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Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Are Peter and Carla worth saving?

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Guest blog post from @carlasbarlow

Once again Carla and Peter have found themselves at an exhaustingly repetitive crossroads and, as a massive fan of the pairing, quite frankly I’m more exhausted than the two of them put together. 

Peter’s alcoholism has been portrayed beautifully since the very beginning, one of Coronation Street’s biggest achievements in terms of continuity, but this never ending merry-go-round of Carla and Peter constantly having to make a decision based on whether or not they should remain a couple is becoming incredibly tiresome, especially with the introduction of Lucas, a mere plot device to add an element of unnecessary threat, as if Peter’s deteriorating health isn’t enough. 

It’s not that highlighting the struggles of being the partner of an addict is an issue for me, in fact I encourage it and I’m glad to see Corrie explore it in the form of Carla having her own doubts and seeking solace from someone who understands. What doesn’t sit right with me is the lack of continuity, the contradicting nature of Carla and Peter’s relationship and yet another third party unnecessarily being thrown into the mix and further complicating issues, fuelling the already highly toxic behaviour from both characters in the relationship. 

Back in September 2020, Carla was offended and extremely hurt when Peter chose to confide in Abi regarding his struggles. Although Abi, a fellow recovering addict, completely understood and had a lot of empathy for Peter, Carla also understood in a way that Abi probably wouldn’t having been there numerous times herself in the past. She stood by and supported Peter throughout multiple relapses and put his recovery first every time, she understands him as an addict as and as person and so of course she was going to be hurt when he not only thought someone else was more approachable than his own partner, but that she herself hadn’t noticed the signs of his struggle and stepped in to help him sooner. She made a point of goading him about hanging around with Abi simply to get attention from somebody he knew fancied him but when Abi made a move Peter turned her down, told her exactly where they stood and ended up cutting almost all contact with her for Carla’s sake. Peter’s defence was that he didn’t want to put her under any more pressure or cause her any setbacks to which she reiterated that they needed to be honest with each other and keep talking, otherwise the relationship was doomed. 

Back to the present and similarly Carla is having struggles of her own throughout Peter’s battle with liver failure and he, unsurprisingly, has been kept in the dark regarding this. It was very briefly touched upon that he had doubts about Lucas being on the scene (which is fair given that Carla had packed her bags and was set to spend a weekend with him) but Carla has reassured him that he’s not a threat and there is nothing going on. However she has lied and kept secrets from Peter because she doesn’t want to cause him further stress which is understandable given Peter’s current situation and having said himself he couldn’t cope with news of anything bad happening but he has always cared about her well-being, he would want to know just how deeply things are affecting her too. During the aftermath of her breakdown he protected her and made sure her recovery came first so surely if she was struggling and possibly on the verge of her own relapse he should be made aware of it? Disregarding her own struggles with the notion of “What can I say? I love a challenge” is exactly the attitude she held during the build up to her breakdown and, in my opinion, the idea of her seeking professional help and advice, possibly inserting herself into a support group and building a network to fall back on during the worst of Peter’s health would be a much more interesting route to take rather than yet another love interest and threat to their already diminishing relationship. 

While it’s been made clear that Lucas understands what it’s like to be the partner of an addict, nobody knows what it’s like to be the long suffering partner of Peter Barlow better than the man himself; if Carla was finding things difficult and/or having doubts about being the trigger to his desire to drink, why not discuss it with Peter? Even though her intentions are pure she’s causing him more harm by keeping things from him and being dishonest, when it was her to suggest that they be open and keep talking to each other in the first place. When Peter was later up front about pouring away his whisky measures she was pretty shocked although appreciative of his honesty because that’s exactly what they had agreed upon; being honest. Weeks later she has now tangled herself within a web of lies and still, even with his well-being a priority, continues to lie to him and hide the truth about Simon’s current situation. Peter, as his father, deserves to know the truth, no matter how painful and stress inducing it might be. 

With Lucas, Carla herself stated it wasn’t a good idea for her to confide in him and, despite being rejected by her, he continues to push his advice and experience upon her, encourages her to join him somewhere a bit more ‘relaxing’ than work, and completely disregards what should be no more than a professional business relationship by offering her a new life with him. Understandably he has no loyalty to Peter, he doesn’t know the ins and outs of what has gone on in their decade long relationship but, when face to face with a woman struggling to support her dying alcoholic boyfriend, it just seems completely absurd to me that his way of helping her to unwind from all of that responsibility is by joining her in getting drunk on multiple occasions, further adding to her guilt and feelings of inadequacy as Peter’s main support. 

There are so many inconsistencies with Lucas’ character, despite us knowing very little about him. He claims to know the real Carla, he’s offering her a new life and, I’m assuming, is committed to being loyal to her and put her first in a way that Peter never could yet also states that he regrets wasting his time on his addict ex girlfriend and that he couldn’t save someone who chooses to be broken. Carla herself is no stranger to addiction and, especially given the fragility of her mental health, there is no guarantee that, even with the idyllic stress free environment that Lucas is offering (complete with a German shepherd), she will remain on an even keel. Will he turn his back on her if she were to relapse? 

Peter sought help and support from Abi when he was struggling and while Carla is appearing to do the same with Lucas she is ultimately entertaining the thought of a new life with him, before Peter has even taken his last breath. I would much prefer, if the relationship were to come to an end, for Carla to be alone and focus on herself rather than jump straight into a new relationship with somebody she barely knows, giving up everything just because he understands a certain aspect of her life. What I don’t understand is, only a matter of months after Carla cheated and slept with her own boyfriend’s nephew, Corrie are now throwing yet another obstacle into her path in the form of a love interest; a desperately needy and unnecessary one at that. 

Iain MacLeod has previously hailed this as the “ultimately love story” for Carla and Peter but I am yet to see any evidence of love between the pair other than a few comments to other characters about how well suited they are. I know I’m probably speaking too soon and there is still a lot of content to come with things potentially working out perfectly in the end but fueling the most toxic aspects of their relationship and calling it the ultimate love story has left me questioning whether, as a couple, they are worth saving at all?

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C in Canada said...

It doesn't help that couples on the show can't physically show their love to each other either - they can't hug, kiss, or cuddle. It was painful seeing Abi ad Kevin get engaged without a smooch, or Faye and Craig rekindle their relationship from 2 meters apart.
It's what has to be done right now because of restrictions, but it detracts from the emotions of the stories.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Having adored Peter for years, I have grown to first loathe him, and now feel mostly indifferent. Which producer can I hold responsible for the ruination of his character? As a romantic relationship, these two have come to the end of the road. In a play, Carla would have left town by now and Peter would possibly have died. But because it's a soap, the writers have to find endless stories for the couple to keep viewers' interest. The trouble is there are no stories - except alcohol and adultery. Maybe if there were other acting opportunities, Chris G would have left by now for the theatre. Perhaps Peter will die just as the theatres start to fully re-open. Sorry to be cynical but I am fed up with this couple. There have been chances to make them a Corrie legend and they've been missed. I am also fed up with the comparison with Burton & Taylor because that relationship didn't end well. Or are the producers giving fans a very big hint?

Sharon boothroyd said...

I find the couple's up and down relationship very tedious, but as long as the actors want to stay in (Alison king has had several breaks away) the Corrie team need to keep on trying to dredge up drama for them.
It seems a desperate strategy to keep viewer's interest.
I agree with you, Humpty Dumpty, it's just affairs and illness that they churn out for them.
To be honest, I'm not bothered about the in- depth dynamic (However, women wanting a challenge in relationships - this can often be a symptom of trying to change their man's behaviour, which in itself requires therapy).
The Barlows are a big part of the street's history. They've killed off Susan and lost Deirdre and Blanche - and brought back Daniel and Adam - so I don't think they'll kill off Peter.
Chris G may leave when things eventually pick up, but I reckon they'll leave the door open for him.
So Peter, once he's recovered, will probably go help a mate run a business or something equally absurd.
I think they'll kill off Johnny instead, diluting The Connors even more.

dhvinyl said...

I’m done with Peter ‘hey’ Barlow and his vaping machine, both as a character and an actor. No dimension, no’d think he’d snap out of this jealousy and self pity and rescue his son from county line drug running. I just laugh out loud at the jigsaw and blanket ...where does the Barlow household eat its meals? The sooner this is over the better.

Anonymous said...

As a fan of Carla and Peter, I’ve been disappointed with the storyline so far. The overall problem I have is how negatively their relationship is being portrayed. The writers have gone to town on this ‘we’re toxic and bad for each other’ rhetoric, so much so that Carla is shown to be the one ‘killing’ Peter. Their relationship’s become so damaging to Peter’s health and has made them both so miserable, that it’s hard to argue they wouldn’t be better off walking away at this point.
Another thing bothering me about the storyline is how it disregards Carla and Peter’s history. They bonded over their addiction issues and understood each other in ways their partners at the time didn’t, and that’s why they ended up falling in love. I’ve always seen them as kindred spirits, but now they’re being portrayed as the exact opposite. Carla’s history with addiction seems to have been forgotten and the couple no longer seem to ‘get’ each other like they used to, and instead resort to lying to each other and confiding in others who they think understand them better.
It also doesn’t sit right with me that while Peter’s dying of liver failure, Carla’s out getting trollied. She did it with Lucas, and before that with Jenny. We’re all entitled to let off steam once in a while, but given how supportive and attentive she’s been of Peter’s struggles in the past, I’ve found her behaviour odd. Equally, I’m fed up with Peter using Carla as an emotional punchbag. See, neither of them are coming off favourably, are they?
I liked the idea of Lucas as I think Peter’s come to take Carla for granted and needed the scare of losing her to make him re-evaluate his treatment of her and make him more determined to get better. However, Lucas feels like a mere plot device. We don’t know enough about him or his feelings towards Carla, so when he said he loved her last night to Peter, I nearly spat out my tea – like what? Where did that come from? We all know Carla wasn’t going to run off with him, the threat was never real, and that’s where the story failed. In the end Lucas was an unnecessary sideshow that detracted from what the focus should’ve been; Peter’s liver failure.
And the same goes for Adam. Looking back, what was the point of that one-night stand? Shock value? To give a reason for Carla and Peter to be at odds? It’s had very little aftermath and caused far fewer shockwaves than I thought it would, which was disappointing as there was lots to explore.
A recurring pattern with Carter’s relationship is that time and time again it gets destroyed for the sake of sensationalism (Tina, Adam etc.).
But their relationship hadn’t been built up enough this time around to justify knocking it down. They needed to have established themselves as a strong, solid couple who’d reached a place of calm and stability before the writers could start meddling, and for me, they hadn’t reached that place yet. Throwing another cheating storyline into the mix (Peter’s nephew of all people), really jumped the gun.
I had high hopes that reuniting Carla and Peter would mean getting to see a mature, grown-up couple who’d learned from their mistakes, but no, we’re back to the same old merry go round of cheating, lying and toxic behaviour.
Their current scenes feel stale. It’s the same thing every week and little happens to move things forward. Also their physical chemistry was a big part of their appeal and their scenes suffer without it.
I hope the storyline starts to improve because so far I’ve seen no evidence of this ‘ultimate love story’ we’ve been promised and my faith is dwindling.
But to answer your question are they worth saving? Yes. But only if the writers start to invest in them. It’s baffling they still haven’t set up home together and are happy sofa hopping. Also – and this goes for all the couples– we need to see more day-to-day scenes and not just appearing when trouble’s afoot.

Anonymous said...

No, too boring and predictable. Humpty said it best, the producers always say they're the "Burton-Taylor" and that ended horribly. So, why make us suffer.

I never liked this pairing and shocked it's gone on so long. Carla was once strong and then got with Peter. She gave him shares of Underworld. A strong independent girl like her would see this lowlife and way. Now he's manipulating her and quite honestly emotionally abuses her. Why is this acceptable and what does this teach viewers.???

Anonymous said...

It's not just Carla and Peter, it's all the couples. Jenny and Johnny in this ridiculous prison storyline with the annoying (and utterly pointless) Daisy trying to split them up. Family man Tyrone is about to embark on an affair with the no mark character that is Alina. Leanne and Nick seem as confused about their relationship status as we all are. And Aggie and Ed look like they’re about to hit the rocks too. Then there are those couples that nobody cares about; Adam and Sarah, Gary and Maria, Craig and Faye, Michael and Grace, Gemma and Chesney, Billy and Paul etc.
So really it’s not just Carla and Peter who are suffering, it’s all the couples! The only difference is people are noticing it more with Carla and Peter because they’re a popular pairing with a big fanbase who aren’t afraid to speak out if something’s not to their liking. Maybe it’s a downside of having to churn out six episodes a week, or having an ever-expanding cast, or favouring plot over character… whatever the reason, Corrie just isn’t good at writing compelling love stories anymore. The best they've got atm is Nina and Asha but I'm sure that'll soon crash and burn.

Anonymous said...

There is difference between bad writing and couples going through problems. Not all couples are bad on Coronation Street at the moment.

Bad Writing:

Carla and Peter
Tyrone and Fiz

Couples going through problems:

Jenny and Johnny
Leanne and Nick

Carla and Peter keep showing us that they should break up. Coronation Street are just relying on fan baiting for the couple and not good writing. But it has gotten to the point where there is much more reasons for Carla and Peter to spilt up for the sake of both characters. The Tyrone affair with Alina is such lazy writing. It’s unnecessarily bringing down Tyrone and Alina.

Whereas Jenny and Johnny have worked through their problems eventually. Jenny convincing Johnny to take his meds was very moving. Leanne and Nick have been written well and realistic. Nick was very supportive of Leanne and there wasn’t any unnecessary affairs. He could had an affair with Natasha but Coronation Street did not do that.

If Nina and Asha have problems, that doesn’t automatically mean bad writing. It makes the relationship realistic.

Anonymous said...

Wow, agree with this. The show knows Carter have a big fanbase who support them no matter what so they don't put as much effort into the quality of the writing cos they know the fans will gobble up anything they dish out regardless whether it's good or not.

I've heard Carter might be getting married again - if so please don't do a repeat of Gary and Maria's socially distanced wedding, that would be a real kick in the teeth! I'd rather they didn't get married at all.

I just want strong Carla back, whether that means staying with Peter or not. I think most fans are crying out for Carla to have some purpose again. Since coming back to the show she's felt aimless and again I put it down to the fact she's popular with a loyal fanbase so the writers don't feel the need to put any effort in. Case and point, 3 years she's been back and she's STILL living at Roy's and has become Sarah's lackey at the factory she previously owned.... yikes.

Anonymous said...

100000% agree with this! Give the girl a backbone or get rid.


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