Monday, 2 November 2015

Alya Nazir and the 43%

As weeks go, Alya Nazir has had better. The consequences of her grief induced, tinny fuelled afternoon chez Grimshaw has included being dumped by her fiancé, rejected by her grandfather, feeling the wrath of Anna, and having her infidelity bandied about about over knickers and French 75s.

When reviewing last Friday’s episode, I remarked that I felt she cut a sorry dash, and evoked sympathy. However, comments left on the blog and received on Twitter revealed that I appeared to be alone in feeling this way, with not one person saying they shared my pity.

I wondered how it could be that a young girl who has lost her mother, then her father in tragic circumstances; who has seen her ambitions at Underworld thwarted, has been forced to contemplate the prospect of Anna as a mother-in-law, suffered a rather public vested interest in her love life from day one, and is clearly feeling guilt and remorse, could fail to induce any sympathy whatsoever.

Yes, her ambition at Underworld was, at times, unbecoming. No, she should absolutely not have cheated on Gary. Nevertheless, I would’ve thought that her difficult life experiences and the pressure she is under at home to make everyone proud would have counted for something. Perhaps not. Maybe there are some that never really bought into Gary and Alya as a couple, and such viewers could therefore care less whether or not she has been unfaithful. On these theories, this sympathetic viewer can only surmise.

In any event, I remained surprised at the unanimous indifference and lack of sympathy I had encountered, so I decided to take advantage of Twitter’s new poll function to see if this response was across the board. Suffice to say, I was intrigued by the result.

Of the 131 viewers who cast their vote, there really wasn’t much in it. While ‘No’ won out, I was intrigued to find that 43% were prepared to spare a thought for her.

I'd love to hear from this silent ample minority. What is it about Alya that tugs at your heart strings and has you feeling sorry for her?

I'm also just as interested to hear from the majority. As above, I find it interesting that a character with her history fails to induce any pity. Why is that the case for you?

And finally, let's spare a thought for Gary, pictured here in happier times.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Anonymous said...

To be honest, "Annoying" and "dull" are two words I would usually use to describe Alya but I do feel a bit sorry for her.

In fact I find it more frustrating that certain characters are on their high horse acting like she's killed someone. Of course Miss Perfect AKA Anna Windass has never made a mistake...oh wait... And Gary has never cheated... oh wait...

I may not be a fan of Alya but getting sick of the hypocrisy from some of the others

Humpty Dumpty said...

I don't feel sympathy for Alya because she isn't a sympathetic character. This google definition comes close to explaining how I feel about her: "A sympathetic character is a fictional character in a story whom the writer expects the reader to identify with and care about, if not necessarily admire." That's about it. I don't identify with or care about Alya. If you read about her life story, without meeting her, you would feel some pity for her. How is it that this doesn't across on the screen? The writing's not brilliant for this character and, I'll be shot down for this, the acting is only OKish. Corrie is a drama. It's about making you believe the unbelievable and, conversely, simply because something is believable in real life doesn't automatically make it believable on the screen.

Hopeful said...

I feel bad for her because I can't believe Gary told her whole family she slept with someone else. I hope the writers give her a better love interest and maybe better storyline-

Anonymous said...

I wrote a comment on an earlier post (perhaps the preview for the ep) that I finally had sympathy for Alya because of the misogyny she is facing. She wasn't unfaithful. She had broken up with Gary. Plus, she was in a black despair from Kal's death - Gary had no business mocking that reason. Then Gary set out to shame her - his behaviour is unforgivable. Get over it. Her family's reaction is expected due to their religious values, but even there they objectify her. Why is it her brother's business to defend her chastity and honour? Would he receive the same reaction were he sleeping around, as a man? Kal was certainly sleeping with Leanne and they didn't care. Their objectification of Alya - up on a pedestal or cast down in shame - is upsetting. And Anna, who is no angel, needs to let her grown son deal with his own business. So I sympathize with Alya's position, as a woman. I hope Alya stands up for herself.

Anonymous said...

If this storyline was an attempt by the writers to convey a cultural difference between the Nazir's belief system and the people of the Street's values, they didn't succeed. Alya (and many young women like her, whatever their culture) have been raised by a double standard. They were expected to remain virgins until marriage. Men were not. This might have had some justification before "the Pill" was invented, since men were concerned that they might be raising another man's children. Nowadays (in spite of the fact that the women on that street don't seem to know how to prevent pregnancy!) the pressure on women has changed. Not only are they able to prevent pregnancy with over 90% reliability, but they are also able to get an education and a job, which, although it is still appallingly not paid equally, at least is enough for women to have more choice. I was hoping we'd see more of that choice for Alya. I was disappointed that the writers chose to throw her together with Gary, an unskilled laborer with a rather messy past. Alya has been under tremendous pressure to be the perfect daughter and granddaughter. I suspect that losing her father, after having lost her mother, left her not knowing how to manage her grief. Consciously or unconsciously (the writers let her down in the writing of her part, again) she felt that life was unpredictable and capricious. What was the point of her precious virginity if life itself could be taken so easily? She made a choice to stop putting her desires and experiences on hold, waiting for a future that might be taken from her. That might not have been a wise choice, but she's young and the the elders in her life were not being supportive when she needed them.
Gary and Anna are hypocrites, Yasmeen was dealing with her own grief and wasn't there for her granddaughter, and Sharif lives in a fantasy world that may or may not have existed at one time but certainly doesn't now. As for Zeedan, he's also a mess. He's young, he's lost both parents, he's living in 2 cultures and trying to figure out where and how to fit in both, so he's no help to his sister (nor she to him).
I think the potential of the Nazir family on the street has been squandered by poorly researched and shallowly written material. The indifference to Alya by the viewers is a reflection of that. What a wasted opportunity!

Anonymous said...

Excellent analysis, Anon. 02:00.

Anonymous said...

At least now Alya will see Gary's true colors--loser, boor, bully, classless jerk. Oh, but he "loves" her, I forgot! And she transformed his life and made him a better person. And now she's betrayed him and it's all her fault, so let's shame the slut in front of her family and her colleagues while poor Gary plays the wounded victim. Gary who let's see--1.robbed the neighbour and friend who was grieving the death of his wife; 2. attacked a man with a board and left him for the dead; 3. almost slept around when he was still with Izzy; 4. was kicked out of the army for being disorderly; 5. has seen jail time; 6. held Izzy hostage; 7. helped his dad on his numerous shady schemes.

I find this whole plot line and the relationship between the two appallingly misogynistic--like some wretched medieval or Victorian morality play with its classic saint-whore dichotomy.

And no, I don't find Alya sympathetic--the whole scenario is so contrived and unlikely, set in place for no other reason than a classic bout of slut-shaming that I just wish she would either stand up for herself or go away. But no, she has to beat up herself and go on about how terrible she is.

Please...I'm so sick of Corrie building up supposedly strong and smart women so that they can be knocked off their pedestal and gratuitously abused by the men in their life. Carla is one. Leanne another. Tina another. Now Steph (revenge porn) another. Kylie another.

Why do women have to be treated with such a lack of respect on the show? And why are they scripted as such willing participants in their own self-denigration?

If she really did all that, can't he show her some compassion?

abbyk said...

Alya could have but hasn't been written as a bright young woman balancing her Western education and upbringing with the traditional ways of her immigrant grandparents. Who, in retrospect, aren't all that traditional. They left Pakistan for England many years ago for something other than the fine weather. They must have wanted something Western for their family. Sure, they celebrate Ramadan, have some Arabic art on the wall and Yasmeen wears some traditional clothing. Sharif and Zeedan generally don't, but instead spend at least part of their day in the presence of spandex clad women. Yasmeen has worked outside of the home for years and has male friends. Alya is an ambitious 20-something university graduate, not a girl. Yes, I accept that virtue is deeply ingrained in their tradition, but I don't accept that Yasmeen and Sharif, two educated people who have lived and worked for decades in a modern, non-Muslim society, wouldn't consider that grandchildren who spent their entire lives in England might feel and act a bit more Western and less Asian then they do.

I feel sympathy for Alya because she has much to offer but is so constrained. She is subject to family controls far more than, say, Sophie or Steph. She is at the bottom of the totem pole at work. She has no social life outside of her highly inappropriate boyfriend -- they had zero chemistry, zero connection, and frankly, he is an absolute zero. Gary cheated on the mother of his child to be with Alya at first. What he did on the street with her family was absolutely unconscionable, and that Anna basically repeated it at her workplace, besides being completely ridiculous, tells me that she had a painful but lucky escape from that Windass trash. I wish Carla would swoop in and set her up to work with a key supplier or client in London. She's young, bright and ambitious and needs to be with people like herself. Before she goes, she needs to tell her grandfather, yell if needed to get through that thick skull, that yes she's proud to be Muslim and Pakistani, but she's also English and is trying to find balance. She can come back when there is some emergency, work or family, and shine even brighter then.

Gary has signed the paperwork giving him 25% ownership of the gym. If he's smart, he'll get a lawyer to protect his interest, but then, sadly, we'll have to watch the gym become the center of tiresome, ill conceived workplace squabbles. Then again, Gary isn't smart. Or maybe Sharif was clever enough to put some type of prenup in there.

Flaming Nora said...

I like Alya and feel she has potential but have zero empathy or sympathy for her because she and Gary have no chemistry whatsoever together. We're expected to invest in this relationship as viewers but for this fan, it hasn't worked.

Pootle5 said...

Whilst I have some sympathy for a person in that position, I just don't care about the character, at all. I didn't buy in to their relationship from day one - the sudden split of Gary and Izzy didn't ring true and seemed contrived to allow a Nazir time with an established character.
The writing for the character has been poor, I don't believe her position in the factory either, what does she do there?!

Pootle5 said...

Whilst I have some sympathy for a person in that position, I just don't care about the character, at all. I didn't buy in to their relationship from day one - the sudden split of Gary and Izzy didn't ring true and seemed contrived to allow a Nazir time with an established character.
The writing for the character has been poor, I don't believe her position in the factory either, what does she do there?!

Tvor said...

I liked Alya at first but never felt the connection with Gary. Do I sympathise with her in this situation? A bit, I think. I wish they had shown her more conflicted all along with Gary, wanting to be passionate with him but resisting. They put them together, had him agreeing to her conditions and then just showed them holding hands and acting like a school-age crush, with a few nearly innocent looking kisses.

Anonymous said...

There are too many female characters running around the street moaning and looking like they're going to keel over at any moment. And, of course, they need a man. Alya would never ever have stooped so low as to start up a relationship with a loser like Gary (in the real world anyway). She needs to grow a pair and dump him for good IMO. The women on this street seem to have ambition to a certain point and then fall apart when they're in a relationship. IMO.

Laura said...

First, I agree with many others that there never was any chemistry between the two of them. And it was way too fast to be believable. He didn't even marry Izzy with whom he was desperate to pay Tina to have their child! This in itself makes this whole relationship ridiculous and contrived. Also, Alya was careful to remain a virgin yet so easily fell into bed with Jason after a few drinks! Not believable! AND I could never be sympathetic to a character so selfish that she must confess this one-night stand in order to make herself feel better. Meanwhile she makes Gary feel horrible. (I know he's not so innocent but I"m making the point about Alya's selfishness here). I don't buy this new generation's philosophy that everyone must know every truth, everything regardless of circumstances. She should have remained quiet, forgotten about it and married Gary the way it was planned. Some things are not meant to be said! Glad she feels better now. Now he's supposed to feel fine that she is repentant? Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Alya leaves me cold - no sympathy, no empathy. The storyline was foolish from the beginning. Alya & Gary just don't work, etc, etc.
It would be best to have her leave the street, maybe go to London, get a really great job with her degree, and just maybe, Izzy & Gary can patch things up and get back to taking care of their child together. The rest of the Nazirs could stay on without so much drama, because Yasmine is great at the community center as is Zeedan at the gym, with Sharif holding the family together.

Anonymous said...

Who the heck are Gary and Anna to judge anyone. They have both cheated on their spouses. Come on. Gary is no bloody prize.

C in Canada said...

I do feel sympathy for Alya. She's smart, ambitious, and too good for Gary. Never mind that they have zero chemistry, and although he was hurt, he should never have aired their dirty laundry to all and sundry. She's better off without him.
She made a mistake yes, but she also did come clean of her own accord, no one sussed it on their own. I'm sure that was a difficult confession to make.

Scott Willison said...

I really like Alya but this whole storyline felt histrionic to me. While she was single, she slept with someone who was also single. I understand that she has issues about sex due to her cultural heritage but there are only so many scenes of "I have to tell him/NO I CAN'T TELL HIM/I have to tell him" that I can stand before I start shouting "get over it for Christ's sake" at the screen.

Anonymous said...

Another perfect girl falls from grace and her life goes to shit. Perhaps the absence of sympathy for this character comes from the fact that she's no deeper than a stereotype and her entire time on the Street has come across like someone wearing someone else's shoes. I can't imagine there are many with a vested interest in this character or her circumstances.

Isabel Blain said...

So she did the dirty on Gary and now feels guilty and wants to tell Gary she slepted with Jason. I don't feel sorry for her. I think Gary will probably drop her and tell her to go to he'll.

Louby said...

I've really enjoyed reading the analytical comments on here and I agree with much of it. However, I also find it impossible to sympathise with the character's predicament because the relationship with Gary was never believable to me. Starting with the matter of fact way he and Izzy split up, after they went through all that to have Jake. A different character in similar circumstances would have got a different reaction from people, I'm sure.

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