Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Tired of toxic Tracy

 

I'm afraid I am back on my soap box again today. Following yesterday's blog where I got a lot off my chest about the current state of Corrie I can't help but do a follow up and this time I'm singling out Tracy Barlow. I really cannot stand this character and I think it is time she departed. I don't really care how, I just want her gone.

The loyal Corrie viewer has had to suffer Tracy on and off for years now and the situation is becoming increasingly desperate. I see the character as someone the storyliners can turn to when they need a cheap ratings boost or someone to create some ridiculous dramatic tension in the break between double episodes on a Monday or a Friday. Tracy is reliably unpleasant, vicious and nasty. Most soap operas need a smattering of characters like this but more often than not they are short lived.

However Tracy Barlow has never really had her comeuppance. Forgiveness is something she receives far too easily from those around her, no matter how vindictive or heinous her crimes. It just doesn't ring true and it's certainly not what Coronation Street used to be all about. She's turned into a low grade pantomime villain only sadly she doesn't even throw sweets to the audience. Tracy is just out and out vile. Other characters in Corrie have their moments - Leanne has been an arsonist, a prostitute, a drug addict and a gobby little mare, but the skill in the characterisation is that she survives because she can and has changed. It actually enriches the character. Sally too can be downright rude, spiteful and unpleasant yet we all sided with her when Kevin did the dirty and we longed for Tim to turn up and marry the woman.

With Tracy however there is no light and shade. There is no real humour, no humanity and any vulnerability is short lived or nondescript. Because Tracy is always so rude, so abrasive and so on the attack, it is virtually impossible for the viewers to understand her, like her or feel for her. It's as simple as that. 


Ken, who was always less sympathetic towards Tracy that Deirdre, still forgives her every indiscretion and allows her, when she is nearly forty, to continue to clog up his house with all her endless dramas. After Deirdre's death, Tracy promised to change and to honour her mother's memory. What was the point of that exactly as less than a year later it's like that little story arc didn't happen. We are expected to believe that Tracy is a decent mother, yet would she do all she has done if that were the case? The only saving grace chez Barlow at the moment is Amy's transformation into a mini Blanche. She is fantastic. 

As I wrote yesterday, the Tracy and Carla feud has been boiling away like a pan of overcooked sprouts for far too long. All taste and colour has gone and we're now left with a ludicious merry-go-round of rubbish. What it really needs is for Karen McDonald to suddenly launch herself at both pathetic women with the heel-end of her red stiletto. That would liven things up and show them how it should be done. There's just no spirit in these scenes anymore because anyone in their right mind would have brought this simmering hatred to a head long ago and moved on.

 

I'm afraid I blame whoever took the decision to release Tracy from prison back in 2010 on a technicality designed to boost ratings. Nevermind doing the time for bumping off the gorgeous but menacing Charlie Stubbs, Tracy should have been left to rot for all eternity for performing that rancid dance in the lead up to whacking him one. My retinas are still in recovery.

I honestly don't know what you'd do to salvage a character like Tracy now. Too much water has gone under the bridge. My only suggestion is that we revert to what happened periodically in the 1980s and send her upstairs to listen to her tapes. Either that or...


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47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nailed it. I keep hearing about the 'character we love to hate'. She can't be redeemed IMO..she committed murder, and walked on a technicality that was never fully explained. Kate Ford is brilliant, of course but it's just so OTT all the bloody time.

Graeme N said...

I think Kate Ford does well in the part I just think the character is getting tired

joanne taylor said...

Toxic Tracy and Parasite Phelan need to get together. They can start a bogus builders together, And live happily ever after on half lemons, vinegar and each other's inbuilt evil!

Peter said...

Agree with the original post.

When Kirsty Soames was about, I SO wanted her to have a ruck with Tracy, but it never happened. Same when Beth arrived, but they diluted Beth's uncouth nature by making her friendly to Tracy.

Same with Logan - I can't call him Callum - he was a thug - why no spat between him and Tracy?

Now, Phelan is back, but he seems so tied up with a repeat of the feud with Anna, I doubt he will come across Tracy.

Anonymous said...

Charlie Stubbs gorgeous? The most shocking part of this blog!

Anonymous said...

I wish Karen McDonald would come back - not with Suranne Jones, unfortunately, because that will never happen now. But surely enough time has passed that the character could be brought back with a new head? She could finish what she started with Tracy and also give Michelle something to chew on.

Lorna said...

Some excellent points, Graeme.

Tracy is the sort of one-dimensional soap villain that appears on Hollyoaks every other week. They never last long.

And there is no denying how repetitive her feuds are. It saddens me to see a brilliant character like Carla being dragged down because of yet another "Tracy wants revenge" story. I wouldn't say so much if they hadn't already gone there with Tracy vs Karen, Tracy vs Becky and Tracy vs Michelle.



Anonymous said...

Kate Ford unfortunately is a two-dimensional actor (her cardboard cut-out has mor acting ability ;) If you can't see the wood for the trees, burn down the wood!

Anonymous said...

I agree 100%. I've had to stop watching Corrie as I can't stand her!

C in Canada said...

I'm 100% on board with the theme of this post! I groaned when I heard she was coming back, as she was never a favorite of mine in the first place. There are NO redeeming qualities about her, and as you've said spot on - she NEVER gets properly punished for her crimes. Never mind all the nasty things she's done (too many to count here), but she's got a body count of 3 on her hands, yet she's still walking free.
She should never have been let out of prison. Never.
I wish they'd spring a surprise plot that the fire was being quietly investigated further, found out who was really to blame and put her back behind bars where she belongs.
I was sick of her before she even came back!

Anonymous said...

Graeme you have done it again. Nailed it on the head 100% - all the other comments agree with you also. When will TPTB finally pull their heads out of the sand and listen to the viewers. They can't keep pulling the ostrich "you can't see me" trick forever.

MissBingley said...

Completely agree. Tracey character now tedious in the extreme. Really can't take much more. There was a chance for her to become less one dimensional when Diedre died but that wasn't pursued for long. No one is all bad bit Tracey has no redeeming features. Am coming close to deserting corrie especially as storyline are mainly cap as well. Sally and the councillor story? No! It's pathetic and plain boring. Not funny.

C in Canada said...

PS - and now it looks like she's going to succeed in running the wonderful Carla out of town! It's just too much to swallow for this viewer.

Tvor said...

I am with you, too. Tracy is one dimensional. No redeeming values. She didn't change after Deirdre died because people like her just don't change. Amy might be cute, being a mini-Blanche but on a child that age, it's coming across as rude and nasty and she's in danger of becoming a mini-Tracy, too. Ok, it was rude and nasty from Blanche as well, but Blanche also had a heart.

Kate Ford might not be the best actor but she's improved a lot since the early days and I think she's fine in the part now. I just don't like the character nor do i "like to hate" the character.

Oh, and, yeah, Charlie Stubbs *was* good looking, too bad about the personality!

abbyk said...

THANK YOU, GRAEME!!! The only beats in Tracy's near dead heart are her friendships with Beth and Todd (2 equally implausible characters) and when she has girly time with Amy. Ken is in eighties and should be in mourning. He deserves quiet time to be alone with his thoughts, not the chaotic storm Tracy brings. And, at 40-ish, why the h*$$ are business owner Tracy and gainfully employed Robert still living there? Steph and Andy can afford a flat together. Housing assistance exists. Maybe its time for some Stubbs family member to be released from jail (to explain the delay) and exact revenge.

Anonymous said...

Grahame excellent post as always and it will be a shame to see Carla driven off the Street by Tracy who gets away with destroying another person's life while her father just saya'Oh Tracy'
If it weren't for the fact that Tracy is A Barlow and 'protected',she would've been gone long ago.
In fact I think both she and Ken should get the axe as I don't think the writers know what to do with him either since Deirdre died.

Anonymous said...

I agree completely. Sometimes Corrie, the once realistic kitchen-sink drama, goes totally off-base with some ridiculous situations like Tracy's release from prison, not to mention that fact that most of the street forgets she killed a man! Corrie PLEASE go back to your roots or this Canadian viewer is getting bored/turned off pdq.

Anonymous said...

Releasing Tracy from prison is probably the biggest mistake Coronation Street has made. It destroyed the core of decency and humour which is at the heart of the programme and allowed a murderer (who we saw kill a man) to walk free.

She has done some truly horrendous things since her return and never had to face the consequences for them.

There's not a shred of goodness in her and as such I feel nothing for the character- no depth to her personality and, I have to say, Kate Ford does little to lift the character beyond caricature.

Louby said...

I like C in Canada's idea of a surprise twist to get her banged up again.

I ended up not watching on Monday just because I was busy with something, and I realised that I hadn't missed it at all. Maybe we should all go on "strike" for a few weeks to see if that gets their attention.

Humpty Dumpty said...

As has been said before, soap villains only work if they're short-lived characters. Sometimes they get their come-uppance, sometimes they go out in a blaze of glory. The important thing is that they don't come back or, if they do, it's for a very limited time. For those of us who have been watching for years, it's Tedious Tracy now. Maybe if Alison King was playing this role, we would have seen more depth. After all, Carla started off as 2 dimensional character. Kate Ford's OK, but apart from the scripts, I blame the directors. It doesn't take much surely for a director to say: 'Stop gurning, stop grinning ... ' Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow had a long-running feud and that worked. They should have married Tracy off and given her an 'Ivy' to have similar run-ins with. At pushing 40, living probably rent-free with her dad (whom she should be looking after not the other way around), Tracy is not believable nor has much comedy value. She survives the chop because she can be wheeled out whenever another character has to be written out. Bill Roache is coming up to 84 and might want to slow down in a couple of years. I can't see Tracy being kept on after her dad departs Corrie. The Barlows aren't a protected species. The show manages quite well without any Tanners or Walkers. In fact, it would give the community a chance to knit again without the constant family sagas.

Humpty Dumpty said...

As has been said before, soap villains only work if they're short-lived characters. Sometimes they get their come-uppance, sometimes they go out in a blaze of glory. The important thing is that they don't come back or, if they do, it's for a very limited time. For those of us who have been watching for years, it's Tedious Tracy now. Maybe if Alison King was playing this role, we would have seen more depth. After all, Carla started off as 2 dimensional character. Kate Ford's OK, but apart from the scripts, I blame the directors. It doesn't take much surely for a director to say: 'Stop gurning, stop grinning ... ' Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow had a long-running feud and that worked. They should have married Tracy off and given her an 'Ivy' to have similar run-ins with. At pushing 40, living probably rent-free with her dad (whom she should be looking after not the other way around), Tracy is not believable nor has much comedy value. She survives the chop because she can be wheeled out whenever another character has to be written out. Bill Roache is coming up to 84 and might want to slow down in a couple of years. I can't see Tracy being kept on after her dad departs Corrie. The Barlows aren't a protected species. The show manages quite well without any Tanners or Walkers. In fact, it would give the community a chance to knit again without the constant family sagas.

Humpty Dumpty said...

As has been said before, soap villains only work if they're short-lived characters. Sometimes they get their come-uppance, sometimes they go out in a blaze of glory. The important thing is that they don't come back or, if they do, it's for a very limited time. For those of us who have been watching for years, it's Tedious Tracy now. Maybe if Alison King was playing this role, we would have seen more depth. After all, Carla started off as 2 dimensional character. Kate Ford's OK, but apart from the scripts, I blame the directors. It doesn't take much surely for a director to say: 'Stop gurning, stop grinning ... ' Mike Baldwin and Ken Barlow had a long-running feud and that worked. They should have married Tracy off and given her an 'Ivy' to have similar run-ins with. At pushing 40, living probably rent-free with her dad (whom she should be looking after not the other way around), Tracy is not believable nor has much comedy value. She survives the chop because she can be wheeled out whenever another character has to be written out. Bill Roache is coming up to 84 and might want to slow down in a couple of years. I can't see Tracy being kept on after her dad departs Corrie. The Barlows aren't a protected species. The show manages quite well without any Tanners or Walkers. In fact, it would give the community a chance to knit again without the constant family sagas.

Anonymous said...

SO refreshing to hear from feel as I do. I used to be a loyal Corrie viewer but have petered off over the last couple of years. Now I only watch episodes where something happens to a character I still care about, e.g. the death of Hayley. I sometimes check into this blog to see if this show has changed directions and it seems it has not. The return of Tracy signal an era of crime driven plots which are not to my taste. I also agree that Charlie was gorgeous. He was not a nice man but was easy on the eye. Also my other beef is why do characters make such a stink about infedielity when none of them have any moral high ground. Tracy who slept with her gran's boyfriend has the nerve to heap guilt on Carla? Not believable. If Emily or Hayley had been indignant under the same circumstances I would empathize. But not with these trollops (both men and women).

Anonymous said...

High time the producers get rid of Tracy once and for all! I can't stand her. I agree with TVOR that Amy is becoming bratty and it is no longer cute. High time Tracy, Robert and Amy got their own place. What young people would continue living with a man in his 80's in that tiny little house! It must be extremely crowded.

Anonymous said...

Nail on the head again.

Graeme for producer!!!!

Ancient corrier said...

'Graeme for producer' I'll second that!

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. She's just become so boring now, it's not worth paying any attention. And she makes the other characters she interacts with equally as implausible as her! If she was written as a smart, calculating villain it would be easier to love to hate her (something I actually felt pre-prison release) but nowadays she seems to think very much on impulse which is why things come frequently crashing around her. But nevermind, she just pulls a little 'hard done by' face and everybody goes back to normal and forgets what she did because it's 'just Tracy'.

Are we really supposed to believe that the formerly ruthless Carla wouldn't have gone to the police over the fire at the flats once she knew the truth? Given the fact that she almost died, temporarily lost her home, had the fire blamed on her, had two deaths on her conscience and supposedly developed a gambling problem and was ready to commit suicide before finding this out. It's all a bit hard to believe for me. Same with the Nazirs when they found out about it. A few nasty words in the street and Pa Nazir was encouraging Ma Nazir to drop the whole thing, despite her son being killed in the fire.

To me, if the Corrie team wanted her to remain a bitch when she returned in 2010 the best way to have gone about it would have been to have her actually try to fit back into the street and gain sympathy from the residents for her "miscarriage of justice" and have her actually come across as genuinely grateful for her release. Then, overtime as she faced a disbelieving backlash from the street, have her lash out at them and gradually revert back to being an out and out bitch with everybody. At least, that would be a slightly plausible reason as to why she's had barely any character development since her return six years ago.

Deirdre's death would have been a sadly tragic but brilliant opportunity to rectify some of this and have Tracy realise that she herself could have still been in prison and not spent the last few years of Deirdre's life at home with her. It would have been a good example to see the character finally calm down and at least soften to other characters and explore her struggles but no, it's far easier to just churn out the same old stuff we've had for years. I actually believe that if written right, actually softening Tracy would give her the opportunity to be more of a Blanche-like character, something of which for some reason, doesn't sit quite rightly with me for Amy.

LindaSonia Anyname said...

I'm with you and wouldn't mind seeing Tracy hit the skids. It's boring to see her continually get away with things over and over and over.

abbyk said...

I didn't think I could like Tracy any less but tonight was a new nadir. This bribe bs is beyond belief. That Tracy thinks she is so clever shows that she is delusional. Really, you think two people are going to walk away from successful businesses because you're jealous and peeved? "I'm telling your boyfriend, nyah nyah nyah nyah." This is the kind of nonsense I'd expect from 14 year olds, but Craig, Faye and art girl whatshername are way too decent and mature. I hate adolescents stomping around in adult bodies, and I really have had enough of Tracy. (Of course, they may just go ahead and have them sell up, so little about this show corresponds to the real world these days.)

Have thought about some of the comments re: Tracy growing up following Deirdre's death. Adults don't change unless something traumatic happens to them. Tracy is too shallow to truly love anyone but herself, so losing her mom couldn't be much more than a temporary setback, like when Ben and Jerry's stops making your favorite flavor; it didn't really happen to her, it was only nearby so she could see it. To her, Deirdre was really a cook and a baby sitter who paid her way instead of a loving, beloved mom.

It's been over 20 years but on a hot summer night, I still miss Margarita Lime Ice.

MartesBC said...

I find the character very unsavory, and have done so for quite some time i.e since Kate Ford took over the role. It seems like she's been pushed down our throats from the start of this 'Tracy's incarnation. Stopped complaining about her ages ago because really, who's listening or reading that can do anything about it?

Anonymous said...

I hate how the mighty Carla seems let Teflon Tracy intimidate her so readily. Any time we see Tracy get involved in anything, we all sigh and know that she won't face any consequences. It's too frustrating for the viewers to see someone dance around doing whatever she likes, untouchable, and even her heartaches don't seem to last very long.

Anonymous said...

to Abbyk regarding missing your Ben&Jerry's Margarita Lime Ice - A beer company (I think it's Budweiser) makes a Margarita Lime Adult Beverage - sounds awesome for a hot summer night - maybe that would fit the bill - maybe pour some over vanilla ice cream. Give it a try and you just maybe happy again.

abbyk said...

Anon at 12:53, thanks! Not much of a drinker, but when the 3 weeks of summer finally hit northern New England, I'll give it a try and think of you. :D

Newfy Pearl said...

I am obviously the only Tracy fan here. So let me say. I think that you make a valid point in that the WRITERS will not allow her to come out of the cookie cutter mode they have put her in.
I love Tracy....I think there is still potential....but I will not get into that now.
The writers could do the same with David....but they allow him to show redeeming qualities and have a break from the 'evil' character from time to time.
Kate Ford does a good job with what is given her...but I have to admit that even she seemed bored with the latest Carla scene.
Anyhow....that is all. Except for this....I think it would be a shame to get rid of Tracy when there are so many boring unmissable characters about. One example....Alya...she showed up in a scene (practically a non speaking one)and I had to think for a moment who is she! lol

Anonymous said...

Totally Agree!

Tracy needs taking down. I am so bored of the character just doing the same old stuff. I quite like a baddie but usually they have some redeeming qualities. I see nothing with Tracy. Her running Carla out of town is the most stupid storyline. I hope something happens and Tracy doesn't get all her own way. Carla deserves a much better exit storyline than this. She isn't even leaving for a few more months yet and I don't think I can stomach this story any longer

Anonymous said...

Let's just call her Tiresome Tracy from now on.

Anonymous said...

I still say the writers should let the actors participate to a certain point so that the actors can take their roles to a different, perhaps higher level. After all, most of the actors have more time vested in their roles than the writers do.
To AbbyK - thanks for trying my suggestion re: Margarita Lime Ice.
Cheers.

Graeme N said...

Well I thought he was!

Graeme N said...

Thanks Lorna :)

Graeme N said...

Thanks Tvor! I agree Kate Ford has improved a great deal, sadly the character hasn't developed at the same rate

Graeme N said...

You're welcome Abby! Glad you agree :)

Graeme N said...

I agree humpty, had she come back for six months it might have worked, but after so many years it really doesn't

Graeme N said...

Good idea Joanne!

Graeme N said...

Haha thank you!

Graeme N said...

Thank you all for your comments! I seem to have stirred things up a bit! I don't enjoy criticising Corrie as I still feel great affection for it but I hate it when it's just not as good as it should be

Shells said...

I love Tracy! She cracks me up.

Yes, she should get more comeuppance, but I disagree that she shows no vulnerability. She shows her vulnerability with Ken and with Amy. And the friendship between Tracy and Beth is wonderful and perhaps could be explored more.

No, she doesn't have to be so one-note, but I would sorely miss her if she was gone altogether.

Newfy Pearl said...

Thank you Shells! I thought I was alone. lol

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