The residents of Coronation Street don't do things by halves, do they? Everything these days seems to be a tad extreme, with characters like Tyrone, Fiz and Maria lurching from one explosive drama to the next. What I'm wondering though is whether it's all really necessary?
Nothing is underplayed these days, everything must rip through the audience, going for broke. It feels like we're switching from one catastrophe to the next with breakneck speed, clattering through these car crash lives like Don Brennan careering down the cobbles and into the viaduct. Gone are the days where small, believable heartaches or tragedies would be played out by our favourite characters in a big way.
These days everything is played to blockbuster capacity but little time is given over to the subtleties. It's all about the explosive reaction and the ratings grabbing headlines. Here are a few recent examples:
We all knew Maria would be hurt when she caught Marcus with Todd, but was it really necessary for her to morph into Glenn Close overnight? What could have been a really interesting examination of the break down of yet another relationship went completely over the top with her text stalking of Tyrone and Fiz. And now after weeks of this ridiculous storyline all of a sudden she has fled to Cyprus. No doubt she'll return in a month or so and it'll never be mentioned again.
The Anna Windass story was a similar case. Nothing can just be bad news, it has to be the worst possible situation anybody could ever find themselves in. The storyliners must push characters to the very brink of their own sanity, purely for our viewing pleasure. Would Anna really have slept with Phelan? I don't know. I just can't help thinking there could have been other ways to bring the tedious Windass-Armstrong story to a natural conclusion.
And as for Peter-Tina-Carla. Again, let's push everyone as far as they can go. Alcoholism, affairs, real pregnancies and false alarms. How believable was it that poor, worn out Peter would have been able to get both Carla and Tina pregnant, with the revelations coming on the same night? Urgh. Yes, I know Tina's was a false alarm but to even go there showed desperation.
Let's look at Carla's time on the show. She's lost a husband in a car accident with Leanne (then a prostitute) locked in the boot. She had an affair with her brother in law who was then bumped off by her crazed, bulgey-eyed Scottish fiancé who then held her hostage with Hayley before torching the faktry. She's grappled with alcoholism and knocked down St Ella of the Beige. She was raped by Frank Foster and put through the wringer for months on end. She even has to make do with Michelle as her best friend. Surely enough is enough?!
What about Tina? In six short years she's lost her dad to Lake Windermere, survived all that David Platt could throw at her and accused Gail of murdering her dad. She's dated David, Graeme, Tommy, the local doctor, Jason and is was then embroiled in a never-ending affair with Peter. Let's quickly pass over the grim Graeme and Xin wedding debacle. She took on drug dealers, crazy Kirsty and the Armstrong-Windasses when she became a surrogate mother, only ending up trying to keep the babeh. And now she's to met her maker.
It's almost as if the writers cannot rely on the simple talents of good acting and strong performances any more. Corrie is lucky to still have some of the best writing on British television these days as well as some brilliant actors.
That, surely, should be enough to make the show a force to be reckoned with?
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