(This post was originally posted by Graeme N on the Coronation Street Blog in October 2013.)
Oh Mary Taylor, I just don't know. A Marmite character since she first arrived as far as I'm concerned. Sometimes I feel bad for hating her. Sometimes I feel good for hating her. Most of the time she just gets right on my nerves.
However...I can't help but think there is more to the character than we have seen in the past or are currently getting. I really don't think Coronation Street is making the best use of Patti Clare. We've had kind Mary, crazy, stalkerish Mary, slightly unhinged Mary, pop-up cafe Mary and most recently, Mary Poppins. I like bits of all of these but somehow none of them have really worked at all. It's as if the Corrie bosses keep trying out different facets of Mary on us viewers like we would try out different paint pots on our living room walls. And it's frustrating.
Part of me (the nasty blogger part) would just like to see the back of Mary altogether. And probably Norris-the-unpleasant too. There is something unrelentingly squirmy about their relationship. I also dislike Mary's involvement with the Croppers. Her plan to disrupt their second wedding did her no favours in the popularity stakes. I really do hope the powers that be don't pair our Roy up with Mary once we lose Hayley next year. That would be a complete and utter travesty.
More successful, though rarely seen these days, was Mary's role as nanny to Dev's children. We saw yet another different side to Mary here and for a time at least, it made for a refreshing change. Is it enough to keep her on our screens though?
I think one major problem with Mary is that she is just not grounded enough in Coronation Street. She still has that ludicrous, mostly absent winnebago, and that really does hold her back from fitting in. There was a glimmer of hope the other week when we saw Mary interact with the reinvigorated Deirdre. I'm not quite sure if those scenes are leading anywhere in particular, however I did actually feel for Mary. She looked pretty lonely and crestfallen after Deirdre's rebuff as she shut the door behind her. Could there be a blossoming friendship between these two around the corner?
I also think Mary needs something proper to do if she is to stay. Elliot's the Butchers has been standing empty since Ashley passed on nearly three years ago. Why not have Mary start up her own business and have a proper home above the shop? Patti Clare is certainly an interesting screen presence - her character just needs more focus and a new, interesting direction.
Anyway, that's my thoughts on the irrepressible, over the top Mary Taylor, what are yours?
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