Sofa? So Good!

Coronation Street – Double Episode Review – Wednesday 3 December

We have in recent times seen Coronation Street criticised by viewers for its focus on ‘explosive’ events, characters with bad intentions, and downbeat storylines. Recent episodes have demonstrated however that they are clearly attempting to deliver greater doses of the ordinariness and humour which have been lamented, and tonight’s double episode was a perfect example.

Owen wasn’t wrong when he tactfully described Kevin’s new sofa as “striking”, and to be fair, it was the centrepiece of the double episode. He should’ve known when it was sold to him for £200 less than he offered that he was inheriting a monstrosity. Attempts on the part of Jason and Owen to wedge it through Kev’s door, and the subsequent arrival of Tim as they ponder its fate are hilarious. As soon as Tim agrees to a swap, we can anticipate Sally’s disgust, and once it is installed against her will, her embarrassment in front of the object of her disaffection Alya is the cherry on the cake. That is of course until she learns from her young charge that it is in fact a designer piece, and all of a sudden it isn’t so unpalatable to her, leaving Tim a ginger nut away from an early night.

Remind me never to go to a spa with Michelle Connor. Carla, looking forward to a much needed day of relaxation, has invited her along only to be delayed at length on foot of a phone call, and made listen to talk of debts, failed relationships and pipe dreams about moving away. She even takes the hot masseuse for herself without a hint of remorse leaving her friend with the eminently disgruntled Phil, and while she provided a great comedy turn, sadly for Carla, the pleasure was all ours. Arriving back at the Rovers, Michelle remarks that she really needed the day away while Carla adds a meek, “so did I” confirming that it really is all about Michelle.

Despite Sean and Jason’s encouragement, and an attempted night on the town, nothing seems to make Todd feel better about his scar. Even when the police call around to advise him that they’ve caught the perpetrators, it’s of no consolation to him.

Alya impresses a client with her knowledge of his company as Sally tries and fails miserably to belittle her. Unfazed, she invites Gary around to the factory after hours, but Tracy has taken Rob’s key, and both escape out a back door thinking that Carla has returned. As Alya renews her appeal to Gary to be patient and take things slowly, they’re oblivious to the fact that Tracy is inside smashing the place up.

Carla interrupts her and there’s a brilliant scene between the pair where they try to convey to one another what each has lost. Tearful Tracy appears a vulnerable and broken figure, but it’s time she acknowledged her role in bringing Rob to justice rather than heaping resentment on Carla. Unfortunately this doesn’t look likely to happen any time soon. Both arrive at the Rovers and Carla proves herself to be more than twice the woman Tracy is by being discrete enough to keep the incident between themselves and gracious enough to keep the police out of it. As Ken takes Tracy home however, her look back at Carla leaves me doubtful that their resolution to make up and move on will be honoured.

I had high hopes for a change in Tracy which would have been natural and well founded considering recent events and her reaction to them, so I’m disappointed to see her revert to the woman scorned with a questionable agenda. It will be interesting to see how this resolves itself.

Aside from my general regret at how things are unfolding with Tracy, if I have one criticism of tonight’s episodes, it again relates to the literacy storyline. It is used to mock Tim when a furious Sally, at the height of her sofa-sneering, scribbles her frustration down and throws it at him, spitting “read that”. Later we learn she has promised him a lesson, but it’s lightly referred to as a means to tempt him up the stairs; like he needs any persuading on that score. As both myself and our blogger Graeme have previously observed, the issue is not receiving the gravitas or the treatment it deserves. It took great courage for Tim to reveal his struggles, and for it to be treated as a vehicle for either comedy or as a subplot with a broader purpose in the absence of any real engagement with the issue doesn’t sit well with me.

All in all however, a very enjoyable pair of episodes. Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I recline on my Le Coeur with a ginger nut and a cuppa; it’s part of their Manhattan range you know.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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