Simon’s acting up because his dad’s been whisked off to rehab by Carla. He keeps crunching the stapler on his dad’s desk in the knicker factory, just to aggravate Carla as she tries to catch up with spreadsheets on Easter Monday. Finally she loses it with him and shouts in his face about what it’s like to be an alcoholic. Si runs off to cry on both Leanne, his dad’s previous wife and Tina, his dad’s girlfriend-with-the-earrings. He has three surrogate mums and when they all surround him at once it strikes me for the first time that they’re meant to be like the three women in The Witches of Eastwick. This casts Peter in the Jack Nicholson role – he looks kind of devilish, but he never seems to quite enjoy all the debauchery enough.
Across the street, Maria is getting up to funny stuff, too. By accident she’s ended up cyber-bullying her best friends; sending menacing texts under the guise of Tyrone’s crazy ex-girlfriend. She can’t stop and she can’t own up to it. David Platt finds out and taunts her in Audrey’s salon (a tiny establishment, stuffed with cans of hairspray, towels and non-speaking extras) He can’t believe she’s doing something so nasty. It’s like something he would concoct. And he also can’t believe that she’s not enjoying being nasty more than she is.
This is what happens when characters get bent out of shape by the demands of plot. A friend of mine commented on this recently – about characters doing things slightly out of character in order to fit with the story line. It was like Steve last night – bringing in his cack-handed birthday cake for Michelle and then, all of sudden, losing his temper and yelling at Tina in front of everyone. For someone as practiced in keeping secrets by acting the buffoon, it seemed a strange move and it looked a bit contrived. (I do hope this means they’re pushing this sordid tale to its climax.)
Then there’s Deidre, flirting in the pawn shop with Tony. She was just back from some women’s action group, where she’d eaten a lot of custard creams and, next thing, she’s inspecting the plainly hot electrical goods that sinister Tony is fobbing off on Tracey and Rob. Deirdre is often given comedy lines these days that sound like writers just making jokes at the character’s expense. Last night it was ‘I do miss my perm sometimes,’ and it feels like they’re turning her into a caricature of a tanned, tipsy cougar with a rasping voice and a melodramatic past. She was handling an oversized hair dryer and Tony was being suggestive about getting a load of his nozzle and the comedy felt a bit forced, but so did the plot-laying. Are we about to see a bit of smut flaring up between Deirdre and Eileen’s ex – just before Ken returns to the Street..?
All I could think about was the hair dryer and, as a long-term viewer, was willing Deirdre to have nothing to do with it. Ken’s got a history – as bad as Bluebeard’s – of wives at number one Coronation Street being finished off by dodgy electricals.