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Saturday 25 May 2013

Corrie and coincidence

Guest post from Coronation Street Blog reader John McElroy

I’ve watched Coronation Street continuously since 1975, apart from a six month break around the time of the Linda Sykes/Mike Baldwin romance. My favourite character by a country mile was the quite wonderful Annie Walker, and oh how I wish ITV would show those early years again before it is too late.

I’ve loved some characters, hated others (mainly Dev!), but one thing that has always irritated me about the show is the ludicrous overreliance on “coincidence” to further plots. Apart from being an (original) Crossroads devotee for many years (which God knows, had its own problems), I’ve never watched any other soap, but from what I hear I don’t think any of them play the coincidence card anywhere nearly as often as Corrie.

The most recent example is how every single time Katie and Ryan get within 10 feet of each other, sure enough Chesney comes out of the house or around the corner or up through a manhole to witness it. Done once it would add tension to the plot, but since you know it will happen each time, instead of the intended drama, it is instead just entirely predictable.

Another good example recently was when Fay’s father, (I had to look up her name, as I always think of her as “the brat”), was hanging around every single time she left the house, came out of The Kabin etc., even though at that point he didn’t leave anywhere near the street. That might have been OK if it was written as if he was intentionally hanging around, but it wasn’t. And I swear if Anna had taken her on a trip to the moon, her dad would have bounced into view in a spacesuit.

But these are just two recent examples. Whenever there is a “love triangle” (yuk!), the same catching-them-in-the-act scene gets acted out over again and again. Am I the only one that wishes the script writers could be a bit more inventive in their writing?

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Carry On Blogging! said...

Great post! Sometimes Corrie does feel incredibly contrived! It's vaguely insulting! I think the storyliners can do better!

njblas said...

So true! Another related device which really annoys me is when things are 'rubbed in' in conversation time and again, to point out the contrast between perception and reality. For instance, if a character is cheating on his partner, you can be sure there will lots of scenes of said partner stating how much she loves him, what would she do without him, etc etc. This is presumably to make the eventual revelation of unfaithfulness more devastating, but it's so overdone!

Frosty the Snowman said...

A lot of comments on here are words taken right out of Frosty's mouth! I know we have to have some kind of plot devices but some of these "coincidences" are ludicrous like Chesney and Sinead having a drink in the Bistro yesterday when of course Katie and Ryan walk in. Why would young people a stone's throw from the buzzing clubs and pubs of Manchester always but always go to the local where all the oldies go? Whenever someone is being talked about or a "big secret" is discussed then that person is always around within ear shot. The latest ridiculousness is the questioning of Tina giving up her job - she id 7 months pregnant and would make perfect sense but of course a big thing has to be made about it resulting in the discovery of the ridiculous "kiss".

Humpty Dumpty said...

You can be darned sure if two women are having a private conversation in the Rovers loo, interested party will emerge from a cubicle when they've gone. Faye's dad turning up on cue and the Chesney farce also annoy me.

Now, I'm sure this was a co-incidence but it confirmed what I suspected. I said in a previous post that they were trying to turn Tracy and Rob into Bonnie and Clyde, and last night Peter joked about going to see Bonnie and Clyde to check out their story. I know it was a joke but if they are trying to turn those two into glamorous thieves, really, they've picked the wrong actors. And while we're talking about pantomime villains, is it actually funny to talk about never murdering people you like?!

Anonymous said...

Good post! I want to throw something at my tv whenever Chesney pops up just as Ryan and Katy appear.

I'm sure the writers have been more subtle in the past.

Janice. said...

Another overused plot device is when a character is leaving. He or she will get back together with the estranged partner. Dev and Sunita, Nick and Natasha, to name but a few.

John McE said...

Yes, there was a dreadful one a few episodes ago in the Bistro, where David told Marcus that HE was the baby's father. Yet there was no reason whatsoever for anyone but Kylie and Nick to doubt this.

Anonymous said...

Great image of Chesney popping up through a manhole!
There seems to be a reverse co-incidence developing where, whenever Chesney and Sinead go to the bistro, Ryan and Katy show up there too. The ridiculously contrived part of the most recent encounter was to have each couple, sitting side by side, facing each other across the room.

bbhilda said...

Oh I agree wholeheartedly with this one.

Another recent obvious plot device was when David, Nick and Kylie were in the Bistro following David's epilepsy scare, and Nick and Kylie tell David they are both going to be there for him. He turns to them, and in a cheesy, unlike David way, and tells them he has the best wife and brother in the world. Camera pans in on two guilty faces.

We know David is going to find out, we don't need it spelled out for us.

There is so much of this at the moment, the show is turning into a caricature of itself.

Yes, there are a couple of total morons among the viewership, but why are the writers just writing for them?

Anonymous said...

Ryunnn conveniently showing up at the builders just in time to over-hear Tina giving Gary yet ANOTHER piece of her tiny mind, thus letting the cat out of the bag and the stellar actor who plays Ryun with all the enthusiasm of a bag of wet leaves, wastes little time telling the equally dull Katie.

Tvor said...

IT's all about soap cliche and Corrie isn't along in using them. All these contrived plot devices hardly ever happen in real life but they must in a soap to keep the plot moving along even if it's hard to take sometimes.

John McE said...

Yes, but you can nearly always see a better and just as simple way to achieve the same plot aim, without being so predictable.

I can only conclude that the writers are under such time pressure that they simply don't have time to sit back and evaluate their own scripts. But that surely is why a Script Editor is employed, whose very job it is to oversee all the scripts.

Anonymous said...

It used to drive me crazy every time Anna and Faye would be walking down the street with Anna holding Faye's hand! Tim would walk up the street and she'd shout hiya Dad. For a while this happened in almost every episode. Perhaps Anna letting Faye go live with Tim isn't such a bad thing - the kid isn't nearly as annoying and babyish. Tim treats her like a young lady while Anna babied her terribly.


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