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Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Norris and Mary - characters or caricatures?

To begin with, Norris - is he a true character or just a caricature? Well, some of his reactions are what might be called and understood as 'typical' Norris, including his busy-bodying and his lust for gossip. These aspects of Norris are so predictable that at these times he is presented as a caricature.

To be a character, a person needs some depth and in his dealings with Rita, Norris is clearly a character.

His attachment to Rita has been quite a torment for him and indeed for us too. Does he love Rita? Is he in love with her? They must know each other inside out having worked alongside each other at The Kabin for decades - seeing each other at their best and at their worst - tired, angry, frustrated, bored - they will have seen the lot from each other.

Rita and Norris have their roles - Rita the one in charge, the wise one, the tolerator of Norris. Norris is the tolerated one, the nuisance, the one who sees and suspects the worse in everyone and readily tells them about it and, let's not forget, the tormentor and love object of Mary.

Mary's name is always accompanied by words such as weird, odd, strange and creepy. It's a shame because though she is undeniably different, even unique, she offers such huge comedy potential. Her uniqueness is genius. Whoever conjured up the character of Mary Taylor deserves an award.

So is she a character or a caricature? Certainly, as with Norris, there is a predictability about how she behaves. But she does have terrific cooking skills, an admirable work ethic and a willingness to get involved.

What really makes Mary a character rather than a caricature is how tenderly she cared for Dev's children and how sensitively and thoughtfully she handled her responsibilities to make things as easy as possible for Dev as he dealt with his own grief and tried to manage the grief of his children.

Mary's attachment to Norris is baffling to many of us though clearly not to her. That said, she is not totally blind to his faults and has been known to berate him for his idiocy or unkindness.

Yes, Mary did try to seduce Roy, during their chess sessions, but soon realised what a pointless task that was. Devoted to Hayley as we know he was, we never feared for a moment that Roy would succumb to her intentions.

Now though, in an attempt to take Roy's mind off Hayley and provide distraction and mental stimulus, she plays chess with Roy - and has no designs on him.

Whatever they are - characters or caricatures, they are both invaluable to our favourite street.

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Llifon said...

Great piece Ruth!

Norris reminds me of my uncle, so he must be true. :)

Norris needs a story!

Ruth owen said...

Thank you Lifon!

Anonymous said...

I think your post makes a good case for both Norris and Mary being characters rather than caricatures. The fact that they have nuanced multi-dimensions that pretty well fit together most of the time puts them far above the scale than many other strutters on the cobbles who could more rightly be described as "caricatures" or caricature-like.

Dilly Daydream said...

Norris needs getting rid of! An awful character, no redeeming qualities whatsoever. Badly acted too, very one-dimensional.

Frosty the Snowman said...

I actually dont mind Norris, Mary is OK apart from starting every sentence with Aye Aye Aye. But although reasonably popular they seem to be just peripheral these days, playing in the background to the BIG favourites the Windarms and the Platts who never seem to be off our screens.

Tvor said...

I've never liked Norris though he does get the occasional good line. But the actor is faultless and superb in his portrayal. I do like Mary and much more since her Scary Mary phase is gone and she's back to being quirky. I love those little lines about her past or her relatives that make you go "Wait.. what???" The writers must have a lot of fun dreaming those up

Humpty Dumpty said...

Norris has never been a likeable character, going back to the days when he would torment Derek Wilton. He's turned into a disappointed, bitter man but he could be made into a sympathetic character, if the writers so chose, because there are many people like him who are never truly understood.

Mary is a great character. She's been and done lots of things except fall in love with a man who loves her - as far as we know. Again, many women like that in the world. She could have become platonic friends with Lloyd. Perhaps Mary went to hundreds of rock festivals, travelling across America in a motorhome. Might be too late for that now if Lloyd's leaving. Excellent choice, though, for Dev's shop, gathering Street gossipers to their rightful place.

Anonymous said...

Norris does not need a story. The last one he had with Mary was ridiculous. He acted like a pubescent female who'd been abducted like the big bad wolf. Mary is a dolt. She reminds me of Annie Wilkes (look it up). The two of them together? Ugh.

Talia said...

I like Humpty's suggestion that the bitter and at times down right rude Norris could be understood, if the writer's chose to delve into his background and we got to see the layers beneath the admittedly one dimension his character has shown for years and years.
Same goes for Mary. This character is basically optimistic and can be very funny, she has comedic timing that has been proven, but not used since.
She also has shown a side to her that is tender, wise, sincere and understanding, and I for one would love to see the writers concentrate more on the characters they have, rather than bring in a slew of new ones, all of which we know nothing about, and frankly, I could care less about.
How interesting it could be to explore the reason 'why' some of these characters are the way they are, and most are a unhappy mess of disappointment and anger.

Anonymous said...

Dilly,For what it's worth,I think Norris has some redeeming qualities and shouldn't be 'getting rid of' but in my opinion Norris has become a inconic Corris character.Granted he can be a gossip and a pain at times, [but who isn't on the Street ?however Norris has also shown he has a heart such as when he gave Roy dancing lessons so he could take Hayley dancing on her last trip to Blackpool.Given the choice of seeing either Norris and Mary in a storyline or another affair,I would pick them hands down!


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