Saturday, 29 September 2012

State of the Street - September

Ever notice that when Ryan is caught out in a lie, which is often because he's not very good at it, he immediately takes it out on Michelle and accuses her of being a rubbish mother, and a loose woman, to boot. I'm surprised he didn't thrown the baby switch thing at her. You're Not My Real Mother would have hurt more than anything but see, we're supposed to have forgotten that. I think the powers that be realized it was a big stupid mistake, that baby switch storyline, and they would rather it all be swept under the rug. I suppose that's a good thing.

Meanwhile, we have to suffer Ryan and Tracy sucking face all over the screen so that Tracy can get her revenge on Steve and Michelle. I can believe that of Tracy but I am still not feeling that Ryan is completely infatuated with her. Possibly the inability of the actor? Most of the time, he speaks too fast and mumbles and I can't make out what he's saying. Why is Tracy such a one note character? They can't seem to do anything else with her. Push her at Steve, he gives mixed signals, then she get revenge. Wash and repeat. It's really really REALLY getting old.

Gloria! Love her! She's acid. She's arrogant, she acts like she owns the place, even 2 days after she moved in! In spite of her smacking Karl around, she seems to have a soft spot for him and seems to want to get him back together with Stella. She clashes a lot with most people she meets too. Well, she clashes with all the women, at least. She flirts the pants off the men, or tries to. She sticks her nose in and she schemes.

We saw a glimpse of the excellent Cliff character, the man who blew all her lies out of the water to a very smug Gail. I think Gail and Gloria could actually be good friends if the writers catch that chemistry the two women had together. Now she's got a Jones on for this pub of the year competition and is coming over all Annie Walker. Brilliant!

The surrogacy storyline is one that i'm enjoying. Yes i know it's got some silly leaps and bounds but I'm still enjoying it anyway. I like Gary and Izzy a lot even though Gary seems to be the pushiest one of them all, first being defensive with the councillor and sticking his nose in to Katy's habits. Gary really does have blinders on, to the point of being selfish about being a dad by any means possible, never mind how it affects anyone else.

Then when Izzy shot down Katy's offer, he was crying and moaning and it was all about him once again. Even now, he won't hear one negative doubt about it. La, La, La, I can't hear you! I'm gonna be a dad and to hell with anything and anyone else.

Now Tina seems set to be the surrogate but if it doesn't take the first time, can Owen really afford to fire off all that cash month after month? I can see how Tina might be a good candidate, she's young and healthy and obviously finances are her main motivation. I didn't think Katy would end up carrying the baby but then I'm not so sure Tina will either, or it won't work and Owen will run out of money. Or maybe Tina will turn out to be already pregnant by Tommy by the time they get down to the actual tests and things. I just think there's too many babies on the street and one more is just overpopulating things far too much. Sadly, it does seem like it's heading in that direction. ITV must have paid a lot for the fake pregnancy bump and want to get their money's worth out of it.

She's doing it for the money. It's not as if Izzy is her best friend. But she did admit to Rita that some of it has to do with righting the wrong impression people have of her after the whole Kirsty thing, and she told Owen she is still haunted by Joe's death because of debt and doesn't want Tommy to feel that desperate.
Would he? I think he has the potential. He's often seen sniveling and wants to give up and run at the drop of a hat. Nah. Actually I think he'd just run away if the pressure got too much. He has already done some of that though is always talked back from the bus stop by one person or another. Come to think of it, his situation is similar to Joe's isn't it? Good man, bad things happen, sudden debt made worse by circumstances. Loan sharks threatening. Poor Tina, it must feel like she's living the same thing over and over. No wonder she's scared he'll end up at the bottom of the lake, too!

Kirsty's face was a treat when Tina threw 3000 quid at her. No more excuses to act all threatening and bitchy and she's lost some of the hold she's had over them. She'll have to turn her attentions to someone else. It's not as if there's a shortage. Kirsty's jealousy and rage are easily sparked. But I still do wonder if Tina will get pregnant to gain the rest of Owen's cash and I wonder what would happen if it takes more than one treatment. The man isn't made of money.

Lloyd has found out about a grown daughter from an affair years ago. Too bad he turned out to do the dirty on his best friend. Why do men on soaps always seem to do that? Well, ok, women do as well. I know it happens but surely not as often as it seems to on screen. I imagine Lloyd and Jenna will travel a somewhat tentative and rocky road but will become friends and a lovely father/daughter relationship will bloom after a fashion. There's a bit more about that over here.

Lloyd pursued and pushed and practically stalked Mandy until he found out about Jenna and then he persued and haunted Jenna until she'd talk to him, too. We know Lloyd's harmless but those two women don't. Not at that point. Even though Mandy knew Lloyd 29 years ago, how does she know he'd have grown up into a decent man and not a nutter? He couldn't have been more than 19 or 20 when they had their affair, I don't think he's 50 yet.

Wendy Crozier is back! It couldn't have any greater effect on Ken than if it had been Martha from the Barge that sailed back into her life. She's got a Papadopolous name now so she must have married. And long time watchers will recall that the always-unseen owner of Gamma Garments back in the 60s was Mr. Papadopoulous. The spelling may have been different but even so, I wonder if she married Mr. P's son? Wouldn't that be a lovely little nod to the past? This has the makings of a good Ken and Deirdre storyline because you know that's really going to bring back all that bad stuff for her. It certainly would for me in her shoes. She'd better up her game and learn to cook something fancier than stuffed marrow!

For Ken, will it turn into an affair? Well it could, but I think his feelings are more of past regret and closure. Was he ever in love with Wendy? He certainly turned tail and ran easily enough back in the day once he actually got thrown out of Number 1 and had nowhere else to go.

Tyrone is now a dad officially but Kirsty's volatility didn't go away with the pregnancy and Ty is scared silly that she'll hurt the baby. Kirsty's mother finally left her husband and showed up on their doorstep but she left when he was not there. Confronted by him and his forceful way, she ended up going back to him, even knowing there would be consequences. Unfortunately this happens all to often and it's heartbreaking to watch. And Kirsty is still striking out at Tyrone, later on blaming him for her mother's upcoming abuse when she went back home with her husband and it all kicks off again.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Cheering for a Lloyd Storyline

I've always liked Lloyd Mullaney. He's always been a cheerful sort, most of the time,  unless life hurls a zinger at him. He's funny, he's loves music, he is kind, he's a good friend. He's also not had a lot of storylines of his own over the years but always seems to shine in the ones he does get.

Craig Charles really has grown on me as an actor since he started. I never watched Red Dwarf so I really had no previous knowledge of him but as far as I know, that's the main thing he's been known as and nobody really thought he'd work as a Corrie character. I think he's proved them all wrong. He's also shown he can do drama in addition to comedy.

Some of my favourite of those types of scenes/storylines were first when he and Liz broke up and later when he and Cheryl broke up. You don't often see men being reduced to tears over heartbreak. They usually get angry, get drunk, shag someone else. Lloyd barely kept it together, especially after Cheryl left and it was a refreshing take on the situation, for a soap. I don't think he was "wimpy" in the least for showing his emotions though I've heard that accusation from other quarters, usually from men. Lloyd was also wonderful when he was interacting with children, such as Finley Morton and Russ Gray. He's got such a big heart and has always wanted to be a dad and now he's finally got that wish.

Lloyd has discovered that he's got an adult daughter, a result from an affair he had 29  years ago. While I am rather disappointed that he did the dirty on his best friend, it has brought Lloyd to the forefront again. So far, he's only just discovered that Jenna is his daughter. Her mother, Mandy, is enraged that Lloyd pushed and pushed and found out the truth and is upset that Jenna overheard it as well. Jenna, naturally, is horrified and feels she has lived a lie all her life. She wants nothing to do with Lloyd.

We know that will change. It's a soap, come on! There are rumours that Mandy will remain in the show and be the new Rovers' cook and I do hope that's true because in spite of her being a bit mardy and prickly so far.  I think she'll be a great character and I love her wardrobe! Maybe she and Lloyd can rekindle their romance though at the moment she's still grieving for her late husband.

I also really love that Eileen is back in the cab office and is back in Lloyd and Steve's lives as all three were such good  friends and support for each other. They were missing that element while she was elsewhere and she barely had any contact with them at all which isn't realistic.  Even while working elsewhere, you'd think they would have interacted at the pub and helped each other through crises when needed. When Cheryl broke Lloyd's heart, it was mostly Steve that was there for him, as well as Becky but Eileen barely gave him a glance most of the time.

I think Lloyd's character has been well developed over the years and he remains one of my favourite characters.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Character Study: Royston Cropper

The character of Roy Cropper was only introduced as and expected to be a short term character in 1995. His character caught on and was kept in the show and has turned into one of the most-loved characters, half of one of the favourite couples in the show.

Roy did not have a very auspicious beginning, however. He lived alone in the top flat of a house conversion, bought by Mike Baldwin. He appeared to be somewhat creepy, drinking booze out of a paper bag and bothering Deirdre Raschid who was newly moved in to the flats as building supervisor. Roy quickly became more sympathetic, harmless, eccentric but a bit of a nutter, who was awkward, shy, socially inept but basically kind.

Over the years, Roy's background has been filled in a bit. His parents were divorced after his father had abandoned the family. The young Roy took this very hard but seems to have formed a bond with his granddad. He was a loner at school but very intelligent. He developed a love for trains and busses and could very well be called a trainspotter.

He has made a few remarks about his late stepfather, giving us the distinct impression there was no love lost between them and was the reason Roy left home as soon as he could. There have been whispers among fans and observers of the character over the years that Roy must have Asperger's syndrome, as he seems to have obsessive compulsive tendencies and takes most things at their very literal translation, missing subtleties and nuances.

When we met Roy, he was cooking breakfasts at the Imperial Hotel, which long time Corrie fans will recognize as the same place that Ida Barlow worked in the early 60s. He helped out in Jim's Cafe on occasion and when the time came that Alma wanted to sell her share of the cafe, Roy decided to buy it. Alma didn't think he'd come up with the money but it turns out he'd squirreled away cash for years, spreading it around several different banks for safe keeping. Roy was now the major shareholder in the cafe, and renamed it Roys Rolls. He moved into the flat and he and Gail chuntered along well serving behind the counter for several years. Roy once saved up enough vouchers to provide a free trip for two to Paris, but in his generosity, gave the trip to Martin and Gail.

Roy became involved in a crusade to save the Red Rec but in 1998 his life was about to change dramatically. At the age of 44, he fell in love. He met shy and awkward Hayley Patterson who was a bit of an anorak herself. They shared many things in common, including an interest in trains and bus schedules. Roy was shocked, however, when he discovered that Hayley was a transexual. He didn't know how to handle this and backed off.

Hayley went to Amsterdam for gender reassignment surgery and Roy remained in Weatherfield, clearly miserable. Alma pushed a little and Roy finally went after Hayley. The visit was awkward but Roy managed to convey his feelings. Hayley decided to return with him and they've been together ever since.

They were not allowed to marry, legally, back in 1999, but they managed to find a sympathetic vicar, Jessica, who was set to "marry" them in a blessing ceremony. Local oik, Les Battersby, alerted the press that "two blokes" were getting married and it nearly ruined the ceremony. Hayley retreated to the cafe flat but all their friends rallied and Jessica performed the ceremony in the cafe itself where Roy's full name, "Royston" was revealed.

Now... fans on the internet had taken to calling Roy this for some time and when the name was spoken on screen, many fans believed that the Powers that Be picked it up from the forums and boards and ran with it. There has never been any confirmation but fans are convinced they gave Roy his name!

Roy is loyal and once he's made up his mind to be your friend, or in Hayley's case, her partner, he stands by those he cares for, unwaveringly. He is honest, possibly to a fault, and is faithful. He is determined to do the right thing and is reliable. He has employed several of the younger crowd in the cafe over the years, including Toyah Battersby and Sarah Platt.

He and Hayley have often been at the pointed end of verbal barbs and have been the objects of ridicule but in spite of that, everyone knows that Roy is an upstanding and all around good man. Therefore, when it seemed that he had a drunken one night stand with evil Tracy Barlow, resulting in her pregnancy, the whole Street was shocked. This incident nearly destroyed Roy who felt his integrity and reputation were irreparably damaged. Hayley had left him and he felt he had nothing to live for. Luckily, Hayley returned to the flat and rescued Roy from an overdose and stood by him.

They decided to adopt Tracy's baby and paid her good money for it. Roy and Hayley had long desired to be parents. Initially, Roy was reluctant to be a parent, having had no good example and miserable memories of his own childhood but with Hayley at his side, he realized he had a lot to offer a child. They had fostered several children including Fiz Brown but got tangled up in well-meaning problems of one young lad and after running away with him, the trouble they got into as a result closed the door on any future possibility of fostering and adoption.

This could be their only chance to be parents. They knew that Tracy would be less than a stellar mother, Roy even went through with a sham marriage to Tracy so that he would have legal rights to the child but Roy and Hayley were devastated when the truth came out and the father of the baby was proven to be Steve McDonald.

When Hayley discovered that she had an adult son from a very brief attempt at normality when she was still Harold, Roy was unsure how to handle the news. Hayley had told him she'd been a virgin and when Christian came into her life, she kept it a secret. Honesty being extremely important to Roy, he couldn't seem to accept Hayley's actions and nearly lost her as a result of his misplaced sense of seeing everything in "black or white". His love for Hayley has allowed him to bend and before Hayley left to do charitable work in Africa, they reconciled their differences. Roy held down the fort at the cafe, missing his Hayley.

Roy was also intrinsic to Tony Gordon's downfall. When Tony had a heart attack, and thought he was going to die, he confessed to Liam Connor's murder to Roy. Roy didn't report him but needled Tony so much that Tony nearly killed Roy by drowning him in the canal. He saved Roy at the last minute and turned himself in but when he escaped from prison some months later, he tried to get his revenge on Roy by taking Hayley hostage. He relented and set Hayley free and after Carla freed herself from his clutches, Tony went up in smoke in the factory, leaving Roy outside, embracing Hayley.

Life is too short. And Roy realized that, financially, it would be better to be married now that he and Hayley could legally tie the knot. His unromantic proposal didn't go over well, as you can imagine, but after the factory incident, he realized how much Hayley meant to him and proposed properly with a proper wedding to celebrate their love in the fall of 2009.

Since then, they've been chuntering along together in the cafe, supporting their friends and neighbours after the tram crash and its fallout. They have faced another new obstacle in the form of Roy's recently widowed battleaxe mother. Roy wanted nothing to do with her and Hayley wants everyone to be all "happy families". Little by little, Sylvia and Roy seem to be creating a relationship though both continue to exasperate the other. I think Roy may have discovered a little more about why his mother was so distant with him and Sylvia is finally growing to appreciate her son and his eccentricities.

Roy blossomed under the love of a good woman and slowly over the years, the cafe decor has become a tribute to his love of trains. He's still being an advisor for young lads, Chesney Battersby Brown being the most recent. His and Hayley's faith in Becky has helped her turn her life around. He hasn't lost his integrity, and still has moments where he seems totally flummoxed by others' emotions and actions. When Mary Taylor developped a clearly obvious crush on him over the chess board, Roy was completely oblivious. When Hayley found out, in typical Hayley style, she lashed out but then persuaded Mary to stay in Weatherfield, finding sympathy for a lonely woman in a motorhome. I think Roy was secretly flattered that someone new would find him attractive (in his own way!)

Roy Cropper has a very kind side to him. He may not be outwardly in his affections but has done and said many things that have the viewer swallowing a lump in their throat. He is steadfastly loyal when he believes in someone, even if that someone, like Becky Granger McDonald, gives him reason to doubt. He supports the younger people and has earned the respect of those such as Fiz, Chesney, Gary and Izzy and even, grudgingly, David Platt! He has fears and insecurities but his rock, Hayley, can usually put them to rest with her faith and love and support.  He's got a pretty good idea about who he is and seems content wtih his lot in life these days. He tries to find the good in any lost soul.

He may not always understand the world around him and the world doesn't always understand him but he tries his best.

Roy Cropper has touched many lives and made them better for it. He is played with impeccable, understated perfection by David Neilson and could not be more perfect for the part!

Long may Roy reign over his rolls!

Will Steve and Michelle go the distance?

It's probably a no-brainer. Very few soap couples actually go the distance and if you're Steve McDonald, he of the 6-wedding record, it's very unlikely you'll ever find Ms. Right and reach your 50th wedding anniversary with her.

I think Steve and Michelle both are rebounding.  Steve got sucked in by Tracy's lies and lost his love, Becky as a result. Michelle didn't want to leave Weatherfield with Ciaran so she's at loose ends as well.

Michelle knows Steve. He's familiar. He's a nice guy. I can't help thinking that she's settling for Steve because of that, because she's lonely after hunky Ciaran left. I mean,  how could you possibly go from Ciaran to Steve?

Ok, that's not really fair, I know. But I really never thought Michelle and Steve were suited the first time around and now they're giving another go.

Steve generally tends to go for bossy women, aggressive and stronger than him and somewhat on the trampy side. I think that's the classic case of being attracted to someone very like your mother and Michelle does have a bit of all that, though in a lower key than most of Steve's women. She's got a side of her that's not afraid to fight back, probably from having to hold her own against two brothers and growing up on a rough estate. But she's also needy and always seems to have problem after problem.

That dragged Steve down last time and it's starting already this time with her struggles over her drug addicted son. Mind you, that seems to happen to Steve with all his women. They drag him down and wear him out with their issues, crises and schemes that backfire.

Last time all the angst sent him into the arms of Becky who was a lot more fun, if also a lot more trouble but Steve always seems to thrive on the excitement until he gets overwhelmed.

Except for Tracy. That's a bit too much trouble.  But that's a subject for another blog post sometime.

I think the main reason I don't like Steve and Michelle together is that they don't seem to have that chemistry. Steve and Karen had it in spades, so did Steve and Becky.  Steve and Tracy...not so much nor did he have any chemistry with that ex-mob wife Ronnie. She really was Trouble with a capital T.

To be fair, Steve is trying to help with Ryan. He does feel a bit step-fatherly to him because of playing that role last time around and I do think Ryan likes him. Steve could be a good support if he didn't keep running around in jealous fits and lusting after Michelle. He probably should have stayed focussed on helping Ryan rather than using it in part to get closer to Michelle.

I think Steve is very like his mother in one respect. Liz couldn't stay away from Jim, with his firey temper, his volatile ways and when she did find a nice, sedate man like Vernon (if also a bit feckless), she was bored senseless. Michelle has similar qualities to Steve's other women but she's also a bit more refined and mature, less volatile and tempermental unless provoked and I think Steve will end up bored eventually, if Michelle's non-stop crises don't push him away first.

Who was your favourite of Steve's women? Who suited him the best (until it all blew up, that is)? I think I liked Steve with Karen the best.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Forget me not

With all this angst between Michelle and Ryan lately, I kept expecting him to scream at her "You're Not My Real Mother!!!". Along with everything else he hurled at her in various bust ups, that would probably hurt the most. Because it's true, isn't it?

I've blogged about this before but it bears another outing in this context. This recent situation would be the perfect time to resurrect that whole painfully awful storyline and I suppose that's exactly why they aren't doing it. The powers that be would prefer us to forget that ever happened. We celebrate Ryan's birthday with nary a mention of Alex, and Ryan never seems to have contact with Nick, his biological dad with whom he had started to build a relationship at one time. All that has been swept under the rug.

I know sometimes they come up with storylines that they think will be "gripping" and then realize that they're more of a damp squib, or even judged by the fans as the worst storyline ever. The infamous baby switch was certainly one of those as was Hayley's long lost son, lost again to the mists of time. Another storyline best forgotten.

But the fans remember, unfortunately, and it's irksome at times when it seems as if these things never happened. Are we supposed to just forget? Well, yes, in cases like this, we are.

Of course there are hundreds, nay, thousands of storylines, short and long that are never referred to again. But there are a few that were promoted as major storylines that ran over months and those are the ones I'm thinking about here. 

There was a Post Office in the Kabin and for a couple of years, we saw the little kiosk, in a space across from the cash register. That, too, became a phantom lost to memory and now that the Kabin has been rebuilt post-tram crash, there's no longer a Post Office sign on the the building. It's gone quietly into the rubble, with Rita selling the occasional stamp from a roll she probably gets at the main PO.

Another that I hope has left town with the rest of the Baldwins, never to see the light of day again, is the near-incestuous affair between Frankie Baldwin and her stepson Jamie. It was referred to in an argument between Violet and Jamie in that London special, mind you, but as long as any character involved or related to them is not seen again, we should thankfully be able to delete that from the vaults without worrying about reminders.

There are some storylines we wish we could forget. Some of them have a fallout that will echo for years, like the outcome of the awful Molvin affair. Baby Jack is a constant reminder to Sally of Kevin's betrayal and I'm glad they didn't allow her to take Kevin back and bring that baby up as her own. Now they need to find new partners for both of them, Kevin in particular, I think. Enough of him pining after Sally and begging her to forgive him yet again.

I suppose when a television program has been running as long as Coronation Street has, there's bound to be misfires. Not every storyline is going to appeal to everyone. Not every storyilne is going to work out the way they thought it would. Some couples end up having no chemistry after all. Some awful storylines have major repercussions. Some fade away, best forgotten altogether and written off as an idea that should have been corked along with the whiskey bottle that seems to have inspired it.

My most memorable storylines were the rise and fall of Richard Hillman, the rise and fall of Tony Gordon, Stape-Gate from start to finish, the complex twists with Des, Raquel, Tanya Pooley, Bet and trucker Charlie.

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