Friday, 8 January 2016

The Invisible Man

There's been a flurry of Corrie actors taking time off from the show so they can do theatre.  Roy and Sophie and Les Dennis (still can't get used to calling him Michael, sorry) will all swap the cobbles for the boards in 2016.  The one that really shocked me was Oliver Farnworth, who plays Andy, because basically, I'd forgotten he was still in the show.

Andy arrived with great fanfare in 2014, though of course, he was Gavin then.  Les Dennis had a long-lost son and, after much scouring of the internet and interrogation of elderly relatives, he discovered that Gavin lived in an apartment building in the city.  Les shoved a note under the door and, sure enough, a few days later his handsome progeny was on the doorstep.

In retrospect, that should have been a giveaway; with all the will in the world it's hard to imagine Oliver Farnworth sharing DNA with Les Dennis.  Still, we went with it, and after a fishing trip together, "Gavin" asked dad for some money to pay the rent.  We, the viewers, were then let into a little secret: Gavin was actually Andy.

"Oh!" we all thought.  "Now it's clear!  He's a conman!"  Except things went peculiar around that point.  Les Dennis developed a heart condition - I mean the character did, the actor's health is fine as far as I can tell, but I've already forgotten what his name in the programme is - and Andy/Gavin developed a conscience and started caring about his fake dad.  He stopped asking him for money, and started going with him to the hospital.  It all became a bit odd.

Further oddness followed when Andy/Gavin got a job at the Bistro as a cocktail waiter.  The thing is, it had been established that Gavin was an experienced barman - Les Dennis had visited his former place of employment in the city - so did that mean Andy was lying on his CV?  Was Andy a proper barman as well?  It started to get muddled, and at this point I began to think that the writers wished they'd never started the whole charade in the first place.  A simple long-con by a dodgy geezer had become a perfectly nice man deciding to assume his friends' identity because... he thought it would be funny?  To make Les Dennis feel better?  It all became confusing.

Gavin's return - the real Gavin - ramped it up into farce levels.  Not a good farce, like early Frasier, but a slightly over-frenetic, desperate farce, like later Frasier.  Gavin turned out to be a wrong 'un, tried to blackmail Andy, threatened Gail on her latest wedding day, and then vanished with a load of cash.  He then died in a car crash, conveniently; I suspect at this point the writers hoped they could just pretend Andy was Les Dennis' son until the end of time, but no, we had the reveal still to come.

Somewhere along the line, Steph had been dragged into his web of deceit, and became his unwilling accomplice and then, his very willing girlfriend.  Steph is bubbly, fun, and a joy whenever she's on screen, which makes up for some of Andy's deficiencies.  He is astonishingly good looking (we're still waiting for that topless scene, producers) but he's not got much character at all.  Andy seems like a thoroughly nice man, which is acceptable, but doesn't really make for good drama.  It also seems to directly contradict all that "pretending you're an elderly man's long lost son" business as well.

So it was revealed that Gavin was actually Andrew Carver, and I had a moment of giddiness because that's the name of the rapey pop star in the underappreciated movie classic Showgirls.  Les Dennis felt betrayed and split up from Gail.  There were a few episodes of angst.  And then... nothing.  Everyone just got on with their lives.  Les Dennis forgave Andy to the extent that he actually moved in with him.  Nick refused to sack him from the Bistro even though he'd obtained the job under false credentials and Andy had directly caused Nick's mother to have her shortest marriage yet (quite an achievement for Gail).  Everyone carried on.

There were a couple of moments where Andy popped up again - he was there on a night out with Steph, Kate and Sophie, though I sort of imagine he was just there to hold the girls' handbags while they went dancing, and he had a brief moment of alpha male punchiness when Steph's ex blackmailed her - but most of the time he's just been behind the bar in the Bistro, aiming his puppy dog eyes at the camera.

I'm sad to see Roy taking time off, because I love him when he's onscreen, but it's tempered with satisfaction that he'll be back.  Andy though?  If he'd just vanished, would we have noticed?  Perhaps, while he's away at the Royal Court, the writers will find a personality for him hidden somewhere.  Or at least persuade him to go shirtless.  Either way I'd be a lot happier.


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Tvor said...

Now, see, I enjoyed the whole Gavin/Andy storyline farce but then I was also a great fan of John Stape and while it wasn't quite up to that standard, it still amused me with all the twists and turns. The real Gavin was also a cracking character, short lived, literally, that he was. I like Andy and it's too bad they haven't found anything to do with him since. He and Steph make a nice couple but of course a happy couple is boring in soap world without something in the mix. Might have been more interesting if Andy had been the one being blackmailed by Jamie over Steph's pictures perhaps.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Andy belongs to a long line of characters who disappear and reappear after a while, and you think: 'Are they still in it?' Michael and Erica were the same and, going back a bit, Andrea. It's like seeing someone in the company loo and realising that they evidently still work in the office. It must be because we don't really care about them. Andy and Steph don't have an awful lot of chemistry. Steph needs an extravert guy with a great sense of humour, a younger version of Lloyd. Andy can drift away and I probably wouldn't notice.

John McE said...

I do think Andy and Steph make a lovely couple, so hopefully they won't be leaving the programme. They are two nice, young, caring characters, and Lord knows we need a few of them to balance out all the scheming, adulterous, murdering, thoroughly unpleasant characters in the cast. Doesn't Jamie(the blackmailer) return in the next few episodes though, so I believe Andy will have something to do then.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% John McE - I love Andy and Steph together on the set - they have oodles of chemistry and are believable - so different from the rest of the cast - I would love to keep them and trade in some other characters which are way past their sell-by-date and are no longer fun to watch (Maria, Tracy, Leanne, Simon, Alya, Nessa, Gary.If you want to talk about couples with no chemistry: prime examples Dev & Erica or maybe Michael and Eileen - yuck.

Zagg said...

I've never been a fan of this character. He is too bland and just blends into the an uninteresting background. His whole illegal lying entrance onto the scene did not sit well with me, especially the fake robbery of the Bistro money. All of it was just swept under the carpet because him and Steph are so cute together. Sorry, it never worked for me. He started out as a deceitful liar and now his is just...vanilla.and boring. Clearly, they don't know what to do with him.

Anonymous said...

I admit I wouldn't miss Andy either if and as Zagg pointed out he did commit fraud and theft and yet he's forgiven by Michael[another character I won't miss when he leaves]and Nick whose mother was the victim of fraud by Lewis Archer and whose stepfather Richard Hillman stole the Duckworths'life savings.
Fraud and theft doesn't seem to be treated as serious crimes especially if the character is connected to certain families.

Laura said...

I like Andy's character and wish they would do more with him when he comes back. They need to develop friendships among young people on the street that extend beyond their own individual families, or there won't be any sense of community once the older characters are gone. Andy could serve that purpose, becoming the new Ashley Peacock - a good guy (overlooking the fraud bit) who is friends with everyone. Why can't we see him in the pub with Tyrone and Luke? Working out at the gym with Gary? It was good to see those scenes with him and Zeedan in the Bistro. They could have developed a friendship between him and Gary and maybe even David too - both of them certainly need a friend on the street.

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