(cross posted from State of the Street with permission)
Now then. Over the past week or so, I've been getting angry while watching certain scenes on Coronation Street. There have also been several comments on the Coronation Street blog that have echoed my growing dismay. The general tone of all this is the systematic demonization of Gary by his family. Like others have stated, it's not fair!
It all started with Gary being friendly with his ex-girlfriend (remember that. "EX"!) Izzy while persuing Alya Nazir in secret due to the anticipated disapproval of her family. Izzy got the wrong end of the stick and thought they might be getting back together. At no time did Gary give her that impression. There was no serious flirting, no taking her up on her offer of a sofa when the Wind-strongs moved into the betting shop flat. Yet when the big reveal about Gary and Alya hit the cobbles, everyone started acting like Gary was a love rat and had cheated on Izzy.
At first, it seemed like Izzy, though angry, was more moritified than upset. She seemed to realize she'd gotten it all wrong but her uppity sister, Katy and her over protective father, Owen, ratcheted up the hate on Gary and are in the process of winding everyone up, making Gary seem like the spawn of some demon of evil. Izzy totally over reacted when Jake first dropped his hat and later got a little scratch while Gary was defending Roy against a gang of bullies. Owen is even calling him a waste of space. Mind you, he said it when Anna was gone off to visit her cousin. He wouldn't have the cojones to do it within earshot of her. Owen also blamed the family's complete and utter downfall on him for assaulting their former boss, Phelan after finding out that Phelan was coming on to his mother.
One commenter on the Coronation Street Blog, ChiaGwen, joins me in pointing out that Owen, in spite of everyone warning him off, went into a deal with said Phelan against everyone's better judgement, including his own because the lure of the almighty pound was just too tempting.
The only person that has any right to have any reason to harbour negativity towards Gary is Kal, Alya's father. Even he's overreacted a bit but he's only got his "little girl's" reputation to consider. From his point of view, you can understand why he'd consider Gary a less than exemplary example of son-in-law material. He knows a lot about Gary's history, his mental health issues, his temper, and he's barely employed. Not really someone you would want for your daughter, who's got a lofty future ahead of her. He sees Gary as a man who would drag her down. The fact that Gary's not Muslim almost seems a secondary issue.
Even so, there's no need for Kal to get all Terminator on Gary like he's been doing, all threats and intimidation. Gary's got a good case for unfair dismissal (building the sauna at the gym) unless he didn't have a contract. Kal's even dating someone that's got a dodgey past herself and is not a Muslim. I guess that's the old "do as I say, not as I do" attitude that fathers sometimes wield. The rest of Alya's family are cold towards Gary, hurling sarcastic insults his way, treating him like something they've trod on but they haven't gone as far as his own family have.
But it's his own family that are pushing Gary to the bottom of the barrel, so much so that, in desperation, he broke into the cafe to rob it to buy his son a better Christmas gift and got battered for his troubles, quite literally by a mild mannered man who'd been bullied and pushed beyond his limits. That's only going to give everyone even more reason to shun Gary instead of realizing that they pushed him over the edge.
Gary might not be a favourite character of mine but I always liked him well enough. He's not got a lot of luck at the best of times, he's a slave to his temper and his impulsive nature makes him his own worst enemy.
As for Gary and Alya's on and off relationship, that's a topic for another blog post, another day.
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