Fave or Fail? (14-18 August 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! A great week of big moments – Moira kissed Cain, Finn learnt some of the truth about James’s death, and Leyla and Pete jilted each other!

Faves

Emma’s Confession

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m07s699We’re one step closer to Emma’s world crumbling as this week saw Finn put 2 + 2 together to make 5 and got the almost truth about how his dad died. With thrillingly tense scenes, Finn confronted his mum and managed to dig away at her panicked and unravelling lies until he got her to confess that she was there on the bridge and that it was an argument which lead to James’s death. Joe Gill gave the performance of his time on Emmerdale so far as his emotions switched from disbelief and anger to confusion and upset. Finn’s relationship with Emma has always been an interesting one, especially as in some ways they’re so similar, so it was only right he was the first to expose the truth. Gillian Kearney plays Emma’s emotional turmoil so well that you can almost believe her fabrications to hide the real extent of her involvement in James’s death. The scenes of Finn’s suspicion and Emma’s confession spanned an hour long episode but it was a testament to the performances that it didn’t drag at all. With Finn now sitting on the big secret it doesn’t feel like long before more of the truth will come out but I worry for his safety if Emma’s irrational behaviour gets out of hand. Exciting stuff!

Marriage Mayhem

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h53m49s487Pete and Leyla’s wedding was never going to go smoothly, was it? But who could’ve guessed the Carry On escapades that transpired?! With Pete and Priya’s betrayal stinking up the air, I think most of us expected the liaison to come out in dramatic effect but what we didn’t expect was a double jilting with both bride and groom trying to escape through the toilet windows! This storyline has been something of a damp squib, but the wedding two-parter was full of genuinely funny moments. From Doug and Eric’s bickering to the wedding goer’s aghast at the crazy events following the window rescue, there were some great laughs. It was nice too to see Jacob in a sweet and supportive role, and even Ross managed to look like the mature and non-sleazey one compared to Pete! But perhaps nothing will top the brilliant moment of Leyla’s open-mouthed reaction to see her groom making the same escape she was. Priceless.

Lingering Feelings

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h49m23s082I’ve long been a fan of Cain and Moira’s relationship so to see all those unresolved feelings rise to the surface again this week was a joy. Their chemistry makes these sorts of moments seem effortless and you can fully believe the multitude of unsaid emotions. Despite a bit of a sexist trope being used when Cain came to Moira’s rescue (this is Moira who’s used to farm machinery and independence here!) it stirred up lingering tension and Moira went in for a kiss. Over the next few days, with Harriet feeling like a spare part, Cain and Moira cemented themselves as the couple destined to be together as Moira tried to set Cain free again to move on, even though we all know deep down they both still love each other. It’s pretty obvious how this one’s going to play out but all that embittered love and tension is the right kind of romance angst!

Fails

Tired Laughs

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h43m41s833It’s not the worst comedy story ever seen – and god, remember last year’s endless pirate ship summer filler?! But Emmerdale really need to come up with something new for the rivalry between Nicola + Jimmy vs Kerry + Dan. Separately both couples can offer quite a lot of laughs, when it’s done right, but the petty competition between Kerry and Nicola – while their exasperated and hen-pecked spouses watch on – is getting old. Kerry’s loud-mouthed outrage and Nicola’s screechy need to rule are fine in small doses but after last year’s Dan and Nicola kiss moment, the two pairs did enough warring and now it’s lost its shine.

Mood Killer

vlcsnap-2017-08-19-16h41m52s608Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the Pete and Leyla near-wedding daftness. That was until Emmerdale decided to spoil it by having Pete and Priya go at it in the honeymoon suite. Ew, grubby! Since Pete and Priya began their hook ups, it’s been an out-of-nowhere mess, really lacking that key affair ingredient – chemistry. I can just about buy Priya’s loneliness, the way she feels out of place now that Rakesh has gone, but her betrayal of Leyla has always been hard to stomach or believe, especially for someone as charisma free as Pete. Pete spent the latter half of his wedding day tearing into Priya and being generally vile but her confronting him and standing up to him didn’t last long, and soon we had to grimace through truly uncomfortable scenes. I’m sure Priya’s thumping of Pete’s chest and his shouty grabbing of her was meant to get us going but it was awkward and pretty revolting behaviour to say the least. And about as far from sexy as you can get. End this now, please!

Fave or Fail? (7-11 August 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 a golden week of episodes by any means!

Faves

The Sharmas

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-17h56m30s733Admittedly it’s an odd choice for the top spot this week but I’ve really enjoyed the Sharmas lately. Away from the dubious Nell plot we saw a more fun and relaxed side of Jai, a far cry from the cold and unengaging villain he was not so long ago. I like when we get to see the rarer sides to characters like this and Jai’s barbed exchanges with Nicola work well against his rigid businessman mode. Priya has her unlikeable moments in this Pete fling plot (and I still find it totally unbelievable that she could do this to Leyla for Mr Boring himself) but there were times this week when she recognised her own self-destruct and that her life was not the one she wanted. When she’s not hankering after Mr Dull, Priya’s adrift loneliness and self-awareness that she’s made big mistakes make her more sympathetic than she ought to be in this situation. Finally Rishi – always good for a cartoonish moment or two, especially when there’s face paint involved. I’m glad he’s back from Canada!

Eric and Faith

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h49m23s633Every time I see Eric and Faith on screen together, they just work. Faith brings out the fun in Eric, smoothing out his grumpier edges, but this week she showed she’s more than just comic relief to his miserly routine, as she knew how to support him and calm him down. She brought out his forgiving side, helping him to change tact and consider different opinions when it came to Josh but even through this she hasn’t mellowed or stopped her flirty ways. I’m not quite sure if they’re an official couple yet, but they gel well together and it feels like they’ve already been a couple for ages. Good call, Emmerdale!

Fails

Struggling to Care

Emmerdale - Josh Makes Jacob a Dangerous Offer - YouTube (1)Jacob was embroiled in police drama this week and while it was nice to see his loved ones rally round (albeit all stuck in that blasted shop set), the Josh element was a real weak point. The Josh story dominated screens this week but we barely know the guy, beyond a very brief attempt to give him a tragic backstory so Jacob’s misguided loyalty to him seemed to come out of nowhere. Why has he been forgiven so fast? Why is sensible Jacob so adamant in protecting him? Emmerdale’s own teens are pretty well rounded but guest characters like Josh ended up being cartoonish and wafer thin so it’s quite hard to care about his fate or understand why Jacob is so willing to throw away his future. Don’t get me started on his superfast redemption including bonding with Eric over music – cringe! What this story really needed was to see Josh’s hard home life for ourselves or to have his friendship with Jacob play out over a longer and more believable time period.

Gullible Fools

-914 Aaron amp; Robert 10th August 2017 Part 2 of 2 Robert Only - YouTubeThere must be something in the water in the Dales right now (that, or the return of panto villain Robert has been spiking the water supply) because so many characters are acting like complete idiots. Megan’s scamming of Frank seems to be far too straightforward (unless he’s tricking her too) with him barely questioning her wanting separate beds and she herself was foolish enough not to realise Charity had faked those incriminating texts – they weren’t even subtle! But this all pales in comparison to the mindnumbingly stupid and unbelievable idiocy of the White family, namely Lawrence and Rebecca. How many times does Robert have to screw them over, use them, smirk behind their backs before they realise he’s out to ruin them? Time and time again Rebecca’s fooled for his fakery and despite crying over how he’s hurt her, not once has she ever questioned his motives here. When has Robert ever been genuine and caring towards her out of the kindness of his heart? At least Lawrence, being ill and drugged, has an excuse for being so gullible, but he’s seen Robert’s puppet mastery first hand and we’re expected to believe that a few clever words makes Larry look past Robert’s colourful history of ruining the Whites? As if! They’re making it far too easy for him to screw them over, it’s almost as if they’ve had a lobotomy.

Yawn of the Dead

vlcsnap-2017-08-13-18h50m20s984Do you ever watch an episode of Emmerdale and wonder how it’s the same show that produces such award winning drama? Tuesday’s hour long was one of those. According to spoilers we were promised a zombie event at Home Farm with a horrifying car crash at the centre. Instead the hour dragged, and aside from a few made-up villagers it didn’t feel much like an event. The film-school trippy effects used on a very hammy Lawrence were embarrassing and the only damage it caused was Victoria to get a slightly twisted ankle. Hardly life or death. The whole event seemed a complete waste of time having hardly any repercussions – even Lawrence who was just out of hospital and faced with another boring near-death moment seemed unaffected. It didn’t damage the Home Farm business, Victoria is back to work already, Robert is back to drugging Lawrence’s drink and twirling his moustache – so what was the point to it?

Fave or Fail? (17-21 July 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! I’m back from my holiday, but unfortunately it wasn’t great week for stories!

Faves

Party Atmosphere

Emmerdale - Thursday 20 Jul 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)You know me, I love a good Emmerdale party, especially ones that bring multiple characters together in one place. This week we were treated to two – and no I’m not talking about the terrible teen party in the pub! Faith brought the tequila and karaoke to the back room and a fun selection of older characters enjoyed getting sozzled! From Jimmy’s bad singing, to Diane getting a thrill from Doug’s new dance moves – it was good fun to see these characters interacting all crammed into a room. At the end of the week Kerry’s 40th brought together more karaoke and funny characters, even if Dan did make zero effort by having the party in the local shop! With comments on Kerry’s outfit, minimal thought put into gifts and a highly critical Nicola, they were enjoyable community scenes. Like other couples in the show, Dan and Kerry’s material can be repetitive (him being useless, her being rude to him) but this week’s mishaps were genuinely amusing and their fall-out wasn’t unnecessarily long. By including their big comedy characters alongside other villagers, these gatherings were some of the better parties we’ve seen in a while and welcome in a week of pretty uninteresting plots.

Eric and Faith

Emmerdale - Tuesday 18 Jul 7pm - The ITV Hub (1)Even though we’ve lost the irreplaceable Val, Faith and Eric seem like the perfect match. Faith brings life and outrageousness to all her scenes but I love the genuine affection she seems to have for serious Eric. Having upset him Faith tried to soften him up this week and she seems to be pretty good at smoothing things over and getting him to loosen up. It might be too soon to see Faith settle down and tame her wild ways but she’s bringing out the best in Eric and I’m loving their new found partnership.

Loopy Leyla

Emmerdale - Tuesday 18 Jul 7pm - The ITV HubDespite poor Leyla being betrayed by both boyfriend (now fiancé) and best mate, she has a warmth and a comic timing which makes her current plot slightly more bearable. This week her plan to “play it cool” with Pete backfired as she got carried away and exposed herself as wanting a big white wedding and then ended up proposing in a disastrous fashion. Leyla has a good heart and we could do with seeing more of her vulnerability to make her less of a caricature. Saying that, she had some genuinely brilliant lines (“Great, even the dog’s left me!”) and her friendship with David is one I hope we never lose. I just wish they hadn’t made her wedding fixation so over the top because when she discovers that double betrayal it’s gonna hit her hard.

Fails

Will They Won’t They?

Emmerdale - Ross' Kiss Proves He Never Stopped Loving Debbie - YouTubeOh Ross and Debbie. Loves young dream…star crossed lovers…meant to be *dreamy sigh*. Well, that’s what we’re supposed to think, right? That’s what we were meant to think back in 2015 when their sizzle free affair was at the centre of Emmerdale’s big summer disaster and then imploded spectacularly when Debbie packed off to France on realising Ross took part in a murder pact with Andy. But here we are again, part two, part one all but forgotten and the heartbreak blamed on Debbie (of course). And you know, I actually enjoyed their flirty and light-hearted sparring – I could almost believe they fancied each other. It’s when they get all earnest, miscommunicate and share longing looks that I roll my eyes. Because, as the scripts reminded us, Ross has had an electric and star-crossed romance that worked – but that was with Donna, not Debbie. He’s even had more chemistry with Debbie’s mum than her! And Debbie herself has worked far better as an independent woman and mum since her return than she ever did under Ross’s spell. If they kept it light, playful, rather than ploughing on with the idea that they’re soulmates and expecting us to long for their reunion then it might be more watchable.

Affair Apathy

Emmerdale - Pete and Priya's Secret Affair Isn't So Secret Anymore - YouTubeMonths ago we were promised a funny and sizzling affair as a hapless male villager was caught between two women. The women get all the luck in Emmerdale(!) Needless to say for all its hype it’s as interesting as you’d expect an affair with Pete “boring” Barton to be! Pete’s betrayed the lovely Leyla, Priya’s lost sisterhood points for sleeping with her best mate’s fella and in the shock twist everyone saw coming, she now thinks she’s pregnant. Leaving aside how cartoonishly desperate they’ve made Leyla look, what an absolute bellend Pete is and how Priya should know better – it’s just not that interesting as a story! Sure it’s been nice to see Priya in a role that isn’t Rakesh’s lapdog, but this isn’t exploring new ground and every new development is a plot we’ve seen hundreds of times before. Where’s the summer thrill we were promised? Both women could do better than Pete, so really – what are we rooting for?

Something Missing

Emmerdale - Thursday 20 Jul 8pm - The ITV HubIt wasn’t a great week of stories in the Dales and perhaps it’s because they seemed to rely far too heavily on characters who just don’t quite have the oomph. One of the main plots of the week was Frank’s efforts to win back Megan and her rather curious acceptance of his proposal. Do we care enough about their romance either way? Do we even care enough about Megan these days? Frank isn’t anywhere near as charismatic or as interesting as he needs to be, certainly not enough to give Megan the lift she needs. She seems lifeless, directionless, in Emmerdale right now and this hasn’t been the story or the relationship to liven up her character. So if her forgiveness of Frank is all just a revenge plan, is that enough of a hook to keep this story interesting? Then there’s Jai and Nell. Jai has recovered from the OTT villainy of 2015 and Nell seems to be a lot devious than it first appeared. But if she really is lying, and that’s the big twist, then the pacing and the hints haven’t been as captivating as they need to be to dominate so much screen time. Not every story needs a big a bold character like a Dingle or a Barton to carry it, or the emotional weight of Rhona’s story, but these current plots are definitely missing a key element that makes them compelling viewing.

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? (6-10 March 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! Dark times for many villagers, but we also saw the return of Lydia and Zak learnt about safe spaces – so not all bad times.

Faves

Dangerous Games

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV Hub (1)Vanessa and Pierce were thrown together for Minion cake making this week, the day after Pierce proposed properly with a ring to Rhona, but their bonding didn’t exactly go to plan and the week ended with Ness vowing to show Rhona Pierce’s true colours even if it killed her. Not the sort of thing you should be saying in a soap, Vanessa! But it wasn’t just the tense and bitter battle between Rhona’s best friend and fiancé that was such compelling viewing, but Pierce’s subtle control of Rhona that continues to be intense and unnerving. This week he convinced her to strip and have sex on camera, trying to make her feel boring for not wanting to go along with it initially. It’s that kind of scream-at-your-TV drama where you want to reach in and grab Rhona, show her what Pierce has been doing behind her back, shine a light on his subtle powers of persuasion as he drills away at her doubt and insecurities. It’s only going to get worse, where we’ll feel frustrated and worried all at once, but if it continues with this sort of nail-biting intensity then it’s going to be really and unbearably good.

Private Struggles

vlcsnap-2017-03-12-17h31m44s161I made my thoughts and concerns about Aaron’s prison hell storyline very clear earlier in the week, but one positive aspect to this storyline has been seeing the individual struggles of Robert and Liv as they try and cope without him. Monday saw a special episode divided between the three of them as we discovered Robert was unable to sleep in their bed and was struggling with the pressure of relying on short phonecalls with his husband to get him through the day. Liv was being picked on and felt isolated too, made even worse when she had to keep the secret of Aaron’s drug taking later in the week. Ryan Hawley and Isobel Steele managed to be quietly heartbreaking in their scenes but it’s also given a chance for the characters to grow closer in Aaron’s absence which has felt organic and heartwarming to watch. While my reservations about the long term implications of this storyline direction still stand, the impactful performances are worthy of praise.

Better Together

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV HubThe Metcalfe family contingent (and I’m including the wider circle of Eric, Leyla and co) were a highlight this week as Jacob’s anxiety issues came to light when he panicked about losing his lucky coin. Not only were these scenes touching, as the family (and even Emma Barton) rallied to help and reassure Jacob, we thankfully had this family to give us some much-needed lighter moments in another heavy and dark week of plots. Sure, seeing David’s bare bum is getting a bit repetitive but it’s always good to have Pearl and Tracy’s saucy book plot slipping into the week’s stories, especially with Tracy’s endearing enthusiasm and preppy outfits. I really hope Jakey’s anxiety issues don’t just disappear either, because it’s an interesting issue to explore in a young character, particularly one in the midst of a difficult family illness.

Some Self Awareness?

Emmerdale - Wednesday 8 Mar 7pm - The ITV HubI couldn’t help but notice that there appeared to be a change of heart this week from a few characters and displays of self-awareness which felt like an admission of storyline missteps. Take Chrissie, for example, who finally backed down over Ronnie (over the Home Farm family fall out #802) and decided to move out of the big house and stand on her own two feet. Whether she actually follows through with the drastic action is another matter but might we finally be seeing more to her than just Daddy’s spoilt little rich girl? I won’t hold my breath, but at least she admitted it. Then there was Finn whose acknowledgement of his crazy ways and escape to Australia feels like a way for the audience to wipe their memories clean of the disastrous “stalker Finn” plot than actually something he would choose to do. And with another appearance of the fantastically bonkers Lydia, maybe the powers that be at Emmerdale are actually aware of what is and isn’t working on screen – and this can only be a good thing.

Fails

Only Scratching the Surface

Emmerdale - Thursday 9 Mar 8pm - The ITV Hub (2)Ronnie and Lawrence almost broke up this week, then almost got engaged when Ronnie decided he didn’t like who he had become (the Whites have that effect on people) and Lawrence realised he couldn’t live without his silver fox odd-job man. Don’t get me wrong – I love their backstory of pain and pining and I love that Emmerdale is showing an older gay couple, but the handling of Lawrence’s sexuality since getting together with Ronnie has been such a disappointment. Last year when Ronnie returned to his life Lawrence was forced to confront the things he had been running from and him deciding he wanted to be with Ronnie properly it was a satisfying moment. Since then it’s sort of fizzled out. Despite living together and being in love, we’re still no closer to Lawrence dealing with his intimacy issues or even touching on his years of self-denial and self-hatred. Even though those elements are familiar ground (with Aaron and briefly with Robert) – are we meant to believe Lawrence’s journey of acceptance is over? Narratively it feels unsatisfying and half-finished – does Lawrence still have intimacy issues? Is he comfortable with being seen or labelled as a gay man? I can’t help but feel Lawrence and Ronnie’s story would be richer if their present was given the same depth and care as their past.

Off Balance

vlcsnap-2017-03-12-17h31m21s065Phew. Emmerdale has got really heavy and dark lately and it’s not a complaint, rather a concern. I’m all for dark and gritty storylines with an emotional truth at the centre, but right now the balance between this weighty drama and lighter fluff seems slightly off. This week saw: Aaron’s harrowing ordeal and his family’s grief, Pierce’s coercive control of Rhona and menace towards Vanessa, Jai’s drug struggle (as well as Aaron’s) alongside his and Moira’s grief, Jacob’s anxiety all alongside the deeply upsetting and ongoing story of Ashley’s dementia. While all these storylines are worthy issues to be explored and have fantastic performances and scenes – is Emmerdale becoming a bit too heavy and miserable of late? And this is just a glance at one week – we’re not even covering David or Sarah’s cancer to mention two other serious plots. Emmerdale does the lighter storylines – the comedy and the fluffier romance so well, but sometimes sitting down at 7pm does require a stiff drink! Maybe what I’m asking for is more Bob, more Bernice, more Pearl – more of the laughs and the fun. Bring on Gustav and the sexy book and the village choir – we could do with something to smile at.

Fave or Fail? (6-10 Feb 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 Dingle mania this week as Cain and Chas’s mum rocked up in the village.

Faves

Thomas Family Heartbreak

emmerdale-friday-10-feb-7pm-the-itv-hubIf there’s one word to sum up the Thomas family story this week it would be this: crushing. Each week Ashley’s heartbreaking dementia storyline is featured, you think performances and the writing cannot possibly be bettered and yet it goes one further every week. The ensemble nature of the story means there are a range of emotions and reactions carrying the plot forward and fleshing it out with a devastating believability. From the whole family’s stilted conversation the night before Ashley was due to move into the care home, where Arthur’s agonised sobs that Ashley shouldn’t leave as he’d done nothing wrong were painful, to the moving sing-song, to Doug and Diane’s private despair – everything was pitched with the perfect tone. It’s a difficult watch and one that resonates so deeply with families watching. Laurel’s bravery and strained enthusiasm to keep going features endlessly superb performances from Charlotte Bellamy so much so, her portrayal feels less like a character and more like a real woman with every episode. Everyone is excellent in this storyline, and Laurel as the glue trying to hold everyone together, makes you ache watching – especially ending the week on that awful moment where she cried alone in bed after one of the worst days of her life.

Having Faith

emmerdale-a-mystery-woman-arrives-in-the-village-youtubeHair piled up high, sunglasses, cracking one-liners and a perchant for gin – okay, I think I’m gonna like Faith Dingle. Forget the drawn out way she was introduced this week (see below), I think Faith’s going to be exactly what the Dingles need for a bit of a shake-up. (I was already dying with laughter at her brutal assessment of Zak “only just buried your last wife and you’re digging up the next one”.) Chas and Cain already share great sibling scenes together so any more of this seems like a good thing, particularly considering they both have underlying issues with their mother – and that’ll be interesting to address. Not since Val have we had an older more outrageous woman in the village causing a stir and if she continues to be a pal for Diane and flirt with Eric, she might help to ease this Val-less pain.

The BnB Squad

emmerdale-chas-and-cain-reunite-with-their-mother-faith-dingle-youtube-1Since Val’s death and Finn’s leaving of his job, we haven’t seen so much of the BnB even though Diane and Doug are working there too now. This week though really showed us what a dream team Diane, Doug and Eric could be. The honesty box subplot last week was just a little taster of this comedic magic and this week showed us more of their strange little relationship. Eric is a stickler for rules (breakfast isn’t allowed in the bar and definitely not at 3pm!), Doug is stuck in his ways and that grates on Eric and Diane is relaxed and loves a laugh. I loved their pettiness, like arguing over who’s cleaning the toilet as Doug hilariously mimed Eric’s encounter with Eric’s “girlfriend”, Faith – reminding me of squabbling school kids and I seriously hope we see more of them like this.

Bonus faves:

  • Pearl reading smutty books and suggesting Tracy write one
  • Nicola’s ruthless business at the Sharmas, making clients grovel, telling them that Rishi’s dead and slating Priya’s tea making skills. Marvellous

Fails

Scams and Schemes

emmerdale-frank-and-charitys-diamond-robbery-goes-awry-youtubeI’m always in two minds when it comes to Charity’s dress up schemes. Sometimes they’re a good laugh and you’re able to suspend disbelief and enjoy the comedy and other times they fall a bit flat. Her diamond plot with Frank this week was on the fence. There were enjoyable elements to her scamming in the week – her and Frank work surprisingly well together and have a good deal of chemistry; Charity vs Chrissie seemed like a well-matched rivalry in terms of their verbal sparring; and the wealthy businessman + his henchman lover was a fun twist. But perhaps this dressing up, bonkers plan stuff is a bit much after the bank job the other week and the aggro between Charity and Debbie or Charity and the rest of the Dingles just feels like re-treading old ground.

Dragged Out

emmerdale-sarah-questions-the-mystery-woman-in-the-barn-youtubeYou can see from above that I’m quite a fan of Faith already and the different dynamic she will add to the show but the road to finding out who she was seemed to drag on needlessly over four episodes. When a newbie arrives speculation is rife as to who they are, but Faith’s identity was just a bit too obvious from the get-go (especially when her arrival was teased almost a year ago), meaning there was little suspense in the reveal. It didn’t make a great deal of sense as to why she camped out so long in the barn, nor why Sarah latched onto her so fast and Sarah’s secretive and bad behaviour to keep her a secret was tedious to watch but now Faith’s been thrown into the family fold we should get some great scenes.