Sunday, 22 February 2015

The devil is in the detail

Watching Callum terrorise the Platt-McIntyre family the other night did make me laugh. Not just because Callum is as menacing as a cardboard cut out baddie in a tired old pantomime. Like many bad boys before him, it surely won't be long until Mr Logan is showing his softer side and appearing semi-clad emerging from the bedroom of Tracy/Maria/Sarah (delete as applicable).

No, what really put a smile on my face is the transformation we see in David Platt. After all, it's not that long ago he was the villain of the piece. Remember when it was him bringing drugs into that particular front room? Or driving his car into the canal on Sarah's wedding day? Or pushing Gail down the stairs? Or smashing up the street wearing that horrible bright coral coloured jumper?

So much happens to characters in Coronation Street these days that it's just not possible for the writers to reference everything that has ever happened to them. They are a victim of their own imaginations, and perhaps five episodes a week. However there are still some glaring anomalies that really stick in my clack. David's meek and mild routine in the face of the tedious Callum is just the beginning.

Watching Kevin and Tyrone being the best of buddies the other night as they joked about Jenny was all very lovely, but it's only four years since Tyrone found out Kevin was much more than a running partner to poor, dear departed Molly. Not only that, but would Tyrone really volunteer to babysit the very child he thought was his but actually turned out to be Kevin's by Ty's dead wife? To quote another exasperated Scotsman, I just don't believe it!

After all Todd Grimshaw did to upset the applecart for Maria and Marcus, isn't it all just a bit convenient that everyone in the family at number 11 is now oh so trusting of him once again?  And we still know absolutely nothing about what happened to Todd in London to turn him so vindictive. 

It's not so long ago that the fragrant Audrey suffered a heart attack in the salon, but has she mentioned it once during Michael's health scare and subsequent open heart surgery? Just a minor detail perhaps, but surely a nice little scene displaying some old fashioned empathy would have helped join the dots?

I have written about my concerns over the characterisations of Norris and Mary before. Both characters are capable of showing a softer side and both actors are skilled at showing so much more. However we get mean, nasty and vaguely unhinged. Only a few years back Mary held Norris captive in that remote cottage and yet there they are, still drinking together in the Rovers while Rita sits opposite doing that exasperated look to the heavens we all know and love...

I think the scenario that bugs me the most is that of Anna and Roy. Anna treated Roy like dirt following Gary's attempt to rob the cafe. Fair enough, Roy should not have resorted to violence but he immediately regretted it and did everything he could to make amends. Anna was unrepentant however, castigating Roy whenever the opportunity arose and being remarkably unpleasant. There was no movement in the woman whatsoever, no acknowledgement that Gary had done anything wrong. Then suddenly all appeared to be forgiven - did I miss something? 

What bothers me most about Anna's treatment of Roy is that barely a year before this she was one of Roy's closest friends as he struggled to cope with the illness and loss of his beloved Hayley. Along with Carla, Anna was there right until the end, even cleaning the glass after Hayley's death to protect her employer. Bonds like that are just not so easily broken.

So is Coronation Street becoming over-complicated? Do too many characters have personality overhauls just to suit the latest plot device? I do honestly think with long running serials like Corrie, the devil really is in the detail. 

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Humpty Dumpty said...

I often get the feeling that the writers dream up a plot and a newbie at the table wonders: 'But didn't xxx happen so that wouldn't make sense?' The others look at said writer despairingly: 'Only the Corrie nerds will notice that.' I'm a Corrie nerd and wish I had a badge to prove it. We're like the Trekkies, the Dr Who and Red Dwarf fans who point out the scientific anomalies. The Corrie bosses don't worry about things like continuity, authenticity, logic and we, the fans, really ought to get over it. To be fair to them, they haven't got the time to nit pick their way through story lines. To be fair to me, it wrecks my enjoyment of the programme. We're getting too sophisticated for our own good, especially on this site where another commenter will point something out that you hadn't noticed. Then you can't stop seeing it.

I wonder how many of the audience in Shakespeare's day complained that you couldn't have a clock chiming in Julius Caesar. And if they did, you can bet their friend would have said: 'Forsooth, t'is only a play. Get over it.'

Rosie said...

Another great blog Graeme and as usual I agree with every word.
The writers churn out so many plots, throw them in a pot and then choose the characters ( usually the Platts) to cover the story.
It's only us nerds who notice the discrepancies, and as Humpty says I guess we have to get over it, but I can't - and I won't!

Anonymous said...

The lack of continuity drives me crazy. Take Max's ADHD. It's not mentioned yet the child has seen his Mum disappear and a new bloke appear on the scene telling him he is Dad. Enough to induce behavioural problems in any child never mind one with ADHD. No medication is that good.

Michael's heart condition is also rather badly researched in terms of treatment

Anonymous said...

My 'HUH?'moment was Kevin demanding Molly get a DNA test on little Jack because he didn't want Tyrone near HIS son and now Tyrone who's never at home with his and Fiz's daughters is babysitting Jack?!Why couldn't Sophie babysit her little brother?
Since the Platts area in so many storylines these days,I wonder since Sarah was also pregnant at the same age,if we'll see Gail offering her support to Anna when it comes out that Faye is pregnant or will that be forgotten by writers as well?

Jonathan said...

I suppose with David an explanation could be that he has matured owing to fatherhood and marriage. A downside of the internet is that you can watch you like on telly then go online and see everybody else say its crap and pointing out the flaws.

Donna said...

Graeme: it's a soap opera, not to be confused with any similarity to real life and or even good writing. The audience is supposed to not notice the story lines and the disconnect that happens between the characters, just accept whatever dribble the writers want to put out each and every week. As long as it remains in the ratings and gets it's awards as the #1 show who cares. i know myself I only watch infrequently , couple times a week and that's too much because of the disconnect, actors leaving and long.... storey lines i.e. Tina's murder. Steve's depression is refreshing now, another child as a baby mama, yes it happaens but vary rarely and as I've said before Corrie doesn't promote education, just working at the factory.

Anonymous said...

I really like Graeme's point that Coronation Street might be getting over-complicated.

Personally, I feel Stuart Blackburn is sincere about wanting to return to the history of the Street and to shift the focus back to more local, non-sensational, interactions.

Recently the best versions of this (IMO) have been the friendship between Faye and Craig, as well as Maddie and Zeedan (too bad Maddie's leaving... )

But, despite good intentions, like Graeme says, it's gotten overly cluttered. It's like someone who wants to redecorate their house to recuperate a sense of who they once were, except they take all this stuff out of storage and just dump it in, without an eye to simplicity and beauty.

Surely Faye and Craig could have become mates without a pregnancy storyline. When you add in Linda's arrival and Owen's departure - it really does become a bit much.

A circus with too many rings.

Simplicity is indeed a virtue and, if the writers strive for it, continuity problems will fade.

Great post, btw! Thx.


Graeme N said...

Donna, I think a good soap opera can reflect both real life and demonstrate good quality writing. British serial drama has a long reputation for this, unlike some daytime US soaps. Just because it's a soap doesn't mean Corrie shouldn't reference characters and their history on the show.

Graeme N said...

I too love the recent scenes between Craig and Faye. I think they could have come about without the pregnancy story too but there you are....

Graeme N said...

Thank you Rosie!

John McE said...

I think the truth is, with storylines for five episodes per week to come up with, (a) they are forced to drag a lot of them out far beyond the point where they cease to be entertaining and (b) so many ideas that should never have been taken up are, simply because they struggle to come with anything else.

And the five episodes per week means that they are done in such a rush, that quality suffers. Quite how Jenny Bradley could stand directly outside the Kabin yet not give it a single glance is simply unbelievable.

Frosty the Snowman said...

I think we have to have a bit of poetic licence as they call it but when there is blatent disregard for the past and total amnesia, it does become annoying and slapdash, especially for us Corrie purists!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Corrie is getting too complicated - exactly the opposite - much easier to change an actor's character to fit the plot than change the plot to a believable one. I know they can't have every detail exact, but they do push the boundaries way too much. Perhaps that is why the good actors are leaving??? Peter, Owen, Julie, Maddie - I'm sure as an actor they need to feel as if they are developing a character in the show, only to have the writers do a complete 180 and change them into nasty people.

Anonymous said...

Definitely agree re Anna. She used to care about Roy. The way she has been portrayed throughout the Roy/Gary story is awful.

There have been some lovely scenes between Roy and Carla. Couldn't we have had one scene where Carla confronts Anna about the way she's treating Roy? It wouldn't have to be a big dramatic showdown; just a scene with Carla reminding Anna that they were both there when Roy lost Hayley.

No one seems question Anna's attitude so the way she is currently being portrayed seems pretty pointless to me.

Anonymous said...

*to question

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