Monday, 19 November 2012

Corrie's Marcus - madly in love or just mad?

Reposted with permission from Mancunian Matters.  Written by Sam Taylor

Can Coronation Street really get more desperate for story ideas?  Marcus the gay midwife has suddenly turned straight and is madly in love with a woman. 

Not only do trams randomly crash into the most ill-fated street in British history, but it seems people’s sexual orientations can change overnight. Marcus is, or was, a confident, openly-gay man. We had been through his tumultuous relationship with Sean that all ended in tears. There were even rumours the two would marry in 2011.

You might think it’s stupid that I’m using my time to discuss fictional characters on a poor quality television soap, but shows are meant to reflect ordinary lives, and more worringly, affect people’s perceptions too. The power of the box cannot be underestimated.

Proper cases of homosexuality are not psychological.  You can’t just change it overnight after meeting a very attractive person of the other sex.

However, the amount of homophobic bigotry that still exists in our so called multi-cultural society leads many, particularly young, gay people to live in fear of their sexuality. And stories like this on Coronation Street could very well lead to many young gay men keeping quiet and tragically staying in the closet, perhaps even forcing themselves into the delusion that they are straight.

“You love Kylie Minogue and Canal Street – you do not love her!” Jason screamed at Marcus. Perhaps you found time for laughing at this comment, but it’s the sort of thing that will no doubt have a powerful effect on teenage boys struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.

And the stereotype is crudely encapsulated in Sean. Why can’t the producers accept that gay men are ordinary human beings?

Marcus and Maria’s first kiss could be seen as incredibly insulting to the gay community.  No doubt he’ll be gay again by the end of the year and the writers will pat themselves on the back for a job well done – but there is little respect for genuine portrayal of sexuality. It is the cheap TV were all knew it was.

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Anonymous said...

Yes, gay men are ordinary human beings, capable of falling in love with anybody - yes, ANYBODY. I think this is one of the best story lines in ages.
If you want to pick about something unrealistic, how about Rob leaving Kristy - the new employee - in charge while he is away? Now THAT is unrealistic!

Anonymous said...

Since when is being Bi-sexual something out of science fiction?

Janice said...

What the writer of this blog and others offended by this storyline have failed to grasp is that sexuality is not binary. It is a spectrum. Very few are 100% gay and very few are 100% straight. Most people fall somewhere in-between leaning towards one end or the other. Under the right circumstances these other dormant desires will surface. The whole point of the gay movement is that you can't help whom you love. The very excellent series Bob & Rose explored this very well. Because this is a soap with a track record of sudden personality transplants it makes the Marcus/Maria affair feel contrived.

Mrs Barton said...

I do think there is a salient point to be made here.

People are totally missing the point of this storyline and misconstruing it as 'Marcus is now straight'. So therefore it is very possible that some of the same people would now be using this storyline to back up their bigoted beliefs about 'it just takes the right person' to change a person's sexuality.
Despite this, I am glad that even on a soap (which by their nature are designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator) there is a storyline which doesn't patronise viewers. It's not black and white.

Rachel said...

Jonathan Harvey (gay man) wrote the bit about Canal St and Kylie - I think he was trying to show how people have cliched views of gay men.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the posts above. Critics are missing the entire point of this storyline, that the emotions that drive attraction can be stronger than pure lust. To say this isn't possible for a gay man is to reinforce the stereotype that all gay men "hook up" and can't engage in sincere relationships. Rather than presuming Marcus has "turned straight" why not consider the issue of his exploring bisexuality or that his emotional connection (and the circumstances surrounding his particular relationship with Maria) are overriding his usual sexual drive? I also agree that this storyline has the potential to be the most interesting in ages, if only the writers allow it the time to build and play out at a slower rate. At least it has people talking.

ChiaGwen said...

Good Grief man, Marcus didn't suddenly 'turn straight'....and ditto for the responses above! I'd love to hear what Charlie Condu has to say about this storyline. I think your blog would have been more digestible if it were Sean who suddenly 'turned straight'

Anonymous said...

At last Marcus has expressed the feelings he has had for Maria for months. Pity that they did not do this ages ago, but I am not so sure if it is a good thing. AC/DC men can have relations with both men and women and he has made the choice that suits him at the moment. Gay turned not gay relations do not normally turn out well; but I hope they write a happy ending this time; Corry have messed up enough relationships.

abbyk said...

They love each other in so many other ways, the ones that matter, the ways that make relationships last: trust, caring, sharing a laugh. The kissing and bedding were built on a foundation that took years to develop. This isn't a 180 for Marcus like when Sunita went all slutty. It wasn't an immature rash reaction for Maria of the likes we've seen from Steve & Eva. It's just one aspect of a full, complex relationship that hadn't been broached. And great acting has made it an immensely watchable story. More, please.

Anonymous said...

Marcus is believable as a very confused man and is carrying this whole plot, but Maria? She's the same in every scene...whimper whimper sniff sniff. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the blog writer. Despite being the epitome of camp, Coronation Street does not have a good record on gays. Its first gay character, Todd Grimshaw, took until the 21st Century to appear, long after EastEnders and other soaps had blazed the trail. Even then, Todd had Marcusitis, fathering a child in his teens and apparently being willing to live a life of domestic, closeted bliss.

Then, along comes Sean, a Mr Humphries act-a-like, if I can be permitted to include the word act in a sentence including Sean. Finally, Gail's Dad and Marcus turn up, as ordinary blokes, like most gay men are, and one disappears without trace and the other suddenly discovers he is bi. I am beginning to wonder if it might not just be better to go back to the days when gays were virtually invisible.

Anonymous said...

This might surprise you Anon, but most of the characters in soap are generally stereo types. Unless of course you believe that straight women and men are as outrageous as the characters on Corrie? I think the reason this storyline has caused such a stir is because some viewers are just desperate to cling to their assumptions that every soap is just desperate to malign or offend gay characters. Given the origins and current casting of Corrie, that idea is just wrong. How many people have posted negative comments that are little more than complaints that Marcus isn't fitting into their personal biased views of how gay men should be portrayed on tv?

Anonymous said...

Samia and Charlie have both been incredible during this storyline and their onscreen chemistry is amazing.

I think Marcus is madly in love and I hope both he and Maria along with Liam get their happy ending!

John in Cincinnati said...

As a gay man, I find the storyline insulting. There have been no indicators in the past to tell us that Marcus was Bi..not a single hint, and then BOOM all of a sudden he in love with Maria? and her..she's such a mousy type.
I don't believe it for a second. He may be one of these folks who long for a happy family type of life and here it is pre-made for him..woman and kid..just add water and stir.
Everyone constantly carps on what a stereotype Sean is..well, firstly stereotypes are based on reality and second, I have known tonnes of men just like Sean over the years..there isn't anything that outrageous about him except that he is the type of chap that is now an outcast in the lgbt it is now so important to appear 'normal' to please the straight folks...Sean can get a bit much at times..but at least he brings back some of the humour from the old days that is sorely neeeded on Corrie is become dark as EE..yuk.

Anonymous said...

This might surprise you Anon, but whilst TV might be full of gay people behind the scenes, it constantly panders to the prejudices of its audiences, real or perceived. Why else was Coronation Street a gay free zone for 40 years?

As soon as there is any hint of gay man actually having a penis, the complaints roll in. The BBC received a substantial number just for showing Christian and Syed in bed. A Gay Producer does not mean favourable portrayals of gays any more than Margeret Thatcher meant the advancement of women in politics.

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