Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2016

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Emmerdale had an INCREDIBLE 2016 winning awards left right and centre, but it can’t be flawless all the time. Later I’ll be continuing my countdown of the Top 20 Best Moments of the year, but here’s a brief look at the worst bits of Emmerdale in 2016.

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6. David’s never ending proposals

David and Tracy’s relationship had a really tender beginning and I was fully on board, but when David rushed into proposing and Tracy eventually said no, he wasn’t going to let that be her answer. What followed was months of David trying to wear her down and bulldoze over her feelings by proposing in increasingly outlandish ways. Perhaps the intention was to be seen as funny and sweet but instead David just seemed like a bit of a creep, without respecting that Tracy thought it was too soon. By the time they finally got married, I was sort of beyond the point of caring and David hadn’t just worn me down, he’d made me reach the point of irritation.

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5. Jermaine and Belle’s affair

Ugh. That’s Jermaine and Belle’s affair summarised in one word. It wasn’t just due to the icky age gap and his professional status as a doctor, but the way this plot went on and on. Their sudden uncontrollable passion for each other never felt very believable and when the affair came out, Dr Bailey was quick to let Belle take the fall and say it was all in her head. Bastard! Unfortunately that wasn’t the end, as Belle tried to hang onto him by claiming to be pregnant and what followed was a harrowing breakdown plot for Belle as she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. While Eden Taylor Draper’s performances were great, Belle’s visions of “Ellie” were just way too similar to last year’s story when Belle heard Gemma’s voice. Again we faced the oblivious Dingles and repetitive moments of Belle reacting to the voices and hiding this from everyone, which overshadowed the sensitive issues of the plot. Jermaine did stand by her and became more fun working behind the bar, but thankfully they’ve broken up now and we might get something different from Belle in the future.

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4. Kerry’s spiralling out of control

There’s been a noticeable shift in Kerry Wyatt this year and her goofy and loud comedy has been overtaken by a selfish nastiness, which has got worse in recent months since her relationship with Dan ended. Ever since Kerry sided with Joanie against the lovely Lisa, we’ve seen a colder and less loveable character meaning that when she is funnier, it doesn’t always have the right tone. Kerry can be sympathetic and she has had a rough time of it but her attitudes and behaviour in the workplace and towards others haven’t been a pleasure to watch. Instead of wanting to rescue Kerry from her bad decisions, there’s a greater feeling of wanting her to snap out of it and just stop this immature behaviour!

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3. The Whites vs everyone and each other

I have a very difficult relationship with the White family. I enjoyed Chrissie in camp bitch mode, I enjoyed Lawrence’s tragic backstory and I think Thomas Atkinson is a good performer, but as a family unit they’re still such a muddle with their motivations being unreadable or all over the place. Their position as antagonists in the village works to an extent but seems to go round in circles when it’s clear they will never be defeated. Watching the Whites vs the Sugdens is still as tedious as it was from the beginning when it looks obvious Andy won’t return and Lachlan won’t go down for Lawrence’s shooting. Lachlan as a character doesn’t work, since the lack of remorse and no real resolution to the sexual assault storyline makes his existence in the show uncomfortable and irredeemable; the Whites’ lack of any real connections in the village two years on from their arrival mean their interactions are limited and repetitive and often we’re left in an endless cycle of the same disputes, including the ones with each other.

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2. Rakesh’s money woes

Sorry Rakesh fans, but he has got to be the biggest soap bore of 2016. Okay, he might have had an eventful summer committing arson and insurance fraud in a bid to dig himself out of debt but that hasn’t made him any more interesting. Money plots rarely work on screen and watching Rakesh sweat as he lost it all just wasn’t dramatic or even emotional. Emmerdale even tried to go down the tragic backstory route but there’s just no intrigue or empathy to be found in Rakesh. He lacks any sort of charisma, he’s a dead weight around Priya’s neck and he’s dominated the show far too much this year. Now with Kirin gone there feels like even less of a purpose to him and I wouldn’t miss him if he had to leave the village forever.

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1. Cheating plots

If I could change two things from Emmerdale 2016, one would be less misogynistic writing (be it the way some female characters are written, how some female characters interact with each other or how men treat them without consequence) and two would be to cut down on the cheap cheating plots. Sure, cheating has been a soap trope since forever but this year has seen an unnecessary amount of “shock” kiss scenes used as a fast device for conflict and drama. Don’t believe me? Here’s a quick (and probably incomplete) list: Moira/Pete, Nicola/Dan, Chrissie/Rakesh, Moira/James, Kerry/Ross, Rebecca/Robert, Bernice/Jimmy, Lisa/Zak, Laurel attempting to kiss Marlon, Holly attempting to kiss Cain, Ross attempting to kiss Victoria… Not only is it repetitive and lazy it’s a miserable viewing experience when you can’t rely on any stability between your favourite soap couples. We expect drama and conflict in relationships but with so many of the Emmerdale couples in tatters, don’t keep ruining every other couple with these endless cheating plot devices!

Fave or Fail? (5-9 Dec 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! The heart-wrenching portrayal of Ashley’s dementia is balanced by big laughs in a good week of Emmerdale!

Faves

Hard Hitting

emmerdale-ashley-smacks-laurels-lip-open-youtubeIt’s impossible not to be floored by John Middleton’s impressive performances as Ashley sinks into further decline. He delivers the complexities and heartbreak of dementia so well, it’s completely crushing to watch Ashley’s drifting from childlike fixations about attending daycare, to confusions, to flashes of the man we know and love so well. The slow build-up of this story and the pressure of Ashley’s deterioration on his family is already giving us painful snapshots of how bad it’s going to get as we inch closer to his death. You can’t help but wonder what impact this will have on Laurel and her alcoholism, on Sandy, and the devastation this will have on Ashley’s children. From the chaos and confusion of the hospital scenes to Ashley having a near miss in the road, causing Diane to do an emergency stop, this is a difficult watch but an important one too. Fingers crossed that come awards season John, Charlotte Bellamy and the Emmerdale team will be honoured for this emotional and powerful story portraying an illness which affects the lives of so many.

Christmas Lights

vlcsnap-2016-12-10-22h17m09s589Emmerdale made me feel extra Christmassy this week as the village light switch on happened. It was quite a low-key affair and I wish there’d been more made of it and more villagers involved because I liked what community feel it did have. The scenes where Eric and Tracy wished each other a Happy Christmas and mused that the magic of Christmas and the light spectacle was exactly what Val would have wanted was a really heart-warming touch, especially when you consider what a bad place Eric was in last year after Val’s death. Still, even with its bright Christmas deccys, the village really does miss her outlandish sparkle!

Kissing Kasim

emmerdale-finn-and-kasim-kiss-youtubeFrom coma patient to dream boyfriend, it would be easy to fall for Kasim Sabet and Finn’s certainly found that out this week. You go get him, Finn! There was the slight issue of Finn lying to Kasim and hanging around his hospital bed when he was unconscious but that didn’t seem to put him off too much and Kasim was happily back to his flirting best. I mean, it was slightly weird, but hey Kasim seems to like Finn despite his quirks. It’s about bloody time Finn had someone to put a smile on his face, but knowing Finn’s luck I can’t help but feel there’s something just too perfect about Kasim and their relationship and that it won’t be long before something comes between them, but for now they have chemistry and make a cute couple.

Big Laughs

vlcsnap-2016-12-11-09h22m54s751When Emmerdale does comedy, it either falls cartoonishly flat (see: Nicola sticking a clown wig on Jimmy’s head) or they pitch it perfectly. Luckily, we had a lot of the latter this week. From Brenda wrestling with a blow-up Santa and having it fall on top of her, to Cain’s lack of goodbye handshake, Charity and Chas’s double act, to Finn’s general awkwardness, Emma quoting Madonna instead of the Bible – there was a lot to balance the darker sides of the soap. One of the many comedy highlights this week was Chas and Paddy’s mishaps – first the cringey present switch and hilarious dialogue preceding the mistaken present reveal – then their playful scenes in the vets’ surgery after Rhona had set them up. I can’t say I want Chas and Paddy reunited in love, but in laughs they’re a great pair.

Fail

Under Pressure

emmerdale-jermaine-storms-out-after-belle-backs-out-on-america-youtubeIt was difficult decision time for Belle Dingle this week as she faced an uncertain future. With disgraced Doc Jermaine ready to pack up for a State-side job, Belle was excited about a new life in America, however that also meant giving up her recent college opportunities and the security of the home and family she’d always known. It’s a difficult one. Belle’s only seventeen and has struggled severely with her mental health, particularly in the last few months, but independence and a change of scenery might have given her some great opportunities. However, she’s fragile and would be a long way from home with a man much older than her. Belle was torn between the two sides – The Dingles vs Jermaine. I grew to like Jermaine and he was fun working behind the bar but the Jermaine and Belle relationship had a seedy and uncomfortable beginning which it could never really recover from and you couldn’t see it lasting. And the Dingles did have a point in wanting her to stay and have a bit of security, but the underhand tactics and reverse psychology did seem selfish and made the whole thing feel uncomfortable. Ultimately Belle’s decision wasn’t really her own and it didn’t feel like either side had her interests at heart. Let’s face it, her family should have known better than to treat her life like a big game. The Dingles’ big and bold nature often means they come across as smothering, but let’s get real – when you’re in a soap, unless your contract’s up you won’t be straying too far from the village and your family anyway!

 

Fave or Fail? (12 – 16 Sep 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! A good week where we had a proper introduction to Frank and learnt about what gives Ross Barton nightmares!

Faves

Talking Frank

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h12m38s514He’s the new, smooth and charming silver fox in Emmerdale and I think I’m in love. It seems very clear there’s a lot more to Tracy and Vanessa’s dad Frank than meets the eye – he’s definitely going to get up to some very bad things, but right now he’s got charisma by the bucketload. Frank’s already won over one of his daughters and has got Charity swooning (Frank and Charity would be an incredible partnership btw) but we saw a glimpse of his darker side too. Frank’s immediately intriguing and his well-spoken manner is a great guise for concealing his true nature and schmoozing everyone onto his side. So far Frank seems like a great addition to Emmerdale and I’m really excited to see what impact he’s going to have long term.

French Fancy

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h11m36s888In times of break ups and shake ups when it comes to Emmerdale’s couples, it made a nice change to see a romantic pairing who isn’t going through a rough patch and watch them indulge in a little bit of light-hearted flirting. Before Aaron headed to France on a slightly random bit of scrap trade training (is that a thing?) he made time to tease Robert about his age and have a smooch in the hallway. Everyone knows Robron have earned one hell of a fanbase since their affair almost two years ago, but the chemistry between the actors still burns strong now that they’re more settled. We’re used to seeing Aaron and Robert in relentless emotional drama or cooking up revenge plots, so it was a welcome bit of levity to see them happy together, even with Aaron’s dubious command of the language of love.

Clowning Around

vlcsnap-2016-09-18-14h12m07s921We learnt something new about local hard-man Ross Barton this week – he’s terrified of clowns. It was such a small joke within the week’s episodes but so fantastically played by Mike Parr that I had to add it to my favourite moments of the week. Ross could barely look at the clown-come-stripper, flinching and using a beer mat to hide him from view. He was even less amused when Dan decided to scare him the next day by jumping out in a clown mask. So that’s clowns and needles now – I wonder what else Ross is afraid of? When they don’t overplay Ross’s comedy, he’s a really entertaining character and it’s far more enjoyable to see his light and shade like this, reluctantly stuck between Kerry and Dan’s issues, than the way the spent most of last year pining for Debbie and having aggro with Pete.

Paddy’s Bad Week

616-aaron-amp-robert-15th-september-2016-part-3-of-3-robert-only-youtubeI’m reluctant to completely commit to the idea of “poor Paddy” considering he was the one to cheat on Rhona and leave her heartbroken but Paddy seemed to be prime target for bad luck this week. He walked in on Vanessa slagging him off, he didn’t feel especially welcome staying with a loved up Carly and Marlon, he got splattered in muck and he got sprayed with a hose. By the end of the week, having staged a sit-in at his old home and feeling homeless and sorry for himself, he seemed to have a moment of realisation that he’d majorly effed up his life (about time too). But the enjoyment of these scenes have mainly been because it feels like we have the old Paddy back. I think we were all fed up with him during his affair but to see him as the hapless, soft-hearted klutz again is exactly what we’d been missing and as long as he doesn’t keep up his misjudged plot to “win” Rhona back, then I’m happy to have the old Paddy back again.

Fail

Beg Borrow Steal

614-aaron-amp-robert-15th-september-2016-part-1-of-3-robert-only-youtubeLisa was on a mad mission to keep Belle up north this week as the hospital wanted to move her to a specialist mental health ward in Surrey. Surrey! Not Surrey! From the way the Dingles reacted you’d have thought the hospital was in Sydney, and while Lisa’s reluctance to keep Belle close was because of greater fears about losing her daughter for good the Dingles’ reactions seemed completely OTT. Lisa’s anguish seemed even more pointless considering by the end of the week she had resolved that Surrey was the right place for Belle and she could still visit her, perhaps proving that the plot’s real purpose was to bond Lisa and Zak closer, to integrate Liv into the family and to let Lisa joyride! Unfortunately, Lisa’s short sighted stubbornness dominated the week’s plots and was grating when her heartbreak had been so poignant previously. And even though the Dingles aren’t always everyone’s friends in the village, it makes you wonder why they didn’t try doing a fundraiser or tapping some of their richer pals, rather than hoping the selfish Whites might help!

Fave or Fail? (15-19 August 2016)

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Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Another great week in Emmerdale which saw Andy go on the run as Chrissie’s revenge stepped up a gear.

Faves

Andy’s Exit

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h56m02s505We lost an Emmerdale stalwart this week – Andy Sugden – and I’m really sorry to see him go. Despite his long tenure on the show, his exit has left the door open (#Justice4Andy) and hopefully he might make a triumphant return one day even if it’s just to call into The Woolpack for a pint. His surprising exit storyline might not have been perfect, perhaps rushed in parts, but his prison escape and plans to run were thrilling and emotional – exactly what a good exit should be. While some have raised an eyebrow at Andy’s yo-yoing affections when it comes to the women in his life, I loved the mutual pining and unlikely, awkwardly-timed pairing that he and Bernice made, so I was glad she played a significant role right to the end. Andy and Bernice have always had an enjoyable chemistry and spark and while we all knew it wouldn’t work in the end, there’s always that desire and ‘what-if’ feeling that somehow, at some point it could (and should?). Basically, I’m a sucker for a tragic love story and Andy’s exit ticked that box for me, especially as Bernice is just one of those characters you really hope will find the happiness she deserves. With Andy leaving to the sound of Snow Patrol’s Run, it tugged at the heart strings and I hope we get to see him back in the dales one day, probably making more questionable choices in his love life.

So Far Gone Girl

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h58m23s957At this rate, Chrissie’s camp villain routine is going to be on my Faves list every week but once again she proved herself to be such an enjoyable character to watch. Yes, she may have fallen off the sanity bus but watching her go full on Amy Dunne, Gone Girl style, to ruin Andy’s life was a great moment of shock. Picking up straight from where Friday’s episode left us, Chrissie didn’t let Andy go quietly and slashed her own wrist before an Oscar worthy performance that left everyone wondering how Andy could behave like this. Chrissie has almost everyone fooled with her saintly routine in front of Andy’s family and seeing her duplicitous act is as fun as it is frustrating. She just suits it – the elegantly evil glide down the stairs with a glass of champagne in her hand and the acts of deception. It’s perfect. You might be against her behaviour but she sure is someone you love to hate. It’s exciting to find out just how far she’s going to go next.

Brotherly Love

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-19h22m15s008He might not have been grateful to begin with but having his brother Robert show up, knight in shining armour style with his vintage motor and sarcasm a plenty, was exactly what Andy needed to rescue him. The banter between the two brothers was on fine form with too many great lines to quote here but after the laughs, their sad goodbye was enough to melt the coldest of hearts. There’s just something really genuine and watchable about their sibling relationship which gave Andy’s escape attempt and quest for truth heart and grounding. Robert’s mission to clear Andy’s name started as a bit of a gloating pisstake (in the smug way only Robert can pull off and still be infuriatingly charming) but now he’s lost a significant loved one this has become his own vendetta of revenge and justice against the Whites. And what’s better than Robert Sugden on a mission? Nothing.

Rooting for You

Emmerdale - Carly And Marlon Tells Each Other How They Really Feel And Kiss - YouTubeWhen Emmerdale does a good romance they do it well and there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching two unlikely characters fall for each other. Carly and Marlon seem to have what it takes to be a great couple – a spark, a good sense of fun and a shared understanding of tragedy. We’ve seen the two of them miscommunicate and pine for each other which is a winning combination to make the audience root for them together and this week saw more mixed messages until finally all it took was groin strain, a frozen lasagne and a bit of honesty before they were kissing and getting serious. After the weird direction Tracy and David have taken it’ll be nice to have another cute, warm and silly couple on screen, especially as with April around they already have a ready-made family. I’m looking forward to see how their romance progresses now that they’ve both owned up to their feelings.

Fail

Familiar Ground

vlcsnap-2016-08-20-17h52m56s216Rather than singling out a particular moment or story as my solitary fail in a strong week of Emmerdale, it’s more of a general moan about repetitive storylines. I’ve already expressed my irritation at David’s persistent proposals (and yes, that’s still happening) but this week saw two of the weaker plots fall into old territory. First there’s Belle’s storyline which although has progressed now that she’s run away after her baby lies were exposed, still gives us the tiresome scenes of ‘Ellie’ talking to her and Belle’s illness getting worse and then going unnoticed by her partner and family. We saw similar scenes when she heard Gemma’s voice (to the obliviousness of her family) and it just feels like this is a rehash of old episodes with a few more twists. Was it even that good last year to warrant it being revisited? I don’t think so. Then there’s Charity trying to relive her greatest hits with Cain in the hopes of luring him back to her – again, something we’ve seen before many times. If Emmerdale are determined to try and regain some of that Cain and Charity spark and give Coira’s marriage a rest, then can’t they find something new for Chain to do than schemes and hijinks they were doing years ago? It’s like a dodgy cover version of your favourite song. Can’t Charity just forget the camp wigs and try a bit of sincerity?

Fave or Fail? (1-5 August 2016)

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! Emotions ran high and families broke down in this week’s episodes and Coira’s marriage didn’t make it out alive.

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 Faves

Shifting Sympathies

-106  Adam  amp; Victoria 2nd August 2016 Part 3 of 3 - YouTubeThis week has been all about messy relationships and high emotions. I can’t say I enjoyed watching Gabby’s cruel behaviour, Coira’s marriage breakdown (including a rather smug and devious Charity) or Nicola’s confusing emotions which led her to kissing Dan, but good drama doesn’t necessarily mean likable actions. Feelings and relationships are far more complex than good and bad. The truth behind Holly’s addiction and Moira’s HIV lead to some intense scenes at Butlers as Moira’s loyalties were split between her loved ones. Ashley too had to make tough decisions when it came to Gabby’s behaviour and Nicola struggled with losing her identity as an independent and headstrong woman. What I like about these stories is not just the solid performances but the shifting sympathies. These are not stories of cartoon villains or motiveless behaviour done just to stir up trouble, these are stories simmering with underlying tensions and deep emotional consequences.

Pure of Heart

-106  Adam  amp; Victoria 2nd August 2016 Part 3 of 3 - YouTube (1)As Emmerdale marriages implode around us, thank god for Adam and Victoria Barton whose marriage is full of honesty, trust and respect. Having come through her ordeal last week, Vic was confronted with the realisation that losing her business and confidence was a result of Holly’s addiction. Not wanting to tear apart his family, Victoria kept the secret from her husband and then later decided she was going to get her life back on track. She wasn’t always this good natured and we were reminded of the parallels between her and Gabby’s behaviour when Victoria dealt with the police following Gabby’s break-in and she told the teen to stop being a diva, adding that she would have to pay for the damages. Victoria is as kind-hearted and forgiving as you get in Emmerdale and she doesn’t get nearly enough screen time – being nice is underrated!

Changing Opinion?

vlcsnap-2016-08-06-22h22m26s656Is it my imagination or is Jermaine Bailey becoming a much more fun character when he’s away from Belle? He’s been temping in the pub now for a while and it’s surprising how entertaining his and Charity’s interactions have been. He’s not so smart on the uptake of her snark and schemes and his out-of-place awkwardness pulling pints (instead of pulling patients) seems to work quite well. Here’s hoping we see more of him being naïve and clueless behind the bar rather than moping around after his pregnant-but-not girlfriend.

Fails

Without Ceremony 

Emmerdale - The First Helicopter Crash Anniversary - YouTubeIt’s hard to believe a whole year has passed since Emmerdale blew their budget on a big helicopter crash right at the centre of the village killing Val, Ruby and a pilot no one seems to give a damn about. I can only presume he was a bit of an arsehole and all who knew him wished he was dead anyway. But this was a huge deal for the people of Emmerdale, they lost The Valerie Pollard and the café girl who made a good latte so you’d think they’d pull out all the stops in commemorating the anniversary of their passing. You’d think Eric would be there with those wanting to remember his wife. You’d think Pete and Ross might find the whole thing a bit awkward because, well it’s the anniversary of the disastrous wedding and it’s also the anniversary of Pete thinking he’d killed Ross and giving him an impromptu burial. But no, what transpired was a half-arsed comical memorial ceremony with Finn giving a very short speech and about five villagers showing up. It didn’t have any sense of importance or rememberance, there wasn’t even the madcap humour that Val’s funeral had, just Ross and Pete dressed as camp sailors and singing. WTF?! I almost wish they hadn’t bothered.

Breaking Point

Emmerdale - Cain And Charity Kiss In The Woolpack! - YouTubeThe destruction of one of Emmerdale’s most popular marriages, Cain and Moira, hasn’t been pleasant viewing especially as so many of Emmerdale’s big couples are in tatters. We’ve all been expecting it and it’s been on the cards ever since Charity confessed she wanted him back last January, but the escalation of events this week has been intense. Keeping secrets and breaking trust is always going to be hard to get past, but Cain was very unlikeable on self-destruct mode, lurching from one bad decision to the next. After the pressure cooker of emotions, he sought a drunken snog from Charity but even if you’re a ‘Chain’ fan, seeing the two of them hook up and use each other at such a low, desperate point was pretty grim. Charity was well aware he didn’t really want her but her low self-esteem meant she didn’t care, but when Cain made up with Moira and confessed about the kiss she struggled to forgive him. Cain’s jealousy of James was more fuel to the fire and Moira called time on their marriage having seen Cain at his worst. Coira have been pushed to their breaking point and what they once loved and found attractive in each other has become things that divide them. Can they get past this? I hope so. Charity has been there done that, got the t-shirt, I think she deserves new things to set her sights on.

Fave or Fail? (18-22 July 2016)

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’s the fab and the funny that made the top of my list this week!

Faves

Firm Favourite

vlcsnap-2016-07-23-21h46m34s935Everyone who watches Emmerdale knows if that if there’s one villager who is the very definition of precious cinnamon roll (too good for this world, too pure) then it’s probably Finn Barton. Known for his smarts and hapless luck, we often find Finn in more of the light hearted plots. Even though I’d always be happy to see more of Finn (and don’t get me wrong, he can definitely do serious drama), he was perfectly placed in this week’s episodes for some fun moments. Joe Gill’s facial expressions just crack me up. Whether he’s trying to keep his taxi firm professional and legit (good luck with that Finny boy) or trying his hand at matchmaking he’s just a great watch. I loved him fighting with David over the radios, glum that he’d had to make do with ones from the scrapyard. I loved his awkward expression at the badly timed proposal in the pub. I loved his suspicion at Liv – that she might fancy him – and annoyance that she’d heard his love life is a disaster. The world needs more people like Finn and yes, Emmerdale just needs more of him full stop.

Bad Boys with Good Hearts

vlcsnap-2016-07-24-09h30m41s226Everyone loves a soap bad boy (well, I know I do) but what’s even better than that? A baddie with a heart. We saw a few examples of that this week as two of our resident ‘bad boys’ – Robert and Jai – showed their softer sides. It wasn’t long ago I was lamenting Emmerdale’s dodgy handling of Robert’s villainy by making him step into panto territory. This week though he was back to being the complex guy we know and love when his kidnapping of troublesome Ryan ended with a payoff and a sandwich. See? Considerate. But not only was Rob’s darker side curbed by the tearaway’s sob story, Robert actually had reason for his bad behaviour in wanting to protect his new found family. Similarly Jai, who spent much of last year playing nasty games with Rachel and on a coke-fuelled spiral, has shown a much more human side in support of Holly’s recovery. Jai is actually becoming likeable! Who’d have thought it?

Too Good for this World

vlcsnap-2016-07-23-21h49m39s380Oh Lisa, another villager who is far too nice to be living in such a dramatic and woe-filled village! While Belle suffered from hallucinations and fake-baby associated breakdowns, Lisa indulged herself in a bit of pampering. While the ticklish foot rub wasn’t to her liking (think of that poor masseure’s balls) she gave me a good giggle at her guacamole and cucumber mistakes. As ever Lisa is so admirable too, when it comes to matters of the heart, as she managed to keep a brave face on as Zak and Joanie (ugh) loudly announced they’d booked a date for the wedding. I was reminded again what a loss it is that Zak and Lisa have split when they shared touching scenes together, but a part of me reckons now that actually Lisa could do better!

Fails

Bulldozing

vlcsnap-2016-07-23-21h50m44s908David and Tracy’s romance was right up there in my faves last week but this week it came crashing down thanks to David’s bulldozer behaviour. Having reunited at the start of the week David thought the sensible thing to do would be to propose and when Tracy agreed, only later changing her mind they decided a disengagement was in order. Tracy gave a heartfelt and wise speech saying she thought it was too soon and that they barely knew each other. You don’t normally get that kind of sense in soap! However, a day later David had booked a date for the wedding and vowed to ask her every day until she agreed to marry him. David being ill and impulsive doesn’t give him the right to steamroller over Tracy’s wants and needs and his selfishness seemed pretty unfair on her. Tracy may well decide to marry him at some point but that’s up to her – she shouldn’t be made to feel guilty. Wise up, David!

More of the Same

vlcsnap-2016-07-23-21h46m50s603Maybe I should be careful with what I wish for because the Belle fake-baby plot took a twist this week, only it wasn’t anything new. Having spent most of the week in a terrible state fretting about whether to fake a miscarriage or fess up to the truth, Belle began hallucinating a woman she met in prison. If the baby plot felt repetitive then this only made it worse as it wasn’t that long ago Belle was hallucinating dead Gemma’s voice. Perhaps this story might have worked if the vision was Gemma, but making it a random woman we’ve never heard of just left the scenes flat and unengaging. There’s nothing new yet in this story and rehashing Belle’s past breakdowns feels tired. Seeing the impact of this affair on Belle’s mental health is an interesting angle to go down and one I’d have welcomed but instead the clichéd plot has made her whiney and the visions feel gimmicky rather than making her empathetic. Surely her strange behaviour won’t go unnoticed by her family, again?

Fave or Fail? (11-15 July 2016)

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! I had lots of Faves in a week of love, friendship, community and brilliant performances.

Faves

Tragic Love Story

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-21h57m40s524The Lawrence and Ronnie saga came to a head this week as Lawrence was outed right in the middle of the pub. Is Chrissie getting déjà vu here or what? The week began with Lawrence fainting thanks to his “gentleman’s helpers” tablets in a bid to make his marriage work once and for all. But after meddling Andy had whispered in Bernice’s ear, she orchestrated for Lawrence and Ronnie to be alone in a hotel room together to force her husband to come to some sort of decision. “You’re gay!/Are you gay?” must have been the most used phrase of the week. But what followed were a series of completely heartbreaking scenes as Ronnie tried to get Lawrence to admit who he is and what they were to each other. Ronnie has fast cemented himself as a lovable and empathetic character in the village and his anguish was played beautifully by John McArdle. I don’t know about you but I was absolutely rooting for Lawrence to be able to give Ronnie the affection they’ve both had stolen from them. While the melodrama of the pub outing and Lawrence’s gun-toting breakdown was a brilliant watch, nothing could quite live up to the stunning tragedy of the hotel room scenes where we learnt about Lawrence’s past and saw the glint of hope in Ronnie’s eyes – as if his love for Lawrence had been frozen for decades. This storyline manages to intertwine with the plots of others (more on this community feel later) and create moments of empathy for all the key players involved. Emmerdale at its best.

Love and Happiness

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-21h59m33s933In amongst the angst and misery that some of the villagers were suffering with, thankfully there were happier times for others. In rare and welcome scenes, Aaron Dingle had a smile on his face as he and Robert indulged in some (interrupted) couple time and he plucked up the courage to ask Robert if he fancied getting a place together. It wouldn’t be Emmerdale if they didn’t give Aaron a few obstacles to jump cry over (and with Robert dithering, the police and Ryan showing up at the wrong moment –  there’s going to be a rocky patch ahead), but his cute hopeful smiles were a nice change. Then there was Tracy and David indulging in a low key but carefully curated romantic date at the Woolpack after Diane had locked them in a room together and David had had a good ogle at Tracy’s bum. Like Aaron and Robert, David and Tracy’s romance faced obstacles and miscommunication by the end of the week, but just like Robron they’re a couple with chemistry that you can’t help but root for. And hey, don’t these couples deserve a bit of happiness?

Friendship

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-22h16m17s259There was a strong sense of friendship this week and that was another burst of positivity through the more emotionally taxing storylines. There was Dan rescuing Nicola and giving her a bit of tough love (although let me reserve judgement on that if it’s going down the dreaded affair route!); the surprising and yet lovely new friendship between Lisa and Ronnie who deserve each other’s warmth and company; Tracy and Carly – the latter who was encouraging and supportive; Priya and David; and the humour of long term BFFs Adam and Aaron. Not only did these scenes of friendship and support bring a great deal of warmth to the show, they gave a greater sense of community rather than jumping from one plot point to the next. More of this please, Emmerdale!

A Sense of Community

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-22h01m50s186Community is something that should be at the heart of Emmerdale and you often see it when a funeral or a wedding is involved but sometimes, understandably due to filming issues, the show lacks that community spirit. Plot crossovers, characters getting involved in each other’s stories, gossip, lurking about in the background of the pub – it’s the little things. But if you’re a nerdy viewer like me you might have noticed there seemed to be a good amount of that during this week. In one scene, Rodney and the King kids conversation walked by Adam and Aaron mid-convo, who crossed the road in front of Chrissie, looking at Ronnie, as Tracy ran past back to the shop. We all know it’s a fictional little village but these little touches make it feel more real and bring the stories out of their little bubble.

Surprising and Stand-out Performances

vlcsnap-2016-07-16-22h02m24s299Another fave of mine this week is going to some stand out performances. I’ve already mentioned John Bowe and John McArdle but at the start of the week Natalie J Robb stole the show as Moira, as she coped with looking after a screaming Holly going through withdrawal. Tough scenes and difficult to portray as Moira took a solid stance to try and get her daughter through her addiction. At the end of the week it was Amy Walsh leaving me in bits as she heard what she believed to be David slagging her off – running out before he expressed his real feelings for her – and broke down in tears to Carly. Until then we’d not seen Tracy be given anything as upsetting to play but seeing her so vulnerable and hurting definitely had me choked. What a talented bunch of actors there are in The Dales!

Fail

Rinse and Repeat

Emmerdale - Belle Admits To Faking Her Pregnancy - YouTubeOnly one ‘fail’ this week and that’s the Belle “I’m pregnant so that he won’t leave me” plot. It just feels like we’ve seen this story a hundred times before, doesn’t it? With Charity in the know, she’s convinced they need to cook up a fake miscarriage plot – which is just as repetitive as the age old fake baby scan – and I’m just eager for this part of the story to be over. Producer Iain MacLeod has promised twists ahead and things that are different to what we’ve seen before so I’m holding out hope that these are coming soon because frankly, fake baby plots never work and they’re not all that original anymore, are they?

Fave or Fail? (4-8 July 2016)

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 a week of very questionable behaviour and some hard-hitting viewing as Laurel and Holly battled addiction.

Faves

Self-destruct

Emmerdale - Laurel Tries To Seduce Marlon Out Of Desperation - YouTubeLaurel was a walking car crash at the start of the week as she suffered not only with a hangover but the reality of having relapsed with her drinking when she needed to be a caregiver to her ill husband. Marlon saw the warning signs and after confronting her, Laurel showed the nastiest flashes of life taking its toll. It was ugly and raw and painful to watch. Laurel laughed bitterly and tried it on with Marlon in complete self-destruct mode, desperate for another drink, and once again Charlotte Bellamy showed the cruellest, heart breaking sides to Laurel. While I was never a fan of the Marlon and Laurel relationship, their scenes were excellently played as he tried coping with her breakdown. But as Laurel battled with her need for booze and decided she couldn’t stay sober and care for Ashley, it was Doug who brought them back together again in touching scenes where they spoke new vows. It’s still unclear whether Laurel will be strong enough to cope with Ashley’s dementia in the long term, but they’re both making efforts to survive and the sad truth is – that’s all they can do.

Laughter in the Back

Emmerdale 5th July 2016 Part 2 - Video DailymotionSometimes it’s all about the background, light relief characters stealing the show and this week it was Pearl and Rishi’s turn. Rishi usually has the ability to win me over in his diva hangover shades or with a cheeky widening of the eyes – although the less said about his interest in exercise videos the better – but this week he went one step better. Donning a wig, an 80s power suit and sunglasses, Rishi had all the George Michael dance moves at Priya’s birthday party and I’ll go as far to say he was the only thing keeping that party alive! But blessing us with countless gigglesome moments was the wonderful Pearl as she got the wrong end of the stick about Rhona’s love life. In between moaning about the lack of cream buns at the vets since Paddy left, Pearl had her suspicions that Vanessa and Rhona were, in her words, ‘canoodling’ again. After a bit of digging she discovered Rhona’s mystery lover was Pierce and gave her seal of approval, telling them she thought he was hot and just wanted Rhona to be happy. Aww. And good on ya Pearl for trying to get a snog out of him and getting a little flustered at their very public PDA.

Unlikely Friendships

Emmerdale 7th July 2016 Part 2 - Video DailymotionIt’s often the unlikely partnerships and friendly conversations that offer an interesting dynamic in Emmerdale and provide good scenes. This week it was Holly and Jai meeting at their narcotics anonymous meeting (not so anonymous) and David and Diane discussing cancer treatment. Jai and Holly’s scenes were surprisingly enjoyable (and these two are way down my list of loved Emmerdale characters) especially as we got to see a new and slightly more human side to Jai. He’s surprised me lately being genuine and kind-hearted in wanting to be a father to Eliza, and don’t judge me too much – but he’s actually growing on me! David and Diane is another pairing we don’t see often but tying up these story connections in a way that makes links to the past and shared experiences adds to the reality and makes these characters’ challenges far more believable. It would be great to see more of this!

Fails

From Bad to Worse

Emmerdale - Holly Tells Moira She's Still Using Heroin - YouTube (1)Poor Tracy – what a week! She might not be the most beloved character in Emmerdale but I’ve long been a fan of her sensitive side and her appetite for fun. With her heart slightly crushed from a rather cruel rejection from David, Tracy took to the sofa and a box of chocolates to ease her pain. Her flatmates tried their best to cheer her up but Vanessa didn’t seem in a particularly forgiving mood when Tracy slobbed out feeling sorry for herself. Things got worse after a one night stand when Tracy woke to find the house robbed. Oops. If she wasn’t feeling low enough, everyone else kept making her feel even worse – not only a judgemental David but even Carly ganged up with Ness and told Tracy to move out of the girls’ pad. Sure you’d be pissed off and betrayed but can’t they see the poor girl is well meaning and was suffering? Here’s hoping things get better for Tracy!

Desperate Decisions

Emmerdale - Rakesh Tries To Bribe Neville The Insurance Inspector - YouTubeNever has the phrase “You idiot!!!” been shouted at the screen more than this week! With Belle clinging onto Bailey like she’s dangling over a fifty foot drop and Rakesh struggling to keep his cool and cover up his insurance fraud, it was the week of desperate behaviour and dodgy decisions. Belle hasn’t heard of the phrase “He’s just not that into you” so when Bailey tried to leg it to Romania to escape his stupidity, she tried every tactic in the book to hold onto him including the soap classic – a fake pregnancy. Of course the Dingles rallied round, but Charity’s smelled a rat already and it won’t be long before Bailey realises there is no bun. Brace for the fall out! And then there’s Mr Desperate himself, Rakesh. Priya is being taken for an absolute fool as Rakesh sweats through his every lie and with the insurance company on his back the lies are only going to have to get bigger. How long will Belle and Rakesh be able to keep up their poker face?

 

Fave or Fail? (19-24 June 2016)

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! A bumper week of episodes and lots of drama for the young women of Emmerdale!

Faves

The End of the Affair

em10_0004The biggest and most engaging plot of the week was the fallout of Belle and Dr Bailey’s affair. I can’t say I’ve ever been a fan of the story per se but the fallout of an affair and its ramifications are usually a good watch and this was no exception. As slimy Jermaine tried to save face for his marriage and career (which led to him pitifully binning his qualifications) he was left with little else but the naivety of doting Belle. Standout scenes had to be Angie wiping her hands clean of him and reporting him to the practice manager, the disdaining Dr Cavanagh. Dr C reported him to the GMC immediately so perhaps he better start getting used to plain old “Mr Bailey”. He felt the sting of getting involved with the Dingles too as Cain let his fists do the talking and left hapless Jermaine in a bloody mess. Spineless as he is, he’s let Belle believe he loves her over and above all this and she has seemingly chose him over her family. The Dingles are smothering and have a habit of bad decisions but Belle won’t come out of this unscathed either way. I hope Belle recovers some of her own agency when the dust has settled.

Underused and Underappreciated

em10_0003If you’re only a casual viewer of Emmerdale you might have wondered – who is this young couple getting involved in Holly Barton’s storyline?  The answer is, of course, two of Emmerdale’s most underused characters. Adam and Vic haven’t had much to do since babygate with Vanessa and Kirin and it was then that really cemented them as real assets to the show. Generally they’re the nicer, happier, friendlier characters on the show meaning they barely get a look in. Sure, they might have only played a side role in Holly’s drugs spiral this week but they make my Faves list simply because it reminded me how much I love them as characters and as a couple and it’s about time they had some decent material. Vic’s growing business (though we’ve hardly seen it) was doing so well she handed her notice in at the pub (the worry being we’d see her even less) and Adam was proud and supportive. Exactly the kind of “niceness” that can be lacking when a soap has to pump out full throttle drama. Of course Vic ended up attacked so the bright and positive energy from the pair took a dent. With the focus again being on Holly, I can only hope the soap gods realise it’s about time they had a story of their own.

Taxi Drivers

em10_0005Ross Barton is someone never short of a storyline or two but this week he teamed up with brothers Pete and Finn (yes, miracles can happen) as they attempted to set up their new cab firm. What a fun change it made to have them involved in something a little more comical and to see them actually working together. They lose a few points from me by Ross’s act of sabotage to the minibus in order to win Harriet’s business (although no one can say it’s out of character for Ross to do something like that) and Pete telling the lie about Emma’s health problems, which I found unbelievable coming from someone who is usually a bit holier than thou. Saying this, it was nice to see Finn getting a bit more screentime and his brothers’ attempts at supporting him just to see him buzzing and happy made a good change. It’s not a plot that’s going to win any awards and I can’t believe the taxi business will actually last but it brought some funny scenes and a change of pace for the Barton brothers.

Fails

Storyline Struggle

em10_0001Lucky Belle, eh? In one corner you have a spineless and manipulative doctor and the other, a convicted sex offender professing his love. I’m not sure what Emmerdale have been doing with Lachlan the last year but it’s a bit of a struggle to watch him spout his love for Belle and try and defend and protect her, when there’s the rather colossal matter of him being a sex offender hanging over him. The powers that be wrote Lachlan into a corner showing no remorse for assaulting Alicia Metcalfe. There were a few vague attempts to give him regret but the aftermath was sketchy and shambolic to say the least. Despite the odd mention of him attending counselling there’s been no effort to do anything with the character that ever edges towards remorse. He can’t just be portrayed as a creep and an unnerving teen and be forgiven for this because he’s willing to look out for Belle. He’s a sex offender. It’s never really been resolved, he hasn’t learnt from his mistakes and Alicia being gone doesn’t wipe the slate clean. It’s just not that simple. It seems the intentions for his character and the storyline became very muddled, particularly in the aftermath, but with his actions unacknowledged, watching him act as Belle’s protector just doesn’t work for me.

Sh*t Schemes

em10_0002I’ll admit it, when it comes to comedy, toilet humour just isn’t for me. Farting, pooping, vomiting. I just don’t find it that funny and the last thing I want to watch at 7pm when I’m tucking into my McCain chips (!) are episodes centred on constipation and laxatives. Marlon had the genius idea to lace Pierce’s gravy with laxatives after an all too vocal discussion of April’s bowels in the middle of The Woolpack. As plans go it wasn’t one of his finest and of course the gravy was consumed by Carly and Eric in their pies. D’oh! Guess who ended up with the shits? Not Pierce, that’s for sure. Far too much time was spent on this pretty stupid plot and I really didn’t need to think about Eric running back and forth to the toilet. Luckily for Marlon, Pierce forgave him after finding out and even offered to cover for him, legally, if Eric sued, so they’re all pals now. But wasn’t there a better way for Marlon and Pierce’s relationship to change than to involve a pooping plot?