Saturday, 11 August 2018

Coronation Street Review: "Ouch"

Owing to illness, this review has been ever so slightly delayed. Owing to the Premier League being back, this review only covers the 7:30pm Friday episode of Coronation Street. Full credit is also given to the excellent GIF makers of GIF's that feature in this post, because I have a lot of feelings but my photoshop skills are far too rusty to try and put something together myself.

First things first, a show that knows it audience is an extremely wonderful thing. A show that knows its audience and has a social media guru to promote one of its most popular ships, but not in a way that feels annoying or try hard? Even better.

They may not be cleaning up at the awards just yet (but that surely has to happen sooner rather than later) but Kate & Rana have a solid fan base that is growing by the day and the promotion they get on social media is a reflection on that. Corrie's social media handler also knows how exactly to stab the Kana fanbase right in the feels, because the moment I set eyes on this, I was gone.

Last night's 7:30pm episode was a great episode for one main reason; It was a Debbie Oates episode. She is a fantastic writer who just gets the characters, and of course Kate & Rana.

This right here? This is art in its finest form. The episode began with Imran in quite the unpleasant phone call, and that was echoed by Rana who was frantically trying to get through to someone at the hospital. All the poor girl wants to know is how her dad is doing. He can wish her dead, parents proclaim that she's shamed them, but at the end of the day Rana Habeeb is a good person who cannot give up on people, or the hope of getting her parents back on side even if they've shown that hope is very much in vain. Her mum's informed the hospital that Rana is estranged from the family, so no-one will talk to her. Rana is understandably frustrated and yelling at everyone including Kate, which she does quickly apologize for. Ever the voice of reason, Kate suggests that Rana go down to the hospital because she's more likely to get somewhere in person than on the phone. Kate doesn't even care about the possibility of being forced to wait outside, because Kate Connor is a truly supportive girlfriend and Rana completely appreciates that.

At the hospital Imran tries to cheer Rana up by noting people say things they don't mean in the heat of the moment, because none of us can really control our emotions. With Saira once again unhappy with Rana's presence and proclaiming they don't need her there for the consultation as Imran is smart, he points out he's a lawyer and if they were trying to bail Hassan out of the hospital? Then he'd be their guy.

I probably laughed at that line far more than I actually should've, but it's nice to see Imran continuing to be a supportive brother because he hasn't always been. Rather reluctantly Saira agrees to let Rana be in the consultation but proclaims she's just an interpreter and not family. After the consultation has finished, Saira isn't exactly happy with it. She thinks the Dr's have already given up on Hassan and no amount of Rana's positivity is gonna fix that.

In one of the oddest exchange, it's then Saira's turn to take her anger out on someone as she questions whether or not Rana is even a nurse, and proclaims that she lies, accuses and only wants to hurt people. Rana is aghast, Imran tells his mother to stop, but as he's distracted by a phone call Saira goes for the jugular. Rana again tries to apologize for her harsh words (lbr though she was totally right) and Saira just hits her with a mountain of guilt by claiming Rana didn't deserve to be at the party, doesn't deserve to be at the hospital, and the distress Rana has caused has brought on his ill health because he was a perfectly healthy man before she shamed him.

Here's the thing; no matter how angry you are with a person? Telling them that they're gonna be responsible for someone else potentially dying is a truly vile thing to do. Rana looks as though she's had the absolute stuffing knocked out of her and you can't help feeling sorry for her. It was evident when Rana broke down in the glorious 'Van of dreams' episode that her parents have always been quite hard on her, and admitting her feelings for Kate to them would end extremely badly. She's had to deal with Zeedan outing her in revenge, her mother manipulating her into suggesting a trip to Pakistan which was a cover for kidnapping her, and in the aftermath of that her father wishing she'd never been born. But still as I've said despite all of this, Rana can't help wanting her parents and they know this, but they're too set in their ways to be able to think or view things differently.

However I have a few very minor issues with this storyline. One being that Coronation Street are kind of skating around the religious aspects of her parents disapproval. They can have her parents put forth a contract where Zeedan gets money if he agrees to stay married to Rana for a year, and they can constantly reiterate Rana has brought shame upon her parents with her actions, but they're never truly explicitly laying out this shame has been caused because her parents are Muslim's, as is Rana, they're all part of the community and parts of the community aren't exactly tolerate since we do quite frequently read news stories of people being murdered in honor killings (which I'll also add isn't specifically LGBT related)

This storyline to some extent has echoes of the Syed/Christian relationship that Eastenders had way back when. Zainab and Masood were active in their community, Syed even got married to another woman, all the whilst denying his true feelings. Eventually it did all come out and in quite a terrible way, making for some extremely unpleasant viewing, but I could respect it because the storyline was truthful. Granted the Masood's were a fairly prominent family on Eastenders so therefore we did get more of a community insight whereas here, Rana is slowly stepping her way up as a character but her parents still aren't regulars so I get you're going to be limited in what you can do. But I just can't help thinking Coronation Street are chickening out of really going there with the religion aspect, and instead leaving it as subtext in conversation.

The other issue I have is with the acting. Some involved in this storyline just aren't up to scratch acting wise, and it means where we should be feeling powerful emotion, I'm really not.

As always Kate was on hand to support Rana when she got home. She was there to reassure Rana she'd done nothing wrong, and that her parents do love her, they just don't understand her.

I'm pretty sure this moment is when we got the smelling salts out, before the Friday preview went and killed everyone all over again. There are a lot of great actors in the world of soap. There are a lot of great characters in the world of soap. None of them are a patch on this. There's just such a level of understanding between the two actresses that propel their scenes to another level and it's wonderful to watch. Debbie Oates writing this episode also obviously played a hand in its beauty of course.

Rana wasn't the only person facing issues this episode though. Because she and Maria have morphed into frenemies or whatever you want to call it, Carla has decided she wants to invest in Maria's new salon. That's all well and good in theory except that Maria has Claudia egging her on, and is far more interested in the glitz and the glamour and the numbers can wait. As you can see, Claudia wasn't really interested in that.

How exactly Carla managed to put up with Claudia essentially telling her to do one, and not wiping the floor with her, is an exercise in self control that scientists are going to be combing through for years. Carla's feeling of uncertainty in not knowing exactly where she's at in life, or what she's supposed to do with herself when she doesn't have a business to run was of course build up for the Carla/Peter scenes.

As of late the two exes have been friendly enough to each other. Carla because she wanted information on Suzie, and Peter? Well, because he's Peter. Sure he gets points for not sniffing around Carla until AFTER his relationship with Toyah went to the crapper, since staying faithful and not giving other women a second thought? That's actually really good progress for him. However he still can't help reverting back to being a little boy when things don't go his way. He showed that eons ago when he refused to let Carla out of the Rovers backroom until she'd heard him out, because he was convinced getting an innocent man freed from prison was a show of affection. And here, as soon as Carla makes it clear she's not interested in him and Michelle got it wrong, he's slinging insults and accusing her of using him.

As someone who will admit I liked Peter/Carla back in the day along with Peter/Leanne? This was a truly excellent scene. Many a time soap likes to forget things have happened and just let it be water under the bridge, but that's not happening here. Peter was an absolutely terrible person who treated Carla terribly, with the best point of evidence being sleeping with Tina on their wedding night. He's a person made up self destruction, and wants everyone to tag along on the journey. Leanne learnt that lesson herself, as did Carla and she has no intention of going back. Whether or not that actually sticks is of course to be determined, but it doesn't take anything away from how brilliant this scene was.

Also in last night's Coronation Street Imran decided to take on a new client in the form of Duncan. Considering his statement included lies of an affair with Sally and use of burner phones, that's not at all going to go well for Sally. Abi was also forced by Tracy into going ring shopping with Steve, and that was of course suitably awkward. And Alya watched an interview of Aidan before he died where he stated his family were the most important thing to him, so perhaps she'll be rethinking the Underworld ownership.....