Tag Archives: Gary Windass

Corrie Street 11 Feb. 2018

Secrets and Lies

Thursday’s episode starts with two stories packed full of secrets and lies. One is working for me, one is not. The one that works is Nicola conspiring with Gary and Seb to bring Phelan down. The one that doesn’t is Toyah and Eva deciding to pass Eva’s unwanted baby off as Toyah’s much wanted one.

gary-sees-seb-with-nicolaNicola returned to the Street this week, surprising Phelan and Eileen and me too. She says she got it all wrong about him and begs his forgiveness. Very disappointing because a) I thought she had figured him out and b) if he gets another supporter there’s going to be that many more people shouting at each other and his comeuppance is going to take that much longer.

Secret Agent Nicola

nicola-explains-planBut no! Next we see her she’s spiriting Gary off. She’s got a surprise for him. Seb went to ground at her place, and she believes what he tells her about Phelan. So she wants Gary’s help in bringing Phelan down. To that end, she will cozy up to dear old dad and get the dirt on him from the inside.

nicola-asks-are-you-certainGary wants to tell Sarah and Faye so that they won’t worry. They can keep a secret, he says. Ha! Sure they can! Nicola puts it a bit more diplomatically, and Gary gets the point. He’ll keep his mouth shut.

gary-wonders-about-danger versus secrets and liesI feel nervous for Nicola, and fear that it won’t go smoothly for her personally and for the plan. That’s how it should be. Although Nicola hasn’t been on the show long, she and this story are being written so that we do care and do fear for her. We also know there will be a lot of twists and turns and Phelan cold stares. It will be exciting, I think.

Baby Secrets

toyah-suggests-she-take-babyThe secrets and lies in the back room of the Rovers, however, I’m not looking forward to. Like a figure skater telegraphing a jump, you could see this baby swap coming a long way off. Except, evidently, for the principals.

It had to get right down to her being at the abortion clinic before Toyah suggested it. The suspense in this case was not killing me, only the dread that they were going to do yet another soap opera cliché. At least the writers had the decency to have Toyah say that she’d started thinking about it as soon she knew about Eva’s pregnancy.nurse-calls-eva-in

Toyah finds out their surrogate mother has lost the baby. So Toyah is grieving for that baby and any future baby. Then she finds out that Eva is pregnant by Aiden. Eva can’t see any good way of having, and raising, the baby of the man she defrauded and made a fool of. “I can’t have the baby you want,” she said to Toyah. Oh yes you can, I thought to myself, it happens all the time – in soap operas!eva-cancels-abortion

Already the secrets and lies have started. Toyah to Peter, and Eva to Shona, and plans are afoot for how they’re going to pull this off. Watch television or read a novel, I want to tell them, this never works!

Corrie Street 8 Jan 2017

Girl talk

Faye and Bethany after Faye discovers Bethany’s crush on Gary, Tuesday. The two of them negotiating new terms of their relationship made up for the final scene Monday. That was totally icky: Bethany purring around, putting the makes on Gary, and him totally oblivious.Faye surprises Bethany who is on Gary's hotel bed

Faye thought so too. She comes into Gary’s hotel room and is surprised to see Bethany lolling around like a Lolita. Or, as Faye put it, “lying on his bed looking well slutty.”

Bethany makes up FayeI know the Bethany crush on Gary has been going on for awhile, and it is believable. But I hoped the writers would resist the temptation. They’ve gone on the path of way too young/way too old/too incestuous pairings before, and I think (hope) no one ever liked it.

When Bethany found out that her mother and Gary were seeing each other, I’d hoped that her little temptress efforts would stop. And they appeared to have done, up until this overnight stay in Faye asks Bethany about her crush on GaryLeeds for a concert. Of course, Sarah can’t go. So it’s just Gary and the girls.

It was horrible to watch, and even more horrible to think about what might come next. So what a relief when what came next was Bethany getting busted by Faye. And Faye speaking for all of us when she told Bethany how gross it was.

Trading on a crush

The two of them then did a superb job of two adolescent girls marking status and getting one up on the other. Bethany used her Bethany drinks vodka from flasktwo additional years to argue that coming on to someone old enough (barely) to be her father was ok and drinking vodka out of a pink glitter flask was ok. She is “more mature” than Faye.

Faye didn’t really have to prove anything. She only had to say I know what you’re doing. The “and I’ll tell” part was understood by both.

Bethany hands flask to FayeSo Faye got the flask of vodka and Bethany’s brand new top in the deal to keep her mouth shut. Bethany got the message that she had better give up on her plans to seduce Gary. The vodka and top would not be enough to buy Faye’s silence if she persisted.

Of course, it went from bad to worse. Faye got drunk, and got caught. Gary went after “the older man” Bethany was Faye happy she caught Bethany in lieinterested in. He got it wrong, of course. Bethany ran away, thinking that would somehow make things better for her mother. Sarah told her to “grow up”, a humiliating insult to a 16 year old girl.

Corrie Street Apr. 17/16

Medical Marijuana

It’s been like time travel, hearing Izzy and Gary and now Anna freak out about marijuana and drug dealing and the slippery slope. ReeferReeferMadnessPoster-wikipedia madness! Over a bit of weed.

Where have these people been, I’ve wondered. Have they not heard the debates of the past how many years about the medicinal uses of marijuana, the legalization, the dispensaries where people with prescriptions receive their allotted dosages? Marijuana is talked about a lot in media and general discourse, but as “medical” more so than “recreational”.

With her chronic illness and high levels of pain, I would think Izzy would know all about what is au courant in the medical community for long term pain relief. And, at least here in North America, that’s medical marijuana. I’ve even seen posts on social media recently about its value for chronic pain relief for your dog.

And Izzy hadn’t discussed its possible benefit for her with her doctor? Instead she went to a decidedly sleazy bar and met a guy who sold her oregano. Good heavens, I had no idea that old trick could still work on anyone.

Izzy holds up tiny bag of marijuanaThen Gary gets her some. Problem solved, until she needs more. The next lot that Gary buys is way stronger. Tell your friend to use less, the guy warns Gary. Ya think? The teeny-tiny amount alone ought to be a clue. Izzy heeds the warning, but whatever else is in it is very powerful and she is totally disoriented by it.

Anna walks in, of course, and sees the state of Izzy and the evidence ashtrayin the ashtray (and presumably the smell). Off she goes with Jake, telling Izzy she’s in no fit state to care for a child. Until she sorts herself out, Jake will not be back.

So later in the week Izzy does what she should have done in the first place. She goes to her doctor and asks about a prescription for medical marijuana. The doctor turns her down as not qualifying for some reason. Now she will have to turn elsewhere for pain relief, in other buzzed out Izzy tells Anna it was different beforesleazy bars or with other high-powered opiate prescription painkillers.

Presumably we’ll be crawling into the underbelly of illegal or legal drug use along with her in the search for pain relief. It’s a real story about a real problem. If the writers had simply turned events in the plot around, it would be more believable. It should have started at the point it ended at this week, with Izzy asking her doctor about medical marijuana as an option for her.

Corrie Street Jan. 11/15

Gift of the Magi

Maybe it was coincidence that a Christmas week story reminded me of an O. Henry story. In “The Gift of the Magi,” a couple each give up what is most valuable to them in order to give something to the other.

roy in police station, coincidence of airtime in storyRoy and Gary give each other their loyalty. Having both been driven to desperation, they hurt each other. In two scenes Wednesday, each takes the blame for what happened. They do so in ways true to their character: Roy tells the complete truth, Gary lies. Their end purpose is the same, to absolve the other of wrongdoing.

The young hooligans are harassing Roy again. They brag about looking through the things in his apartment. They disparage Hayley, their worst sin in his eyes.

Gary’s family is treating him like a pariah, for becoming involved with Ayla rather than Gary-with-policereturning to Izzy as they had hoped, for having lost his job due to his involvement with Ayla, for having borrowed money from Faye to buy his son a Christmas gift and then having the bad luck to buy something his mother had already bought. Gary’s bad luck is compounded by accidentally breaking “Faye’s one big Christmas present we all clubbed together to get her”.

Gary uses Anna’s keys to go into the café to rob it. He does not know what has been happening with Roy, nor how on edge he is. Roy hears noise, grabs his cricket bat, goes bruises-garydownstairs and wallops the young man in the hoodie with his hands in the till. But he doesn’t stop there. On the street, he continues hitting him.

Sinead sees and is horrified by Roy’s violence. She is gentle like Roy, and seeing him out of control terrifies her more, perhaps, than it would any one else.

Roy is arrested and he tells exactly what happened and refuses to press charges against Gary. For Roy, his own actions outweigh what Gary was trying to do. In the hospital, when questioned, Gary says Roy only hit him once and that his extensive injuries came roy-sees-wierdofrom him falling. “I must bruise easily,” he says.

When Roy comes home, he sees the young louts have scrawled “wierdo” on the café window. Roy’s only comment is, “they spelled it wrong.”

 

Corrie Street Aug. 10/14

Repo Man

faye-opens-doorTuesday the bailiffs come to the Windass-Armstrong house. Faye is the only one home and she lets them in. They size up what is worth taking to apply against the £5,480 that is due immediately.

If only Gary hadn’t run over to the shop to get a can of beans. If Faye had paid less attention to her phone and more to what Gary was telling her about who to let in and who to not. Even if Gary had explained why it was gary-tells-bailiffs-outso important to not open the door to anyone she didn’t know.

Faye told Anna that she knew what bankruptcy means. Gary might have made sure she also knew what repossession means, and that repo people might be on their way to their house. If he had, she might still have her laptop. But, as I once read, stories would be pretty short and uneventful if everyone did what they should do.

The visit by the bailiffs was eventful. Gary saw them as he came out of Dev’s, dropped his get-serious-sirtin of beans and sent out the alarm for Anna and Owen. All of them tried to stop anything being removed. They pleaded and tried to barter for an extra day, for mercy. The bailiffs did give the family as much time as they could to make a partial payment in cash. But the small amount they could come up with wasn’t enough. Anna again was willing to sacrifice what precious things she had left, her necklace and ring, if they would anna-begs-bailiffleave what belonged to the others. It’s not enough, the bailiff said and refused to take them from Anna.

The whole street, it seemed, was out to watch what was going on. Sally was in the midst of it, alternately being Miss Judgemental and showing compassion for Anna (a surprise!) and comforting Faye. She even got rid of the gawkers – “it’s not a circus.”

The bailiffs left with the television and Faye’s laptop, and a lot of the Windass and removing-tvArmstrong pride. But they didn’t take their determination to work together to get out of this mess.

Despite feeling powerless, they are doing what they can. Owen will take any job, no matter how small. Gary gives Faye the little he has to make her life a bit more normal. And Anna makes a difficult trek to a food bank, because she will feed her family, come hell or high water.

Corrie writers are telling a story that plays out too often in real-life. Owen has worked windass-armstrongs-regrouphard all his life and, this one time, he took a risk on a big opportunity. He isn’t a scam artist. He’s not Phelan who uses bankruptcy as a way of living well with everything in his wife’s name. He is not Eddie Windass who, although lovely, would cheat at anything just to keep in practice. Owen, and Anna, are just trying to look after a family in an honest and honourable way. Still, such a nightmare can happen.

Corrie Street June 29/14

Forgiveness

Owen-says-only-way-she-knowsFriday Owen tells Gary what Anna did. “Laid back and thought of England. Took one for the team.” Gary’s face registers shock; he can’t look at his mother. She pleads for his understanding. He explains he isn’t worthy to be in the same room with her after what she did for him, and neither is Owen. Then he wrapped his arms around her. She leaned into him and cried.

It’s about time one of them gave a big thank you to Anna for what she did. Izzy has been understanding and supportive but has not owen-and-anna-look-at-garysaid a heartfelt ‘thank you Anna for pulling us all out of that mess’. Owen has been distant and nasty. Katy has been nasty. You can understand Owen’s reaction: his wife slept with another man and, to make the humiliation greater, she did it to save him. There is no excuse for Katy. She speaks from the cruelty possessed only by someone with the self-righteousness of youthful inexperience.

Gary-wonders-what-Owen-will-sayWould Gary have been so quickly understanding if Owen were not there slagging off his mother and, by extension, him for getting them into the mess with Phelan? I doubt it. His sense of outrage probably would have kicked in, first toward Anna then toward Phelan. That was why they had all not wanted Gary to know, not wanted him to ‘kick off’ and make things worse. But he found out by Owen calling his mother a whore, with Izzy quickly following up with a warning about “punching first and thinking later”. That made him react the way no one expected: cognizant of his mother’s sacrifice and the role his violence had played in the whole thing.

forgiveness gary hugs annaMaybe Gary’s words touched Owen. Later Owen said his piece to Anna, about how he couldn’t get the image of Phelan and her out of his mind, of his own anger and shame. But maybe, with time, he could get over it. Anna was willing to listen to him. Then he said the words I hope he wished he could retract as soon as they were out of his mouth: “maybe I can forgive you”. Anna should need his forgiveness? I think it’s more the case of Owen needing forgiveness from Anna. He contributed to a situation that he, Gary, and the entire family escaped only by her prostituting herself for them. With his words, the compassion and love in Anna’s eyes died, replaced by justified fury.

Anna-turns-back-on-OwenToo late, Owen tried to make amends. He had no choice but to pack a bag and leave. Maybe they can find their way through this. I hope so, but Owen needs to get a deeper understanding of what sacrificing for your family really can mean. Anna now will not allow him to have anything less than that if they are to continue together.

Corrie Street Mar. 30/14

Like A Man

Amid the construction Tuesday, Owen and Gary discuss what makes a man.  What is bravery.  Gary says a gary and owen talk about being a mansoldier in war.  Owen says someone who does what is needed to keep his loved ones safe.  Both are right, and both say essentially the same thing but frame their argument in terms of their own experience.

Gary speaks from his time in Afghanistan.  Owen speaks from his time raising two girls on his own.  Their point is how does a man handle a difficult situation.  Because they are in one right now.  Phelan is enjoying working them mercilessly and goading them about their inability to do anything about it.  Gary keeps wanting to do something; take a jab at him, the-same-girlgo to the police and confess, call Phelan’s bluff.  Owen is playing the game with Phelan.   Yessir, no sir, will that be all sir?  Grovel or crawl, and smile.  Owen tries to keep his patience with both Phelan’s gloating and Gary’s temper.  Gary keeps his fists to himself only by Owen physically restraining him.

Owen gives Gary, and us, a bit more of his story.  When his wife left him, he wanted to just drive into a wall.  But she had also left their kids.  He had to take care of them, so what he wanted no longer could matter. It was good to hear more about his pre-Windass your-son-is-not-yet-a-year-oldlife.  It’s an Owen we don’t know that much about: middle of the night baby feedings, consoling a heartbroken eight-year-old.  Mothering and fathering them to adulthood.

Owen tells Gary that he is now the one responsible for that grown-up eight-year-old as well as a baby, so what he would like to do about, or to, Phelan doesn’t matter.  So he needs to suck it up and do whatever it takes to keep Phelan happy and, more importantly, quiet.  That, he says, is what a man, a brave man, does – whatever is necessary to protect those who rely on you.

you-are-preparedGary doesn’t extend his argument to a discussion of what a soldier does in a case where his own actions result in a messy situation.  But he knows that it is the same as what Owen is saying – whatever is necessary to protect his fellow soldiers.  I’m sure he knows too that the point of military training is to learn to not jeopardize the safety of anyone by acting before thinking.

Corrie Street Aug. 18/13

Father of the Year

father Gary-by-bassinette“I can feel it across nations – people wanting to give Gary a good smack.” Such is the opinion of my husband about Gary’s reaction to fatherhood. Gary sees the baby crying or fussing as being a personal rejection of him. Get over yourself, Gary, it isn’t always about you.

On Monday, the first day of seeing Gary at home with Izzy and infant Jake, we could barely watch because it was first so annoying and then scary. Gary is nervous about holding and handling the baby, which, in itself, is not surprising. Even though they spent lots of time with him in the hospital, Jake was in the incubator much of that time. It’s different when he’s home, with you and no nurses around.

However, Gary seems to be feeling that the baby has bonded with him less than with Izzy. Probably that is because of the period of time during which she would not let him see baby-jakeJake/Joe, let alone hold him. Now, nervous and resentful, he is probably passing on his tension to the child. It’s likely a relief for little Jake, as it is for all of us, when his father passes him back to Izzy. As well, the baby is just doing what they all do – crying and fussing sometimes for no apparent reason.

Gary’s nervousness is one thing; what might come next due to it is quite another. He has shown before that he doesn’t do well with pressure. His petulance while putting the crib together was a foreshadowing of what would come. When he holds the crying baby, Gary trying-to-do-my-bitis so tense that, one time, I feared he was going to fling little Jake across the room. Afterwards, my husband said he’d thought the same thing. Mikey North’s acting is superb. He does not need to speak, his body posture tells the whole story.

What frustrates me is that Izzy doesn’t see the full extent of Gary’s anxiety. She isn’t remembering that he may not cope well, or at all. Keeping her captive in her apartment because he was worried about her? Totally freaking out during the tram crash? Diagnosed PTSD?  Remember all that, Izzy? Anna?

Izzy is trying to be supportive. But it isn’t enough to say ‘there, there, it just takes some getting used to’ when you’ve got a guy who is so tense he’s ready to pop. Also sometimes her issues collide with his.

When Izzy started to lift the crying baby out of his bassinette, Gary said he would do it. No, she said, she could. Gary was having one of his insecure moments and he needed to Izzy-lifting-babydo the looking after for the baby. But Izzy insisted. She, I realized, needed to show herself, Gary and the baby that she could lift him out of his cot from a sitting position. Her lack of muscle strength was the reason having a baby at all has always been in doubt for her. So she has to prove she has the physical strength and stamina to do it.

The poor baby, a preemie at that, is caught between two people desperately trying to prove that they can do what they fear they can’t. My husband says it’s Izzy and Gary who need monitoring by adults.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Oct. 16/11)

The Good Soldier

Writing this after Monday’s episode, pretty sure nothing is going to top Gary’s Gary stops Izzy and apologizesdescription of what happened in Afghanistan.*

Gary has been unraveling; pushing his parents and Izzy away, missing physio appointments. Unable to cope, yet unable to tell anybody why or what happened when his patrol was attacked.

After Izzy has enough of rude Gary and leaves him in the street, he apologizes. They talk a bit. He says he hasn’t seen Quinny’s parents. She says “maybe that’s what you need to do.”

Anna serving tea to Gary and QuinnsHe phones them, but doesn’t tell his parents he has. Quinny’s parents come to the Windass house. Anna comes home unexpectedly, makes tea all around, offers to leave if that would make it easier for them all. No, Quinny’s dad says, no, Gary says, I want you to hear it too.

Gary describing the explosionThen he tells about the IED that exploded under their vehicle. He ended up under Quinny, who was still alive. Some of the guys got out and ran to safety. Gary told Quinny to run but he wouldn’t. He wouldn’t leave Gary. In the vehicle, they came under enemy fire. Sounded like rain on a caravan roof, Gary said, like he remembered from childhood. Quinny got him out, carried him, running for shelter. Almost Anna watches as Gary relives horror of shootingmade it, then Quinny fell. Someone pulled Gary to safety. Quinny was dead.

Gary has been carrying around the guilt of this, survivor guilt and the guilt that Quinny would still be alive if he had run when he first had the chance.

Anna holding Gary as he weeps and says I'm sorryIt was absolutely beautifully acted – real and heartfelt. You could see it as Gary talked. You could also see the agony he felt, at the time and now, safe in his living room. A soldier still, but a broken one, telling of the death of his friend.

I cried throughout it, for Gary and Quinny’s parents, for Anna who had to be thinking this could be the story of her son’s last minutes of life. And for all the Quinns crying as they listenreal-life soldiers who have lost their lives or been scarred by living through attacks just like this in Afghanistan and Iraq. The casualties, both living and dead, of these protracted wars.

Mikey North researched this storyline by talking with veterans of Afghanistan. They taught him well.

Gary telling CO I am a good soldier sirUnfortunately, this final picture is Gary pleading as much as a soldier can in front of his Commanding Officer. He was discharged from the Army. PTSD wasn’t sufficient reason to overlook a charge of assaulting a police officer. Too bad. And too bad having David Platt as a friend isn’t enough of an excuse.

Betty Driver in front of Rovers Return* Also unfortunately real life matched it.  Betty Driver, who has played Betty Turpin Williams, Rovers’ barmaid and hotpot cook since 1969, died Saturday Oct. 15th at the age of 91. What will we do without her?

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Nov. 7/10)

Private Gary

Private Gary with EddieI shed a tear for the Windasses this week.  Friday, Eddie unveiled the cake he’d baked for Gary’s going away party at the Rovers, the cake Gary said he hadn’t wanted because “men don’t eat cake.”  In honour of his joining the Army, it was shaped like a hand grenade.  Anna, despite her horror at the macabre design her husband had chosen as a send-off for their son, was touched and wanted Eddie and Gary to express their feelings for each other.

A bit of foot-shuffling by Eddie and Gary, looks of horror toward Anna for wanting them to get “touchy-feeling”. Some “yeah, well, that’s what I think of you too” stuff between them.  Then a lovely moment when Gary looks at his dad with real love in his eyes and a kind of “gotcha” grin.  Then each spits in his hand and clasps the other’s in a long handshake cum embrace.

Everyone partook of the cake and pronounced it light and delicious, one of Eddie’s best.  Eddie is sufficiently moved by emotion toward his son, the strong turnout by street residents for their party and by the expressions of goodwill toward Gary that he actually buys a round for everyone.  But one still wonders whose wallet he lifted in order to get the money!

Community acceptance

A bullseye stuck to Gary's back is discovered by his momThis party, with almost everyone on the street there, might be the turning point for the Windasses in terms of community acceptance.  David pulls a prank on Gary – sticks a paper bulls-eye on his back.  When it’s discovered, everyone calls David on it and speaks in Gary’s defence.  Even Roy.  And Chesney tells David that Gary is “worth a thousand of you.”   Janice agrees with him.

In David’s defence, he has good reason to dislike and distrust Gary.   And, by Gary’s leaving for the Army, the street residents are getting rid of a felon who has demonstrated that he’s willing to steal from anyone, even his neighbours.  Still, it’s nice that it is Gary who pretty much says that himself.  In talking with Chesney about why he’s joined up, he points out that he doesn’t have many options. If he hadn’t done this, he’d likely just end up in jail again.

Gary hugs his dad goodbye outside the RoversIn a follow-up scene, the taxi waits for Gary and everyone is outside the pub to see him off.  Gary hugs his mom, then turns to his dad.  Eddie hands him an envelope, says “don’t laugh”.  It’s what he wrote to Gary telling him how he feels about him.  Gary does a little awkward “man”  shuffle then throws his arms around his dad in a big hug.  I felt affection for a person who usually is truly “a little toe-rag”.