Tuesday, 5 April 2016
Who is the Better Partner for Eileen - Michael or Phelan?
(This post was originally posted by Ruth Owen on the Coronation Street Blog in March 2016.)
Michael or Phelan? Who is the more suited to Eileen? What a question I seem to have set myself, but I will do my best to answer it.
It seemed to me that, at least initially, Michael and Eileen were not well suited at all. It is possible that she decided to begin a relationship with him to spite Gail, her long term nemesis. Michael was at a very vulnerable stage in his life, and he needed someone to turn to and someone to comfort him, after the revelation that Gail was in the know concerning the Gandy episode.
While Gail and Michael did seem to fit together as a couple, it never, at least for this viewer, felt that Eileen and Michael were very well suited. There seemed to be no chemistry and no real enjoyment of each other's company, and when they were together if felt forced at times. Letting Michael go seemed relatively easy for her too. No tears, no shouting - all a bit of a damp squib, with Phelan not so much waiting in the wings but rather entering centre stage.
Gail's adoration of her former house burglar was genuine and so maybe now Michael will learn to forgive her for deceiving him and harmony will be restored and Michael will shuffle into the annexe with Gail. He's in no hurry though as he gave Gail a bit of a knockback last week. As ever, time will tell.
Eileen is very attracted to Phelan, though it is unclear whether he is attracted to her, despite what he says and how he acts. In The Rovers Eileen told Liz that she 'fancied the pants off Phelan.' She never said that about Michael. After Val cleared him out, he needs a home and someone to attend to his domestic needs. Whatever else he is, my bet would be that Phelan is not a new man.
It is a commonplace to point out that some women are attracted to bad boys. Well, neither Phelan nor Tony could be classed as boys, but they certainly have some bad in them. Somehow, despite his dirty tricks, Tony is more likeable that Phelan. Phelan has a menacing sinister side which is missing in Tony, in my view, though Tony certainly did do unforgiveable things to Liz, the woman he claimed to love. I would be interested to hear what other viewers think about the relative evils of Tony and Phelan.
Michael is a pretty harmless character really, despite his stupidities and he has, it seems, not had a very happy life. He appeals to the maternal side of women perhaps, as he seems so hopeless and hapless. He was right about Phelan though. Instinctively, he did not trust Phelan one iota.
But is the mask slipping? In the bistro are Phelan and Eileen, when who should walk in but Kevin and Anna. As a rather odd gesture, Kevin and Anna send Eileen and Phelan a bottle of wine. He feels humiliated by the gesture, maybe, or feels patronised. Either way, the gesture hits a raw nerve. Immediately, the mask slips and Phelan is on his feet. He couldn't have got his face nearer to Kevin's if he tried. 'Better be careful what you say about me in public.' he threatens. On returning to his table Phelan receives short shrift from Eileen. 'That was embarrassing,' Eileen says. 'Maybe they were right about you.'
Does this spell the end for Phelan and Eileen? Or will he pull the wool back over her eyes? It certainly makes for compelling viewing.
Deirdre: A Life on Coronation Street - official ITV tribute to a soap icon. Available here.
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