Fave or Fail? (19-23 June 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! It was War of the Rs this week as Robron took on Ross and Harriet got stabbed.

Faves

Back in Action

vlcsnap-2017-06-25-18h03m40s668Cain was back properly this week and it feels like we haven’t seen him in ages. I really appreciated how many different stories converged, as the Barton money woes and war with Robert led to Harriet being stabbed, her fling with Cain being exposed and him seeking revenge. Cain’s revenge missions – usually involving car boots – are often enjoyable viewing but it’s a long time since we’ve seen him take the violent approach and he wasn’t holding back with Ross. It came as a bit of a shock and with Moira involved (Coira tension ahoy) we were guaranteed good scenes as awkwardness bristled at the hospital. Cain might have mellowed as he’s aged, but it’s entertaining to see his reckless side now and again.

Pot Pranks

vlcsnap-2017-06-25-18h02m33s935It was testosterone o’clock this week as Ross and Robron started a war. Having blackmailed Robert not long ago, Ross had the upper hand until Robert and Aaron decided to crush his last remaining taxi and only source of income. After some brilliant tag-team one liners, Ross sought payback and stole Robert’s pride and joy – his Porsche. The rivalry rumbled on as Robron discovered Ross and Finn’s weed stash and held it hostage in a woodchipper until Ross returned the car. Unlucky for Ross, Robert wasn’t in a forgiving mood and all the Barton’s cash hopes were sprayed to dust as Finn was captured by the dealers. Oops. With some great sparky dialogue and schoolboy rivalries this was a fun plot to start the week and cause bigger drama later on, plus it was a very welcome break from the tedium of the dreaded baby plot.

A Welcome Presence

vlcsnap-2017-06-25-18h00m42s441There was a great community feel this week as Doug’s attempts to be less boring led him to the brilliant village hall dance lessons with Lydia and co. But I want to talk about another comedic star of the village – the consistently funny Bernice. Since her return Bernice has found herself working a number of jobs in the village (Kerry’s driven away customers at the salon unsurprisingly) and it’s been fantastic to see her get stuck into gossip in the café, butting her nose in where she really shouldn’t. From getting Cain’s sandwich order wrong to her tea tray throwing, she’s been amazing in this role. But even later in the week, when she went back to the salon and massaged Pete, she was hilariously pervy (she never could resist a young buff male) and ended up giving him severe burns with chilli oil. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of her antics, whether it’s her ill judged comments or the physical comedy, she just brings such warmth and fun to the whole show.

Finding Her Place

vlcsnap-2017-06-25-18h02m08s776Chrissie White has been in Emmerdale for almost three years now but it seems like finally finally the writers have figured out how best to characterise her. Fingers crossed it seems like the days of being a daddy’s girl victim or – on the other end of the spectrum – the uber camp soap bitch are behind her. She feels settled. Ruthless, cutting, snobby, lording it over the other villagers, holding court at Home Farm – she seems powerful and bitchy without the cartoon one-liners. She’s always had this potential and I even enjoyed some of her really cold-hearted moments in the past, but it used to seem like they weren’t really sure what to do with her. Now the balance is just right. Here’s hoping that she stays like this!

Fails

The Exposition Family

vlcsnap-2017-06-25-18h01m05s107It’s common knowledge that Lawrence is on his way out of Emmerdale but this week we were given seemingly never-ending scenes of exposition as Lawrence sat the family down to explain about Chrissie’s biological father. As we all listened to story time with Lawrence again it struck me how much this family has relied on exposition heavy backstory to make them more interesting. What with Lawrence’s prison story, his romance with Ronnie, Rebecca’s past with Robert, Chrissie’s true paternity and now the story of her father – they’re all tragic backstories intended to give the family depth but in reality they’re just lengthy, heavy and unengaging scenes of exposition. It’s hard to care when it’s all happened in the past and we didn’t get to see it. These kinds of stories are much more involving when a newcomer forces them to confront the past (like when Ronnie rocked up) but with shady Lawrence seemingly lying about Chrissie’s biological family, things might get more interesting!

 

Fave or Fail? (12-16 June 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In a week that saw Rakesh leave (bye!), Rhona bravely reported Pierce to the police.

Faves

Master Manipulator

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h06m10s606You have to hand it to the brilliant Jonathan Wrather who manages to deliver such chilling performances as callous rapist, Pierce. His return this week was bizarrely orchestrated by a clueless Paddy (it’s a debatable that even Paddy would be that oblivious) and he began a tireless campaign of gaslighting and getting under Rhona’s skin. Every performance makes you want to scream, particularly as Rhona’s friends were initially drawn into his web, believing every charming word he said. He also managed to act his socks off under police questioning (that’s Pierce and Jonathan who gave unnerving performances) making his deception look like an art form. Pierce’s slippery character, under that perfect surface, is one of the things that makes this storyline so compelling.

Rhona’s Bravery

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h04m46s022Rhona returned from rehab this week and so did Emmerdale’s best plot at the moment – hooray! With the support of loyal best mate Vanessa, Rhona managed to stand up to Pierce and his remorseless reappearance and eventually Rhona braved another visit to the police station where she was able to name Pierce as her rapist. Once again Zoe Henry’s performances continue to be powerful and surely will pick up awards next year. I’m pleased that there hasn’t been a long and drawn out process of people being in the dark over Rhona’s horrific attack with her being increasingly isolated. It gives me hope that this story will continue to move in directions that showcase the bravery and strength of women like Rhona.

Doug’s Dancing

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h08m56s582If you follow me on Twitter you’ll have already seen me proclaim this little subplot as one of my favourite stories of the year so far. Warm, funny and not a beaver in sight. Worried he was too dull for Diane and he couldn’t even woo her with his dancing, a hapless Doug sought advice from lothario Frank and later an enthusiastic Lydia who was all too keen to give him dancing lessons. Doug is brilliant in his grumpy old man routine and Duncan Preston is effortlessly funny when playing Doug out of his comfort zone, while Diane is none the wiser. Even Frank, who hasn’t been the most engaging of newcomers, was fun in this plot and Lydia’s encouraging pep talks as she compared him to Michael Douglas and told him to believe in himself is exactly the good natured comedy Emmerdale does best.

Grinning Gerry

w62gThere’s so many things wrong with the uncomfortable plot that saw Lachlan (a convicted sex offender) prepare to lose his virginity to Belle, but the one positive from this story is the reintroduction of Gerry – Lachlan’s ex-cellmate. Sure, Gerry’s quite gross, considering that a) he’s pals with Lachlan and b) his readiness to order a prostitute for Lachlan doesn’t scream maturity or responsibility. But his cheeky sense of humour, willingness to flirt with every woman in sight, made a real impression in a short space of time. Plus, the benefit of Gerry is that there’s no white-washing or sugar-coating of his behaviour – like we see so frequently in Lachlan – Gerry is unashamedly a sleazebag and a lad up to no good.

Fails

Baby Mania

vlcsnap-2017-06-18-19h04m19s132They say pregnant women have something called ‘baby brain’ which makes them forgetful and act a bit off. But if anyone has baby mania then it’s Victoria who has the accolade this week of the strangest behaviour in the midst of the much-loathed Rebecca baby plot. Not content to let “free spirited” (I know, I know, no one is buying it) Rebecca do her own thing, Vic bombarded her with messages begging for her return and the pair reunited like they’d be separated by war rather than a fortnight. If their convenient BFFship didn’t pique your cringe levels then, Vic’s insistence that Rebecca move in with her and let her be her sole support might have done. Even Adam, who isn’t always the brightest spark, pointed out how bizarre this insta-friendship is and that’s without getting into what should be Vic’s resentment of that family. And so, while Vic mouthed off at her brother, despite having always been one of the few to empathise with him and champion his relationship with Aaron, I can’t help but wonder if this dire story might end with Vic standing between Rebecca’s legs ready to catch the sprog and run away with it.

Fave or Fail? (5-9 June 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! As Rakesh was exposed as last year’s arsonist it was another fairly low-key week. 

Faves

Marlon Madness

w61mpIn the immediate aftermath of Carly’s exit, Marlon found himself in Lydia’s bedroom, dressed in her puntastic nightie. And who would you call in this nightmarish and confusing situation? Your trusty best friend of course! Marlon’s bizarre escape and Paddy’s distraction techniques was a strange start to the week and a bonkers comedy sequence that they only pulled off because Paddy and Marlon are the kings of physical comedy and it was alongside some brilliant visual gags in Lydia’s bedroom. Maybe from now on they should just leave the crazy slapstick stuff to Marlon and Paddy.

Brotherly Bond

Emmerdale - Ross and Finn Take Ownership of a Cannabis Farm! - YouTubeLooking past Finn’s questionable decision to become the world’s worst escort, we saw some great scenes between him and Ross this week. I’ve always thought the Barton brothers are actually at their best when they’re getting on, rather than at each other’s throats. There’s just something about all that testosterone and aggression that sets my teeth on edge. But this week saw Ross get all protective and fairly sweet towards his little brother and it’s a dynamic that just works. Later, the scenes turned comical when Finn managed to get rid of the dealers all with a handy toy police badge, prompting Ross to ask him how he learned that. His brilliant response? “Suranne Jones. Scott and Bailey.” I can’t help but think a bit more heart and a bit more fun for the Bartons could be a nice change before everything comes out about Emma and James!

Parents and Kids

w61ssIt wasn’t a major story of the week but there were some nice scenes between some of the parents and kids this week. There was a surprising and touching scene between Sam and Samson about his mother Alice (who longterm viewers of Emmerdale will know died tragically from cancer) and the books and diaries she kept. Scenes where characters remember their long histories on the show is the best thing about the soap genre – we’ve watched this history happen! And then there was Marlon and April who had a rocky week in the wake of Carly’s departure, but their emotional scene on the swings as Marlon read April Carly’s goodbye letter was a lovely moment between them.

Fails

Awkwardly Unfunny

Emmerdale - Nicola Chases A Beaver - YouTubeBritain’s Best Soap had a plot this week where a grown woman was tormented by beavers. Yes, this actually happened and it was as stupid and as unfunny as it sounds. Emmerdale’s comedy is hit and miss at the best of the times (and obviously depends on your taste!) but this really was a low point. Nicola King’s admirable ambition (something we rarely see in the writing of Emmerdale’s female characters) is often treated as the butt of the joke but this week saw that mockery taken even further with the revelation that she was terrified of beavers. Armed with this knowledge the factory girls, led by Kerry, decided to torment Nicola, even going so far as to dress up as one. There’s a good reason why we’ve never seen a woman in a mobility scooter chase a giant beaver down the street. It’s just not funny.

Sizzle? Cringe!

Emmerdale - Priya Proves Pete Wrong By Kissing Him! - YouTubeHaving listened to months of hype about Emmerdale’s sizzling new affair (a hapless man torn between too women – now there’s a surprise) it finally began this week. I’m not about to turn this post into another moan about Emmerdale reaching dismal lows in the faithfulness of its couples and yes, cheating and affairs are no new ground, but if you’re going to tease a hot new affair, then at least make it good. Alarm bells rang when it was revealed that “alpha male” Pete was going to be our cheating stud (yes, that is the sound of my eyes rolling) because really, apart from the charged passion with his Auntie Moira have we ever seen him smoulder? But still, okay silver linings, it would at least drag Priya from the life-sucking blackhole that is Rakesh. And then it arrived on screen and any tepid enthusiasm was squashed. Pete and Priya was a blank slate, they’d never had any significant interaction so this affair needed a little chemistry-infused build up, right? Wrong! Within minutes of a casual chat, Priya and Pete were talking openly about their lives and problems like old friends and then snogging faster than you can say we-threw-these-characters-into-a-hat-to-find-our-affair-candidates. Did Priya feel guilty for sleeping with her BFFs boyfriend? No chance. Did moral dullard Pete feel a tiny bit bad that one tiff with Leyla had him smirking post-coitus with Priya? Did he hell! They literally couldn’t give a sh*t. Who are these characters? They’re not ones I recognise. Leyla deserves better, we ALL deserve better. This is our big summer plot?

Fave or Fail? (29 May-2 June 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emmerdale are the reigning champions of the British Soap Awards (but this was a really boring week – sorry).

Faves

Solid Support

w60lHooray for some of the women of Emmerdale this week who managed to lend a friendly ear to a few of the clueless males in the village. Where would they be without you? There was Laurel who did manage to tie herself up in everyone’s favourite story twist – yep, double cheating two for the price of one – but it wasn’t all bad because she actually managed to talk sense into Marlon and help him avoid a complete meltdown. For a bit at least. There was Priya who wisely suggested Jai give Nell some space and also Moira who very sweetly encouraged Jai in his new romance, telling him she was glad he was moving on. Friendly advice and community support – now if only they took notice!

The Long Goodbye

w60cmI’ve already written about Carly’s weird exit but its heavy focus in the week’s stories seemed a strange choice when we knew she was going. Saying that, Carly and Matt had a sparky and fun chemistry that made their backstory and her eventual reasons for leaving a little bit more believable. Most of Carly’s depth and storylines have arisen from exposition heavy scenes and a weighty backstory – the Matt stuff has been no exception. Luckily the actors had a good rapport and if circumstances had been different Matt would have been a good addition to the show. The inevitable implosion of Marlon and Carly’s ill-fated romance did feel a bit clumsy and rushed, but it was sold well in all its uncomfortable glory.

Sweet Factory Silliness

w60njJimmy and Nicola deserve far more than the tropey nagging wife/useless husband routine and while I’m glad they have a very healthy sex life, it’s a shame that they’ve been reduced to continual stories about their kinky adventures when they’re capable of much more. However I always enjoy Nicola’s scenes and Jimmy looked amusingly dopey in his factory hat. The swan disaster comedy plot was pretty silly and pointless but Bernice arriving to save the day and painstakingly decorating hers did raise a smile at least (more from the Blackstock sisters please) and in a week as dull as this one, it was needed!

Fails

Ropey Romance

w60jnThere’s a real lack of compelling, emotionally engaging and dramatic plots in Emmerdale at the moment and what we’re left with is these lowkey and dull stories at the front of the show. Away from the silly humour and Carly’s exit this week was the (not so) great Jai and Nell love affair. I was a quiet champion of the Holly and Jai relationship last year but this Nell business just isn’t working for me and he almost comes across as her dad rather than her lover. Nell is sulky, immature and unconvincing leaving a big question in the interpretation of their scenes – does Jai just feel sorry for her? Guilty even? The love declaration just came across as insincere and desperate which I don’t think was what they were going for! It’s all mildly creepy and leaves Nell looking a tad unstable. She’s not the only Emmerdale lady with weepy and unconvincing motives but this plot is definitely not interesting enough to be front and centre of Emmerdale.

Not Star-Crossed

Emmerdale - Lachlan Chooses Sookie Over Belle - YouTubeIt seems like Emmerdale has toying with the idea of Belle and Lachlan forever but this week things seem to be progressing towards romance in an uncomfortable way. After her romance with Dr Bailey it’s safe to say Belle’s taste in guys isn’t great but there’s a bigger issue in this Lachlan story and the way Emmerdale are telling it as if they’re star crossed, teenage misfit lovers. No. Just no. Lachlan isn’t just a spoilt and messed up kid, he’s a remorseless sex offender and despite her questionable taste, Belle’s meant to be the smart one in her family. If stomaching Belle’s pining and jealousy of Lachlan seemingly moving on without her isn’t bad enough, then there’s the snobby behaviour of his mother Chrissie who is trying to keep the pair apart. No Dingle is good enough for her precious sex offender son amiright? It kinda feels like we should be wanting this teen love to triumph but how can we root for Belle and a sexual offender? Since the refusal of Emmerdale to ever decide on Lachlan’s psyche and zero intentions to have him show remorse for his crimes, we’re continually in a limbo of discomfort where a character like him cannot remain in the programme with stories like this.

Fave or Fail? (22-26 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Robert confessed his betrayal to Aaron this week and we enter another stretch of Emmerdale’s Worse Storyline Ever™

Faves

Rollercoaster of Emotions

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h47m43s531Let’s not get into this Aaron/Robert/Rebecca baby plot, which has to be one of my most loathed soap plots of all time, but let’s talk about the one saving grace of this story and that’s Thursday’s reveal. It’s been a ticking time bomb for months but finally this week, torn apart by guilt, Robert confessed his betrayal to a devastated Aaron. The Robron relationship has had more ups and downs (and to be honest, more downs) than Space Mountain but if anything this set of episodes proved why they continue to drag Aaron and Robert from one torturous story to the next and that’s how well the actors sell the heartbreak and the passion in their character’s relationship. With a script that dug right into their deepest flaws and issues, the intense argument saw Aaron and Robert communicate like never before as they got to the heart of why Aaron’s prison spell and Robert’s huge mistake had caused such a colossal impact on both characters. It was an honest, intimate and powerful display of their complex relationship one that owes a great deal to the long-standing chemistry between Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley and a partnership which I hope doesn’t suffer too much in this unpopular storyline.

Light Touch

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h38m02s763Lydia continues to be an injection of fun into Emmerdale and her budding romance with Sam Dingle has been a joy to watch. In just a few weeks she’s managed to integrate with lots of different characters with her cleaning job, but her comedic role in the Thomas household has worked surprisingly well to lift them after the serious and rather bleak Ashley plot. Away from Lydia was the stained-glass window mix up on Friday which saw Kerry’s creative unicorn and Adonis Ashley contribution be installed instead of Arthur’s intended window, thanks to an email error by Sandy. Bernice arrived during the chaos and of course made my GIF of the week. Far from making light of Ashley’s passing, these lighter moments have shown that laughs are possible after a death and he definitely would have seen the funny side. I’m glad that Emmerdale are able to remember Ashley, that the Thomases are allowed to grieve and but that life goes on, with smiles and even with a stuffed cockatoo in tow.

Moira Mystery

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h29m58s379Maybe I’m reading into things with Moira this week but I definitely felt like there was more to her exhaustion collapse and jumpy behaviour around Faith. It might not be the pregnancy plot we all predicted would happen when she slept with Pete and then Cain back in December, but it does make you wonder. Still, mystery aside, I love seeing Moira in farming mode and her interactions with Faith (like berating her for flirting with Adam) are really good fun. But what was also nice this week was the reminder of Holly and the realism of her presence continuing to impact upon Moira when in soaps death is so quickly forgotten. The scenes between Adam and Moira as they came together again after their fallout was a touching moment and part of the family warmth I’ve come to expect from Emmerdale at its best.

Fails

Carry On Car Theft

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h30m52s257It was only last week Debbie made my ‘Faves’ list as I praised the new and more light-hearted direction her character was going through, but this week the fun turned farce as Charity got on board for some carry-on capers. The Charity and Debbie relationship is one which has a natural spark and their bickering in a crisis is much more enjoyable than when they’re feuding about Charity’s wrong doings, but this week’s scenes crossed the line into just plain stupid. Charity can be a great comedy character and she’s proved she can work well as pub landlady but surely there’s got to be a better story for her than an “oops we’ve knocked a man out cold let’s shove him in the boot” episode filler. I love the Debbie and Charity interactions but these scenes dragged on, thinning out the humour in them, but if it keeps Debbie away from mopey love-life stories then I won’t complain too much.

A Massive Failure

vlcsnap-2017-05-28-17h40m02s250Where to start? I hate this storyline and to be honest I don’t know any Emmerdale fan that doesn’t. Granted, throwing a one-night-stand into the mix a mere three weeks after your most popular couple get hitched was never going to be received with open arms but the progression of this story has only got worse from then on. Putting aside the repetitive and tired clichés of this story, the unrelenting torture of Aaron and the tiring on/off conflict between Aaron and Robert, which is testing even to the most ardent of fan, we come to the biggest problem of all in the writing of Rebecca White. Introduced as the “good” White sister willing to take down her family and seduce Robert in the process, we’ve seen her turn from independent go-getter and vixen to saintly victim throughout this storyline. Not a day goes by when she hasn’t had a dramatic change of heart and this week we had the full spectrum. From wanting Rob to not wanting him, from not wanting the baby to desperately wanting to be a mother, to staying out of Robron’s way to actively telling Aaron to leave Robert. Her motives are all over the place and I don’t think it’s hormones. Her character makes no sense and her flaky lack of coherency and agency screams of a character who is written on the spot, bowing slavishly to the plot and because of this she’s not a character I believe, let alone like. Her weepy protestations of her innocence are thin and insincere and not like any woman I know (thank god). Sorry Emmerdale, there’s no getting round this, this is a massive failure for all characters involved.

 

 

Fave or Fail? (15-19 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Off screen Emmerdale bagged a BAFTA, sadly on screen this week was a lot less exciting!

Faves

Mates Before Dates

w58pmPaddy and Marlon’s friendship is the anecdote to any average week on Emmerdale so they were easily the highlight for me this week. Having been best mates for so long there’s a natural joy in their scenes which arises from the long-term working partnership between Dominic Brunt and Mark Charnock and that kind of fun is infectious. This week, as Marlon’s romance with Carly hit troubled waters, Paddy was there to coo, gasp and practise his proposal to her on (much to the mocking of Charity). The pair also had to cover up Marlon’s failed attempts to propose by inventing a story about their friendship anniversary – n’aww. And even though Paddy might be the worst at giving Marlon confidence in his status as Carly’s beloved, the pair of them and their friendship will outlive any romance and for that I’m truly grateful. Who needs a girlfriend when you have a best friend like these two?

Handsome Stranger

Emmerdale - Matt Has Just One Thing to Say to Carly - YouTubeRight at the end of last week, a tall, dark, handsome and bearded stranger arrived in the shape of Carly’s ex-Matt, and poor Billy’s father. It seems pretty much guaranteed that Matt won’t be around for long and that he and Carly are going to break Marlon’s little heart but in the meantime it’s been nice to have a charismatic new arrival in the village. Now you might say I’m swayed by his nice accent and good looks and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but if things were different I’d say Matt would make a good new addition to the Dales. He’s already proved he can carry a believable and exposition-heavy scene and make his emotions towards Carly and the loss of Billy complex and emotive, but up against Charity’s creepy OTT flirting, he’s proved his comedy worth too. So, while we might not have him for long and it’s a shame his role seems to be a facilitator for Carly’s exit, Matt seems like a pretty interesting character.

Different Direction

w58dSince my Emmerdale viewing habits became religious, Debbie seemed to be stuck in a cycle of two plots which never really endeared me to her as a character. I never bought into her Barton love triangle, nor her supposed love for Ross and the gangster/heist stories she got mixed up in left me cold too. For me, Debbie works best around her family, being a mother, running the garage rather than being at the centre of a money or love-triangle drama. Living with her kids, Faith and Moira has breathed life into her and this week I really enjoyed seeing her at the heart of the garage, back in her overalls and concerned with making a living rather than this just being an excuse to stir up old feelings with Ross. I enjoyed seeing her go up against Chrissie and her cutting one-liners to both White sisters were pretty satisfying too. I’m sure before long she’ll be back with Ross, trying to muster up some sexual tension, but for now Debbie seems assured and independent and I like that a lot.

Fails

Filling the Gap

Emmerdale - Jai Walks In On Nell Crying After Harming Herself - YouTubeRhona went to rehab on Monday this week meaning that most of my interest in village drama went with her. That’s not to say there are no characters I like in Emmerdale right now, but in terms of stories there just aren’t any plots holding my interest. I’m warmed massively to Jai, but his plot with the insipid Nell is odd and unengaging. Should we trust her, but more importantly why should we care? We’ve only known the girl five minutes and her budding and uneasy relationship with Jai has nothing on the short-but-sweet connection Holly and Jai had. Dan vs the bullies was the other main story of the week and even with a ‘whodunnit’ element, the teen gang were still as unthreatening as ever. Neither Dan or Jai are exactly leading man material with these uninspiring plots. Even with Amy Walsh’s great performance at the end of the week, the teen thug story is one that feels cold, lacking a ‘must-see’ factor. Other stories this week involved Zak Dingle being even more useless than ever and serving meat to vegans and the beginning of the end for Marlon and Carly. In isolation these plots might have made good B or C plots, bubbling in the background but front and centre they’re not the best – Emmerdale, we know you can do better.

Storyline Amnesia

w58wEmmerdale has never been afraid to have a wealthy, snobby family living in Home Farm, lording it over the other villagers and being generally antagonistic to everyone they meet. It’s a dynamic viewers are used to, but one the White family has always struggled with, leaving their role in the village a mess. I’ve never hid the fact I like the family best when they’re embracing their dark side with full self-awareness and that the weakness comes when Emmerdale tries to paint them as insincere victims rather than privileged villains. Stepping away from their tedious in-fighting this week, there was a puzzling turn of events as Victoria worked and grovelled at Chrissie’s feet as she catered for a vegan event. What’s the problem there you say? Well, the last time Vic interacted with Chrissie she called her a poisonous cow and didn’t hold back in light of Chrissie setting up Andy, meaning he was on the run and absent from his ill daughter’s life. Now Vic is working for her, BFFs with Rebecca and bending over backwards to please them with no explanation. It’s as if the whole (boring) Whites vs Sugdens plot never happened! Andy who? Then there’s the continuing problem with Lachlan, a character still defined by the fact his history of sexual assault was wiped from the history books rather than him having any sort of redemption. Sorry, but whether they were friends or not, whether he rescued Alfie the dog, I still find it hard to believe that Belle would ever talk to him let alone kiss him. In this middle ground, where their rivalries and devious pasts are forgiven and forgotten with no explanation, the Whites just don’t work as well as they should. Make them hated, make them powerful but stop with this wishy-washy middle ground.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Rhona confided in Vanessa this week in outstanding scenes and the teen gang plot remained uninteresting.

Faves

Avoiding the Predictable

Emmerdale May 10 - YouTubeRhona’s story returned this week as she came back from her holiday with Leo and thankfully Pierce wasn’t anywhere to be seen. After Emmerdale’s fantastic and emotional portrayal of Rhona’s bravery in the aftermath of her rape I was concerned they might be tempted of going down a very soapy route of having her forgive him, or cope by being in denial over the attack and make her friends increasingly oblivious as Pierce continued to abuse her. After all he was very manipulative after the attack and warning her she had no chance in winning a trial against him. You could see how he’d chipped away at her and I worried that he might have destroyed all her resilience. But so far, and to my relief, this doesn’t seem to be the route they are taking this story. Rhona is being brave and strong, trying to cope with this alone despite the fear and the shame affecting her deeply. Even though she has returned to taking painkillers, Vanessa’s support is hugely important and I’m glad Emmerdale haven’t gone down a cliched route of her keeping quiet – right now this is not about any further evil deeds Pierce can do, this is about Rhona and the long-term impact his behaviour the rape has had on her.

Friendship

w56rvI got a reminder this week about how the long-term friendships on Emmerdale are something I love watching. There was a return to the Victoria and Finn friendship, that we haven’t seen in forever, one which feels far more heartfelt than the other pals the two of them have made. The actors have a nice chemistry and if Vic’s going to stay single for a bit then I hope we can return to having more scenes of these two together. And of course the biggest friendship factor this week was “Team Rhona”. Paddy, Marlon and Vanessa were all worried on her return and while they all took different and cautious approaches as the week went on, it was Vanessa who eventually got through to Rhona and allowed her to open up fully. The scenes following Rhona’s confession were beautifully acted and written with Vanessa saying all the things Rhona, and every other woman suffering in the same way, needed to and should hear. I was moved to tears as Vanessa offered to be there for talks or even a cuddle and her strong response to Rhona’s relapse was another fantastic moment in this story. Emmerdale characters and stories work best when they have a network of loved ones around them – family, spouses but also friends – and I hope we continue to see these believable friendships in all the on-going stories.

The Little Things

w56cTwo little moments in the week struck me as the perfect example of how well Emmerdale can squeeze in some great comedy. Take the tragic passing of Lydia’s cockatoo Steve and how this affected her interview up at Home Farm. Not only was the anecdote of his death as bonkers as Lydia herself, but the next day a spot of confusion had Chrissie assume Steve was Lydia’s dead friend rather than a bird. We don’t often get to see Chrissie in humorous scenes but her reaction to Steve being stuffed really tickled me and made me wish for more scenes where we get to see Chrissie as a bit more human rather than stuck with the White contingent. Then there was Sandy, technophobe and only two clicks away from a dodgy video. Laurel had to quickly cover Arthur’s eyes and then uncover them so he could get rid of the offending porn video. It was a throwaway scene but one with such warmth, humour and one that was very welcome after all the sadness in the Thomas’s household.

Fails

Underwhelming

Emmerdale - Adam Has Broken Victoria's Heart for the Last Time - YouTubeAdam and Victoria broke up (for good?) this week and after their previous “split” a few weeks ago, which while convoluted had some great performances, this week’s developments just felt underwhelming. Adam was in full on Neanderthal mode, blaming everyone but himself for kissing Vanessa– including his own mother – and these sorts of situations never put him in the best light. Vic took a hard line on the cheating (although it’s not been all that long since she forgave him worse) but it’s hard to know whether her resistance to forgiving him will last, particularly seeing as Emmerdale’s commitment to exploring Adam and Victoria’s relationship (good or bad) seems half-hearted at best. But perhaps the impact of this storyline has been significantly lessened by the oversaturation of cheating/mistake-kiss plots in the recent year. I’m SO tired of it and it doesn’t seem to be ending any time soon. Surely even the scriptwriters are bored writing the same apology and forgiveness scenes for their couples?

Teenage Terror

Emmerdale - The Robbers Return to Intimidate Eric - YouTubeWho wouldn’t be scared by a gang of teenage thugs, ones who use threats, intimidation, theft and knives to terrify their victims? Dan suffered that very ordeal this week and was faced with the dilemma of whether to go through with identifying them to police or not, a dilemma which was particularly troublesome when their threats included hurting his daughter, Amelia. Despite this, teenage gangs never really translate well on screen and while hypothetically I can believe these characters would be intimidated, there just doesn’t feel like there’s any real threat when we watch it on screen. Stories of intimidation and insecurity are ones which need a slow-burn build up to feel real, but these Waterloo Road rejects throwing a sandwich and circling round Kerry doesn’t really cut it. Unfortunately that hasn’t helped to served Dan’s repetitive story and it’s not keeping my interest.

Fave or Fail? (1-5 May 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Not the most exciting week of storylines in the Dales, but it wasn’t a quiet one for Moira, as she gave Charity a Glasgow Kiss.

Faves

Emmerdale Farm

Emmerdale - Who Did Moira Shoot - YouTubeOne of the many things I love about Emmerdale is its USP – its gorgeous rural setting. But in recent years storylines have moved away from the country life and the farming profession. While stories about stolen cows aren’t the most exciting thing to ever happen in the Dales it made a nice change for there to be some actual farming plots in Emmerdale this week. Who can resist an overall clad, gun-toting Moira, or Charity chasing lambs and threatening them with mint sauce. Granted, more of stroppy Ross isn’t exactly my favourite thing, but pairing him up with Charity gave a nice excuse to revisit their sparky chemistry and I’m always happy to see these two plotting and sniping. Then there was Leyla, reluctant in the fields but making a hilarious distraction as a damsel in distress and a very welcome addition to gruff Barton rivalry. Not a favourite story by any means, but I’m always happy to see more on the farm.

Extra Laughs

w55deIt wasn’t the most thrilling week of Emmerdale, I’ve got to be honest. Most of the big stories seem to be on pause (that is unless you count the Jai and Megan custody battle as a big story!) but still, this week has been a step away from the more dark and hard-hitting plots. One thing that certainly injected life into this week’s episodes were the continued inclusion of Lydia, and the appearance of other zany guests like David’s derriere devotees at the book launch. The off-the-wall and exaggerated humour might not be for everyone, and it certainly works best in small doses, but these guest characters and their ability to rub our regulars up the wrong way works a treat. Take for example, leather clad Scotty B who kept calling David “Dave” or Voltaire quoting Lydia who takes five sugars in her tea. Their eccentricities make for a few good laughs and for me they’re a welcome slice of humour between the drama.

Never Too Young for Trouble

w55nsMost of the year it seems like Noah and Samson are kept in cupboards, steering clear of any major drama despite being part of the Dingles. Friday’s episode saw them have a little subplot of their own as Noah convinced Samson to steal from an unsuspecting Sam. There was something really enjoyable about these scenes with these rarely seen boys, Noah talking openly about how he uses Charity’s credit card and Samson feeling guilty. His and Sam’s relationship has been seen more lately as Sam tried to prove himself as a cool dad, much to Samson’s continued embarrassment but it’s been a nice change to see a little more of them. Once again Emmerdale proves it has the best young cast and I’m sure it won’t be long until they’re causing more havoc like the Dingles do best.

Fails

Never-ending Story

w55dtWould you believe me if I told you Tracy’s erotic novel saga has been running for three months? Three months! What started as a fun and frivolous story involving the ladies of the village and the brilliant Pearl and her saucy suggestions has now become a never-ending story for David and Tracy. The comedy in the plot has almost all but dried up and now all it does is highlight the things about the couple that are repetitive and unlikeable. Tracy looking stupid or being laughed at by others, moaning at David for not believing in her and then having moments of no self-belief. And David, one minute the proud and supportive husband and next belittling Tracy and holding her back. The erotic book plot should have lasted a few weeks or moved at a quicker pace, but now it’s dragged on for three months and has been reduced to a humourless vehicle for David and Tracy at their worse. Can we have new material please, not a sequel?

On Repeat

Emmerdale - Robbers Beat Up Eric With a Baseball Bat - YouTubeIt’s not just the sluggish David and Tracy book plot which had a repetitive nature this week, as a number of stories seemed to tread familiar and stale ground. Last week I berated Megan’s storyline for being boring and it didn’t get better this week as her and Jai went head to head over Eliza’s custody. Debbie and Charity fell out for the six hundredth time when Charity schemed with Ross for extra cash (pot kettle Debs) causing Charity and Moira to clash again. Dan’s paramedic tales came to the forefront again as he stepped in to help Eric after a moment of fear held him back from helping, but will this end up going nowhere once more? Cain and Harriet’s fling was discovered which was a good thing considering their scenes have consisted of being cock-blocked by Emma and vestry snogs for weeks and Emma’s treading water, clinging to Bible verses as another Barton war wages. She needs to step it up a gear! For all these stories and characters an injection of something new or unexpected is needed to liven things up a bit!

Fave or Fail? (24-28 April 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Rhona faced the horror of true colours and love sort of blossomed between Sam and quirky Lydia.

Powerful and Important

Emmerdale - Pierce Attacks Rhona - YouTubeWhen Pierce and Rhona’s relationship began last year, there were early warning signs that underneath their whirlwind romance Pierce had a much darker and controlling side. This week Rhona discovered the truth about him in the most horrific way when he raped her on their wedding day and was completely remorseless about his behaviour. This has been a slow burn, multi-layered storyline about how a charming professional man like Pierce can slowly destroy a woman’s life, leaving her vulnerable and victim to intense and horrifying behaviour and unable to speak out; how a woman like Rhona, independent and strong, can be ground down by the increasing coercive control of a man like Pierce. This storyline is an important one to tell and one Emmerdale has handled perfectly – from Rhona’s strength to take herself to the police station, to the procedure that followed and the subtle and poignant moments like Rhona going into protection mode when it came to her son. Rhona’s story is another story Emmerdale should be commended for – one with truth and poignancy that many will relate to and also an eye-opener for those ignorant to these types of abusive martial relationships. A worthy story and one which demands justice.

Outstanding Performances

vlcsnap-2017-04-30-17h37m03s263There were several moments in this week’s episodes where it was difficult to breathe. The scenes surrounding Rhona’s rape storyline were compulsive viewing – chilling, sickening, suffocating – held together by gripping and believable performances from Zoe Henry and Jonathan Wrather. Jonathan has always been great at walking Pierce’s fine line between charm and twisted manipulation and as his viciousness escalated this week, the scenes where he persuaded Rhona she’d have no chance in proving his guilt as a rapist were effective in their stomach-knotting horror. Zoe Henry has been consistently excellent in all her big storylines and this one has given her an even bigger chance to shine. We’re seeing this through Rhona’s eyes, a character we’ve loved and lived with for so long and been desperate for her to see Pierce’s true colours. Zoe played Rhona’s vulnerability in a heartbreaking and quiet way, but also the complexities in her situation as she deliberated over revealing Pierce’s role and her resistance to being looked at as a victim. As with so many of Emmerdale’s actors, they consistently give it their all and that makes these difficult subjects worth tackling when they do it with such heart and conviction.

Loves Young Dream

vlcsnap-2017-04-30-17h36m07s057Kooky guest character Lydia is by far one of my favourite things about Emmerdale right now. She’s the right side of barmy and quirky, with her beloved pet Steve and her general oddness – she makes for great comic relief in this dark time in the village. This week she saw an opportunity for work in the Sharma’s factory (and every interaction was a dream) and then in her mission to date every eligible man in Emmerdale, Lydia went on a date with Sam. They were a weird match and Sam’s nerves made for one of the most awkward first dates I’ve ever seen, but Lydia seemed quite taken by Sam’s unusual charm and bird noises. Sadly by the end of the week Sam made his excuses not to date her and she hid her disappointment by conceding he was right to back off as she didn’t have time to date, but these two are a match made in heaven, surely?

Fails

Wasted Potential

Emmerdale - Megan Will Pay for Neglecting Her Daughter - YouTubeThere are a number of characters, portrayed by great actors, who are really given a raw deal when it comes to storylines and one of those who always springs to mind is Megan. Gaynor Faye is an impressive actress but she’s been wasted in Emmerdale for ages. Right now she’s in a rather flat relationship with dull Frank and her previous relationship with Jai didn’t exactly set the world alight either. This week a lapse in concentration came at a cost as she totally forgot about Eliza and left her in the back of the car. Luckily for her, Nell (Holly’s dubious and dodgy doppelganger) rescued the little one and kept her safe, but it was only during her daughter’s disappearance that Megan found out about Nell’s history and began to panic. Even when Eliza turned up safe, Jai and Megan exchanged heated words and it looks like a custody battle is on the horizon. Treading very similar water to the Jai vs Megan situation in 2015, this already feels like old and worn ground. There wasn’t really any jeopardy with this not-quite-kidnap-nor-neglect storyline and I can’t help but think Megan deserves a much meatier storyline, rather than this snore.

Repetitive Mess

vlcsnap-2017-04-30-17h37m30s882I was already feeling a bit jaded by the rushed Vic and Adam storyline last week, trying to find some sense in their baby dramas through the gaping plot holes that appeared, but luckily their emotive break up was at least full of great performances. This week though took a bit of a nosedive as the pair had an immature public spat and break up, complete with games console smashing so similar to a previous break up that it almost seemed played for laughs. Not only did this bust up feel like it belonged to a teenage couple rather than adults who’d been married for nearly two years, but Adam’s ill advised pass at Vanessa was another yawnsome moment of history repeating itself. And yes, another stupid cheating/mistake plot that’s bound to blow up in spectacular fashion. Really? Another one? And with their relationship seemingly so easy to repair the next day, this relationship breakdown has all been an unsatisfying mess.

Fave or Fail? (17-21 April 2017)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Vadam implode, we saw Pierce continue his twisted control over Rhona.

Faves

Sibling Love

w54agWe’re used to sibling rivalry in Emmerdale. Sisters that hate each other and throw slaps, brothers who try and kill each other. So what a joy it is to have the lovely Arthur and Gabby relationship to showcase something touching among a grieving family and prove that siblings can love each other and get along. Poor Arthur was upset at the thought of losing his big sis Gabby to Australia and worried she wouldn’t come back and so tried to block out his pain in that classic kid combination of sulking and avoidance. But Gabby soon broke through his act and gave him her teddy Widget to look after and the pair had a heartwarming heart-to-heart. Honestly, it was like allergy season and my eyes were definitely leaking. The sadness and doubts soon turned into smiles as Arthur gave Gabby his best advice for dealing with sharks and they gave each other a goodbye hug. We’re so lucky to have these brilliant young actors and here’s hoping that when Gabby returns we’ll get to see more of these wonderful family moments.

Building the Mystery

Emmerdale - Who Keeps Calling Pierce - YouTubeAs the build up to Rhona and Pierce’s wedding edges nearer, so does the intensity of his manipulation and darkness. Vanessa fell into a familiar pattern of meddling this week (just after she’d begun repairing her friendship with Rhoan, d’oh!) as she managed to get Pierce’s mother, Martha into the village. Since meeting Pierce last year we’ve actually learnt very little about him, and most of it comes from his own mouth which we know can be deceptive at best. We knew from his late wife Tess that their marriage wasn’t a happy one, but this week there was a big dollop of intrigue when it came to Pierce’s past and we were left pondering. Just how much did friend Gavin know and why was he okay to pop up to manipulate Rhona into moving? Just what was Martha like as a mother? And if everything Pierce has revealed about his childhood is a warped story, then what was his past really like? And what about Pierce’s previous behaviour does she know, was Tess just as much of a victim as Rhona? The mystery surrounding Pierce is an interesting one. He’s slippery, good at putting on a performance and twisting situations to his advantage and all of this in a subtle, underhand way. There are layers of darkness we’ve only scratched the surface of and if you’ve seen any of the press surrounding next week’s episodes, this seems to be only the beginning of his monstrous behaviour.

Crash and Burn

w54adI’ve got to say I don’t like this Adam and Victoria story AT ALL but the reason it makes my Faves list is simply down to the performances from Adam Thomas and Isabel Hodgins. Adam and Vic might be on a collision course to destruction in record time but the actors have given the big emotional and challenging scenes their all, even as the plot creaks around them. Though rarely used, when we have seen Adam and Vic they’ve been strong, supportive and really loved up. They’ve been believable as a couple and out of everyone in Emmerdale, they’d be the ones you could imagine staying together for years to come, deserving of happiness and their own big brood. If the rumours are true and Adam is on his way out, something which seems ever more like the way this story is being hurtled through, then it’s a real shame. We’ve seen everything from Adam this week – the bravado and his nastiness, the comedic and the flirty, and the pain in his vulnerability. But both actors have shown they are great at the gritty stuff and getting more accomplished as the years have gone on, so why are we only seeing them get a big story now and why so clunky and rushed?

Fails

Same Old Stories

w54dtI’ll pin my colours to the mast right now and out myself as a huge Pearl fan, but ever since she was dropped from the sexy book plot, it’s lost a certain something. It’s no longer a best seller, no longer cheeky and fun, but at the bottom of the slush pile. I’ve flip-flopped when it comes to David and Tracy. They have their moments but they seem to be stuck in a rut of repetitive sitcom-style storylines which aren’t doing their relationship any favours. Tracy is dumbed down to squeeze out a forced (un)funny line, even if it stretches believability (sure, of course she has no idea who JK Rowling is or that it’s a novella not Nutella) but then is seen cleverly turning the tables on David to teach him a lesson. Tracy seems to have no belief in herself and yet David’s attempts to boost her always have the opposite effect and he comes across as patronising and insensitive. We’ve seen this story with them before and it’s getting tiresome, particularly when both actors can do more than silliness behind a shop counter.

Plot By Numbers

Emmerdale - Adam Says There's No Point in Trying for Kids - YouTubeMore of a general moan rather than plot specific, but a disappointing element to a few of the stories this week was how the plots seemed to be formulaic and rushed, following a dot-to-dot pattern. We have Cain and Harriet’s affair (a tepid stepping stone on the path back to Coira, surely?) which seems to be following an illicit liaison formula but lacking any real spark or originality – there’s push and pull, playing hard to get, sex in the garage – but even the on-the-nose dialogue about a vicar hooking up with the “local gangster” makes this ying and yang affair a bit too knowing and try-hard for me. Then there’s Vic and Adam’s struggles to find a solution to this baby making, with adoption and unconventional family set ups rejected despite the fact Vic’s brother is adopted and Adam was raised by a man who wasn’t his bio-dad. It just doesn’t ring true. Plus the fact that in the space of three days the whole thing exploded, ending a seemingly happy and secure marriage, when six months ago, babies weren’t even on the table. Not to mention Vanessa was rolled out to give Adam a supportive ear when they’ve barely spoken since the Johnny plot and all in time for him making a move next week. If these stories had been slowed down a little – if we’d had time to see Cain and Harriet’s sparking interactions play out for longer before giving in; if Vic and Adam’s fertility struggles had been developed over months rather than days, then these stories might have been stronger for it.