Friday, 23 June 2017

Musing on Dramatic License

Bethany's storyline has been quite controversial. Some viewers think it's gone too far. Some hate that a corrupt policeman has been added for dramatic effect, saying that it could stop someone going for help in "real life". People know this is a fictional drama, and though these things happen in life, most of the police are not going to be corrupt. This kind of situation is nothing new. Pimps have been seducing vulnerable young women for centuries. Bethany might not have been forced to walk the streets for her clients but Nathan is pimping her out just the same. There have also always been corrupt police so why not introduce one to the storyline? Surely people watching have the sense to understand that it's still fiction they're watching on the screen.

Mind you, I should know better than to say that. I used to process the email that came in through the website. Flaming Nora can back me up here. There would occasionally be an email from someone that didn't seem to understand that what they were watching was acting. I remember when Alma died of cancer. There were a half dozen or more emails from people who really thought the actress was dying and how brave was it of her to portray Alma's death on screen. When the storyline aired in Canada some months later, in popped a few more similar emails. I guess there really are some people that get far too involved and confuse fantasy with reality.

Would it really be possible for a mother to disappear without a trace for 7 years, leaving a 15 year old alone as Denise did with Daniel? The financial aspect alone would make it nearly impossible. She had a breakdown, allegedly, so how was she getting the money to put in the bank to pay the rent and bills? Yet apparently she did that. So why didn't Daniel trace her through the bank deposits? Why did not one neighbour or friend find it suspicious that she hadn't been seen for years? Why didn't Denise contact Ken and send Daniel to him if she wasn't going to be around? Daniel wasn't too keen on having his father in his life, as we saw during that last time Ken saw him but rather than leave your child alone, she had that option. Daniel could only lie and cover for her for so long before someone would start asking questions. We complain a bit but more or less accept the storyline as given because it's fiction.

I'm finding it a little difficult to accept that a man diagnosed with terminal cancer only bothered to try to find a guardian for his daughter almost before it was too late. He knew he didn't have much time left, he told that to Billy when he first appeared on the screen about a month ago. Surely if you have cancer, even if you don't know yet that it's terminal, you would scramble to get your house in order especially if you had the guardianship of a child to worry about, and especially knowing she'd either go into care or be given to your homophobic parents if you didn't make prior arrangements or at least write a will and express your wishes there. Social services might still get involved under those circumstances but surely they'd lean towards a big hearted gay vicar over a mean spirited homophobic grandmother.

I can't say yet if this story is going to interest me much but I will say this, if Billy and Todd do end up with Summer, they had better find somewhere to live. I'm pretty sure Eileen isn't going to go for having yet another mouth to feed.

David finally found out Shona's connection to his late wife, the fact that her child is the one that killed Kylie. Naturally he went ballistic, particularly because he was finding that he was attracted to her and it was mutual. She went and ran off but I'm sure she'll be back and in the time honoured tradition of soaps, they'll eventually get together though it's going to be weird that Kylie's kids' step-mother is the mother of the man that killed their mother. My head hurts already!

We all know that Eva's been in full on Bridezilla mode, trying to get Aidan to propose. She's been dropping hints like the flower girl drops rose petals up the church aisle. He's not picking them up. Deliberately. He likes having it both ways, a gorgeous blonde in his bed and another beauty on the side. He can continue to make promises to both of them and probably enjoys the danger zone. Eva took desperate measures and proposed to him in public so what could he do but say yes! Just to cement the deal, Eva is now pregnant though of course, she wouldn't have known that before the proposal I don't think. What I do think is that I wouldn't put it past her to have placed herself in that position of the possibility of getting pregnant because that would be her backup guarantee of a wedding.

Eva's always been full-on with relationships, pushing them into the next step before the fella was ready for it. I think that's why she kept getting engaged and then dumped. When we first met her, she was licking her wounds after a broken engagement and was there not something about when she was staying in France (when the actress was on maternity leave), that she wrote to Leanne that she met a guy and got engaged? When she returned, she was broken hearted again. Those relationships start up and zoom through to that huge commitment stage far too quickly and that's her fueling the zoom bit just like she's done with Aidan. First it was the push to get him to move in and recently it's been the proposal anticipation. But while she's told him about the baby, she's also going to be plotting his downfall while he continues to gleefully juggle both women, making empty promises to each.

 We suspend disbelief in most cases when dramatic license is taken. There's no harm in that. Tv, movies, books, fiction. Sometimes the writers need to throw in a twist or two that might be a bit over the top.

What bothers me is the nit-picky stuff, or if a character is written to do something that we know they would never, ever do. (i.e. when it was discovered that Betty Williams pilfered all those bar glasses) We also stand up and holler if Corrie history is blatantly rewritten (Annie Walker couldn't leave the pub to Betty because the brewery owned it and did until Bet Lynch left and the Duckies bought it from Newton and Ridley.) Would one small neighbourhood have that many people that have had anywhere between 4 and 6 spouses? Would one small neighbourhood have a building bursting into flame every year or two? Sometimes, you just roll your eyes and get on with it.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 3 June 2017

State of the Street - May 2017

One by one, Ken's assailants were eliminated. After initially thinking the attacker would be a secondary character, I came to the conclusion that it was Adam. I noticed that Adam was continually focussing on one after the other of the suspects, trying to redirect attention off himself. He didn't want to be blamed for something "someone else did" and at the end, when he realized Ken's memory was starting to return, it took very little to persuade him to make plans leave town.  Of all the family, he had the most convenient opportunity and possibly motive though Rosie thinks his main MO is sneaky and underhanded. But someone else was anxious to get away from the heat and returning memories, as well.

I agree with Rosie's assessment of Adam, but an argument can quickly get out of hand and accidents happen. Ken's memory took a long time to return and when it did, in flashes, and by the end of the month, we *finally* got the answer we've all been waiting for as each suspect was eliminated. Every one of them were questioned and most of them were arrested, making the police look ridiculously incompetent, but that's nothing new for the Weatherfield Police. Craig had better look sharp or he's in danger of becoming a joke on the force, as well. Or he'll end up running rings around them all and become a super-cop! I'd love to see that.

So what do we all think of whodunnit? They pulled a fast one with an about-face at the end, and Daniel was the culprit all along. The scenes with him in his old flat with Ken were very dark and disturbing in that you could really see how broken and damaged Daniel really was for his mother's abandonment and Ken not being there all his life. The huge twist here was the precisely timed arrival of Denise on the scene! I had known she'd be back at some point but had no idea it would be at the climax of this storyline. Well done, ITV for keeping that under wraps. If Denise hadn't come through that door when she did, Ken might have gone out of it feet first! A lot of things kep her away all these years. None of them were very good excuses if you ask me but that's how the storyline was written.

Ken won't press charges  and swore to attest to the same in court, frustrating the police, and he will both forgive and try to help Daniel who has a lot of demons to face. I never did think Daniel killed his mother because that would make him un-redeemable and he'd have to go and Rob Mallard is one of the best additions to the cast in years. He and Daniel must stay! I do hope they keep Denise around to 'splain things even if Daniel might not want anything to do with her now.

Tracy really came into her own, I thought. As selfish as she is and has always been (and isn't really going to change that much), she decided to take the blame for Ken's assault because she worried that Amy was the one that did it. This included being unable to resist the charms of bad boy Rob Donovan, the man that got away. Ok, the man she made go away when she turned him in over Tina's murder. Rob is the love of her life, the one man that really did "get" her and mostly was able to get past her faults. If he couldn't, he'd give her a dressing down for them but loved her anyway. Not even Robert the Sanctimonious was able to do that. Rob also did the right thing and turned himself in to save Tracy and Amy by default (because she'd have effectively lost her mother to prison).

Self sacrifice worked. Ken had changed his mind and was going to give her the inheritance early so she could buy the florist shop and he still did it once he knew she didn't hurt him and realized she'd (mistakenly) taken the blame for her daughter. It's good to see Tracy enter her forties with a business of her own and a flat of her own. If she and Amy move out of Number 1, that leaves room for maybe Adam or Daniel to move in. I don't know if Adam and Daniel will be able to share the same flat after all this but I am equally unsure whether Adam and his resentful chip on his shoulder can share a house with Ken.

The existence of baby Oliver has become the turning point for Nick's delusional paranoia. He's never got over Leanne's connection to Peter and now with Steve in the picture as well, he's been pushed over the edge with his jealousy and insecurity into the depths of paranoia and I don't think it's got anything at all to do with his brain injury. David had it right. Nick can't accept and appreciate what he has, a woman that loves him and he keeps picking at it until he's pushed it away. He doesn't deserve the happiness he's been given.

Why is Nick so insecure about Leanne? Because I think he knows damn well that though she loves him, he loves her more. He's never got over her but she had other big loves in her life that weren't him. She seems  to go back to him when she's had a knock back, someone safe, her first love. Then he hurts her yet again. At some point, she's got to end it for good because he's never going to change. He's every bit that manipulative, selfish, passive aggressive kid that he was when he first got together with her as a teenager. He really hasn't changed, just got older and more arrogant. I've said it many a time. That is his downfall. He finally realized it.

Leanne tried a last ditch effort to get everyone to make peace, taking them all to a beach. But Leanne found out he could have given Peter an alibi and didn't and then the men ganged up on Nick and pressed every insecure button he had until he contemplated walking out into the sea like they suggested. I did think Peter and Steve were a bit harsh even if Nick had pushed them too far. Telling someone to walk into the sea, to kill themself really isn't right. He didn't really try to throw himself into the sea but he got stuck in quicksand and it was almost too late. Nick survived, as I thought he would but it was a near miss. I couldn't see them killing off one of the Platts. They've recasted before so they can get away with doing it again in the future and I'm sure we've not seen the last of Nick Tilsley over time.

Nathan put his end game into play and he's farming young Bethany out to his friends, sex for money. She was shocked to her core after the first time, unable to believe that a man that said he loved her could allow, nay, expect her to have sex with someone else, let alone let it continue.  Yet, he's got such control over her that she didn't walk out the next day. The twist that Neil, that friend of Nathan, is a police officer, crooked as a corkscrew, was unexpected and, frankly, not just a little sinister.

Sarah tried her best to get Bethany away but Nathan's hold on her is now too strong. She was pressured into it. Sleeping with strangers is not what she wanted. Nathan even ramped it up to having her in a room with three men! Good grief! That's pretty grim, isn't it? Shona, as we all predicted, finally realized who Bethany was involved with and came out fighting. She got beaten up for her trouble but managed to alert the Platts who rescued Bethany but it wasn't in time to prevent her having to sleep with three men in a row. She's determined to be on Nathan's side and refuses to see him as a villain. Yet. The story isn't over, though it's going to be about realization and recovery from here on in.

Maria has gotten herself tangled up with yet another wrong'un, a love rat who might say all the right things and make all the right promises but is going to hurt her badly in the long run. Eva rushed Aidan into a commitment before he was ready though likely he'd never have been "ready". He strikes me as that kind of man.

Be that as it may, I think Aidan lapped up Maria's crush on him as a way of rebelling against Eva's domestication quest. She's always so full on, is Eva and always ends up getting hurt. She pushes too much too far too soon and then wonders why she keeps getting dumped. Maria always seems to go for men that have commitments or feelings for other women, and even if she only finds out about it after they've gotten together, seems to have the attitude that if the fella isn't cheating on his woman with her, he'd be cheating with someone so it might as well be her. It's led to heart break for her in the past and I don't anticipate any different this time.

Eva is determined to get a ring on her finger and we all know Aidan won't do that. Nor will Maria get one on hers, I'm willing to bet. But when Eva finds out about Maria, and she will of course, it isn't going to be pretty.

Brian and Roy are bickering and rubbing on my nerves, mainly because I really don't like Brian. He's such a buffoon. I put him in the same boat as I used to put Derek Wilton. Both actors are very good but I really detest the characters and only occasionally find Brian funny. I can't see what Cathy sees in him. She's got far more about her, daft as she can be at times, than to hook up with him. I hope they aren't trying to make them into the new Mavis and Derek because they don't have the charm. Cathy was much better with Roy. Too bad Roy just wasn't ready, but it's understandable.

June will be an interesting month. Bethany's story will continue as we see her still under the throes of Nathan's psychological hold over her. Will Steve sell the pub to Peter in the end? I think he will now that Nick is out of the picture. Will Ken throw Daniel to the wolves? Not likely. How will the rest of the family handle the news and will Adam percolate even more resentment towards his grandfather? What about Todd and Billy? Will Todd relent and help Billy raise Summer? Will Anna ever let Kevin touch her again? Will Phelan ever pay for his misdeeds?

Stay tuned for another month of Corrie and find out! 

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Friday, 2 June 2017

The Big Week, The Big Reveal

Wow! ITV really pulled out all the stops this week, didn't they? There were a few smaller fill-in storylines but mostly it was one major surprise after another. Big things were revealed, one or two which were superbly timed.

First we had Ken remembering Daniel was his assailant. The viewer knew by the end of last week and watched as Daniel quickly fell apart, guilt, pain, long held damage and resentment, it was all there as he attacked his father but wait, the door opens, that bookcase blocking the way shudders as someone tries to push through...just as Ken is accusing Daniel of killing his mother, his mother shows up on the other side of the door! I knew Denise would be back in the show but I had no idea it would be just then. Excellent stuff! Now to find out why she left and why she stayed away. A breakdown? That lasted for 6 years? And she had no friends at all in the  world she could send to check up on him?

Denise's reveal was that she'd had a breakdown and stayed away because she thought he'd be better off without her and still believes it. If she could see throught he walls of that bathroom to see her son trying to cut himself, scald his hands and shake and cry in a little heap in the corner, maybe she'd rethink that statement. *I* wanted to smack her for that. Daniel was about to have that discussion with his mother when he finally came out but the police showed up. Sinead had found the bloody book and oh too familiar inscription and the penny dropped there, too. But in the end, it was her that called the police.

Daniel turns himself in. I wonder if he could claim temporary insanity because he certainly is a damaged boy, no thanks to his mother. The detective is  practically spitting coins because Ken won't press charges. I didn't expect he would so that wasn't a surprise. Now the way forward is to find a way to help him. I think this was my favourite of the big stories this week, because I've been following it with great interest from the first, spellbound especially by Rob Mallard's performances.

Next up, Craig inadvertently revealed to Shona exactly who Bethany's boyfriend really is. Nathan was the ex that Shona was running from at Christmas, the ex that she has told people abused her, with at least one burn scar to prove it. When she confronted Nathan, she got away but was attacked and left for dead. Craig proves yet again to be the hero and rescues her, just days after helping a lost Bethany.

Nathan is feeding Bethany drugged drinks, just enough to keep her pliant but she kicked off so he dragged her outside and wielded his control by shouting, physically burning her arm and then blaming his actions on her. Typical abuser. She'll do anything to make up to him now, convinced she caused his anger. This really is painful to watch, painful in that your heart breaks for her.  The next reveal was Shona managing to get out of the hospital to warn the Platts about what Nathan was doing with Bethany sending them running en masse to rescue her.

They weren't in time to prevent the 3-on-1 in the bedroom, which was quite chilling to see, those men filing into the room behind her and Mel ensuring she stayed there. I didn't expect that. It's one thing to imply that she's heading into the bedroom and has had sex with a crooked copper, it's quite another thing to put her in a Three Men and a Bethany situation, even if it is after the watershed early air time but they went there, apparently. Bethany was "rescued" though she doesn't see it that way and refuses to take against Nathan. But I wonder if, at the end of the last episode when she looked at the burn on her arm and then her engagement ring, a little flash of doubt passed her mind. Just for a brief moment. One more reveal, Shona told the police that she ran away from Nathan when she realized what Nathan was trying to do so it sounds like she wasn't used sexually after all.

The thing is, now that we know Nathan's cohort in the whole scheme is a police officer, it's going to make things more difficult to prosecute him even when he was arrested at the flat. I'm not sure where the raid came from but I suspect one of the Platts probably called them while on the way. This ongoing story has been very interesting to watch, too, even if the subject matter is difficult. This happens. It's important because it might help someone. And, again, the performances, especially by Lucy Fallon and Chris Harper as the creepy Nathan have knocked it out of the park.

Nick's a good man with the kids, really he is. He did try to help bring them all together for Simon's sake but couldn't resist getting into it with Peter yet again, trying to prove he's the better football player. With Simon walking away in disgust, Nick's in the bad books again. When Leanne overheard that he could have provided Peter with an alibi the night his father was attacked, that was the last straw. He was willing to say nothing if it would get Peter out of their lives, not caring what the effect on Simon would be. He says he trusts Leanne but he feels like he doesn't belong. He would if he was able to accept Peter and Steve and be a decent man instead of someone that always has to have all the prizes.

His lifelong sense of entitlement is his downfall. He's always taken advantage of Leanne when she's been vulnerable, knowing she always leans on him when she's been heart broken or let down. She's continually the one that gets away, that one that keeps leaving him when he messes up, trying to be her one and only. That's what happens when one person loves more than the other, when one person's definition of love is possession and triumph. He lost her again and knew it. Peter was a bit harsh, suggesting he throw himself into the sea. He didn't really consider it but he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and nearly drowned under the quicksand.

Peter was then the one that kept Nick talking, trying to make him angry enough to fight to live. It worked and Nick was rescued just in time. Acrimony aside, there was no way Peter nor Steve would ever let Nick drown if they could do anything to help or get assistance. Nick would do the same for either of them. I think. Nick says he wouldn't but I think if the situation was presented to him, he would. Don't forget that Nick saved Peter's life after the tram crash. Then again, he also lured Peter back to drinking afterwards and had been having an affair with Leanne who was engaged to Peter at the time. Peter, flawed as he is, is definitely the better man.

Previously, as far as spoilers went, it was left up in the air whether he'd survive or not. ITV was very cagey about it. They're getting a lot better and keeping some things back as surprises which is a good thing. We knew the actor was leaving, would they actually kill off Nick? I really didn't think so but it was a close call, wasn't it? Nail biting stuff.

In the end, Nick gave up and walked away. Leanne was ready to stay with him after nearly losing him but she was that close to walking away before that. If he hadn't nearly died, he wouldn't have changed his attitude and even if they got through that day, it would never have gone the distance. He knows that very well. He told his mother that he didn't like the man he was turning into, and he wasn't coming back. I can't think of anyone that needs a fresh start more than Nick Tilsley and maybe he'll even manage to get Leanne out from under his skin. Will he be gone forever? Probably not. I would imagine that they will recast Nick some day and bring him back.

But for now, that's the end of Nick on our screens. At least he said goodbye to his mum! Yet another really good storyline. As much as I really dislike Nick, the chemistry between Ben Price, Jane Danson and Chris Gascoyne especially just leaps off the screen. Georgia Taylor and Jane Danson still have that sibling dynamnic, too. While it might have felt a bit out of character for Leanne and Steve to have sex in the first place, it certainly kicked off a lot of drama and a long running storyline.

In the minor leagues, Cathy finally kisses Brian after him faffing around his superstitions for half the week. I fail to see what she sees in him. It's Anna's 50th birthday and Kevin's organized a surprise party for her with Erica's help in keeping Anna out of the house until the appointed time. Anna's still finding it difficult to get close to Kevin due to her low self esteem over her burns. Careful, luv, Kevin doesn't respond well to partners who find reasons to shy away from his advances, even if they're good ones. Just ask Sally.

What a week of Corrie! I think this was one of the best "big weeks" I have ever seen on Coronation Street.There wasn't a lot of lightness or fun, very little humour and mostly what there was of it, Brian's buffoonery and susperstition, was just annoying. I wanted to get back to the drama and there was plenty of that.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

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