Saturday, 29 June 2013

State of the Street - June 2013

What a great month it's been for the most part! I really think that, overall, Corrie is looking up these days.

Tina couldn't give up the baby which was obvious. Even early on she couldn't watch the screen during scans. But rather than drag this out through an unimaginably dull custody court case, we wound up the story fairly quickly. Izzy, the true mother, could not see dragging that little boy through court cases that could last years, and though Gary was not having it, she managed to make him see that he couldn't put the little boy through that. He didn't want his son to grow up angry and though didn't like it, backed Izzy when she told Tina she could keep the baby. But, after hearing Tommy tell her a few hard truths, and seeing Izzy giving up what he wanted for the baby's sake, Tina finally did the right thing.

Now she's trying to get on with her life and the Armstrongs and Windasses are always in her face, thanking her, or just celebrating which is kind of like rubbing her nose in it. Izzy seems to be a bit more low key about it but she's not innocent of it either While Gary and Owen and even Anna are practically crowing about it all over the street.

I wondered if the amount Owen was paying Tina was more than what she wanted to cover Tommy's debt? Now that Tommy is probably clear of debt and Tina gave the baby back to Izzy, will she get to keep the balance of the cash?

It's not going to be easy. I wonder if we'll see her spiral into depression again. She is scared she might after what happened after her father died. Tommy will be there but I can't see him knowing what to do to help her. Graeme didn't know either, but his presence seemed a lot more calming to her. He just didn't give up. I don't think Tommy would either but he would be more confused and probably not that much help. I suppose time will tell. That will be a storyline for August.

Evil David is back!

In a wholly contrived explanation scene, Gail and Kylie review the whole thing with David listening from the top of the stairwell, arms full of flowers and tears running down his face as he hears Gail and Kylie talk about how they hope the baby is David's. Gail affirms they should stop talking about it altogether (Makes a change from her constantly sniping at Kylie ever since she found out).

So now David knows about the baby and the fling and as you would expect, the evil David is back. Some people think it's very one-sided to have him revert to the old David, smashing things and taking revenge but you must remember that David is damaged. He was thrown by his parents' divorce and never did get councilling after the Hillman death attempt, he was just a kid and never learned to deal with the anger and fear. No wonder he was out of control as a teen and this kind of betrayal certainly would be enough to tip him back over the edge, almost literally when he stood on the top of the cliff.

No, revenge is better, he's thinking. And the best revenge is to be taken against Nick it seems, not against his beloved wife, Kylie. He seems to be forgiving of Kylie at this point, or at least not willing to let her go so he's got to take it out on someone and Nick is the obvious choice, with Gail a second runner up. He's going to split up Nick and Leanne if he has his way. I wonder if he'll succeed?

He's working on Gail's suspicions, those she already harboured about Leanne and now he's starting in on Nick's insecurities. I suppose we have this to look forward to all summer until the baby comes, September wasn't it? I'm loving this storyline, because I love all the Platts and I think it's been well plotted out for the most part.

Roy didn't deal very well with the aftermath of his father's death, did he? First he was angry and intent on cleaning up around himself with a passion, then weird things started happening in the cafe. There couldn't be a ghost so he was sure someone was playing tricks and making him the butt of a joke as per usual. Turns out he was sleepwalking which didn't surprise me. All the stress, the guilt and the regret just piled all up inside him. I've also enjoyed Sylvia's little insights into Roy's childhood though she is always trying to explain to Hayley what he's like when Hayley knows very well. It's been wonderful to see the Croppers at the forefront.

It seemed to take Eileen an awfully long time to finally get to the point where she decided to take advantage of the family help and councilling that the fire department offers and it seemed to take an awfully long time for them to even mention it in the show. I have been constantly amazed that nothing was brought up earlier and even more mystified that Paul never made any reference to how Lesley dealt with things. She was married to him for over 20 years, surely he must have dealt with this type of thing at least when they first married. He should have recognized the signs especially after they nearly split up because of her fears.

Dev's quest finally settled down after he reached a dead end, (sorry) and both Mary and Karl told him a few hard truths, Mary moreso, ordering him to put those children first. But there have been clues being dropped here and there and it looks very much like young Craig will have the missing piece of the murder puzzle somehow. I don't know how or where or what, but the lad is off his food, having nightmares and looking worried and scared every time Karl is around. They don't do these things for nowt! This will come out, it's a given, and Karl is always looking so ill and shakey, like he could blurt out a confession any time. Stella is setting a wedding date for September so there's a 50/50 chance the wedding will or will not go off. If it does go off, I think the truth will be out soon after anyway.

I'm enjoying watching Rob and Carla circle each other, dragging their family skeletons and old baggage out of their shared history. There is resentment, pain and regret. Tracy on one side, pushing Rob and winding up Carla and Peter on the other side, his California glow dimming rapidly. As much as I hate Tracy and I really dislike the actor, I'm actually enjoying her interaction in this storyline which surprises me. I dislike Rob and the actor as well, but the dynamic between he and Carla is great. Maybe it's because Carla and Peter are such good characters and their portrayers are excellent that they leak a little of their talent to those they play against, giving them the oomph to rise to the challenge a bit more. I don't know but while the acting skills of the dastardly duo is still less than stellar, I also find it less grating than usual.

Maria and Marcus were hardly seen for weeks or months then had a little panic blip on the radar over that wedding. Now I guess they're back in the closet again. It can't last. Maria has too many insecurities. She's her own worst enemy when it comes to fellas. Now that the baby stuff is more or less off the radar, we are back to Faye. Anna seemed to forget all about her while the rest of it was going on.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Unpopular Point of View

I've been reading the blogs and comments on current Corrie storylines. It's always interesting to see the varying points of view on the characters and the storylines. A lot of it is negative. For some reason, people seem more inclined to write to complain than to praise unless expressly asked "What do you love about Corrie lately?"

Most of my own views on characters, actors and storylines seem to be more tolerant of "down" periods or less than skilled performances, with exceptions, of course. Lately, I've noticed that a couple of the storylines I enjoy with a few quibbles are ones that a lot of other fans really hate and can't wait to see end. There's one in particular that I'm surprised I'm enjoying, considering that I really don't like two of the characters involved and don't particularly rate the actors' performances, either. That could be a case of them being better than I realize, but as I've never seen them in anything else, I have nothing else to compare to.

That storyline is the one involving Carla and Rob. The brother-sister dynamic really interests me. Each of them is throwing the bad old days at each other, and old resentments are getting aired along with that complex "I love you, you're my sibling, but I don't like you very much" dynamic. Throw in the characters' partners, Peter and Tracy into the mix. That's what's really throwing me off my game. I like to hate characters when the actor behind them is clearly doing a bang up job.

I've always liked Peter and Carla has most definitely grown on me. I hate Tracy. I don't like the character, nor are we supposed to, but I also don't like the actor's performance. I know that Kate Ford is apparently a very nice person so is it possible she's a better actor than I think? Maybe, because Tracy is such a one sided character, Kate just goes over the top on purpose. I don't like Rob either nor does the actor do anything for me. But you know what? I'm enjoying the Rob-Tracy partnership and I'm liking her involvement in this storyline, sniping from the back seats, winding Carla up and bullying Rob into some semblance of ambition. I like that Rob knows exactly what Tracy's about, how shallow and selfish she is and he sees that she's just like him in many respects. It's why they work well together and it will probably be what tears them apart in the end.

I've also enjoyed the surrogacy storyline from the start. I don't find Tina as grating as many seem to so she's not been bothering me. I could tell from the start that she'd end up wanting to keep the baby, that was a given. I wasn't sure how it was going to work with her having the baby in the same street as his biological parents. I've found it interesting watching the interaction between Gary, Izzy and Tina and then, once Tina decided to keep the baby, it all kicked off. The only part I didn't like was all the sniping and shouting every time they all  ran into each other, no matter where they happened to be. And I really didn't like Anna charging in to the pub and attacking Tina physically. I really didn't think that was called for.

Some may argue that Anna was provoked, with her heartbroken son to defend. I've also read comments that due to Tina having a habit of throwing drinks in people's faces, she was due a come-back. That may be true in some respects but I still think that shocking violent outburst, seemingly out of the blue, was a bit much. The time for that would have been in the hospital lounge when Tina first broke the news and not from Anna. Izzy could be said to have more justification for it than Anna.

I don't think Tina was right to keep the baby and it's been interesting to watch her growing doubts, day by day, as she sees even those closest to her think she's doing the wrong thing though they're supporting her. She found she had difficulty breastfeeding the very first time and that knocked her confidence back even though it's something that commonly happens. The final straw, and one I didn't expect, was the Solomon-like decision  where Izzy backed down and decided to let Tina keep the baby rather than subject the little one to a lifetime of conflict. Tina then did the right thing and gave the baby to Izzy and Gary, his biological parents. The true mother backs off for the sake of the child. She loves him enough to give him up. Tina recognized that and did the right thing in the end.

Will she regret it? Yes, but she will know she did the right thing.

These two storylines have been the ones that have garnered more of the negative feedback that  I've seen so I wanted to put forth my side of it.  There are always going to be characters I don't like and actors that I don't like but rarely would I say that ruins the show for me even if I wish that particular character or disliked storyline would go/end yesterday. And trust me, there is at least one storyline on the go now that I feel that way about and at least one more character that I feel just doesn't work and it's partly because of the way they're written and partly because I really don't like the actor. I gave it a fair chance but it's just not getting any better.

But that's a whole other blog post, maybe. For another day.

Friday, 14 June 2013

The Moral Choice

The surrogacy story has reached the twist that pretty much everyone knew was coming. Tina can't bring herself to give up the baby to Izzy and Gary. In a large part, she was overwhelmed with love for the baby and that's a natural reaction. In a small part, she sees Gary and Izzy fighting, Gary having made a pass at her. Now Izzy and Gary are at odds, perhaps with a cool truce for the baby's sake but Izzy not planning to forgive Gary any time soon. The baby would be brought up in a broken home full of tension.

While I can understand the pull of hormones, I think she's wrong to keep the baby. Legally, she's the mother and does not have to abide by her promise. I believe that even a written contract would not be legally enforceable and as far as Gary's paternal rights go, he only has them if she says he can. Legally she can give paternal rights to Tommy if she chooses. She and Gary were not married at the time of the birth. As for that broken home, she probably thought that a single parent would still be better for the baby than two parents split apart and at each others' throats while sharing custody. She's got Tommy on her side for the time being, but for how long?

Izzy and Gary may be at odds but they also have a family to support them and the child where Tina (and Tommy) have two old age pensioners. Tina does have a mother but she's never been in the picture and seems to have been totally forgotten altogether.

Biologically and genetically, that child is not hers, it's Izzy and Gary's. She promised. She took money (which is illegal aside from legitimate expenses). I don't recall if she signed a contract though there may have been some medical forms signed when she underwent the surrogacy treatments. Morally, I think she should give the baby to his rightful parents, as difficult as it would be for her.

It would have been too simple for the storyline to follow the planned route. Tina gives the baby over and looks sadly at the little family from across the cobbles when she sees them out and about. Having Tina keep the baby after all gives us far more drama and storyline into the near future at least. Everyone's upset, Tina stands alone. Even though Tommy and Rita have supported her, they don't really think she's doing the right thing, either.

There is supposed to be a court hearing now. Whether we'll get that far is another question. Will Tina give in? Will the judge say, Sorry, the law is clear. She can keep the baby. That will cause further ructions, hate and screaming in the middle of the street. I guess we'll find out soon enough. I can't help thinking that in the real world, if this were to happen, Tina might keep the baby and then leave town. (Well, yes, I know that spoiler too, but that's a ways off yet with lots of angst and storyline that can unfold in the meantime).

I know there's been a lot of criticism about the storyline but I have enjoyed it so far even when, at times, I've been annoyed. Overall, I think it's been interesting and good soap fodder. What have you thought?

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Lovin the Devster

Here's a statement I never thought I'd make: I'm really enjoying Dev Alahan these days.

Dev has never been a character that I've enjoyed for the most part. He's too much into himself, mostly shallow, usually selfish and self absorbed. He's sexist and he also fawns over people. Some people find him funny to watch, some people don't find the character appealing but "love to hate" him. I never felt any of those things and more than part of the reason was the actor's performance.

I've always felt that Jimmi Harkishin's performance was very hammy, cheesy and over the top and aside from the occaisional decent scene, he always impressed me as not a very good actor. Maybe I was naive? Maybe he's a lot better than I always gave him credit for. Chances are pretty good that he's nothing like Dev which means his acting skill is better than you'd think.

That's often the case with most characters being very different from the actors that portray them. David Neilson comes immediately to mind. His transformation into Roy Cropper is astonishing. There are some actors, I've been told, whose personalities are not very far removed from their characters on the whole but most people are quite different from who they play. Most of the ones that play nasty pieces of work are really charming and lovely in person. I've heard that a lot about Kate Ford who plays Tracy Barlow (but I
still don't care for her acting efforts!). 

So is Jimmi Harkishin putting on a really good performance? I'm starting to rethink my former disdain. Since the death of Sunita on screen, Dev has been low key, more serious as you would expect from a man dealing with his own grief while trying to help his young children through it as well and not succeeding very well at the moment.

There are still selfish elements in Dev, like when he was surprised when Mary suggested that his children were feeling the same emptiness and confusion that he was. Good grief, man, your children have lost their mother. They're not sailing through these emotions and they're a lot less able to cope.

Still, that's typical Dev but he is trying very hard and his children's faith in their mother's innocence has spurred him into crusade mode to prove Sunita wasn't the arsonist that everyone thinks she was. That will put him in direct conflict with Karl, the real murderer.

My point is that Dev's storyline has been emotional, sent up a notch, and for once, Jimmi Harkishin's performance hasn't been putting me off. Often when he tries to portray high emotions, he looks very much like he's faking it and it just doesn't ring true. I do recognize that it's difficult for some actors to really convey that they're crying in an emotional scene, something he really doesn't do well. Still, I've been impressed with him in the last month or two as he portrays grief and anger and loss quite well.

I won't say he's been rivitting in his performance but I will say he's a lot more watchable than I've previously found him to be. Well done, Jimmi H. I shall watch the rest of this story unfold with interest.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

State of the Street - May 2013

I'm afraid I've neglected this blog during the month of May. I've been on holiday part of it and getting things sorted and catching up on Corrie the other part so it's really left little time for blogging aside from making notes for the monthly State of the Street so here we go with that!

Karl wants to marry Stella. After all these years, they've never got round to it. She figures they're in no position to do it but he wants to cement his cause, soothe his guilt. "After everything I've done for you" and she doesn't know the half! She caves and accepts. More fool her. But Leanne is the only one that's strenuously objecting. The only one with serious suspicions but though she and Stella have made their peace, they also don't have the history that might make Stella think twice and trust Leanne's judgement.

The push was on to get the pub ready sooner than later so Karl pitched in and worked for free. He warned them that when he's "grafting" he drinks his weight in tea. I reckon that's because when he's "grafting" that's all he's doing, making tea. One extra body and forget doing the upstairs living quarters for now and they did it on time.

So the pub is open. Do you like it? I do, the bricky red textured wallpaper is much nicer than the old stuff and the paler upholstery is a nice contrast though it's going to get dirty fast. I hope they stain-treated it. Karl also managed to get a load of second hand pub furniture and bar presumably. That gave the Rovers a nice lived in feel. Sadly the stained glass in the booths is gone but the replacement is nice, if not as much character. There's not a lot of difference aside from new upholstery and wallpaper and there's a new photo of Betty, minus the appalling Landlady plaque thank God. Thank you, new producer, for that at least.

I am on the lookout for something orange in the decor of either the pub or the back room. The wallpaper sometimes looks orange but I think it's closer to a brick red. I think the tassle on the bell is orange, though. Why do I search?  Because during a studio tour earlier this year, I was told that when there's a fire, they always put something orange on the new set decoration. It seems to hold true at least with the businesses. Nicks and the bookies both have orange signs, Underworld has orange paint on the stair railings and the Kabin has orange and yellow wall tiling. The only places that have had fire that haven't got orange are number 13 (post-tram crash, now where the Prices are staying, owned by Kevin) and Sally's house (the fire was when Ashley and Claire had it).

Never let an event go by without something happening, though. Tina went into premature labour. All the stress, maybe? And after Katy hinted something to Izzy, she overheard Gary and Tina talk about the near miss kiss and she's pissed. I can understand it but I'm getting sick to the eye teeth of one kiss or not even that much wreaking havoc and relationship destruction. At least in this case, we didn't have to watch Gary freak out and stalk Tina and Katy for weeks on end, it came out fairly quickly. It was more obvious than an obvious thing, watching Gary freak out for a week  and though a few suspicions were raised, Izzy never found out until she over heard it.

Izzy wants nothing to do with Gary now, and won't even let him see the baby. She's gone way over the top. I can understand her feeling betrayed but legally, she has nothing to say about the baby anyway, not yet. Legally it's still Tina's and that could cause problems.  They showed a softer side of Owen through all this, with him being so worried about the whole sitution even if he's angry as hell at Gary but they ruined it by having him treat Katy like a 12 year old over the Ryan business.

Some people have been speculating that the baby might turn out to be Tommy's but I don't think so. The clinic would have done pregnancy tests even just before they implanted. By that one fertile week of the implantation, Tina and Tommy were broken up so it's not likely she'd got pregnant during the previous month and they missed it. No. I'm sure it's Gary and Izzy's biological child. But will Tina be able to give it up? She apparently does have a legal right to the child until she signs it over even if it's not biologically hers.

Peter and Rob started off the month in a pissing contest over the betting shop. Tracy actually showed signs of being human for 5 minutes but that didn't last. I don't like Rob nor do I find him particularly good looking but I don't mind the actor in general. I think he's doing his job making me dislike Rob though his acting style isn't great, or maybe it is!

I do like Peter and Carla is growing on me and I like their characters as well as Leanne's so I always liked that triangle storyline. This new one was one I thought I'd hate because of the injection of Rob and Tracy and I did start out liking it, while it was in the bookies. But once Rob went back to the factory moaning about entitlement and engineering rip offs, I went back to hating it. I hope when Carla gets back at him for what he and Tracy have done, we'll get rid of him once and for all but chances are he'll whine again and she'll not send him to jail like he deserves. It's interesting that some of their back history is being explored, though.

Could Chesney be any more miserable, sulky and whiney? Could Katy be any more immature? Could Ryan look any more like a deer caught in the headlights? That is all.

When I say it's nice to see Dev having a difficult time with his grief, I don't mean I'm enjoying it. I just mean that it's good to see them portray what it's really like and how it really affects people, both adults and children though with Dev, as usual, it was still all about  him. He even seemed surprised that Aadi might possibly be feeling as messed up inside as he himself is. Well DUH. Little boy has lost his mother and everyone thinks she started the fire. How do you think he feels? Children don't have the same coping mechanism.

I liked the injection of Mary into the mix, I think it's got potential and maybe can show her in a bit more sympathetic light. I don't like the injection of Stella who won't leave Dev alone. The reason for that is so that Karl can be under even more pressure, I know that, but I still hate it. She's got no business injecting herself into Dev's business but then injecting herself into anyone's business is nothing new to Stella. Dev accused Karl of causing Sunita's death due to his affair with her. He's right but he said he didn't mean to upset Karl. Stella probably hasn't thought of that either. I just hope that when Karl's misdeeds come out, we don't see a pairing between Dev and Stella. Bleurgh.

Roy has dealt with the rejection of his father from when he was a boy. He has managed to build himself a satisfactory life and put it where it belongs, in the past but the past came back to bite him with the delayed delivery of a letter from said father. But when he finally decided to find is dad, it turns out his dad has died and Roy is left with all those unanswered questions all over again. Roy doesn't deal with change at the best of times and he's really having a rough time with this one, much to his mother and wife's concern. This is the best storyline this month and has really given Roy and his mother some bonding from a new perspective. I love it! In fact it was probably the only thing I've been enjoying this month.

There's been little bits and pieces scattered through the month, most notably the return of David's epilepsy that nobody would speak of while worrying about him getting so tired and overworking himself . People wanted the writers to be politically correct and not have characters call the seizures "fits" but, folks, that's one reason Corrie feels so real. It isn't always PC. People really talk like that. Anyway. Now Nick also knows that Sally knows about he and Kylie and with the pregnancy advancing, it can't be long before the secret comes out. WWDD? (What Will David Do?) Being overworked and overtired made his seizures come back. What will the stress of finding out the baby may not be his do? Taking bets on complete epilepsy amnesia on the writers' part.

We've seen Faye living with her dad and finding out it's not quite all it's cracked up to be. He is not taking to the responsibilities of fatherhood like a dog to a bone, is he? Eileen and Paul stayed together but you know she's not going to rest easy any time he's at work. Sally's feeling lonely and looking to the internet. I hope they explore that a bit. I'd like to see Sally find a really nice bloke that way, not just end up dating nutters. Have you noticed, they've put Jenna and Sophie together and have basically abandoned them. Other than peripherally supporting Dev, there has been no sight of them, no loved up scenes, no storyline of how the vast age and educational difference affects them if at all. And no Mandy. Maybe now the pub is back open, we'll see her again.

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