Monday, 30 November 2009

State of the Street - November

The storyline of the month was the fall of Tony Gordon. Tony confessed to the moral conscience of the street. No, not Ken Barlow, that would be Roy Cropper. Will he go to the police or wouldn't he? Tony made an amazing recovery, didn't he? From "He might not make it through the night" to back on the factory floor, including torturing Roy and Hayley in a week! Tony survived the night and wasted no time sucking up to Roy, covering his backside hoping Roy will put the confession down to a drug induced hallucination. Didn't happen, did it? Roy went to the police, Tony escaped the initial inquisition but Tony got desperate because Maria believed the accusations and when Tony gets desperate, he strikes out. Roy survived the tussle and dip into the canal, thankfully, and Tony confessed it all and gave himself up and thus, Maria's world came down around her ears yet again. Poor lass, i can't imagine what she must be going through.

Everyone is dealing with the fallout. Ryan, who's lost so much, has gone spare and wants to get out of Weatherfield. Maria feels like she's lost Liam all over again and feels humiliated. Then she has to contend with Mammy Connor on a mission! Off she goes to Ireland to recover. Don't expect her to go to Cypress. I can't imagine her parents care one way or the other. Cruising instead of going to the wedding. No word from them after her first baby died. They didn't come visit after baby Liam was born and didn't even see him for 4 and a half months until Maria went to Cypress for a day or two until she had to come back when Tony had a heart attack. No. Ireland is it in spite of the Ivy-clone that is her mother-in-law from Hell.

Michelle...two words.. Street... Bike. Enough said. She doesn't think of about Ryan. She never does and even his low opinion of her didn't seem to make a huge dent in her conscience for more than five minutes.

I guess Eileen has pulled another unreliable man. I had high hopes for Jesse, i really did. It looks very much like he's falling for, or at least lusting after Julie and Eileen will be left in the lurch yet again if she doesn't dump him first. Eileen doesn't even measure up in Family Boy's eyes, I think. He's still got his mother's apron strings hanging from his belt

Then there's Joe, Gail and the boat. A family that scrapes barnacles together, stays together, i guess. Even David seems a bit more human. Influence of the new girlfriend, Zoe? Or is it another calm before another storm? The last time we had a boat on the street, when it lived in Des Barnes' back garden, it ended disastrously. Joe has a lot of financial debt and the collector's coming knocking. I can't see how this is going to end well. "Gail Force" he's called the boat. That's about the size of it, isn't it? She is a bit of a disaster at times, isn't she?

So is Joe, though. Wanna bet that boat ends up in the debt collector's hands? God, we only had Smiling Joe for a couple of weeks and we're back to Pathetic Joe slinking around with a worried face and red eyes. At least he has told Gail about it. And yet, she's still not going to chuck him out. She's going to flaming sell the house!!!! I can't stand it!!!! Is she that desperate? (Don't answer that!)

Simon's other grandfather shows up out of the blue. He said he didn't even know he had a grandson and didn't know his daughter was dead until he tried to track her down. Must have been quite a shock. Peter should understand, though. He had a hard time adjusting to being a dad and really wanted to get it right once he got over the adjustment. So a new relative who has loads of money comes into Peter's life, just as he is looking for financing for the bar. Are you thinking what i'm thinking? If Peter falls off the wagon, will George swoop in and try to get custody of Simon out from under Peter's nose? Then there's the Grandpa Rivalry. Someone else to make Ken feel inadequate, as if Blanche doesn't do that for him on a regular basis!

Then there's the affair from hell...Molly wasn't too keen to hear about Kevin's other women. I don't know what she's got to complain about. She chased Tyrone away from Maria and she tried to chase Kirk away from Fiz. Kevin realized just how expensive a divorce can be. He also realized how much his affair would affect his children so he's putting off Molly's plans for them to be together for another year nearly (well, if it doesn't blow up in his face before then. A distinct possibility). It seems to be to be a stereotype typical soap affair, doesn't it? The man wants a bit on the side, thinks he's in love when he's really just in lust. He's fooling himself into thinking he'll ever leave his wife because really, he's comfortable in his life and only wanted a bit of excitement. That's all Molly really wants too, i'm convinced of it. These two don't strike me as having real true love and caring.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Dev Alahan: Is he silly or is he a snake?

We have just celebrated 10 years of Devendra Alahan on Coronation Street. He was introduced as a cousin to the Desai family, an owner of 7 corner shops and a man about town (i.e. playboy). He was *apparently* based in Birmingham but his back story was later changed, I presume, since, in 2005, it was revealed that he had several children of varying ages from mothers who had worked for him in his various shops. One of these children, Shereen, even has a child of her own so Playboy Dev is actually a granddad, a fact that is never mentioned!

Dev has always been a smooth operator where women are concerned. He fancies himself quite the ladies' man which has landed him in hot water a time or two. When he arrived, a girlfriend from Birminham, Amy, followed him to Manchester. She was upset because he dumped her after promising to marry her. She was relentless though Dev denied everything. She was later exposed as a liar after she pretended to have attempted to slash her wrists and said she was pregnant when she wasn't. Knowing Dev better now than I did then, I'm unconvinced that she was lying about his affections for her. Granted, she took things to extremes, but it's very possibly he wooed her and then left her high and dry. She just didn't take the rejection very well.

For all he thinks he's irresistable to women, he hasn't made the smartest choices, either. His ill-advised drunken Christams fling with older Deirdre Barlow turned many a viewer's stomach. "Mad" Maya nearly killed Dev and Sunita both after he rejected her for being a nutcase. He also had a relationship with Tracy Barlow and when he'd had enough of her madness, she destroyed all his clothes in fury! I bet he thanked his lucky stars for that escape when she later murdered Charlie Stubbs! Then there was the mother and daughter "tag team", Nina and Tara Mendel. Star struck Dev was flattered by former Bollywood star Nina's seduction and then fell for her daughter who seemed to me to be just as single minded as her mother and proved it with her revenge plot to publically humiliate Dev who had had a one night stand after he thought she'd dumped him.

He almost married Geena but between her interfering mother and his jealousy, that didn't work out. In the end, no matter how many women he dated or had one night stands with, the one he wanted to marry turned out to be a long time employee, Sunita, who was also a good Indian girl that Mother would Approve of. It didn't last. When she found out about all his children by accident, she dumped him. And rightly so. It's not really the kind of thing you should keep from someone you want to spend the rest of your life with.

I've just rewatched the episodes where Sunita discovered that Amber and the others were his children. He had romps with at least three women, gave them jobs and let them live rent free over the shops. I was always a bit surprised that Sunita never knew, before she was involved with Dev, since she worked at one of the shops for a long time. Surely the gossip would get around? The others seemed to know about each other. That's what happens when you rewrite history and skip the details, I guess.

But I digress. Even when Sunita confronted Dev with the evidence, he continued to lie and try to cover it up. It was only when he realized she thought he was having an affair and had fathered a baby with Shereen that he admitted Shereen was his daughter and he had no idea about her baby. He was *still* dismissive of his child and grandchild! His lackluster attitude appalled me and Sunita both and I never could blame her for chucking him out. He was very upset. His wife was pregnant with twins and threatening to keep him from seeing his children but he had never played a part in any of the other children's lives. He said that was down to their mothers but yet the mothers didn't have a problem accepting jobs and free rent so I always thought it had more to do with him not really wanting to be involved. It probably occurred to Sunita as well. Her children were different, you see. He was actually married to her, you see.

Dev is a snob as well. He rates himself as a sophisticated businessman. He plays golf (and surely could afford a membership to the country club in his own right rather than ride on the coattails of a guest membership?), he lives in a posh flat. Because he's a snob, his character ends up almost a parody of himself. He's often written as getting into situations that make him look a fool because he's a slave to his snobbery or when his high opinion of himself ends up landing him in a situation where he looks ridiculous. Being a father to a teenage girl has brought him down a peg or two. She doesn't bend to his will and often had him gasping in exasperation, and she often wrapped him around her little finger. That has often provided some amusement over the last few years. For all of his sophistication, real and imagined, he was flummoxed by a teenage girl, the one woman he couldn't win over by his big brown eyes and smooth dulcet tones!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The Fall of Tony Gordon

It's been a year in the making. A jealous Tony fitted up Liam, his wife's lover, and had his mate Jimmy drive the death vehicle. He immediately had some regrets because he found out Maria was newly pregnant and then he lost Carla anyway. He had panic attacks and the guilt shook him up a little. Maria worked out the truth but he managed to wait her out and then took a new plan of attack...suck up to the widow and be helpful and sincere. It worked. Maria thought she was wrong and took Tony's offered hand of friendship and it turned into love.

I really was skeptical whether Tony actually loves Maria or if it was all an act to keep her off the trail. I expect it was at first but it does look like he really has developed feelings for Maria. Perhaps it's the lure of a real, ready made family. Wife, baby, dog. Tony's father died young and he probably wasn't very old when that happened so grew up without a male influence. Perhaps that's where the need to be controlling comes from, who knows? In this, he has a similar background to another former Corrie killer, Richard Hillman who also grew up without a father. As we blogged earlier this week, and I agree, you're either part of Tony's World of you aren't. Why that is, we will never know.

However it happened, Tony did fall in love with Maria and she with him. He thought they would have a future but Carla found out about them and she came back and Tony has become afraid that it will all fall apart. Carla knows the truth and it's only a matter of time. Tony coerced Jimmy into trying to kill Carla since nobody knew she was back (except the friend she was staying with, i should imagine!) and then when she managed to get the upper hand, he convinced Carla she'd killed him. She flees but he knows it could still all be a matter of time and the stress builds and builds until he's writing on the cobbles with a heart attack.

Enter Roy Cropper.

Roy saves Tony's life and between the drugs and the guilt, a confession slips through Tony's lips. Once he knows he's going to survive, Tony wastes no time sucking up and trying to convince Roy it was all a myth, drug induced ramblings, and a big mistake. He sends lavish gifts, he offers Hayley a good job, he even calls Roy's bluff to his face. Roy has become Tony's conscience. He presents the facts of Tony's guilt. Maria, Liam's widow. Liam, the son of the dead man.

MEN's Ian Wylie has published an excellent interview with producer Kim Crowther on his blog, The Life of Wylie, where she says "His relationship with Maria and becoming a father figure to baby Liam has been all about him trying to absolve his guilt and trying to be re-born. It’s all about redemption" and that of course, is it all in a nutshell. I never believed Tony was truly in love with Maria, and i always knew he felt guilty over Liam's death but only when he found out Maria was pregnant. Once he had her off the track and she thought she was mistaken about his misdeeds, he began to go over the top in typical Tony fashion to atone. When it all crashed and burned, he had nowhere to go but down.

Roy knows. Roy continues to poke Tony with a figurative stick and it's very clear to Roy that Tony is guilty. Tony is a murderer and cannot be allowed to get away with it. Black is black and white is white in Roy's world and in the world of a soap.

Hayley, naive and optimistic, never believes the worst of people. She sees all the grey areas but when Roy gets a bone, he is reluctant to let it go. Tony tried everything and continued to deny, deny, deny and Roy continued to poke, poke, poke. You know what happens when you poke a snake, right? He lashes out and this one certainly did.
Gifts turned into threats and the Croppers know when they have pushed a dangerous man too far. Hayley now realizes Roy was right and, scared for their own safety, they go to the police and then get out of Dodge City for the weekend and the last shreds of Tony's world pull apart.

I'm not quite sure why they came back since they were scared Tony was after them but I'm sure their responsibilities drew them home because they wouldn't have known that the police would have waited until the day they happened to return to question Tony. Tony managed to steal their keys so I guess only one of them took their keys away with them. But I digress. Why he didn't think Maria wouldn't find out that he was questioned, again, I don't know but once he realized Maria was told about the Croppers' suspicions, it was only a matter of time. Let's face it, the Croppers don't lie and everyone knows about Tony's sojourn at the cop shop.

Tony has nothing left to lose now that his beloved Maria knows the truth. He snapped. He nearly killed Hayley but Maria's presence kept him in the shadow. Roy's next and it came to a climax at the canal. It's ironic, that. Tony and Roy's animosity started with bats and it ended with them as well, nearly fatally as the two men grappled and Roy landed in the drink. It looked like it was all over for our hero-in-a-cardie but wait...maybe Tony thought that saving Roy would cancel Liam's murder, his last gesture of atonement since he knew it was over one way or another.

Tony turned himself in and confessed the lot. The door on the jail cell will clang shut and Tony's fate will be sealed. It was inevitable.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Character Study: Maria Sutherland Connor

We first met Maria Sutherland in 2000 when she was working at her family's kennels. Tyrone Dobbs went there to find a breeding stud for his greyhound, Monica and the two shy young people instantly liked each other. They were sweet together, holding hands and making doe-eyes and eventually cemented their love with a physical relationship which led to an engagement. Tyrone asked Maria to marry him while they visited the top of the Blackpool Tower. Jack and Vera approved and thought Maria was perfect for Ty. It wasn't a smooth ride, however. Tyrone's jealousy caused a few ructions when Maria made friends with both hunky Sam Kingston, a mechanic at the garage and Jason Grimshaw but she was faithful to Tyrone and proved he had nothing to fear. This changed, however, when Fiz Brown arrived and set her cap at Tyrone.

Tyrone's previous jealousy had made him more susceptible to Fiz's forceful pursuit and eventually Maria and Tyrone broke up. By this time, Maria was working in the salon, forging a new career for herself. She may have been meek but it didn't stop her from giving Fiz a hard time under the salon styling scissors. She also worked behind the bar at the Rovers.

She didn't lack for fellas, though. She went out with Jason for a while and moved into the salon flat with Toyah Battersby. She met Nick Tilsley at Richard and Gail's wedding and was instantly attracted. The feeling was mutual. Maria's always been impulsive and not always very smart about men but it seemed like Nick was "The One" so she decided to quit her job and move to Canada with him. She soon got bored and again, impulsively, left Nick and came back home without even telling him. She got her job back at the bar and decided to change her image and her life.

No more the shy, sweet girl, she started to dress as trendily as she could afford, and as skimpy as she dared. She wore short skirts and dated fast men. She moved back into the salon flat. Fiz had moved in while she was gone but the three girls managed to live together without too much contention. That is... until Maria fell under the spell of Toyah's two-timing boyfriend. John was a university instructor and enjoyed seeing how many lovely young college-age students he could seduce. The only problem was, Maria got pregnant. Unbeknownst to Toyah, it was, of course, John's baby. Toyah was a good friend and supported Maria through a termination but when she found out who the father of the baby was, she was so horrified that she left town.

Maria continued to party and her lacklustre time-keeping and personality clash with Shelley's mother, Bev, ended up getting her the sack from the bar. Audrey took her back on at the salon and she's been working there ever since.

Nick returned to town and after they worked out their differences, they got back together. They even got engaged but Nick's ex-wife returned to Weatherfield and when she met Maria, sparks flew. Leanne was intent on causing trouble as revenge for how Maria had treated her sister, Toyah and succeeded in breaking them up. Maria had been living in the flat over Streetcars with Nick and stayed on there, but Steve moved Liz in as her roommate. They rubbed along all right but eventually Maria moved back to the salon flat.

She and Tyrone went around a second time. But Maria, not being very clever, seemed to think Tyrone was not quite trendy enough and set about trying to change him, subjecting him to body waxes, new clothes and facial care. They were going to get married but Maria had another pregnancy scare. She admitted she didn't want a baby yet though Ty was over the moon at the idea. Tyrone eventually realized that he and Maria weren't really suited and finished with her.

Maria still hadn't got the message. She lurched from man to man and had a very ill-advised affair with Tracy Barlow's boyfriend, Charlie Stubbs. But this time, at least, when she realized that he had no intentions of being with her openly, she broke up with him and told Tracy about the affair. She moved back in the salon flat with Fiz once again, bemoaning her lack of sense when it came to men - which didn't last long as she then had a brief fling with Peter Barlow when he returned for Tracy's murder trial.

It wasn't long after that when she caught the eye of Liam Connor. He was also interested in his sister-in-law, Carla, who was recently widowed when Liam's brother Paul was killed in a car crash. Again, Maria showed about as much sense as a soap dish when she decided to present Liam with a puppy, quite a committment for a boyfriend she had only been seeing a few weeks. Then, once again, she got pregnant. They discussed what would happen and Maria had pretty much decided on having another termination but Liam suddenly proposed to Maria and it seems to the viewer that it was on the rebound, to show Carla that he didn't have feelings for her.

Maria soon realized that there was something between Carla and Liam but Liam denied it and stayed faithful to her. But her insecurities ran rampant when, after a hiking accident, Liam murmured Carla's name. Maria managed to move the wedding date up and though Carla tried to interfere and nearly succeeded, married Liam. Tragedy struck when the baby was born too early and didn't survive. In her shock and grief, and worry that she'd lose Liam, she didn't tell him for a couple of days and he found out from someone else. Her bad judgement nearly ended her marriage but they managed to pull together and recover their old feelings. At least, she thought so.

Maria and Liam tried for another baby and Liam sold his share of the factory to Carla's new man, Tony Gordon so that he could cut ties with Carla for Maria's sake. Unfortunately, Liam still had feelings for Carla though he did love Maria. During the few days after the baby's death and Maria returning to him, he had a short fling with Carla. Rosie Webster caught the pair snogging in the morning and before long, Tony found out the truth and exacted his revenge. He arranged for Liam to be killed in a hit and run accident. Maria had just become pregnant again and is going to have to face a future as a single mother whose husband hadn't had a chance to find out about the baby and who was about to leave her but was callously murdered by his lover's fiance. Pretty bleak as it stands now, but it's a soap.

Having said that, it seemed very weird seeing her first vehemently accuse Tony of the murder (she was right!) and then become dependent and the fall in love with Tony, her husband's murderer but grief and hormones can do funny things. Knowing what we know, we viewers gasped in horror when Tony proposed to Mary on the anniversary of Liam's death *at the cemetery, no less*!!! It's all going to go pear shaped, though, because Carla's back and Tony's getting desperate. She knows the truth and with Samia Smith soon on maternity leave herself, the truth is going to come out sooner than later and Maria is going to flee for the boggy moors of Ireland or to sunny Cypress in short order and Tony will be summarily dumped. Back to being a single mum for our Maria when her world comes crashing down. I'm hoping this will probably be the making of Maria, giving her the strength and maturity she was somewhat lacking before. But knowing Maria and her tendency to lean on men rather than be independent, I doubt that's what's going to happen. After all, one of her earlier loves, Nick Tilsley, will soon be back on the scene!

And so it goes.

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