Coronation Street

Is Streetcars Named Desire?

Coronation Street – Episode Review – Thursday 3 July 2014

Gail buys Michael a shirt for his first day at Streetcars, and as he enthusiastically irons the cardboard lines out of it to the strains of Sweet Caroline, Nick and David pay him a visit. Both reckon he’s taking advantage of the fact that Gail is “a sucker for hard luck cases”, but as Michael rightly points out, he’d never have called if it wasn’t for Kylie’s letter.

Unfazed by Nick ordering him not to contact Gail or take the job in Streetcars, Michael tells him he’s nothing like the hard cases he encountered in prison. “A year ago I would have agreed with you” Nick replies before filling him in on his violent tendencies and condition which, he says, could be considered a mitigating factor were he to give Michael a hiding. He follows this up with a handshake and sinister smile on departure.

Meanwhile Kal moans that nobody would want to write a song about what should be the honeymoon period of his and Leanne’s blossoming relationship. James Blunt may be up to the job according to Dev, and he might be right; it’s certainly a case of Here We Go Again where Leanne’s complicated love life is concerned.

Nasty Nick continues this frankly weird behaviour in the Bistro where he’s making everyone’s life a misery, and Audrey is concerned at his new found cruelty. He may desire revenge, but pushing Leanne into Tim to ensure she spills drinks on him so that he can dock the cost of their free meal from her wages seems a bridge too far. It’s difficult to understand why he would sabotage his own business, and yet he assures Leanne that he’ll do whatever it takes, including see it go down the tubes, in order to hurt her. Her response is to quit, but she assures him it’s only the beginning. Of what, we might ask? A protracted period of he-said-she-said angst and petty squabbles I fear.

David may be impressed by the emergence of Nick’s Mr. Hyde, but I’m not, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, we simply cannot afford to see yet another good soul turn bad, for as much as it can result in great drama and performances, it is eroding the warmth at the heart of the street. Secondly, his reaction to Leanne and Kal striking up a relationship is implausible; yes he would naturally be hurt, but his exaggerated loose cannon antics have come entirely out of left field, and surely cannot be attributed to his brain injury considering his progress over the past few months. Finally, there are already enough storylines imbued with anger, hatred, revenge, sorrow, deception and aggression.

Humour, warmth, and those wonderful rays of sunshine that dry the rain on the cobbles between the showers are badly needed, and at the moment, they’re sadly lacking. It’s not enough to have a few funny comments behind the bar, in the factory, or courtesy of Deirdre or Tim, we need a humorous and heartwarming storyline with genuine depth that takes centre stage, not just a token one to appease viewers, or keep the idea that Coronation Street is renowned for mixing comedy and drama alive. Corrie is exemplary at it, it’s what it does best, it’s why we love it, and it needs to return.

In any event, Michael doesn’t turn up for his first shift, and the customers aren’t the only poor souls on hold, as Fat Brenda has to postpone her leg wax on foot of it. As passengers scout down the back of the sofa for bus fare and Brenda rummages for the 120 denier tights, Gail drops around to Michael’s apparently 24 hour party house where she refuses to pass his apologies on to Lloyd and Steve or be sent packing. While his failure to turn up at Streetcars may have indicated that Nick had gotten to him, Michael confesses that it would be torture working so close to Gail unable to be anything more than friends, and while her staying away isn’t what he wants, it’s for the best. While she doesn’t give any indication that she wants anything more herself, she is understanding and appears flattered.

In the midst of all this indecision, at least we can rely on Sally eh? When she’s not putting it up to Nick in the Bistro for deliberately soaking her beloved and insulting Leanne, she wins Carla’s gratitude for her help and support, and all at the factory are delighted at McNees renewing their order. Surprise of the night for me was that herself and Tim are together 11 months.

Steve announces that his pessimism is a life choice as he and Andrea discuss their recent exam, but it proves infectious as Lloyd becomes depressed at the idea that she may be about to dump him. Prior to Michael’s no-show at Streetcars, she was proud of Steve and Lloyd’s decision to hire him, declaring that everyone deserves a second chance; perhaps she’s laying the foundations for her own grovelling request for forgiveness if her infidelity is found out. It’s admittedly difficult to fully enjoy the scenes with her in them, even if she’s amiable and they’re filled with Lloyd and Steve’s wonderful joviality, as we know there is a shadow looming in the offing. Here’s hoping Jenna and Lloyd will bring back some of that much needed sunshine with them when they return from holidays.

By Emma Hynes
emmahynes.wordpress.com
Twitter: @ELHynes

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