Cosy crimes and gritty sagas by Corrie Blog editor Glenda, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Evolution Street?

I was pondering the other day, like you in moments of stress, on the 'journey' (he said in a wheedling 'X Factor' contestant's voice) of Julie Carp on't Street. Let's not pull any punches here, when  she first toddled on to the cobbles she was as nutty as a fruit cake. Barmy, Miss Babs. However, unusually in these 'Corrie' times, she has been allowed to develop. Once the relationship with Kirk was through, Julie, looking like a thirty-something version of Yootha Joyce, was free to impinge on the lives of others, most notably her adoring (maybe not) sister Eileen. Now in a settled, if slightly odd, relationship with the world's most worrying headmaster, motherhood beckons.

Some characters never make any progress though. Prime candidates in this category are the senior Battersbys. Les changed not one iota in his decade on the programme. Nasty, loud and boorish from day one to the bitter end. Janice too paddled around in the murky depths of character development. From gobby, stupid, bint she made the journey to . . . well, gobby, stupid bint over fourteen years. At one point, my heart actually lifted when there seemed to be the possibility of the screeching beer-guzzler training to become a nurse. It wasn't to be.

Likewise, the venomous spitbag known as Cilla also had a trajectory that went around in circles. There were no redeeming moments, no signs of sun breaking through her thunderous character. Even a brush with cancer failed to make much of a dent. This can be a bit of a problem for the viewer. There is a need for progress and at times, redemption. Is it lazy of writers to just keep peddling the same old stuff for some characters or are they always looking for that certain spark which will propel someone to that next level?

Without it, Hilda Ogden would have remained a slightly unpleasant back-street bitch. Mavis Riley would have festered in the background as Emily's feeble spinster friend. Becky would have shuffled off to prison years ago.

Even now there seem to be some faces on the Street that never make any progress. Dev saunters through life in a decidely feckless manner.

Jason, fast approaching thirty, goofily blunders from one unsuitable relationship to the next.

Tracy Barlow or whatever she's calling herself, finds herself in never decreasing circles of unhappiness and resentment.

Is it a good thing to have a bunch of steady-eddies on the cobbles or should everyone be given a chance of a moment in the sun? Or are viewers left feeling exasperated by a bunch of characters chasing their own tails?


Humpty Dumpty said...

Many of the Corrie characters are 2 dimensional. They either become pantomime villains or 'representative'. In this last category, I'd put the 'plots with issues' eg Carla. A lot of the discussion on this blog (me included) was about the 'message' of the rape plot rather than any analysis of the characters. Carla became 'everywoman' rather than a character people really cared about. Consequently, the viewer feels distanced from someone they can't sympathise with or, at least, understand. That's why Julie is a breath of fresh air. She is a bit OTT but you can see where she's coming from and where she'd like to be. I hope they don't give Jason a new love interest. Couldn't he say that he's given women up for Lent?

Anonymous said...

Gail seems to have morphed from one ridiculous stereotype to another. Who is the real Gail? Maria is another who hasn't really been anything but Kirk who they've dumbed down to the enth degree if there is such a thing. Any further and he'll be a rock.
Sometimes the character does a compete 180 within a few episodes..Graeme falling for Xin wham bang and he's out of there...Kevin has an affair with his best mates wife.
I am really liking the pairing up of Gail and Audrey really is funny.
And for God's sake, would they please stop giving Dreary lines to stay while she's chewing food..ugh.

Anonymous said...

Haha, I like the last comment about Deirdre..we are always saying in our house, - 'look the Barlow's are eating again!!!'

Anonymous said...

Haha, I like the last comment about Deirdre..we are always saying in our house, - 'look the Barlow's are eating again!!!'

Adam Rekitt said...

Interesting blog. Well written too! The way that Coronation Street is produced today makes character development very difficult. There are so many different writers and clearly considerable time pressure, so it's a wonder any of the characters develops. However, those that do change in a realistic way are the most interesting. Owen and Kylie have both shown more than one side and are interesting to watch.

The one dimensional characters are boring. It really is beyond me why Dev is still in the show. The current incarnation of Tracy is just there to get an occasional come-uppance. Jason seems to be there just to parade around with his shirt off now and again. Forgettable characters who are just TV cannon fodder. Has anyone missed Janice?

Frosty the Snowman said...

I like Julie as well as long as she is not allowed to get too silly and OTT. I think Brian is a bit of a clod though. Agree about Gail going from the shouty lemon sucky mare to idiotic grinning behaviour like she is on some kind of substance, sorry to Helen Worth fans out there, I am one as well, but it shows what a limited actress she really is.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, some interesting points raised there. Sometimes characters undergo a personality change purely to make a storyline work. Unlikely pairings can be hit and miss too. Rita and Sally work well together, that all came about after Rita took pity on the Websters when they were struggling financially in the mid 90s.

A lot of the time, the show introduces great characters, but gives them very little to do, which is why I suppose many of the Rovers barmaids and factory girls are so forgettable. While it must be tricky to find new avenues to take established characters down, it makes me chuckle when the women folk are all so well spoken during sensitive scenes such as breaking bad news, then in scenes involving conflict they squawk common as muck!


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