Friday, 19 October 2018

'It's like The Wire round here.' Gail is right!


There is so much horror and misery on the cobbles currently that it’s very difficult to pick your way through it all.

One of the most upsetting and heart-breaking storylines of late, has been the Jim, Liz and Hannah deception. How many hospital mix-ups can one street endure? Of course, Liz, desperate to believe and mend the heartache that she has suffered since the death of Katie, would be only too willing to believe that somehow, miraculously, Katie/Hannah had been in contact with Jim and here she was! So much time to make up, so many lost years - but now, Liz and Hannah/Katie can catch up on lost time.  When you want something to be true, it’s not too difficult to believe it is so, especially when a girl of Katie’s age turns up with ‘her father’ – great joy all round.

It made for troubling watching. To know that the ecstatic Liz would at some point discover the terrible truth was hard to watch. That Jim and Hannah would cook this up was spine-chillingly shocking. Liz ended up financially crippled, with her heart smashed to pieces and I’m sure that her faith in human nature would have taken a massive dive.

There was no joy for Liz either in her son Steve’s wedding. Steve was marrying Tracy; a woman Liz has despised for many years. Had there been possibly a little solace possible from this, that was ripped away because Leanne and Steve had recently slept together, and Tracy had found out, so after hitting him so hard that she drew blood, the wedding descended into chaos.

This year we have also dealt with the rape of David by Josh and its traumatic aftermath. Not only that, but also Aidan’s suicide. It is undoubtedly progressive and right that we should, as viewers, be challenged, and male issues be brought to the public’s attention through the medium of soap.

My problem though is the sheer number of challenges. Challenges of such a serious nature that are spread before us is too much, just too much.

And there’s more. Jack, Kevin’s son, contracted sepsis and instead of him recovering and there being relief all round, the writers’ decision was to allow Jack to have his foot amputated. Yes, we all know such tragedies happen, but it just feels like one more storyline has been designed to spread misery. At least, the storyliners could have given Jack an easy return to school. But no, we are denied even that.

Not such a terrible thing perhaps, but sad on a very personal level is the return of Lewis, and the fact that we now have a schism between mother and daughter, the inimitable Audrey and Gail. Audrey has chosen Lewis above her family, well, above Gail anyway.

Daniel and Sinead are now married, and Sinead is pregnant. But no, they can’t be left alone to enjoy their lives together, a cancer story must be introduced; one of such a devastating nature that it seems likely that Sinead will have to lose her baby as she undergoes treatment.  Sad too for Daniel as he tries to find stability in a happy, loving family life, something he lacked growing up. I’m quietly hoping that this story will end with joy, but, well…

The drug story involving Ryan, Ronan, Ali and Michelle is seriously sinister. As if the story of the death of Ronan’s son and his seeking revenge is not enough, there has to be a bent prison warder too, working on the inside and taking orders from Ronan on the outside and not averse to following through.

And there’s more. Leanne is knocked over and is in hospital. Jenny discovers Johnny’s affair and is heartbroken. Nevertheless, she is a forgiving soul but doesn’t let Johnny off completely as she observes cynically the breakfast he has set out for her and the flowers he bought from Tracy’s not Dev’s – hence they cost a bit.

My point is that there is very little joy, very little levity. Any hint of something positive, is so fleeting that it is immediately drowned out by horror.

We mustn’t forget that Sally is in prison on some spurious charge (Free the Weatherfield One, again) and that we will be subjected to more hospital scenes than you can shake a stick at. 

But Gail is right. ‘ Drug dealers, car chases, people in comas.  It’s like The Wire round here.’

By Ruth Owen, twitter: @Ruth1722

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10 comments:

Flo said...

I have to agree with you. While we need a certain amount of conflict to keep things interesting, it seems like it's just one thing after another with no time to really process what has happened before the next big thing is thrown at us. What I find most disturbing about this trend though is how a storyline suddenly disappears, never to be brought up again, despite the fact that it's something with longterm ramifications. Nick's head injury, Johnny's MS and Rita's brain tumor were all big stories--but have we had any follow up? Nope. Nada, nothing. And what about Nasty Neil's daughter Kayla? She's disappeared off the planet apparently. The writers hide behind the "public service" excuse, but if they genuinely wanted that to be the intent, they would continue the story beyond the initial shock and horror. :(

Anonymous said...

It is not enough to justify public service if all you do is tell people issues exists. We know male rape exists. We know children are disabled. We know girls are tricked into slavery. Are you as the writers bringing insight that a newsfeed cannot? Also as a soap, it is meant to entertain. "Shocking,explosive gets attention, but then do you what to with that attention to do your main job, which is entertaining?

Ruth Owen said...

Excellent point Flo. Yes, we need storylines carried through to resolution - otherwise it leaves us dissatisfied and breaks the suspension of disbelief

Anonymous said...

I agree with Flo also. What happened with Craig and the OCD? I feel like I haven't seen him in awhile, did he disappear with Kayla?

Anonymous said...

Err, he was at Daniel/Sinead's wedding last week

Ruth Owen said...

Craig was there, Anonymous but he was in the background and we have had no follow up on his condition.

David said...

Also something like OCD can't just be resolved it's there in the background, same with MS, just because it isn't mentioned every five minutes doesn't mean it's ignored or forgotten.

Anonymous said...

He had a speaking part and was one of the witnesses to the ceremony. Hardly in the back ground

Laura said...

I don't know that I would want all of these issues mentioned/referred to over and over again, as there are so many. I also think it might run the risk of turning the characters into their condition, and sending the message that by extension real people with that condition are defined by it as well - that it's the central aspect of their lives.

I think they do a halfway decent job though - Johnny's MS/medication for it became important when he kidnapped Eva's baby, David's epilepsy was referred to when he wanted to box, and Bethany has had recurring issues as she recovers as well. I like that method - once their condition is stable, have the characters live their lives, and when it makes sense to highlight their past or condition, do it then.

One issue I wish they would revisit though to resolve it is Izzy. She did a stint in prison for marijuana, but was adamant that using it was the only way she could function and take care of Jake. How is that going now?

abbyk said...

That’s exactly the point. Annoying as it is to hear MEchelle go on about Rauiri, at least she does. It gives her a bit of continuity that makes sense. She lost a child, and she’ll do anything to protect what she’s got left. It’s awful watching but at least it’s a follow through.

David has epilepsy. Nick has brain damage. They both drive cars and get on just fine, until there’s a dramatic need. Leanne was a call girl who got beaten and eventually locked in the trunk of a car yet manages to float in and out of beds. Bethany isn’t terrified of middle aged men or police. Toyah is suddenly over her baby rabies. There’s more but... Any of these would be give the characters more depth. It is odd that the only character really dealing with consequences is Little Jack.

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