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

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Five Things We Learned In Corrie This Week

Hope for better days.  You know how the Corrie production team took a two week break so they could reimagine storylines, work out logistics, plan ahead?  Do you think we'll be seeing the benefits of that any time soon?  Because this week's episodes were all dreadful.  Bad storylines, bad characterisation, awful plots making good people do awful things - it was a relentless stream of plain annoyance.  Worst of all in my mind was Alina Pop! becoming some magic girlfriend, a perfect woman who exists entirely to seduce Tyrone.  She's pretty but not bombshell attractive.  She's clever but working in a second language so missing some nuances.  She's got a secret talent for car maintenance, but the only sign of her work is a cute little smear of oil on her nose that makes her look like a sweet little puppy.  And when she tries it on with Tyrone, it's because she loves him, and she immediately realises how wrong it was, and backs away because she's also got a strong moral compass, dammit.  

Bless Ruxandra Porojnicu for doing her very best to make this impeccable human being in any way realistic.  She had to very politely dismiss Seb - a man who, a year ago, she was so in love with that their continued presence in the flat together caused faultlines of sexual tension to rupture all over Weatherfield.  Perhaps a year of lockdown has destroyed any hint of romance there.  After spending day in, day out, watching Seb pick sesame seeds out of his teeth with the battery cover from the TV remote, Alina has decided to go elsewhere for fun.

There's a version of this story that works on paper.  It's a version where we felt like Alina was incredibly desperate for somewhere to live because her only option was living on the streets, and Tyrone came out of the blue and rescued her, and she's conflated gratitude for romantic passion.  It's a version where Tyrone has realised he's in his late thirties and has two kids and a live in girlfriend and it's all downhill from here and there's this pretty woman nearby who seems to like him and gives him a hint of excitement and danger.  It's a version where characters collide.  It's not the version that's onscreen, though, and instead we're getting two people with all the sexual charisma of a fleecy Primark bodywarmer clattering round the Street making doe eyes at one another while Fiz stops putting washing in her top loader machine for eight minutes so she can book a surprise wedding in the Greek Islands.  Even though barely a fortnight ago the prospect of paying Gary £600 was enough to put Tyrone in the hospital.  You know who else sprung a surprise wedding on their live in lover, Fiz?  Alan Bradley, and Rita rightly told him to shove it up his hoop.  Think on.

Learn your lessons.  It was another week where the Baileys were prominent, so you know what that means?  That's right, it's time for an important life lesson!  Once again we were told that racism is bad because Grace was subjected to racial profiling from a nasty Freshco security guard.  Of course, this immediately went as badly as it could possibly go, as he locked her in an office and she immediately started giving birth.  While wearing jeans.  Panic stricken, fully aware that she had lost a baby before and could do it again, Grace staggered to the phone and called... Ronnie.  Whose number she had apparently memorised.  Even though she'd known him for barely a week.  Here's a hint, Grace: "999" is a lot quicker to type.

Once again, the lesson that racism is bad was fatally undermined by being exhibited to us via the medium of a nasty day player.  The security guard was rotten to Grace, then, when he realised she was about to have a baby, he went to the hospital and apologised, allowing Ronnie to give him a very profound speech about how racism is bad.  Then the security guard vanished, presumably off to the same place that bloke who ran the Bistro for two days and who was nasty to Ed went.  Making random characters racist to our regular characters doesn't hit home as a significant event.  Introducing strangers to embody negative characteristics means that the viewers can dismiss them as an "other" - they're that kind of person, they're different, they don't even have a name.  I'm not advocating for Jenny Bradley to casually chuck the N-word into conversation but having actual characters within the show causing conflict would be far more interesting than Racist Of The Week.  Perhaps Ken makes a casual assumption about Ed's taste in music.  Perhaps Maria suggests that Grace's hair would look better if she straightened it and made it less Black.  Perhaps it could go the other way, where James got together with Paul, and Paul was really really keen to let you know he wasn't in any way racist, because how could he be with a Black boyfriend, and in the process spent his entire time pointing out that he saw his boyfriend's ethnicity as an important factor in their relationship?  It would make a change from New Character Is Bad Racist So We Tell Him Off And He Vanishes Forever.

GASP!  So this leads us into the least surprising revelation of the week which is that Ronnie thinks he's Michael's real dad.  We all guessed this from literally the first moment he appeared on the Street; the only suspense has been how long they'd drag it out.  This means that after Michael spent several months thinking a child was his, only for it to turn out to be a horrible lie, he's also spent years thinking a man was his father, only for it to turn out to be a horrible lie.  Seriously Toyah, buy Yasmeen's Community Centre and turn it into a psychiatric clinic, you'll make a bomb.

Ed reacted to the news in the way we'd all expected, shouting and pleading and being generally disbelieving.  It was left to Aggie to plead her case though because Lorna Laidlaw was shielding the whole thing had to be carried out over FaceTime.  About halfway through Friday's episode I was begging the producers to give Ed a laptop because I was sick of staring at Aggie in portrait with terrible sound.  According to the timeline of the show, Aggie was sleeping with Ronnie - a married man - right up until they broke up, at which point she took up with his brother and immediately jumped into bed with him.  Does any of this sound like the Aggie we've come to know and love over the past couple of years?  Do you believe that Aggie would ever have gone with a man out of wedlock, never mind his brother as well, never mind so soon after her previous liaison that her bedsheets still stank of her other lover's aftershave?  No, you don't.  But every member of the Bailey family has to have an awful devastating secret and nobody was that fussed about her accidentally killing someone on the wards years ago so here's a new one for her.  I'd have liked a plotline where Aggie organised a bake sale to raise money for Oliver's fund and got in a battle with Gail over who produced the nicest Victoria Sponge but that's just me.

Be sure to multitask.  Leanne returned to work at the solicitor's this week, a couple of months after she gave it up.  I am absolutely baffled as to how that place remains in business.  Their admin assistant effectively stopped working there last autumn and since then they'd not only not replaced her, they'd hung around in the hope she'd change her mind.  When she actually told Imran she wasn't coming back he still didn't employ a replacement and when she returned to the role he immediately let her work from home.  Quick question: who the hell is answering the phones in that office?

I'm skipping past Leanne as a drugs mule because, as always with Corrie, drugs storylines are awful and stupid and unrealistic and I really don't care.  Honestly I'd have enjoyed Monday's episodes a lot more if Leanne had delivered half a pound of Wine Gums.

Pay your bills.  There has been an account between number 1 Coronation Street and the Kabin for decades.  In all that time, Rita has faithfully delivered The Guardian to Ken Barlow, and he has dutifully paid the bill.  My point is that I don't believe there is a circumstance where the Barlow-McDonald household would be £40 behind in their bills in the first place.  Even if they were, it's perfectly reasonable of Brian to bring the debt up. He didn't barge into Oliver's funeral waving an invoice around - several months later, he happened to mention there were monies outstanding.

Apparently this was enough for Cathy to experience some kind of weird mental breakdown where she paid off Steve's debts then took offence because Tracy didn't like her pinboard.  The net effect has been Cathy being radicalised into an internet troll on the Wethy Gazette, chucking unfounded allegations about for no apparent reason like she's a Julia Hartley-Brewer who stinks of kebab meat.  It's very un-Cathy, and it's very un-Normal Human Being.  I don't believe it for a second, but then again, I don't believe anything that happened this week, so perhaps Weatherfield was hit by a tornado from an alternate universe and everyone's in Bizarro World and next week all the characters will be nice to one another and act responsibly and intelligently and I'll be able to write this blog about funny haircuts and silly spelling mistakes again.

You know what's weird?  A man sulking because his wife's ex-husband has picked the man he cuckolded as his best man instead of him, even though his wife is being the celebrant and is forcing him to practice saying the vows with some bloke down the road.  And yet that wasn't even weird enough to make it into this week's blog.  Tell me it'll get better on Twitter @merseytart.

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Anonymous said...

Quite possible the worst week in Corrie’s 60-year history. I thought it had hit an all-time low in 2019 when it became the ‘Gemma and Chesney show’ but this week was something else…

Lazy predictable storylines, boring characters and bad acting. I’m surprised I’ve got any brain cells left after what I just watched.

First off, the baileys. Give me strength… it’s time for Corrie to hold their hands up and admit they’ve made a mistake here, because if you thought the Mortons were bad, they ain’t got nothing on the Baileys! They’re all terrible actors who are there only to highlight the issue of racism.

There’s been no attempt to flesh them out or build relationships with people existing outside of their immediate family. They’re just this insular entity that feels entirely separate from everything else going on in the show. The fact I still refer to them as ‘the new family’ despite having been on the show over two years says it all.

The addition of Uncle Ronnie seems like a desperate throw of the dice to get us to like the Baileys but it’s backfired because the most creative thing they could come up with was (yet another) who’s the daddy plot. This cliché has been done to death; Carla and Johnny, Sam and Nick, Steve and Emma, Evelyn and Tyrone… stop already!

But the worst part about all this Bailey drama (terrible acting aside), was Aggie’s confrontation over facetime *slaps forehead in despair*. Not having her there in person killed off any dramatic tension (not that there was any to begin with).

Suffice it to say I’m completely unmoved by anything that happens to this family and will be fast-forwarding through their scenes in future.

Now onto the second worst storyline of the week… Tyrone and Alina. You summed it up perfectly, Scott. Has Corrie not learned from Kevin/Mollie and Peter/Tina? These types of stories never do any of the characters involved any favours. Suddenly Alina knows all about cars now? Puh-lease! I’m no Fizz and Tyrone shipper but Corrie sacrificing one of its only established couples for the sake of this rubbish feels like a serious misstep. Here’s hoping squeaky voice Alina meets the same grisly fate as Tina McIntyre!

And like you say, the inconstancies are rife; Fizz and Tyrone having money troubles one minute then splashing the cash on a Greek wedding the next, Alina turning down Seb for Emma’s sake but suddenly having no problem getting with a married man with kids, and Tyrone seeming to have forgotten what Kevin and Molly did to him… yeah, alright Corrie, whatever you say.
Nothing irks me more than when characters behave in ways that totally go against their character for the sake of a storyline, it undermines pretty much everything and there’s no believability to it.

Sadly nothing could redeem this week for me, not even Tracy, Sally and Abi.

I hate being negative about a show I’ve loved for years but I can only suspend my disbelief so far. It’s fast becoming unwatchable and I find myself tuning in only out of a morbid curiosity to see ‘how bad can it get this week?’.

The problems are obvious: Too many pointless characters, too many farfetched storylines, too many issues and not enough character-driven content or light-heartedness to counteract the misery and heaviness. It’s characters like Carla that keep me watching but even she’s not the fun, feisty character she used to be. I wish I could tell you it’s going to get better, but I won’t hold my breath.

amanda50 said...

Thanks for this, sharp and funny as ever.The making random strangers racist has been irritating me too.I fast forward so much of Corrie these days, surely it has to get better at some point?

Humpty Dumpty said...

Great post, Scott. I often hold back my remarks because I know someone will say 'why do you keep watching it?' Well, fact is, I don't much these days. Maybe two episodes a week. It is dreadful because, and I'll be shot down for this, the acting is largely pretty ropey. Never mind that some actors may have been brilliant in other things, they are hopeless in this. The Bailey family for one. Not their fault. We know that the main criteria for being in Corrie is: Can you learn your lines in 24 hours? Can you try and look the part because nobody's got time to actually direct you? A few actors can rise above the writing and logistics. Of course, the producers pull the stops out for the headline-grabbing plots. The Baileys have been ruined by issues: gambling, drinking, homophobia, racism, taken-for-a-mug-ism.

Scott, you're right about storylines probably working better on paper. In a book, you could imagine the characters. Gary would be amazing if you *read* about him. Aggie would be brilliant as the matriarch struggling to keep her family together.

As for racism or any other prejudice, there was a time when Corrie characters made offensive remarks which were entirely in character, got reprimanded for them and remained on the street. Thinking here of Mike Baldwin and Les Battersby.

Characters now explain their feelings in *interviews*, real ones and those PR ones. Makes it so much easier for the writers. Fans are also very forgiving if their favourite actors are centre-stage or if an issue is particularly significant to them.

Sharon boothroyd said...

A fab post as always Scott, and I agree with the comments here.
The thing that irked me this week was Tracey being mean to Cathy about her fund raising ideas for Oliver.
Ok, she wasn't his mum, but surely Tracey could have been kind yet distant, instead of being instantly dismissive?
Eg 'oh that's thoughtful of you Cathy, but I haven't time right now. Pop into the shop later?' Then, when Cathy pops in, Tracey's rushed off her feet and hasn't time to listen to her as Mary's off ill?
Was it Amy or Tracey in the cafe who offered to pay Cathy the £40 and she refused it? Why was that? She's running a business, not a charity and Brian ought to have reminded her of this.
Also, her online user name won't take a lot of working out later! Cathy is supposed to be a nice, down to earth character and I think she'd have pressed Bernie about evidence re: the charity cheat suspicions before posting online.
And why an earth hasn't Fizz got a proper washing machine?

Anonymous said...

I was looking forward to hearing what you had to say about this week’s offerings and you didn’t disappoint. Superbly written! I agree with all of it.
Kevin and Molly’s affair was one of the worst in Corrie history but the pay off with Sally holding Molly’s hand in the rubble of the tram crash and her confessing in her dying breath that Kevin was Jack’s father made it *almost* worth it and added to what was an excellent week of drama. Similarly, I could forgive the Peter and Tina nastiness because it’s always been in Peter’s DNA to cheat and Michelle Keegan was voted Britain’s sexiest female in the soap awards multiple times in a row so who could really blame him? But Alina and Tyrone are a different kettle of fish. Firstly they’re both a pair of wet blankets so it’s hardly going to be an affair bursting with passion. And secondly, what’s at stake here? Kevin and Sally were a much-loved couple as were Carla and Peter, so the stakes were high as people were invested in these relationships and didn’t want to see them blown apart. But in this scenario, would anyone be gutted if Ty and Fizz broke up? Does anyone have any particularly strong feelings towards Tyrone, Fizz and Alina as characters? Sure, they’re okay, but I doubt they’re in anybody’s top ten list. So what’s the appeal of this storyline? Personally I don’t see that there is one.
Also, it’s worth noting that Sally and Kevin never recovered after his affair and Tina is a dark cloud that still hangs over Carla and Peter’s relationship to this day, so I don’t see much hope for Fizz and Tyrone after this.
Corrie needs to start investing more in its couples, it’s a real weak point for the show: Carla and Peter, Johnny and Jenny, Nick and Leanne, Billy and Paul, Sarah and Adam, Gary and Maria – all these have either broken up or are on the verge of doing so.
The worst part about this week by a country mile was the Baileys. They’ve been in the show long enough now and they still feel like outsiders. There’s no depth to them. All we know about James, the son we never see, is that’s he’s gay and a footballer. That’s literally all there is to him. Grace is a manipulative liar but suddenly we’re supposed to root for her and Michael? Sure, okay then. To me, the Baileys are nothing more than a box ticking exercise. The show brings them out every once in a while to teach us a lesson on racism, then they disappear again - and don’t get me started on the acting! Put it this way, if the soaps had Razzies, Michael would be picking up the gong for worst actor! And Grace for worst actress!
The Leanne and Simon stuff started off mildly intriguing. I was enjoying Jacob and the home invasion type thing, but now the story’s taken a turn into the realm of farce with Leanne being Harvey’s drugs mule. The only good thing it’s got going for it is Will Mellor but it’s hard to take him seriously as a villain given I’m so used to seeing him in comedy roles. Question; who’s paying the rent for the flat? It’s Nick’s flat so why isn’t he paying towards it? What’s the deal there? And why’s Leanne dictating if he can live there or not? Very confused by it all.
Not much else to say about this week. I honestly cannot think of a single storyline that I’m enjoying. I was excited about Peter’s liver failure because his alcoholism’s always felt more character-driven than plot-driven, but that’s not been great either. I keep telling myself things will get better but it’s just getting steadily worse. I hope the showrunners take note of the overwhelming amount of criticism and start implementing some changes like they were supposed to do during that two-week break because my interest as a loyal viewer is hanging by a thread.
I read somewhere that the viewing figures were around 4 million… that’s worryingly low.

Louby said...

Wow, some harsh criticism here, and all deserved! I've missed more episodes over the last two weeks than I've watched and don't feel at all bad about it!. I've been trying to think of something positive to say about it, but I just can't!!

popcorn said...

As always, Scott is right on the money.
For goodness sake, somebody please send his blog to the powers that be at ITV. They REALLY need to read it.

maggie muggins said...

I thought the writers and show runners did keep track of what fans say. They are really tone deaf these days. We had a few good episodes, was it last week or week before? Then it all goes over a cliff again. Where has all the creativity gone?

fairycake said...

@maggie mullins...Unfortunately, creativity seems to be 'cancelled' these days. Reboots, remakes and box ticking run rampant...0:( X


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