Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Graeme and's just so wrong!

This has to be one of the lamest storylines ever.

Janice's contrived exit was bad enough. Who would believe that Tall Trev would return and, after a drunken snog with Janice, decide he fancies her rotten and asks her to go off traveling with him? Seriously, he's been with Carla and now he thinks Janice is his dream girl? Really????

But putting Xin and Graeme together in an 'illegal immigrant' scam storyline to facilitate the exit of the marvellous Craig Gazey is just wrong.

I am glad they're portraying Graeme as totally uncomfortable with it. He's quirky and eccentric but he's also honest. This storyline seems to have sucked the last of the quirk right out of him. Quirk which was already slowly draining as he sat, all loved up, on the back burner of the Storyline World with Tina. He's has been a hugely popular character, totally off the wall and delightful and it was sad seeing him go more or less mainstream.

Now, the actor has chosen to move on. It's something we face often when watching our very long lasting favourite show. Actors often want new challenges and fair enough but it's hard when you've become attached and invested in a character. At least Corrie doesn't just recast on the fly like American soaps do. Oh, they may recast a character a few years later but it's not so jarring as seeing one face on Monday and a different one on Thursday.

The actor's leaving storyline was ill thought out, though. Xin was supposed to be Tina's great mate when really, she was just a former coworker. I really find it difficult to believe that qualified psychiatric nurses are so thick on the ground that there just is no work for another one. If she's a qualified nurse of any sort, she should be able to get at least part time work, whether in a hospital or with a home nursing service or in a senior's residence even if it's not specifically for psychiatry. Has she tried elsewhere in the U.K.? Thought not.

Seeing Xin and Graeme pretending to be a couple just doesn't work. It's clear to anyone with eyes that they're faking it. They are uncomfortable when they pretend to be affectionate, stammering to get their stories straight,  and there's absolutely no chemistry. This particularly applies to the actress playing Xin. She's wooden and flat, no depth at all. It feels like she's reading her lines from crib notes under the teapot. I don't know if that's due to her lack of ability or if she's supposed to play the character that way. It feels like the former. Gazey's performance is a bit better, his character's discomfort with the plot is a bit more believable in that he, as always, plays it bewildered yet with sharp observations, which is part of Graeme's appeal but even the talented Gazey sometimes seems to be phoning in his performance.

Classic Soap Plot #328 *should* have them pretending a little too well and discovering there really is a mutual attraction. The alternative classic soap plot would, and probably should have them back out of the marraige at the altar. If the first is the way they're going, then perhaps after the wedding, they really will fall for each other for real and Xin will get a job in London and they'll leave Weatherfield behind.

Can't come soon enough for me though I will miss Craig Gazey, just not this stupid storyline!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

In defence of Becky

Over a year ago, I wondered if the character of Becky McDonald was over-exposed. It's been a long year of ups and downs for Becky and since the tram crash and her moment of blind panic when she looted the corner shop, a lot of people would probably be answering that question with a resounding YES!

Over on the Coronation Street Blog, people are posting about being bored with the character and calls for Steve to divorce her. But others, continue to think Becky's brilliant. A lot of the comments on those and other posts indicate that the majority of blog readers are sick to the eye teeth and don't want any more Becky. Most agree, though, that it's nothing to do with the performance of the wonderful Katherine Kelly who is a top class actor!

Personally, I think Becky's a loose cannon and she always has been and though yes, perhaps the character is over-used, but I still like Becky. I like her layers, I like her fierceness, her propensity to lash out when feeling threatened, her tender heart and loyalty to the ones she loves.

Right now, she's been backed into a tiny, wee spot between that rock and that hard place and it's way down in a hole that she's pretty much dug for herself due to her overwhelming need for a child. Her sister, even more of a trashy slag that Becky ever was, sold her son to Becky for cold, hard, cash and came back for more. Kylie might have some love for her son but clearly does not have the maturity to be a mother and no interest in trying at the moment. She's had as rough an upbringing as Becky and this could have been Becky herself if she'd got pregnant as a teen. Becky has finally got some stability in her life where Kylie may or may not get it from David but she's only just beginning to get there.

Becky took on the little boy and was desperate to keep him, not just for herself, but save him from her sister's lack of parental skills and interest. She didn't want Max to grow up shifted from foster home to foster home, with nobody really showing him the love he needed and deserved. She has made major mistakes, obviously, in giving in to her sister's demands and it was unfortunate that Tracy managed to find out part of the truth, enough to yank Amy away from the stable home she knew.

Now the McDonalds are nearly bankrupt. Liz is finally back and poking and instigating. She never really liked Becky and is grabbing this opportunity to put a wedge between them. Steve has always been a bit of a mummy's boy and Liz plays on that. Becky's latest rampage was the result of Liz's unrelentless insults and contempt. I'm not saying Liz doesn't have a right to dislike Becky and feel she's not right for Steve, but she didn't have a right to push Becky hoping that Steve might choose his mother over his wife.

I can understand Steve being angry with Becky, I can understand his frustration. He loves Becky but she's as much of a liability as Karen was and he finally told Karen to leave because he couldn't take it anymore. Becky is lurching towards that very same end. Can Becky come back from this? Can Steve forgive her and can they patch things up? With Kylie living across the road, will Becky be able to breathe easy at all? Are we seeing the edge of the abyss?

I for one have never tired of Becky, no matter whether she is off or on the rails and it's all mainly due to the exemplary talents of Kate Kelly. I get frustrated that she continues to shoot herself in the foot, I get angry that Steve can never seem to stand up to his mother or Tracy and call their bluff but I love that he, so far, manages to stay with Becky even when he's really pissed. I resent Liz for interfering. Where does she have the right? She might be the licensee but she couldn't be bothered to show any interest in the pub for months, then comes back and orders everyone around like Queen Bee.

So if I am continually engaged in the character and what's happening to her, I say that I still love Becky and I'm rooting for her!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

More Kylie Less Tracy

Things have been a bit slow on this blog this month, after the flurry of activity that was February. Then again, the show hasn't been that compelling the last few weeks. Now that Kylie's back, I'm sure there will be a bit of stirring going on.

So far, loving the way she's leading David around by the nose. It's her way or the highway and he'll bend to her will like a wet noodle. Also loving how she's most definitely rubbing Gail the wrong way and Gail's walking around with a permanent knot in her face. Careful, love, your face will freeze like that..... oops! Too late! I do love the character of Gail, though. She's brilliant even when she's being a misery guts which is most of the time. She needs a job and she needs to get laid by someone that isn't going to bring more aggro and grief into her life. That's probably an impossibility, I suppose. Still, she's so pretty and pleasant when she smiles. Pity she doesn't get the chance much.

But I digress.

Kylie. Even though the character is even rougher than Becky if that's possible, the actress, Paula Lane, is really good. There are parallels to Tracy's character in that she's very selfish and self involved. She's manipulative, demanding, a bully and just as able to use her child to have the upper hand over people. She can be nasty, insulting and coarse, just like Tracy but one difference is the life she's led. It's clearly been a life of struggle and survival under her own steam whereas Tracy was brought up with anything she wanted, pretty much, and is a spoiled brat to add to her faults. She's never had to struggle to survive like Kylie and Becky did and never had to live rough.

There's another difference and I think it, again, comes back to the performer being miles better. I can watch Kylie gleefully swath a path of destruction across the cobbles but I cringe every time Tracy opens her mouth.

I don't know how long she and David will last but she'll certainly keep him on her toes while they're together. She'll use him for whatever she can get. Does she love him? I doubt it. But you know, that may come in time, it's hard to say. I don't think Kylie loves easily because nobody's ever loved her and David is going to be in the same boat as Steve who has to deal with his own loose cannon on a regular basis. Steve is nearing the end of his tether, I think, and David will eventually, too, if Kylie doen't kick him to the curb when he outlives his usefulness to her.

Still, she's more than a match for David. David has been a live wire himself, full of anger and resentment after his parents divorced and Richard Hillman tried to drown the whole family. Gail should have had him in councilling right away after that and has suffered the consequences ever since. He's shown a bit more maturity since her sojourn in prison but nobody should count him out as a mature and stable man yet. Kylie is probably the only one that can keep him in line. Tina did a good job of this at first but David was too much for her and too obsessed. David may get tired of being bullied by Kylie but then again, he's lived with a control freak all his life, so maybe that's his comfort zone.

Anyway, I think Kylie is going to keep things interesting for the next little while. There's the wedding to look forward to and probably lots of upset with Becky and Max just because there has to be. Kylie may be young but she's a firecracker and a survivor and she can go toe to toe with anyone.

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