He really loved her, body and northern soul.

I never really believed that Cheryl loved Lloyd genuinely. I believe she liked him but he also rescued her from a bad relationship and I always thought it was more of a rebound than true love on her part. Lloyd was the knight driving a shining taxi. He stood up for her, he loved her kid, he was kind to her and gentle with her. He loved her and she deluded herself into thinking she loved him back.

Nobody suggested that Chris' tumour was to blame for his violence and indeed I don't believe it was. I think that's been going on long before there could have been any inkling of a tumour though medically, I could be wrong. Still, it wasn't brought up as a reason but as he dealt with it, he seemed to be the "old" Chris she fell in love with. In reality, he was milking it, using it for all he was worth to gain her sympathy. Sympathy and the old magic lured her back into his bed but when she found out about the lies, she went crawling back to Lloyd. To me, that's one of the worst things you can do and I'm so glad he didn't take her back.

A man's got to have his pride. He'd never trust her again and he knew it.

Lloyd has always been a really brilliant character and Craig Charles always puts in a hugely impressive performance with dramatic scenes like this. He and Simon Gregson make a superb double act and he pretty much has that sparking chemistry with anyone he's in a scene with. Except Cheryl. I'm sorry to say that I never thought the pair of them had any chemistry but that's also not down to the actress. The writers just created a character that was bland and uninteresting and it all went downhill from there, unfortunately.

Anyway, I digress somewhat.

As much as the whole Lloyd/Cheryl/Chris triangle was dreadful, it did show off Craig Charles' acting chops and gave Lloyd some great scenes, real Classic Coronation Street, I think.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Kirk plays a blinder this week

Kirkeh. He's gormless, he's not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and he's true, honest, loyal and the best friend you could have. Kirk has been on Coronation Street screens since October, 2000. He is the older brother of Maria and worked at and ran the dog kennel his parents owned for quite some time.

He's shown time and time again that he can be relied on as a friend and brother and this week surely proves it. As someone that's spent most of his life working with dogs, he knew that Schmeichel was gravely ill and he knew that Chesney wasn't ready to hear it. He took the dog to the vet and broke the bad news and supported Chesney even though he knew Chesney was trying to save a dog that couldn't be saved. But he quietly waited until Ches came to the right conclusion and was there to help the lad grieve.

Later, he paid the vet for the cremation and gave Chesney the urn. What a sweet thing to do! Kirk might not always have a clue but he's kind and generous and he can be thoughtful like that.He also tried to lead a prayer moment in the pub in dedication to a great Dane which had Peter, Karl, Dev and Ciaran giggling into their pints along with me and it was a Classic Corrie moment, that!

After the kennels went out of business, Kirk worked with Ashley in the butcher shop, but I don't think he was all that good at it. Probably frustrated Ashley to no end but even so, it was hard for Ash to lay him off when times got hard. I found it very unfair of Ashley not to rehire him. He hired Graeme instead, when Ashley was already trained and he'd promised Kirk the job back if things got better. Probably Graeme was less clumsy with a cleaver, but that's not the point. How could you look at that puppy dog face of Kirk's and not feel bad?

Now he's working at the factory in the packing department. Probably safer than running a machine. This week he also proved that he's not that bad a poker player. He did learn from Les and said he never could beat him, but I reckon Les cheated! Kirk proved he had a great puh-puh-puh-poker face (sorry, couldn't resist the Gaga moment there). He bested the odious Devster and then got out while he was ahead, claiming priorities. He was hungry!

Over the years, Kirk has provided much amusement for this Corrie fan. What of the matching leather jackets he and Jason got? yes, that was a bit boyfriend/girlfriendly but it wouldn't have dawned on Kirk. He's always been the pawn in various schemes, victim of Les, Cilla, and even Tyrone and Jason, his other best mates. Recently he helped Tyrone and Tommy collar a drug dealer to help Fiz out!

Kirk is one of the lads, mates with Jason and Tyrone from away back but makes friends easily. He's the best brother you could every want. He sure has been there for Maria when it counts.

Kirk also took the blame when Gary got into a fight outside the pub, reckoning that Gary already had a record but Kirk, being clean, would get off with a caution. He hardly knew Gary but stuck his neck out because that's the kind of guy Kirk is.

I laugh at gormless Kirk but I also love him. He's such a steady guy, open and kind, honest to a fault sometimes, and he doesn't know how funny he really is. Kirk is played by the talented Andy Whyment. I've met Andy and of course he's nothing like Kirk but when you see him smile, you can't help seeing goofy Kirk. However there's a lot more behind Andy's sharp eyes than Kirk and he doesn't bumble or stumble and man, can he ever sing! That's when you realize just how much talent he really has.

What's your favourite Kirk moment?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Chesney's got to grow up

It's devastating to lose a pet. I feel for Chesney, I really do. He's desperate to hang on to his beloved Schmeichel, but there comes a time when you have to do what's best for the dog and for your family.

This storyline, to me, shows me how young Chesney really is and how much more he's got to mature. It's not a criticism. It is what it is. Chesney has always been an old soul in a young body and has had a rough life. He's been in and out of care and had his mother and Les both leave him. His sister, in his opinion, has ruined her life by hooking up with a nutter like John Stape.

But rather than give the dog up, he and his teen love decided they were old enough to move in to a flat together and have a baby. At 16. I've no doubt they'd love the child, but that's an awful lot of responsibility to carry at that young age. Chesney works in a market stall, not the most steadiest of incomes and Katy was trying to finish school before giving birth.

Now Schmeichel is very ill. Chesney is over his head in debt already, not able to keep up the rent payments on Number 5 while Fiz was in prison. He's been distracted and worried about his sister so hasn't been working. Bills are going unpaid. He swallowed his pride and accepted money from Owen for the back rent but then stole it for the veterinarian bills and is about to rack up more with an expensive operation that isn't going to really help the dog in the long run. Chesney is very emotional but Katy can't understand why he can't take responsibility for his bills and provide for her and the baby. That would be the mature thing to do. Chesney doesn't feel very mature right now but right now is not the time to have a meltdown, not with fatherhood impending.

Schmeichel was the only stable thing in his childhood for awhile. It's understandable that he'd be emotional. But if he believes he's old enough to be independent, to be a father and hold up his end of a relationship, he also needs to realize that he has to make hard decisions. Sometimes it's kinder to put an animal to sleep when there's no hope. It's the right thing to do. Everyone else knows it but Chesney can't accept it. It's as if he's reverted to being 12 again and there are no parents left to make him understand that. He won't take advice from Owen who wants to help but has his daughter to think of first.

Poor Ches. I feel bad for him but he's got to grow up and face the reality of the situation. It's going to be the most difficult thing he's had to do to date but we all know it's going to have to be done. Perhaps this will push Chesney into adulthood a bit further. He's going to need every ounce of it he can get with all his other problems on his young shoulders.

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