This was originally posted on State of the Street, reposted here with permission.
No, Anna has never really been a sympathetic character overall. Just when you think she's showing signs of improvement, doing kind things for friends, and being generally nice, something will happen and she'll be cold-shouldering, unfairly accusing, shrieking and slapping. The object of her anger will then be her enemy for life, until of course, she realizes the error of her ways and then butter wouldn't melt. She will apologize but I don't know how anyone can trust her not to lost her temper again and go off on them.
Ah yes, that temper has got her into trouble more than once. She'll regret it but it doesn't matter. She doesn't learn. And she can be vicious with it, even towards her beloved teenage daughter who has been the cause of Anna's temper on more than one occasion. She'll let her mother down and end up being shut out, screamed at, even slapped. It's no wonder Faye thinks Anna hates her. It doesn't take much for Anna to turn her back on Faye on a regular basis. She certainly wasn't too nice to Faye after discovering that surprise pregnancy, calling her names and all sorts. Remember, she coldly turned against Roy, her friend and employer, after he assaulted Gary. She knew Roy had been tested to his limits by teenage bullies and was pushed to the edge. Roy shouldn't have resorted to violence, but Gary shouldn't have broken into the cafe to try to rob it but Anna didn't see it that way, assigning no responsibility to Gary at all.
It doesn't seem to matter that she's been a good and loyal friend, or a caring mother figure. She can flip personalities like a pancake on a griddle, soft and puffy one minute, sizzling the next. This is not a new thing. This isn't a new aspect of her personality since her encounter with Phelan all those years ago. It's one thing to get angry when someone you're trying to help rejects you, it's quite another to be seen screaming vicious insults at that someone in public but that's what Anna does.
Therefore, it annoys me when fans say that The Powers That Be are ruining Anna. Lately, we've seen Anna going up against Seb and Faye after trying to help Seb's family. When it all went wrong, she was accused of calling Social Services. She didn't, but nobody involved believes her and because of that, Faye and Seb are in "I hate you" mode. Anna has begged them to believe her and when that doesn't happen, she pushes and pushes until one of them lashes out. What does Anna do? She caterwauld like a banshee, shrieks and insults these children and they both felt the heat of her fingers across their faces (in different scenes). Nice.
Now Anna's also being accused of causing Seb to fall off a ladder and Phelan is manipulating the evidence in that direction. Nicola has uncovered another devastating truth about her mother and Phelan that will reinforce Anna's story and realize that he's not the man he's led her to believe he is. He's lost the daughter he was so proud to have found, the one for whom he thought he could redeem himself. He has nothing to lose. Anna's been a thorn in his side for a long time and this might be the way to get rid of her. He'll make sure Anna is ruined, a pariah until she's in jail or has to leave town if he has his way.
I've never been a fan of Anna all that much. She's had her good moments when she's been loyal but then she's also had so many moments when she's been disloyal or unnecessarily harsh. She didn't call Social Services, but if she hadn't badgered him trying
to convince him of it, Seb wouldn't have lost his temper and shouted at
her. When Seb insulted her in the cafe, his heart broken after losing his siblings into Care, his mother back on drugs and assumed she called Social Services causing it all, Anna changed from begging him to believe it wasn't her in one breath to screaming at him and slapping him in the next. A 16 year old kid who needed support, not abuse. And she wouldn't leave it alone, she practically chased him out of the cafe trying to drag him back inside. It's no wonder he was so distracted he was careless on the ladder and fell. You could lay that blame at her door even if she didn't actually push the ladder.
Has Anna been ruined? I don't think so. I think she's just been revealed. She might have a good and kind side to her but she's also got a streak of nasty inside like Blackpool Rock. Always has had.
I rest my case.
(Kudos to Debbie Rush. She's done a great job as Anna, I think.)
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter