Tag Archives: Steve McDonald

Corrie Street Feb. 1/15

Crash

Can’t pick one: three excellent episodes, countless excellent scenes. The bus crash, of loading-buscourse, from lead-up to aftermath – perfect in acting, writing, lighting and camera work.

Everybody dressed up for their big night out. I was glad Tracy was included. I felt sorry for her – alone and broke and the others going to a bash at a hall she and Rob had looked at for their wedding. But I was sorry Beth got left behind.

on-the-busThe drive. The atmosphere in the bus is toxic. Road-trip singsongs barely covering sniping that was ratcheting up. They aren’t going to get there, I thought. They’ll start clawing at each other, a great big catfight inside a small box.

Instead it’s ‘boy racers’ taking everyone’s attention. They cut Steve off. Then he passes so they come alongside, jeering. It’s van crashhard to ignore that. Steve accepts their challenge. They up the stakes, passing then slamming on the brakes. To avoid rear-ending them, Steve must swerve. Into a tree. Crash.

Steve wakes and crawls out of the van. He sees the cliff, and what’s below – Julie-phones-for-helpway below. Does he act? Call for help? No. He goes into a fugue state. Julie and Sean rouse and clamber out. Moonlight, mist, rocks, and a still figure – it looks like Wuthering Heights. Then Julie comes alive. She phones for help and pulls people from the van. Her billowing skirt is her bandage supply.

tracy-looks-in-busThe bus slips toward the cliff edge slowly. Tracy sees Carla inside, hurt. Help her or not? Hard decision. Forced by the others coming near or maybe decency, she gets Carla out.

At the Rovers…

Back at the Rovers, those left behind have rovers-cell-phonesbeen having fun. They had an awards ceremony for themselves. Then Beth gets a call from Kirk. Everyone whips out their cell phones to call their person on the bus. Streetcar cabs take them to the hospital. Rita and Norris sit at the bar of an empty pub.

At the hospital, the desk nurse deals with everyone asking about everyone all at once. Then Steve tells Michelle he’s been diagnosed with depression. It’s a surprise to her (okaaay). julie-sees-devSally warns Maddie about PTSD (“Gary Windass went doolally”). Touching moments as someone sees the person they seek. Everyone seems to be fine physically, except Sinead. She is conscious but cannot feel her legs.

Realistic that there were no other serious injuries or fatalities? No, but I was happy to suspend disbelief.

Corrie Street Dec. 7/14

Stand and Stare

Tuesday, Steve has a hideous day. He had gone to the doctor and been diagnosed with depression. He asked for something to make it stop but, thankfully instead of pills, the Steve-with-cardoctor prescribed talking it out with a therapist or someone close. His mother, he said, he could talk to her.

Afterwards he went driving in his new car. He pulled over somewhere and sat thinking. When he was ready to go on, the car wouldn’t start. So a call to Webster’s towing service and a ride home with Kevin for him and the car.

And over the road they came, like a pack of angry chickens. Liz, Michelle, Tony, Lloyd and steve-sees-approaching-posseAndrea. Andrea, who had seen him leaving the clinic, was the only one to not want to peck him to death. He focused on his mother, trying to tell her he needed to talk to her. But she and Michelle focussed on telling him what a complete waste of oxygen he was. Lloyd and Tony kept close, waiting for the kill.

What’s wrong with you?

They all want to talk. “What’s wrong with you? I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you!” No Liz-blasts-Stevechance to get a word in, Steve realizes, even in self-defence let alone the opening up of a troubled soul.

We viewers all can see that Michelle hasn’t once wondered what’s wrong with Steve. All she can think is that he’s gone off her, that it’s her fault somehow. How self-centred, we say, that she can’t imagine that something in his head is not about her. But have you not felt the same when someone is distant from you? The thought that something else is going on may occur to you, but mainly you’re going to fret about what you have done, why they are mad at you.

Unlike Michelle, Liz isn’t thinking that she is the reason for his weird mood. Maybe it Liz-pursues-stevewould slow her down, and give him a chance to tell her what’s wrong, if that thought did cross her mind. She is simply furious with him for letting everyone down, so does the mother thing of ‘a good talking to’. This is for sure a time when the other motherly response, a listening to, is called for.

The best way that stories teach is by showing someone or something from all sides. We steve-at-cornersee how insensitive or counterproductive words or actions can be because we know what is going on from each character’s perspective. Fictional emotional turmoil allows us to be totally removed from it. We have no horse in the race, so we can watch their jockeying dispassionately.

The poem Steve quoted from, as his justification for doing nothing, is Leisure by W. H. Davies. Steve may as well recite The Cat in the Hat for all the attention anyone is actually paying to him.

Corrie Street Sept. 21/14

Fly-Tipping

owen pulls lamp from dumpsterFly-tipping: dumping garbage where you’re not supposed to. A lamp thrown in a dumpster was cause for a funny small mystery in the larger story of the dodgy flooring and subsequent dodgy efforts to rectify that mistake.

Jason put the dumpster in front of Tyrone and Fiz’s house while doing the rebuilding. Owen is looking to see what is usable. He and Tyrone wonder about Steve says lamp looks familiarthe lamp on top. Neither have seen it before. Steve comes along, looks at the lamp and says it’s not his but it looks familiar.

Tyrone goes to see Jason at the yard to discuss compensation. Jason says that Roy said he’d seen the lamp before.

Later that day, the Platts prepare for Max’s birthday party. The lamp is in the kitchen. david-asks-about-lampGail says Michael pulled it out of the skip at Tyrone’s, thought Audrey might like it. David looks at it, puzzled, and says it looks familiar.

Everyone on the street has seen the lamp. Nobody knows how it ended up on the skip but it looks familiar to Steve, Roy and David. What, or who, is a connection between those three? I ran through my mental store of Street history but I could not figure it out.

Then nearly at the end, Tracy looks out the window of Barlow’s Buys. She says to Rob, Tracy sees lamp is gone from skip“Somebody took that old lamp! You know, from my bedroom.” Of course, the connection is that all three men have been in Tracy’s bedroom, willingly or unwillingly.

Years ago, David and Tracy had a little fling. Poor Roy ended up spending the night in Tracy’s bedroom due to a bet she had made. That led to her claiming that he had fathered Amy. Of the three, Steve spent the most time in Tracy’s bedroom. I guess the decor of her room is something, like their marriage, that he would rather forget.

Tracy’s words about the lamp, that “people will take any old tat”, is a lovely summary of lamp-in-skip-againmuch about her. The lamp ended up back in the dumpster, and the other mystery – of why their floor collapsed – was solved for Tyrone and Fiz. Owen was back at the skip, scavenging for usable scraps. No, not for a floor, he told them about the wood, too thin for that, against regulations even.

* CBC programming note:  On Monday Sept 29th and Tuesday Sept 30th, three episodes will air each evening.  Wednesday it’s back to the usual one. These extra episodes will bring Canada to a week behind the UK broadcast.  Thanks, Bluenose Corrie, for this good news.

Corrie Street July 13/14

Happy 40th

who-decides steve on 40th birthdaySteve looking right in the eye of the big milestone birthday. The one where you really can’t pretend you’re young anymore. You’re really not old either but, at the time, you don’t know that.

40 years old, and what have you done. That’s what poor Steve is bemoaning in the cab office. Lloyd is doing well with the encouraging something for the houseand supportive noises. But he’s having trouble being truly sympathetic, still recovering from another type of milestone event himself – a heart attack.

Steve puts everything everyone feels about aging in a nutshell. It’s easier to confess fears and innermost feelings to a friend than to a lover, even a parent. Telling Lloyd helps him organize his thoughts, and decide on an immediate course of action. Forget it’s his birthday, forget the crappy presents he got (slippers and a coffee table) and take the long cab runs. So Lloyd has to tell him about the surprise party. Oh yeah, he really wants a big hoopla!

Michelle pursues him because that party is going to happen. So trapped with her in his cab, he bares his soul to her. For once, she listens in an understanding and caring way. Still, though, the only thing scarier than Michelle ranting at Steve about his schtupidity is Michelle being understanding.

I hope he doesn’t head down the slippery slope to 50 with Michelle constantly repeating i-specifically-saidback to him his words about ‘doing better with his life’ and ‘making something of himself’. Better to keep a big protective wall around your emotions, I think, than let Michelle actually see into your heart and mind. Happy birthday, Steve and Andy.

Corrie Street June 22/14

Traitor

Michelle-yells-at-SteveThursday’s episode was a shocker. Michelle was without her trademark eyeliner. Less surprising was her attack on Steve for keeping Peter’s secret, although the savagery of her words was more than I had expected.

“Blood on your hands,” she said. He should have told her about Peter’s affair with Tina because a) nothing should be kept from her and b) she could have stopped Peter and all now would be well. Yes, Michelle, Peter would have listened to you, sure he would. Because you are the avenging angel, and all listen to your pearls of wisdom.

Steve explained his decisions. He hoped Peter would get back on the wagon with no one knowing. He hoped Peter would end it with Tina and no one need know. And he has had to live with his choices, knowing that he was keeping secrets from Michelle and watching the Tina/Peter/Carla situation explode before his eyes.” Anything for a quiet life,” Michelle sneered.

Michelle screams at SteveHow, I wondered, has Steve’s life been “quiet” with what he has been doing? The way for him to stay out of it all would have been to tell Michelle the whole story right off the bat. Let her make the difficult decision of what and when to tell whom, to choose whose lives to destroy. Steve could sit back and leave Michelle in the thick of it – for better or worse.

“But keeping his grubby little secret was more important than us, eh?” Us, not Carla, not Tina, not the equilibrium of the neighbourhood, but us. In Michelle-speak, us means me. Michelle-calls-Steve-traitorSteve dared keep something from her. Never mind that she had known about Carla’s pregnancy and did not share that with Steve – because Carla asked her to keep it to herself. But Steve keeping something to himself because Peter asked him to just doesn’t count for Michelle. By doing that, Steve was “a coward, and a traitor.” Michelle dresses it up in the vocabulary of trust and honesty in a relationship. But there is only one side of their relationship she is concerned with – hers.

Tina was murdered and Carla miscarried her baby, but it’s all about Michelle. Liz and Steve-and-Liz-watch-Michelle-leaveSteve understandably have been devastated by what has happened to their friends, but their greatest apprehension has been about Michelle’s reaction when she finds out Steve knew. They are right to be afraid. Michelle’s fury is really for herself, but she wraps her words of betrayal in the cloak of real tragedies that have befallen other people. By that, she takes the moral high ground and she further sears the guilt Steve feels into his heart.

Michelle-leaves-RoversIn perfect Michelle high dudgeon mode, with arms figuratively crossed, she stomps out. The upside is that she is out of Steve’s life! Maybe.

Kym Marsh was excellent, as was Simon Gregson as the object of her harangue.

Corrie Street June 8/14

Truths Told

Tuesday Steve said to Peter what we’ve all been saying. Friday, Rita did the same with Tina. Neither of the recipients paid a blind bit of notice. But at least the words were said.

you-need-to-stay-here truths told by steve to peterPeter having a pity party for himself behind the Rovers. Steve happened by so Peter told him all about the mess his life was. Steve told him that if he loved Carla as he said he did then he should stay with her, that if he cared at all about Simon and his unborn child then he should stay with Carla, that if he was ruining Carla’s life by staying with her then why wouldn’t he maybe ruin Tina’s life as well if he ran away with her. Peter whined on, so Steve asked the central question, “what do you want?” and Peter answered honestly, if unhelpfully, “I don’t know.” In essence, Steve told Peter to grow a pair, the words he used in their next counseling session on the Rovers’ patio.

On Friday, Tina was saying her goodbyes. At the Kabin, she told Rita she was in love and leaving with her new man. And he is married. And he was Peter Barlow.

Rita says he went through with the marriageI don’t know why she would think that Rita would just say ‘congratulations’ and wish them well. But evidently she didn’t expect the volley she got from Rita. Rita’s words were not diplomatic. He uses people. He’ll leave you for the next passing fancy just as easily as he’s leaving Carla. He has a son. He’s only been married five minutes. Tina’s rebuttal was that he had known the marriage was a mistake while he was doing it because they already loved each other. Didn’t make it any better in Rita’s books. He did pretty well out of the “mistake”. So he’s moving on backed by Carla’s resources? “Love for sale” was Rita’s opinion on Peter’s loyalty. That comment tipped Tina over the edge.

Tina matched, and surpassed, Rita’s angry words. Who is Mrs. Tanner-Sullivan-rita-slaps-tinaFairclough to sneer about anyone else buying or selling love and friendship, she spat. Rita slapped her. This is a relationship casualty that I would lay at the doorstep of Peter Barlow. As Tina said before the blow-up, she and Rita have been friends, mother-daughter, grandmother-granddaughter. But no more, not unless Tina has the chance and desire to do a huge amount of groveling.

Before the night was out, Tina saw the truth of Rita’s words, in the spirit if not the Tina-hears-baby-announcementspecifics of her charges against Peter. She heard the evidence of his lies from his own mouth. Rita wasn’t at the Rovers to say “I told you so” but Steve was. The look he gave Peter said “you’d better get yourself out of this somehow, mate.” He then gave Tina the same look. I just hope Steve gets left out of explanations. He might want to use one of those tickets to Portsmouth before Michelle finds out what he knew and when he knew it.

Corrie Street Apr. 20/14

Two Petes

two-petesPeter Barlow in a pub, drinking himself legless, trying to forget his wife is pregnant and his girlfriend might be. Steve comes in to take him home. Peter introduces Pete, his buddy on the next barstool. “Two Petes,” he says, delighted with his own wit.

Steve is not so amused. Especially when they end up sharing a small bed in a small room above the bar so that Peter’s state peter-and-steve-in-bedcould be kept secret. Nor when Peter confesses all to Steve: an affair, with their mutual neighbour and Steve’s employee no less, a baby with Carla and maybe another with Tina.

Later at home Peter is trying to conceal his hangover, and we see just how crowded the world is when you’re two Petes rolled into one. While reassuring Carla that he is delighted about the baby and that of course he didn’t take a drink, his phone is constantly beeping. It’s Tina, but Peter again blames that poor schmuck from AA.

tina-comes-out-of-bathroomWhen Carla goes out the door, Tina barges in. To his horror, she takes the pregnancy test right there and then. He looks like he’s going to be sick. He fears Carla’s return any moment, is terrified Tina’s going to announce she is having his baby and, even worse, is planning to keep it.

It’s not you…

Sadly for her, the test is negative. Peter has to conceal his delight. Maybe his pounding head and been-there-and-done-itqueasy stomach helped him with that. He puts on his soulful face and tells her it’s not you, it’s me. He’s no good for her, she deserves someone better, she deserves children and rose petals and bluebirds of happiness, and it ain’t me babe, no, no, no. Yes yes, she says, I want you. And your babies. Oh, you don’t want babies? Ok, just you, that’s all I need. We’ll be happy together.

look-at-meEvery cliché of romance and breaking up was voiced and shown by facial and body gesture by both of them. It was superb. My husband speculated that the writers were asked to compile every dumping line they had ever heard in their lives. I added that they also wrote down every word they had ever said when trying desperately to keep someone. All these were strung together and the script was born.

peter-looks-at-door-as-tina-criesWhy Peter just didn’t tell Tina that Carla was pregnant, I don’t know. Maybe he thought it was more honourable to convince her that he was bad for her. Maybe he just thought it was easier at that moment and he’d worry about the next hurdle – the announcement of Carla’s pregnancy – later. Or maybe lying is so engrained in him that, tina-realizes-it-is-overeven when the truth could get him out of a bad spot, he doesn’t think of telling it.

Corrie Street Feb. 23/14

Gooseberry

Michelle may tell him he’s thick, but Steve sometimes seems smarter and more insightful hardly-said-two-words-to-methan even he thinks he is. In scenes on Thursday and Friday, there is deftness in the writing and portrayal of Steve, first with Michelle and then with Andrea.

He tries to explain to Michelle why he is unhappy about Lloyd and Andrea dating. It’s a friendship thing, he says, one with Lloyd and a separate one with Andrea. He wants the situation with both to stay as it is. He tries to explain the nature of best friends and how the entrance of a third person changes that, steve-explainseven when the third is also a friend. One party can end up feeling like an outsider, a gooseberry. He is the one feeling that way, especially with Lloyd and Andrea changing friendship to romance. Michelle cannot understand. All she can see is that he is being ‘stupid’, as usual, or that he is interested romantically in Andrea.

Michelle sees Steve’s jealousy as indicating only that he doesn’t regard her as a friend or michelle-lookswant her as a lover. Steve is caught in the impossible situation of trying to explain to his partner why another woman’s friendship is important to him, when he doesn’t really understand it himself. The dynamics of emotional connections are very hard to disentangle. It is especially difficult to do with an audience of an already jealous girlfriend who appears unfamiliar with the complexities of friendship. Michelle listens, but you can see her mind so busy working along her own lines that she does not hear him.

Most of us know from experience what Steve is saying about friend alliances. We know Michelle’s fears too – the heartbreak that awaits when professed ‘friendship’ masks something much more your-flaming-historythreatening. Both are speaking truths, and they are truths that might overlay or disguise each other. Is it a case of the gentleman doth protest too much? Is Steve trying to avoid something as simple as the fact that he fancies Andrea? I didn’t know at the end of the scene. There is, of course, a bit of wishful thinking on my part. With the way Michelle has been toward him lately, I’d rather see him with anyone but her.

Friday, Steve told Andrea he had mixed feelings about her going out with Lloyd. Andrea was delighted; he was jealous therefore he must like her, oh happy day she thought. But he cut the moment short before she could tell him how she felt.

always-will-beShe got another chance a bit later. As she leaned toward him, ready to tell him how she felt about him, his face showed that he was very quickly assimilating what she was about to say. He averted it, by talking about mates and how happy he was to have her as one. She stopped what she’d been about to say and said yes, mates, that’s us.

The switch in direction was not so smooth that they couldn’t see what had happened, but it was enough that they could pretend that the other wasn’t saying something awkward. Nicely played, Steve.

Corrie Street Dec. 8/13

We don’t need no education

graceSchool underlay three stories this week. First, bullying children who find their supporters, and victims, by way of schoolyard friendships. Grace has to be the most hideous child ever seen on the cobbles. She surpasses even Faye, vengeful killer of fish, and that takes some doing. Grace zeroes in on the vulnerable – including Faye who, for the sake of being BFFs, remains her accomplice in terror even though she knows what they are doing is wrong.

leanne-sees-simon made up by girlsMary and Simon are their targets of choice. They are easy because they’re both a bit off-base; Mary because of her nature and Simon due to the instability of his present situation. I feared for Eccles’ safety when Tracy hired the children to walk her. Fortunately she came through unscathed.  Simon wasn’t so lucky.

Second, as a headmaster Brian has had enough of children and Julie wants to bring his work home with them by fostering one. He told her, before fostering was ever lettermentioned, that he was no longer happy in his job. She did not listen. He has told her in words and body language that he is not keen on taking in a child. She has not listened.

Brian wants a pleasant job in a museum in Wales where the presence of children will be somebody else’s concern. But he won’t tell Julie straight out. He’s caught himself in a snare of deceit. Julie has not helped by persisting in her image of what she believes him to be and refusing to listen to what he tells her. It will not end well for either of them.

Third, Steve’s return to night school. Maybe it is just an excuse to get off work, or maybe all-in-the-pastit is due to the mortification he felt in not knowing the war from which the term Armistice Day originated. I thought it was interesting last week that no one, not Steve nor Liz nor Michelle, suggested that perhaps Amy herself should have known seeing as she is the one studying the topic. Also, no one suggested that maybe Amy should have taken at least the lead in her own homework project.

On Thursday, when he was heading off to class, Michelle and Liz finally gave him a tiny bit of support. Michelle even apologized, sort of, for her earlier ridicule of him. Liz’s face steve-leaving-for-schoolshowed some fondness and pride as she wished him well. Her previous reaction, laughing at the very idea of school and him thinking he could do it, made me think it was little wonder he’d done poorly when he was younger if that had been her attitude. Michelle said her teasing had been due to envy.  Is that the case for Liz too? Maybe. If so, I hope she admits it to herself and Steve soon. It was nauseating to watch her belittle him, and learning in general.

A recent post on Bluenose Corrie discusses Coronation Street’s portrayal of those who Ken_Barlow_(1960)_(small)have, or seek, higher education. It points out that, from Ken Barlow in 1960 right through to Todd Grimshaw now, those who go to university never comfortably fit in or they become nasty  – even mad killers, as in the case of English teacher John Stape.

Here is Pink Floyd’s “We don’t need no education” from The Wall.

Coronation Street Scene of the Week (Sept. 16/12)

Good Parenting

Maybe it’s having only half the episodes to which we’ve become Steve nearing bus stop with Ryan's guitaraccustomed.  Maybe it was a week of filler stories – updating us on characters we haven’t seen for awhile and building the bases of new storylines.  Or maybe too much Tracy and Michelle and who cares.  Whatever, I was hard pressed to find a scene that stood out this week.

The scene that choked me up a bit was Steve finding Ryan at the bus stop and giving him his guitar back.  Ryan had hocked it for drug money and Steve bought it back.  Steve said ryan seeing that it is his own guitar“your mum and I”, but I suspect this was Steve’s idea.  Nicely done, Steve.  He didn’t get all emotional, didn’t plead, didn’t preach.  Just handed it to him and said he knew it meant a lot to him.  When Ryan said he didn’t want it, Steve just said fine, keep it, sell it, do what you want with it, it’s yours and then walked away.

Steve comes back around corner - good parentingBut he didn’t go far, just around the corner enough that he could quickly come back in time to see Ryan break down crying.  Then a lovely moment where I actually felt sorry for Ryan, as he cried in Steve’s arms and Steve gave him manly ‘there there’ pats.

In those moments, Steve did good parenting. Gave exactly what was right and needed by Ryan.  I don’t know Steve consoles a weeping Ryan - good parentingwhat Michelle would have done but it would have involved over the top histrionics and would have just made everything worse.

Earlier in the week, when Ryan went missing from the flat where Michelle had him under house arrest, Steve didn’t show such good parenting with his own kid.  Tracy asked him to look after Amy while she went for a job interview.  He said yes until Michelle came in a panic because Ryan had gone walkabout.  And Steve threw Amy to the wind and said he couldn’t possibly tend her because he had to help Michelle.

What?  Ryan is an adult, a stupid one admittedly, but still an adult of legal age.  Michelle has been his sole parent for his entire life.  Amy is a child, Steve’s child and Steve’s responsibility.  And at least on the surface of it, Tracy’s request was perfectly reasonable and justified.  Steve has wanted her to get a job; she had an interview and needed his help with Amy.  And he blew her off for Michelle and her adult son.

Tracy adjusts new kebab shop uniformPayback is a – well, Tracy.  She is glommed all over Ryan.  Calls herself a cougar.  She got herself a job, working with Ryan at Dev’s kebab shop and she created her own fairly easy job of seducing Ryan.  This time you asked for it, Steve.