Thursday, 30 April 2015
I'd like to see more of Social Services' involvement as there really needs to be something in there about finding ways to keep Faye in school, not just let her stay home for a few months and go back in September. She's too young to fall behind and the bullying will be even worse than it's going to be already. And I despair, I really do. Miley? I know, I know. Faye's only 13 and they're probably the only age bracket that really does think Miley Cyrus is cool. It would have been nice to see Faye naming the baby after her late mother but that would probably mean she actually cares about the baby which she doesn't yet.
I'm a bit curious as to where this will go. I'd *like* to see it end up that they give the baby away for adoption but with soaps, it'll probably be the more uninteresting story of Faye finally finding that she does love the baby and couldn't possibly give it up. If Tracy Barlow can find it in her heart to want her baby back, Faye surely will.
Speaking of Tracy, she's leading Tony around, pushing more and more for him to dump Liz and put what money he has into buying Steve's half of the pub. What I haven't figured out yet is why she'd want to be Liz's partner because Liz still owns a share. Maybe she's going to push for that sale as well. Tracy would love to lord it over the Street but she'd end up with no customers at all or nearly so if she owned it. The rest would be Tony's mates selling dodgey goods in the smoking shelter!
But the thing is, Liz is starting to take Tony for granted as you tend to do when you're comfortable in a relationship and he's got a sexy chick beckoning from across the road. Surely Tracy wouldn't be slicking smelly stuff on her legs or leaving her bra and tights hanging in the bathroom. You don't think? Most people are attracted by the thrill and excitement of the chase and the forbidden pleasure. When they finally leave their partners for the other person, they find out quick enough that life isn't all that different with the new than with the old and in this case, Tracy is probably worse. I reckon Tony's just stringing her along about the money and the pub but if he plays her for a fool, he might want to hide the blunt objects and watch his back. She's got form!
Eileen has finally met a nice man through the dating site. He's not dynamic and he's not exciting but he's stable, pleasant and seems to be a good guy. Naturally, she's all in a tizzy about some other guy on the dating site that sounds a lot more hip and exciting and if she's not careful, she's going to lose a good man to a fantasy because that's exactly what it is. It's actually Todd playing mean games with his mother, and for what reason? Nobody knows. I don't know. I don't care, frankly. I've lost all interest in why Todd does what he does. I don't care what happened to him in London to make him turn so horrible. I don't know why his family keeps getting sucked in and then forgiving him.
I hope Eileen manages to keep hold of Adrian after disowning Todd yet again but I haven't high hopes. And people wonder why Eileen is always so bitter? You'd think she'd wonder by now why she hasn't actually talked to "Jeff" either by phone or on Skype and has Todd only sent one photo of Jeff? If he's sent more, and remember, this is supposed to be a random photo I think, how does he find more photos of the same random guy? Nick them off his Facebook site, I suppose.
But that whole Callum and David fighting over Max storyline is boring the life out of me anyway. I know they had to do something while Kylie was away but geesh this is getting on my nerves. Kylie should be back (by the end of May?) and I can't wait for her to kick Callum all over the place for trying to take Max from David. I'd love to see her find a way to put Callum back in jail for a very long time or at least she needs to back David up with the courts. She's Max's mother and she should have a lot more say in whether Callum gets to take Max from David. She'll have to prove that she's got past the drugs, though.
Sally continues to be a joy to watch! I love to see her sniping at Jenny or trying and failing to lord it over Alya at the factory and being a slave to her own snobbery in other little vignettes. Now that Tim is a grandad, she'll have a superior attitude about her own parenting skills compared to Anna's when really, the only reason she might consider herself a better mother is that neither of her two got pregnant as teens! They caused plenty trouble otherwise, especially Rosie!
Steve's recovery has been quietly subtle. He still has good and bad days but he seems to be coming to grips with it all. I like that it took Lloyd awhile to really get his head around it and he still seems to be slightly suspicious that Steve hasn't just found a new and different way to skive. Michelle has been supportive as I expected but I had hoped she'd and Liz both would be a lot harder on themselves for how they treated Steve than they were. Liz didn't seem to take any blame at all when she was just as bitchy as Michelle back before they knew Steve was ill. I think Liz still believes in tough love to help him get over his illness but she's coming around.
Sinead is also recovering in the first realistic storyline ever with a paralysed-from-accident character. Even Peter Barlow was up and staggering 2 months after the tram crash. Sinead has now been in hospital since early January, inching her way along the parallel bars with the encouragement of her new mate, Sam, who I think has a lot more feelings for her than he's letting on. I also think Chesney spotted it even if he doesn't know why he's jealous. Sinead doesn't seem to have the same feeling though but if Chesney starts acting out, it could spell trouble.
Steve and Michelle are going to get married and Liz is trying to get Tony to help pay for the wedding. When really, you know, if you're broke, you shouldn't be planning anything elaborate. It doesn't cost much to get married at the registry office and I'm sure Michelle can find a nice dress that doesn't cost hundreds. Gail probably knows where you can get a good deal on a dress. She's had to get 6 wedding dresses (so far!) and she hasn't always had much money to splash out. A few sandwiches and sausage rolls in the pub you already own and job's a good'un! Wedding on the cheap!
I like Michael, I like that he's emotional, not all stiff upper lip like all the other men. I think he's a lovely man who made a mistake out of desperation and now he's got his life back. Well, sort of. That heart condition may kill him yet. I'd like him to get a heart transplant and be ok because after all her dead husbands and divorces and disasters, Gail deserves to be happy.
And that, folks, is the State of the Street for April
Saturday, 25 April 2015
We've just seen another character leaving Coronation Street, this time in his own van rather than a taxi. Owen Armstrong has had a bumpy ride on the few years that he's been with us. The character was brought in and likened to the classic Len Fairclough. Len was a builder and was rough around the edges but had a good heart. Owen? He's a builder, too. And rough around the edges? As rough as a badger's arse. Does he have a good heart? Kind of. He does love his two daughters, Izzy and Katie but in trying to keep them safe and having to raise them on his own (more on that in a minute), he goes a bit over the top.
You see, Owen has a temper, also like Len Fairclough and Owen is a bit of a bully, too. When we first met him, he was presented as an over-protective father to disabled Izzy who was determined to be more independent. Izzy has a syndrome that means she spends most of her life in a wheelchair though she can stand and move around a little bit, though it's painful. Izzy is just as stubborn as Owen and they locked horns a lot, I think. Owen's younger daughter, Katy, almost 16 at the time she was introduced, was also a handful, kicking back at her father's attempts to keep her under his protective thumb. She is also headstrong and stubborn like her father. I can well imagine the rows in that house!
I don't think Owen ever struck his children but they certainly have implied that he lost his temper a lot. Having said that, we have seen Owen lash out and give Faye, Anna's daughter, a slap across the leg for a serious transgression, something she did specifically to hurt Owen. He dismantled the rotting shed in the back garden and built a fish pond. Faye killed the fish with creosote. I seem to recall Izzy and Katy inferring that it wasn't an out of the ordinary action for him though I can't see him striking Izzy in any way when she was young but we don't really know. Anyway. He's got a temper and is willing to use it. He may or may not have hurt his children but he certainly can be handy with his fists with adult men if need be. We do know that he had Jim McDonald beaten up. Owen was getting close to Liz and saw her ex as a threat, which he probably was!
All in all, Owen has never really been a sympathetic character overall even if he has times when he's gentler and kinder and more understanding. One incident that reflects those sides of him was when Izzy was with Gary. Gary was in the army and was injured in Afghanistan where he saw his best friend killed after saving Gary's own life. Gary went through nasty Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and though Izzy was supportive, Gary became very over protective of her and ended up keeping her locked in the flat, scared she would be hurt. Gary had a breakdown and freaked out and Owen broke into the flat to find Gary cowering in one corner and Izzy cowering in the other. Owen gathered Gary in his arms and assured him everything would be ok rather than thump him one for scaring Izzy. It was pretty clear at that moment that Gary was in a bad way and Owen knew it. Mind you, he was pretty strongly against Izzy wanting to reconcile with Gary a few months later and Gary's short temper was the beginning of the end of Owen, though it was a long game to get here.
Owen was offered a partnership with a man called Pat Phelan. The deal felt a bit dodgey because Phelan was bankrupt and was encouraging Owen to put his own money in to the refit of an old building into new flats. It would have made Owen a great deal of cash if it all went smoothly but the project was in Mrs. Phelan's name due to the bankruptcy issue. It might have been legal but only just. Owen was persuaded to go ahead and he and Gary and other men hired got stuck in. But Phelan, sleazy Phelan, had his eye on Anna and was putting the moves on her, making her very uncomfortable. She didn't want to cause trouble because she didn't want the deal to fall through but when Gary found out, he lunged at Phelan and assaulted him for badgering his mother. Big mistake!
Phelan now had control over Gary and Owen. He could have Gary sent to jail and financially ruin Owen if he wanted to. And he did do the dirty on Owen financially but blackmailed Anna into an afternoon of sex in a hotel to save Gary's backside. Anna felt like she had no choice and went through with it. Eventually, of course, Owen found out and it nearly broke them permanently. This whole incident, starting with Anna's son, Gary, causing the problem and ending with Anna in that hotel roo was more than a crack in their relationship, it was a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon and they may have patched it over but it's a weak spot. Owen had to sell the builders' yard (to Tony Stewart) and scraped to get odd jobs to get by while Anna was working two jobs to make ends meet. He even lost the house to the bank and they had to move to the flat over the bookies'. That's a lot of stress on that patch job.
And of course, the real truth came out about what Owen did. Izzy was absolutely crushed that her father let her believe all her life that it was her fault that her mother left. That's not something you get over easily. Anna saw the beautiful Linda as a threat to her little family and indeed, she had something to worry about. Linda told Owen she still loved him and wanted him to come to Portugal with her and the girls. That's even more pressure on that papered-over crack and it looks like it's starting to pull away at the edges.
I can't quite understand why you would still harbour feelings for someone who never forgave you and kept you from your children for nearly 20 years but there you go. Does Owen have unresolved feelings? Possibly. But to give him credit, he did come clean right away to Anna about what Linda asked. It didn't really help matters when Katy decided she was going with her mother.
The straw that crashed through the camel's back was her 12 year old daughter Faye giving birth at Easter. Faye herself didn't know she was pregnant until she was about 7 months gone, only worried she was getting fat. Nobody noticed that Faye's weight gain seemed to be solely in one spot of her body which she hid under baggy clothes. Anna was too distracted by everything else to really pay attention to the finer details of Faye's life. Once the shock of the baby's arrival wore off, she had Owen to contend with. He was positive that Faye's friend Craig Tinker was the father and roughed him up. That's Owen's usual response, violence.
Anna wants Faye to keep the baby but Owen knows that Faye, at this point, doesn't want anything to do with the child. He thinks the little girl should be adopted but Anna won't hear of it. Family is important to her and in all likelihood, in true soap fashion, Faye will eventually bond with the baby but she has gone past her ability to handle anymore stress and has made him leave. He thought he could go for a little while to make her realize she'd miss him and need him but since she was adamant, he's gone for good.
While I didn't like the character much, he was always interesting and the actor was quite good.
Saturday, 4 April 2015
The Conversation Street podcasters this week hit it right on the money. Sarah Louise's pregnancy was told from Gail's point of view where Faye's has been told from the point of view of a 12 year old. You will recall that we viewers knew that Martin was having an affair in the run up to Sarah's pregnancy reveal and the marriage was on the rocks even though Martin stuck by Gail while Sarah went through the pregnancy. It was still Gail's story.
This time, it's all Faye's story. A little girl terrified that her adopted mother would decide she's too much trouble and unadopt her. She got along to her seventh month before she even figured it out herself. She'd gained weight and had been bullied for it at school. Dieting to try to lose the weight kept her size small and baggy clothes hid the rest of it. I've known women who were petite and barely showed at all when they were ready to give birth so it's credible to me that Faye was never obviously showing a big bump.
Ellie Leach who plays Faye did a fantastic job and the other star turned out to be Colson Smith as Craig who supported her, tried to be her voice of reason and did everything he could to help her. Every girl wants a best friend like him! Craig is 16 but he's not one the more mature 16 year old boys, all raging hormones and sweaty gym socks. He's a lovely, sweet lad and Colson is revealing himself to be a talented actor. I was watching his face while Faye was in labour and saw the flicker of relief when she asked for her mother. He was finally released when Anna arrived and he ran home to the safety of his own mother in the wake of Owen's anger and suspicions, too traumatized to defend himself at that point.
I hope Craig continues to be there for Faye regardless of how this plays out. The young actors have made this story infinitely more watchable.
It was interesting to bring Sophie into the mix. I don't quite understand how she couldn't hear Faye screaming over head but could hear little bumps as Faye and Craig moved around but never mind. Faye very much appreciated her presence while Craig was frantically looking for Anna and Sophie is always one to reach out to be a friend to the younger kids when they need it. You may not realized it but Brooke Vincent and Ellie Leach are cousins so I'm sure they're tickled to finally have some proper scenes together.
I enjoyed Beth and Kirk's reaction to Craig's news, too. Beth, like pretty much everyone else on the Street is going to do, suspected Craig is the father of the baby but she also believed Craig when he swore it wasn't his and Beth is always fierce in her defence of her own chick and everyone knows it!
Another bit that I thought was a wonderful touch was Tim telling a labouring and scared Faye how he felt when he first held her in his arms. I think it reassured Faye a little bit, knowing how much her father loves her.
I'm not especially looking forward to Anna's hand wringing and teeth gnashing, awash in guilt for not suspecting and berating herself because Faye was too scared to talk to her. I am looking forward to Sally lording it over Anna. For all Sally's parenting stop and starts, neither of her children have put her through something like this! She will conveniently forget Rosie's affair with John Stape! I'm looking forward to Tim relishing his new role as a granddad, something he's already delighted with. I wonder if there will be clashes between Tim's protective instincts and Anna's.
I really hope that Sarah Platt finds a few minutes to bond with Faye. I really hope the writers/powers that be don't drop the ball on this one. Gail could be a support for Anna and Sarah certainly could provide Faye with some insight.
Time will tell.
Wednesday, 1 April 2015
More than I thought I would, too. I was dismayed at the idea of them going down this road again after doing it with Sarah Lou in 2000. She was also 12 getting pregnant, 13 when she found out and gave birth. I knew they'd do a different slant on it and they did, having Faye find out and keeping it all a secret, with the help of Craig, who, incidentally, has been a joy to watch. What a great character and Colson Smith is awesome! He's really come into his own. We'll be seeing Faye give birth over Easter so as I post this, it will be just a few days. Then the real fun begins.
I really hope they'll bring Sarah and Gail into this, Sarah to talk to Faye and Gail to support Anna since they've both been in the same position. Faye's going to be shell shocked and Sarah knows how that feels. She could be a good support but I have a feeling it will be completely ignored or barely touched upon. Too bad.
We've had Katy leave with her newly discovered mother. That was a bit of a waste of a potentially good storyline, having Linda come back after all these years but I don't think it was handled very believably. Owen behaved abominably keeping Linda away from the children. She never fought back with legal help. I suppose Owen must have been as much of a bully then as now and had her in an emotional position of not being confident and brave enough to really sink her teeth into it. I don't believe that after 18 years that a woman that now seems to be a confident business owner wouldn't have returned long before now once the girls were at least teenagers and could speak for themselves or would have hired a solicitor and forced Owen to give access.
I also don't believe that after 18 years and the awful way he treated her that she still loves him and wants to make a go of it. Nope. Not buying it. I could possibly see Owen still harbouring feelings. He was very, very hurt and probably never got over it even if he now loves Anna. There are a lot of unresolved feelings there for him but Linda wanting him back and "always" loving him only feels a bit like a kicked puppy continuing to follow its master. I don't think they cast her all that well either. I wanted Linda to have more passion and fire to her, to really show anger when she stood up to Owen. She was too quiet. Too nice. Yes, there was an element of strength but it still felt tentative. It was all a bit contrived and unfortunately that happens a lot when they have to write an exit storyline. It's not as if they didn't have enough time to figure it out. Georgia May Foote's exit was announced last summer!
Tracy's leading Tony around by the unmentionables. It started off as a way to make herself feel better over the whole Rob thing and now she's having fun twisting Tony in the wind so to speak. Tony does love Liz and is scared he'll lose her and lose a good thing, well situated in the pub. He's got a stake in Barlows Buys but since it's a shaky one with dodgey stolen goods most of the time, who knows how long that will last. I'm surprised, after Tracy made a deal with the cops to drop any stolen goods charges for her turning in Rob that they police haven't been keeping a closer eye on her business. I bet they would in real life. It'll be only a matter of time before the affair is revealed. Liz will tear chunks out of her and Ken will sign "Oh, Tracy!" since we won't have Deirdre to do it.
Steve is making slow progress in his recovery but things aren't that good yet. Another ghost in the machine has reared its ugly head. He's been ignoring letters from the Revenue and he owes over 10 thousand pounds. However did they resolve the debt he ran up on Streetcars' accounts? I remember him promising to pay it back. I think maybe Liz did that, didn't she? Now Tony is going to pay his bill with the money he made selling off that auction house he bought for Jason and Eva. That was nice! It's just a loan but it gets Steve off the hook as far as taxes go. Michelle is actually being really good with Steve for a change. It's also interesting to see Lloyd struggling with it and finding out if they can patch up the cracks in their friendship. It looks like it's starting to happen but it's not a speedy thing and that's more realistic.
There's something going on with Jenny too and I want to know what it is. She's been good with Jack yet has been hesitant to be responsible for him and when she is, she's very over protective. That freak out over the fear that he might have swallowed something he could choke on really makes me think she might have lost a child to an accident for which she blames herself. Time will tell.
We haven't seen nearly enough of Carla. They've hidden Sinead away and we've hardly seen much of her struggle to walk though it's there. And don't get me started on the fact that she couldn't stand on her own while having the potential support of the parallel bars and two nurses and two days later had enough confidence to try to stand up at home, *alone* out of the wheelchair and reach for the teabags! Stupid woman. Stupid scene.
Even though Andy has done a bad thing and has become really stuck in the middle of his own lies, I do like him. I like he and Steph together as well.
Liked the chicken storyline. Wish Zeedan would find a reason to smile. Or have a storyline. Or something. Unsure of the Roy and Sharif sharing an allottment thing though I think it's actually supposed to be the catalyst to bringing Roy back to a bit more normalcy and bring him out of his deep grief. Alya and Gary. Where are they? Don't care. Luke and Maria. Don't care. I do like both characters but they don't seem to gel as a couple. Eileen and the internet dating world. Meh but it might be ok. Jason thinking Eva was with Tony and losing her. Well, that came out of nowhere and just a set up to her leaving for maternity leave for the actor. Another awkward get-out story.
I like most of the storylines on the screen to date, though. I think I tend to be a bit more forgiving of the show even after watching for 26 years. I accept that it has to change with the times. For the better? Not always, but it's not for the worse either, not for me. It's very subjective, isn't it? They could do with a bit smaller cast, do with using the older cast more, try to spread the front burning storylines around a bit rather than seemingly focussing on one family or character like the flavour of the year. One year it was non-stop Michelle, then Becky. Recently it was non-stop Windass and they're still fairly front burner but are fighing for supremacy with the whole Platt clan (and all assorted last names associated thereof. They're still Platts to me!)
I'm looking forward to Faye giving birth and the aftermath of that. Looking forward to Kylie's return. Can't wait to see the explosion when Liz finds out about Tracy and Tony. Interested to see where this Jenny thing is going.
That's the State of the Street for March!