Sunday, 29 June 2014

State of the Street - June 2014

June started off in tragedy. Tina McIntyre was murdered good and properly by Rob Donovan. She survived a fall off the balcony over the builders' yard which she approached through a door in the flat. A door nobody ever knew existed. Never mind. Rob took an iron bar and bashed her over the head but when Leanne and Kal found her, she was still alive. Touch of the Terminator, was our Tina. I was hoping we wouldn't go for a rerun of Rob killing her in the hospital like Karl did Sunita. Surely they wouldn't be that stupid? They rerun a lot of similar storylines, but, no, Tina died of her injuries with Rob outside looking in. Rob is now a murderer and Marc Baylis' time on the show is officially limited. How long that will be is anyone's guess.

Carla was found looking over the balcony at Tina's body and nobody knew if she'd pushed her. She was certainly angry enough, having just heard that Tina and Peter had been having an affair since her and Peter's wedding day and she'd stormed over there vowing to kill her. Oops! But we veteran soap watchers know that the one that utters threats like that in public is never the one that did it. *Usually* it's a minor character and I was sure it was going to end up being Tony so kudos to the powers that be for having it be a main character, although the "Last one in, First one out" principle does apply here. Where this leaves Rob and Tracy is anyone's guess but it's always been unlikely that Tracy Barlow would have a happy ending. She's messed up too many other peoples' happy endings for that.

Rob is intent on placing the blame on Peter and it feels like Rob has almost convinced himself. Peter should take a lot of the blame for a lot of things...the affair, the drinking and all that stress that caused or contributed to Carla's miscarraige. Rob takes all that on board and that's become  his mantra. Peter's reeling around the neighbourhood, stinking of booze and trying to grovel to Carla. Good luck with that. Poor Simon. It's no wonder that child acts like a 6 year old with what he's had to deal with in his short life. But where was Leanne at the funeral? I can't believe she'd have let Simon go without her, his erstwhile mother, the mother that fought tooth and nail for him.

Another victim of all this is Steve. It's hit him hard because he knew about the affair and didn't tell but he was in a tough spot. He was told in confidence and Peter kept saying he was going to end it with Tina. Liz had a pretty good idea too but didn't come in for nearly as much flack from Michelle who walked out on Steve for a minute. I'm not going to go into how much I really feel these two never ever suited each other. I could go on for many pages so I won't.  It seemed to have sparked a mid life crisis in Steve who turned 40 at the end of the month. He recognizes that he always takes the easy way out and is somewhat of a coward. He's vowing to change. Time will tell.

One thing that really annoyed me is that we only got to see Tina's mother days after she died. Rita thought maybe someone should call her mother while they were holding vigil in the hospital. I would have thought the police would have done that straight away as her mother would be Tina's only next of kin so that was unbelievable. We know Tina has usually said she doesn't get on with her mother that well and that's ok, that solves the problem why mother wasn't around for most of the crises Tina's had but this time?

Legally, her mother had to be the one to make any medical decisions if Tina was unable. If they'd had to pull life support, even Rita would not be allowed to say one way or the other, not without her mother's consent. Plus all this would likely have been in the newspaper. If the police hadn't contacted her, surely she'd have seen it? And if she was out of the country, would it be so difficult to have a throwaway line from one of the characters to that effect? Doesn't work for me.

Anyway...On the other hand, a really wonderful development has seen Roy reaching out awkwardly to support Carla with his quiet dignity. No matter how often Peter came up against Roy while trying to get to Carla, even he doesn't have the heart to get in Roy's face. Roy just has so much dignity and he's not a fighter. That is pure Corrie gold.

Elsewhere, across the road, Anna finally told Owen what she'd done with Phelan to save her family. He was shocked, gutted and ran the other way, grateful he had a two week away job to go to. I wasn't sure if the time away would help him get his head around it or bring it to a festering rolling boil, knowing his temper. And that's what happened. He returned and was absolutely vile to her and then has the gall to say he *could* forgive her. If he hadn't treated her like something he scuffed off his shoe, Anna might not have kicked him out. I can't believe she let him back in the house just for Faye's sake. That kid is another one that's going to go off the rails anytime. She's already had one encounter with alcohol and let's not forget, she had an addict for a mother. That kind of thing has been proven to run in families, with a much higher risk of it coming out in the children of an addict.

It's a horrible situation to have been in and Anna really felt she had no choice after Owen nearly burned the building site and Gary was working up to another breakdown. It wasn't rape but it was an arguable near thing. I'm surprised we haven't seen Phelan again and I guess that's because it's not about him as such anymore, it's about the fallout. It still feels like he's not paid for being so nasty.

I always expected Phelan would end up dead. I suppose he still could but it's too close after Tina's murder so it isn't likely now. And in that case, if he had died a violent death, I would have guessed the "expendable crew member" would be his wife but we may never see that now. We have to see if Anna and Owen will break up and if so, will they find their way back to each other. Katy, who has always been daddy's very vocal little girl, says she understands but can't forgive either. Izzy has more maturity and is supportive of Anna. She probably doesn't agree with what Anna did either but seems to see both sides of it. This has really been a good storyline, for me. Lots of twists and turns and a most excellent actor playing the oily creepy Pat Phelan.

Maddie and Sophie have taken a back seat this month. Thank you Powers That Be. It's the only storyline that I've really not bought into though Amy Kelly playing Maddie is very good. I wish they hadn't thrown her and Sophie into a romance and rather had Sophie befriend Maddie and help her to her feet, much like Hayley did for Becky.

Sally and Tim, meanwhile, are a joy to watch and if Kevin ever comes back, I really hope they won't put him back with Sally. I think far too much time has passed and viewers also have got used to there being no Kevin in Sally's life. She's moved on with Tim and they are wonderful together. Kevin needs to move on with his.

Some fans have suggested Sally and Tim could be Stan and Hilda for the new millennium. While Tim has remnants of the workshy Stan, Sally really isn't in Hilda's league. Hilda was never as snobby and upwardly mobile wannabe as Sally. Hilda wanted better but she was never going to come near it. Sally, on the other hand, comes tantalizingly close but is her own worst enemy at times.

I think Steph is probably my favourite new character. She's daft and cheerful, loyal and good fun in the tradition of lots of Corrie young women like Gail (used to be), Suzi Birchall, Candice, Maxine, and even Rosie Webster. Eva is cut from the same cloth, too, somewhat but a few years older, and more jaded with life. Steph still thinks the world is her "Lobster" and is determined to live it fully. She's not had time and experience to become skeptical and downtrodden. She was gutted by Tina's death. They may only have known each other a few months but when  you live with someone, you do get to be close. I loved the little memorial that she and Luke and Katy had in the flat, sending messages to Tina by balloon.

That leaves us with Nick, Leanne and Kal. Now I always have felt that Leanne settled for Nick because she couldn't have Peter. She knew Nick loved her and had done so all his life so she knew he would treat her well. She probably had some unresolved baggage with him as well and she needed support and a step dad for Simon. She did love him in some ways but not with the lifelong passion and loyalty necessary and it wasn't five minutes after Nick made her leave that she'd taken up with Kal. Leanne can't be without a man in her life and Kal is the ideal rebound fella. It won't last because, as I said, she's rebounding.

We end the month with a new storyline for Gail. The man who tried to burgle her house (who didn't really get away with anything because Gail and Kylie scared him first), apparently went to prison. I don't know that worked because  someone like him who didn't actually take anything would never have got a prison sentence, and he wasn't in the nick for long, either. And the restorative justice thing? Again, I don't buy that it would have happened to a first timer like Michael who's main crime is that he's just a bit wet and pathetic, really. Gail is going to help him get back on his feet and knowing Gail, there will be a romance. Again, a wrong'un but that's our Gail. Michael should run for his life. Only one of her husbands got out alive.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I don't buy it

Most of us know we have to suspend disbelief when watching television, soaps, dramas, you name it. Often things are a bit off the wall, over the top or just plain unbelievable at times. Some things are far too coincidental or contrived. You sometimes find yourself thinking "this would never happen".  But we watch because otherwise, the stories are good and the acting and writing (we hope) are top notch.

I do like to pick up on small inconsistencies, continuity stuff ups and things like that. It can annoy me but it can also be a bit fun finding where the writers obviously haven't talked to each other to coordinate what they've written. Every once in awhile, though, something occurs that really glares. It stands out like the proverbial sore thumb and it's hard to swallow. I've enjoyed the whole Tina/Peter/Carla storyline, all the twists, ups and downs. But this week, in the wake of Tina's death (pun intended), her mother, Ann, has finally shown up.

Wait. What?

Now, it's been mentioned before in the show that Tina doesn't really get on with her mother. We've rarely heard her mention her mother, even during the major crises in her life. Yet her mother told Rita that she spoke to Tina two months ago. Well. Ok. If you say so. The issue I really have is this: Tina was in a grave and critical state after her attack. The police were involved in an investigation. There's no way on earth they wouldn't have tracked down and contacted Tina's mother as her legal next of kin. Add to the fact that this would have been in the news and in the papers and her mother never showed up at the hospital? Nope. Don't buy it.

Rita did mention that someone should call Tina's mother and David said he thought Gail might have the number. And still she didn't appear. Would it have been so difficult to have a throwaway line from one of the characters to say Ann was out of the country or something? But no. And there was no explanation when she finally did show up. It all felt a bit like crocodile tears as a result, all that sentimental sobbing about a long labour and giving birth.

You can suspend disbelief but now and then the writers stretch credibility so far that it snaps like a rubber band in January.

I rest my case, Yer Honour.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

 Honestly? I feel a bit sorry for Steve at the moment. He dragged Peter out of a bar, discovering him drunk as a Lord. He tried to do a good thing, in his eyes, by taking Peter somewhere to sober up in hopes that it was a one off. Peter blabbed his secret. He's having an affair with Tina and now Steve is really in an awkward position.

Steve found out that his mate is cheating on Steve's girlfriend's best mate. Does he tell? Does he keep the secret and hope that Peter's promises to end the affair are not false hopes? He keeps the secret.

I know on the surface, it's going to look like "You men all stick together" but let's face it, we women all stick together, too. It's a tough spot to be in. You're placed in a position of confidence and it's just not the done thing to betray a confidence in most cases. You don't want to be the messenger that got killed for the bad news he imparts. You have to live a double life, knowing your partner is going to feel like you betrayed her trust by keeping the secret, too.

Steve McDonald is not really known for having the best judgement at the best of times. He's dropped himself in it more often than not and has had other's throw him under a bus, figuratively, as well. Heck, he's been in the same situation Peter's in. He had an affair on Michelle with Becky and Blanche knew about it, albeit by accidental discovery. Blanche didn't tell on him but that's probably only because she was able to wring free drinks out of him.

But to turn this around, think back to when Liam was married to Maria and having an affair with Carla. Michelle knew and never told Maria. At that time, she wasn't Carla's bezzie mate and was more a friend to Maria but still didn't spill the beans. Hypocrite, much? 

I'm not saying that Steve did the right thing not telling, I'm only saying I understand his position. If he'd told the truth as soon as he knew it, Peter and Carla's marraige would have been busted wide open but he gave Peter the benefit of the doubt at first. Peter didn't end up staying away from Tina and by then Steve had kept the secret too long. Plus, Steve was told in confidence and that's important stuff. He was damned if he did tell and damned when he didn't.

Now the truth is going to come out and Michelle is apparently going to walk out. Frankly, he's better off without her but that's another story.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

State of the Street - May 2014

Maria seemed to be doing a good job is shoving that wedge in between Fiz and Tyrone. It's all about rebounding for her but poor, oblivious Tyrone didn't have a clue for the longest time even though Fiz's suspicions were raised early on in the month. But Maria couldn't leave it there. She'd sent one more text and Tyrone smashed his phone. The police are involved and it turns out Kirsty has left the building. er. country. Can she do that? I thought when you first got out of prison, you had to check in with a parole officer. Maybe not if you've served the whole sentence. And of course, she does have connections.

She manipulated and practically stalked Tyrone, showing up at the garage constantly and pouring poison into Fiz's ear, lying to Audrey and to Fiz that she and Tyrone were in love. All this time, David looked on bemused. That's kind of tacky, not saying anything to anyone but it's pretty normal stuff for David. And Fiz finally decided to call the texter's phone number.

I'm also surprised the police never phoned the number rather than just investigate it. Maybe they did but Maria didn't answer any unknown numbers. Also surprising that neither Fiz nor Tyrone never called it either. Fiz did the once when David heard her voice but she hung up. Anyway she did and Tyrone saw the phone and her name on it and the jig was up. Maria is finally busted and is scuttling off to Cypress to clear her head.

I liked this storyline though i know a lot didn't. It made sense that Maria went a bit doolally after all the men she's had that cheated on her or were murderers. Tyrone was the only one that treated her properly and she latched on to that. On the edges, Todd managed to get Marcus and flaunted him in front of Maria at every opportunity. Smarmy. Tosser. Petty. Mean. He deserved that smack Tyrone gave him (yes, normally violence is not the answer but it's television and didn't we all want to smack Todd soundly?) I'm pretty sure that now Todd has Marcus and proven his point, he won't want him. Marcus isn't the love of Todd's life, he was a game to Todd.

I'm also enjoying Anna and Owen's story but I do wonder what's happened to Phelan. I realize it's not really about him anymore, it's about Anna and Owen but it feels like he's been let off the hook. Anna finally told Owen the truth and he looked like he'd been kicked in the gut. He backed away from her and looked stunned. Even worse when he realized Phelan didn't force  her. Well, not physically at least. She did go willingly but it wasn't like she felt she had a choice. Owen pointed out that it was still her choice and they could have sorted it out but when you find your partner about to burn down the project and your son having a flashbacks and panic attacks, you might not feel like you have a choice.

And the biggest story of the month was the culmination of Peter's affair with Tina that ended in Tina near dead on the cobbles at the end of the month. Peter's rehab didn't last very long when he found out both Tina and Carla were pregnant. Tina wasn't, in the end, but it was enough to send him back to the bottle. He struggled with that the rest of the month, letting people down. Alison King and Chris Gascoyne were powerhouses. The scene where Carla attacked Peter when he missed the first scan because he was drunk made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. He couldn't keep away from Tina but he loves Carla the most and it's destroying him.

Tina guessed that Rob and Tracy were doing dodgey deals with Tony. It kind of surprised me that they would because Rob was so adamant that everything be legal because he really didn't want to go back to jail. The hair dryer scheme seemed to go ok and Rob first seemed to think that was pushing his luck and that was the end of it but  no, he got lured into more. Tracy egging him on didn't help, I suppose. Tina guessed the truth even without any real evidence but it would certainly be enough to get the police to investigate, at least. That threat and the fact that Tina and Peter were cheating behind Carla's back were enough for Rob to go after Tina.

The inital fall off the balcony was accidental. The iron bar to the back of the head was not. And still Tina lived and as we head into June, she's clinging to life, by a spider web of a thread. She must be part Terminator. We know it was Rob but Rob is trying to get Peter banged up for it and Carla's a suspect as well. Tina must have Peter's dna under her fingernails after scratching him. Roy overheard them arguing. Carla was seen on the balcony over Tina and had announced to the whole pub she was going to kill Tina. I know. It's just something you say but she was angry enough, in the eyes of the police. Peter had the opportunity before he went to the engagement party though timing-wise, if Tina had been on the street unconscious for that long, someone would have seen her. Surely the police can tell if the injury was from landing on the street or from a blunt object, though.

In time, of course, Rob's guilt will be revealed and we'll lose Marc Baylis, sadly. Rob has grown and in turn, has grown on me and I like him and the character. I won't be sad to see Tracy Barlow dumped again, though. I only hope she doesn't make another beeline for Steve again. That's done like dinner.

What's really interesting is watching Peter. As always, he makes all the excuses he can find to avoid really taking responsibility. He's weak. Tina chased him and he just couldn't resist. He drinks. He just can't change. The women he loves try but they just can't save him. He can't save himself either and in the end, he's a tragic figure. All the things he said to Carla when he was backed into a corner and confessed the affair were very similar to the kinds of things he said when he was juggling Shelly and Lucy and when he was cheating on Leanne. He tells them all what they want to hear and it's never the truth, or maybe it is in the moment he says it. Carla accused him of changing his mind to suit the situation and that's pretty accurate. Peter Barlow is one of the most flawed and interesting characters on television these days and a lot of that is down to Chris Gascoyne's talent.

In other news, Leanne and Kal have been circling each other all month. This is Kal's first involvement since his wife's death. Boy can he pick 'em! I bet he never thought he'd have to carry all Leanne's baggage. I could see this coming months ago but it's a really bad idea because of Nick's friendship with Kal. You have to wonder about Kal's common sense or lack thereof. He's made friends with Nick who confides in him and yet still follows through on his attraction to Leanne. Under other circumstances, I would like them as a couple but it's just too messy.

Lloyd had a heart attack during the charity run and that seems to have dropped into the Corrie closet. Aside from one time in the gym with Lloyd on a treadmill, surpervised by Andrea, we've really seen nor heard of it again and I'm sure like most medical issues, it will be swept under the carpet. I think it really wasn't about the heart attack. It was about creating more conflict between Jenna and Andrea and to make us realize that there's something going on with Andrea, some secret that's going to lead to Lloyd's already damaged heart getting broken again.

The fallout surrounding the end of Tina and Peter's story will play out in June. Everyone's a suspect. Owen is off to Aberdeen for a couple of weeks (the actor, along with Mikey North who plays Gary was touring in Canada). What's going to happen when he gets back? Is the family Windass irreperably shattered? Can Fiz and Tyrone put all their troubles behind them and finally be happy when Maria gets back? Kal and Leanne are trying to find the right time to tell Nick about their budding relationship. How badly is that going to put Nick's recovery back? Stay tuned for the next issue of State of the Street for June, next month.

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