Fave or Fail? (25-29 June 2018)

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! This week Matty Barton returned to the Dales and Cain got beaten up by Simon.

Faves

Meeting Matty

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m55s366With Matty’s arrival onscreen this week, Emmerdale felt back to its very best. Great, character-led drama with a grounding in real life family situations is exactly what soap should be. Matty’s story is relatable and emotional, bringing a new dynamic to Butler’s Farm, new dramas to the Bartons and it had a great start. Actor Ash Palmisciano was thrown straight into emotive performances and carried the intense material well, also proving Matty is going to be a fun and cheeky character to have around once settled. While Cain’s attitude was surprisingly and refreshingly chilled, Moira’s reaction was one of shock, anger and confusion. Though her immediate response was hard to watch and upsetting, I’m hopeful that Emmerdale will use Moira’s journey of understanding to educate ignorant or bigoted viewers. Matty felt right at home in Emmerdale (which isn’t always a given when a recast happens) and I loved that they were able to give us canonical reasons that made sense as to why Matty hadn’t been home in all these years. I’m so looking forward to seeing what’s to come for him.

Forever Friends

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m46s441I was glad to see Vic in a role outside of babysitter and matchmaker this week as she was there for Matty, empathetic and understanding as he talked. Since Adam’s exit, hardly anyone’s had time for Vic and I’m hoping this might change with Matty in the village. There’s been a suggestion of a romance between them and while I wouldn’t be opposed at all, it’s nice to see their friendship in the meantime.

Brotherly Bonding

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h53m22s297It was nice to see the softer sides of Ross and Pete this week as they remembered Finn on his birthday and wallowed in their failing love lives. As ever Ross and Moses made an adorable dream team with Moses and his giggles, and that’s one of the things I’m going to miss the most in Ross’s exit. Pete hits a few bumps in his relationship with Rhona, but by the end of the week they were resolved and reunited which is great news for me. I think Pete and Rhona make a surprisingly sweet couple and I hope they continue to stay together. I much prefer seeing the brothers united and opening up rather than involving themselves in aggressive displays of their masculinity.

Fails

Sharma Sitcom

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h52m34s600Don’t the Sharmas deserve more than comedy side plots? Don’t get me wrong – I love the Sharma family. I have a real soft spot for Jai now that his days of being a panto villain are over, I love Priya’s ambition and attitude and I am often amused by Rishi’s hopeless antics. And that’s not to say Rishi and Jai didn’t make me smile during the Lycra debacle – but I just think Emmerdale could do more with them. Priya’s hard times and Jai’s angst about Eliza were so short lived that I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of the talents. When they thought Lachlan had attempted to assault Priya this week and confronted him, it made me realise what a solid family unit they are, capable of more than just larks in the sweet factory. More emotional Sharma drama please!

Brief Encounter

vlcsnap-2018-07-01-09h55m01s046With news of Dr Cavanagh becoming an Emmerdale regular (yay!) it was no surprise to see his wife Maya pop up this week. But had I avoided spoilers I’d have been scratching my head trying to remember who this woman in David’s shop was! If we were really meant to believe in their lustful eyes at each other and their deep and meaningfuls then surely it would have been more helpful to have seen a bit more of Maya before now. If my memory serves me correctly we’ve only seen her once and that was months ago! But after a thirty second scene this week we were meant to buy into their attraction and honest chats? I don’t buy it. Not only was it far too rushed, surely David has learnt better than messy hook-ups?

The Woolie Weekly is taking a two-week holiday. New blog posts on 22 July.

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Fave or Fail? (5-9 March 2018)

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! Tracy stood up to David’s cruelty and hypocrisy this week as Ross tried to cope with his scarring.

Faves

Inner Strength

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h11m09s581Tracy was amazing this week and has fast become one of my favourite characters in Emmerdale. Buoyed by the knowledge that Phil had changed his plea to guilty thanks to another complaint and the piece in the local paper, Tracy was feeling much more positive about life. Until she discovered husband David was ashamed by her past and was trying to cover it up. Feeling hurt and betrayed, Tracy was helped by those around her to find the courage to stand up to David and confront his cruel and unempathetic treatment of her, as well as his hypocrisy for supporting other women in his life but not her. So far Tracy has stayed strong and resilient, telling him she can’t un-see the parts of him she doesn’t like, but I just hope she doesn’t backtrack because she deserves far better.

Cain’s Domestic Struggle

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h09m30s817Who’d have thought that Cain attempting to cook a meal and clean the house would have been such a huge hit this week? With Faith cramping his style, Cain wanted her out and attempted to impress Moira with his domestication. Of course, Cain being Cain it was a disaster and he roped in both Marlon and Lydia to help him out. Cain rarely gets the comedy scenes (see also: Robron’s scenes with Faith this week) but that’s why it was such an unexpected joy. From a great silly set up, to the clash of personalities and funny lines – it was a brilliantly cheerful and genuinely amusing set of scenes. And despite his uncovered deception, it clearly worked a treat on Moira too as she let him move back home.

Tracy’s Support Network

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h15m24s919How nice it was this week to see so many characters rally round in their support of Tracy. Even characters like Rhona who don’t know her as well, offered their empathy and the women of the Dales were able to use their previous negative experiences with men to help her find her strength. As mentioned in my Scene of the Week choice Charity’s speech was a particular highlight, even if Vanessa’s approach was far too forgiving of David’s attitude. Family members like Jacob and Eric were rightly horrified at David’s reaction and made up for his failings by saying the things he ought to have. All these scenes have made a welcome change from the usual way women in soapland turn against each other in action or judgement and I’m thankful that it’s only David who is this caveman anomaly.

Ross’s Recovery

Emmerdale - Cain Helps Ross to Finally Reconnect With Moses - YouTubeRoss’s road to acceptance and recovery had its ups and downs this week and it took some tough love and reverse psychology from Cain to help him move forward. After Ross’s violent outburst at Debbie at the start of the week (which was unfortunately horribly aggressive to watch and detracted a bit from the empathy I had towards Ross) Cain wanted words. But knowing Debbie’s role in the acid attack made Cain cautious and less vengeful and instead tried to help Ross bond again with son Moses. This is story is at its best when it lets Ross be vulnerable and scared and considering Moses might just be the cutest kid in Emmerdale, their scenes were especially touching and a real highlight of the week.

Sharma Drama

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h13m10s113I’ve had my ups and downs with the Sharmas over the years and think the family have suffered from dull factory stories or too much panto villainy from Jai. Thankfully those days are behind us and this week saw Priya come under suspicion for hurting Eliza after her breakdown last week. Despite initial finger pointing and doubt, what I liked about this story was its lack of sensationalism. Priya wasn’t kicked out of the family home and Jai didn’t refuse to speak to her – Priya took the decision herself to move out and even though the suspicion caused a rift in the family, there wasn’t any shouting and screaming, destroying that sibling bond. I like Jai and Priya’s relationship a lot so I hope this story doesn’t escalate into a war.

Fail

No Going Back?

vlcsnap-2018-03-09-22h10m23s643It’s hard to imagine how David will go back to being a likeable silly chap in the shop again after his continually awful behaviour towards Tracy. She’s always felt looked down on by him but this week proved he really does think less of her and is ashamed to be with her. Viewing his attitude towards her past, his mortification and the way he dismissed her struggle was uncomfortable to watch and made me hope she never takes him back. As if him cheating on her for no reason wasn’t bad enough, this disgusting treatment of the woman who’s meant to be his wife shows no obvious route of redemption. He’s been tactless and insensitive in the past but has this taken him too far?

Fave or Fail? (26 Feb-2 March 2018)

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! This week Brenda made the heart-breaking discovery about Bob and Brenda while Joe decided to make more enemies.

Faves

Joe VS the World

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h09m44s606He’s only been in the village a few months but after his swanky redecoration of Home Farm Joe’s busy making a long list of enemies. Not satisfied by his war with the Dingles, he’s now roped poor gullible Jimmy into his schemes, and plans to screw over Robert. Having watched Robert easily swindle the Whites it’s about time he had a decent enemy to face up to and Joe might just be it. Their confrontations drag up a whole heap of Emmerdale history between the Sugdens and Tates and that makes it far more engaging and enjoyable to watch. Their rivalry seems like it might be well matched and explosive, so here’s hoping Joe has more tricks up his sleeve than just spying.

Priya’s Breaking Point

Emmerdale - Priya Loses Her Temper With Amba - YouTubeFiona Wade proved this week what a great actress she is as Priya’s loneliness and stress finally took its toll and we saw her crumble. It’s been subtly in the background for a while but it all became too much for Priya. We saw last week that she’s pretty lonely and isolated and after some awkward encounters she saw that Pete’s moved on too. Then there was Jai pushing more work onto her, those nightmarish twins at the factory and finally the kids refusing food. She snapped. After escaping the shackles of her dull marriage to Rakesh and becoming unlikeable in the Pete affair debacle, Priya’s become a lot more watchable and empathetic. Character focused and family orientated plots seem to suit the Sharmas best so this big story building shows real promise.

All the Best Lines

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h07m03s727Shout out to Charity Dingle this week who seemed to have almost all the best lines. If it’s not a verbal take down with Joe, it’s supporting Chas and giving Paddy a wake-up call. Charity was one of the few characters talking sense when it came to Chas’s pregnancy debate this week, and at least trying to put her cousin’s wishes first. She might be wary of letting Noah hang out with Joe, but their fiery confrontations are lingering with years of Tate tension and it’s fun to see them go head to head. Rumour has it that Charity’s going to get a decent storyline of her own soon and I can’t wait, she’s too good to stay on the sidelines.

Fails

Emotional Affair

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h22m32s028The best aspect of the big mess Bob and Laurel have got themselves into is that I care and empathise with all three characters – even if Bob and Laurel aren’t very likeable at the moment – but there’s still something not clicking. I can’t help but think that the story would have worked better had it stayed an emotional affair from the off, rather than throwing in a shock flashback moment during the Emma murder reveal, making Bob and Laurel’s feelings and betrayal spring up from nowhere. All that forbidden longing and tension might’ve worked, but their guilt now feels a bit half hearted considering they’ve already done the dirty.

Chas’s Decision

vlcsnap-2018-03-04-12h07m32s193Chas and Paddy’s pregnancy dilemma already feels as if it’s been going on long enough for them to have had a grown child by now. Granted it doesn’t help that I don’t like them as a couple, but I can’t think of much worse than them having a child. Let’s face it, Chas and Paddy aren’t built to last. What’s worse is the pressure put on Chas to keep the baby this week with almost every Dingle sticking their nose in and forcing her to make a decision and no one really listening to her. Chas is a strong character and she of all people knows her own mind – why shouldn’t she have an abortion? The story focus seemed to be so heavily weighted on Paddy’s feelings too with the same manipulative sad face ending every scene, trying to guilt her into keeping the baby for his own selfish reasons. The only positive here is that with any luck, one way or another, this pregnancy might break them.

Fave or Fail? (19-23 Feb 2018)

faveorfail

Every week I run through the best and worst bits of the week on Emmerdale. Tell me your faves and fails in the comments! In the week that saw Aaron and Robert finally reunite, Tracy was threatened with secrets from her past.

Faves

Make Your Dreams Come True

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m14s763If you heard the sound of happy crying on Thursday night then it was probably me. After months and months of agony and teasing, FINALLY Aaron and Robert were reunited and sought to face the future together, better than ever. It’s no secret that Danny Miller and Ryan Hawley’s chemistry has earned them thousands of fans worldwide so the pressure was on for a satisfying and romantic reunion. We got it – and then some. It had all the classic tropes of a romantic movie, with heartbroken Robert struggling to move on and Aaron realising he couldn’t live without Robert. It wasn’t just the fact they’d patched up and declared their love, it was all the special details included that made it so poignant for fans. From the fun scenes in the club, to the meaningful conversations in the garage (a location pivotal in their love story) – there wasn’t a moment wasted with all cards on the table. There wasn’t any silly misunderstandings or finger pointing, it was rooted in their intense past and entirely faithful to their characters. After so much agony and angst, it was a surreal joy to see their family happily reunited. Aaron was grinning – and you don’t see that often! It felt important and truly memorable. Moving forward, we know it can’t be plain sailing but by god, Emmerdale, don’t ruin this. You’ve got something really special.

Amazing Amy

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h47m51s372On any other week, Tracy’s storyline would have been top of my Faves list because if there’s anyone who deserves ALL the awards then it’s Amy Walsh. She’s been an absolute revelation this week, as Tracy was blackmailed over her prostitute past by the vile Phil. Amy conveyed Tracy’s abject fear brilliantly and her heartbreak at David’s cold shoulder was especially moving. Tracy’s scenes with Frank saw a new and improved sensitive side to his character as he was able to comfort her without judgement, until David’s treatment of her. Amy’s performances have been powerful and empathetic in this dark storyline, cementing her as one of Emmerdale’s best actors. We all wanted to rush in and rescue her this week, but I don’t think it’s going to get any easier for her as she tries to get justice. I just hope Frank and Vanessa will be there for her when David inevitably lets her down.

Squad Goals

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h45m35s230How great was Thursday’s episode at the bar? Fans of Robert have been crying out for him to have some actual mates for ages and Emmerdale also relished the opportunity to revisit the brilliant double act he has with Bernice, as well as giving him an ally in Vanessa. Aside from the girls’ great attempts to cheer him up, the comedy between the girls was something special. This episode was chockfull of one-liners and each character added something to the group to make it warm and funny. It’s great seeing our favourites outside of the village so it felt like we were really spoilt and even better that we got to see a group of girls having a great time and getting along. No bitchiness, no falling out over men, just bad dancing and cheesy music requests. More of this. PLEASE!

Getting Serious?

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h48m42s367With Charity back from her holiday this meant the Vanity hook ups could resume much to both their delights, but as the week progressed it was clear they were after a bit more than no-strings fun. While I’ve criticised Emmerdale in the past for its slow and most off-screen portrayal of Vanessa and Charity’s relationship, I was glad to see it given a little more prominence this week. I loved seeing the women have flirty fun (with drunk Vanessa being an adorable bonus) and Charity soften to the idea of something more serious. When the writing is there, Vanity is sparky and fun, bringing out new sides to both characters. There’s still room for more though, and I want to see it!

Bonus Faves

  • Gerry and Jacob’s lovely attempts to cheer up Liv (ice cream Gerry, leave out the vodka) and talk sense into Gabby. Jacob continues to be wonderful and the Liv/Gabby drama continues to be believable and well done
  • Ross’s continued struggles
  • Aaron’s lovely attempts to help Liv with her sexuality
  • Bernice’s funny but very blunt relationship advice
  • Priya and Kerry’s badgering of the DJ for 90s classics leading to them being kicked out – TV gold!
  • Robert and Liv repairing their fractured relationship. They have always been one of my favourite relationships in Emmerdale so it was touching seeing them move on and become a family again – that hug!
  • Joe’s redecorated Home Farm and it looks amazing
  • Faith using the loo when Chas was in the room – they’ve got a brilliant mother/daughter dynamic
  • Jimmy’s sycophantic “Thank you, Mr Tate!” combined with Robert’s bristling fury at Joe calling him “Richard” – this new rivalry will be amazing

Fails

David is the Worst

vlcsnap-2018-02-24-22h49m11s488There is always stiff competition when it comes to “worst man in Emmerdale” but surely David Metcalfe wins this one hands down? As if his cheating on insecure Tracy wasn’t bad enough this week he behaved so hideously that I’m firmly Team Tracy Deserves Better. With predatory and disgusting Phil blackmailing Tracy, David caught them in a compromising position and then learnt the truth about Tracy’s past. Instead of being warm, loving and supportive of his wife he was cold and accusatory, unable to even look at her in the same way when he found out about her history. While it would understandably be a shock, David’s attitude towards her prostitution (and his selfish attitude in general) has soured my view of him completely and that’s without considering his recent lying and cheating. With Tracy’s other family members showing compassion and understanding, David is a far cry from the type of man Tracy needs. It’s going to take a lot for me to warm to him again.

Fave or Fail? (29 Jan-2 Feb 2018)

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! Romance was in the air this week as Charity and Vanessa kissed and made up, Rhona and Pete had some fun and there was a big reunion for Cain and Moira.

Faves

The Big Reunion

Emmerdale - Moira Gives Cain Her Answer - YouTube (1)This week was all about Cain and Moira reuniting and finally putting their ghosts to rest and it’s about time too! With Moira feeling pressured and grief stricken about Holly again, she decided to leave the village for good. We all know this rarely happens for real, but Cain was devastated at the prospect and gave her an ultimatum to meet him at the bridge – in true movie romance style. Reunions don’t come easy and it took some big conversations between Cain and Zak, and Moira and Charity to make the pair of them fight for their relationship. Emmerdale heart-to-hearts are some of my favourite moments, allowing for quiet and impressive performances and seeing Cain open and vulnerable is always welcome. Their final reunion on the bridge was perfect for their characters, full of humour and warmth and by Friday they were back kissing in the café as if they’d never been apart. An easy highlight of the week.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Emmerdale - Tuesday 30 Jan 7pm - The ITV HubHooray for besties Rhona and Vanessa this week who are definitely having fun in the dating department. After a hot and cold fling with Charity, Vanessa got her favourite pub landlady to own up to her feelings and the two shared a very nice kiss outside in the village, hopefully meaning we’ll start to see a bit more of their relationship from now on. Then there was a very unlikely but nicely sparky hook up between Pete and Rhona, giving her back the pep she’s been missing. Pete might not be future husband material but their interactions have given Rhona a big dose of fun and with a nice chemistry they’ve been a surprisingly enjoyable watch.

Darkness on the Horizon

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTubeThe new creepy handyman Phil is bad freaking news and I’m hating the way he’s wedged himself into the shop and buddied up with David, but what this does mean is a great big emotional story for Tracy in future. Amy Walsh plays vulnerable Tracy so well and this story looks like it could be dark and challenging – definitely something gritty for Amy to get her teeth into. I’m so worried for Tracy, especially with David being a dick, but I can’t wait to see how Amy pulls it out of the bag!

Fails

Just Grow Up

Emmerdale - Paddy Picks a Fight With Rhona's New Man Pete! - YouTubeUgh Paddy. After the whole Tess debacle, we finally regained some of the old fun Paddy we loved when he came back from Germany but with his messy feelings for Rhona and his jealousy in the mix, he was really unlikeable this week. Sure, he eventually redeemed himself by realising how selfish he’d been, but when Paddy’s childish like this it really puts me off him, especially when Rhona deserves something fun and uncomplicated. I still can’t stand the Chas and Paddy pairing, but maybe Rhona is better off without him after all? I can’t help but feel eventually he’s going to break Chas’s heart though…

Shifting the Blame

Emmerdale - Someone From Tracy's Past Has Returned... - YouTube (1)Another man for the dick list is David, once again. If the cheating and the lying wasn’t bad enough (like every other man in the Dales), it got worse as soon as Tracy confronted him about Priya’s incriminating text message. It might have been far too easy for David to fess up now (especially with Leyla not due back for ages) but lying again only served to make insecure Tracy feel a hundred times worse. Couldn’t he have thought of a way to lie without Tracy blaming herself? It’s horribly cruel of David and it feels even worse coming from someone who gives off the impression of being a nice guy and a dream husband. He better be there for her when things with Phil get dark otherwise I may end up hating him for a lot longer.

Fave or Fail? (8-12 Jan 2018)

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! Another great week for Emmerdale as Chrissie and Lawrence met their maker and Joe took over Home Farm.

Faves

Stealing the Show

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h05m14s412Hats off to Thomas Atkinson this week as he totally stole the show. Let’s face it, the Whites haven’t exactly become fan favourites, but the intensity and complexity of Lachlan’s dark and twisted psyche made his part in the exits particularly compelling. His delivery of “Make all the monsters disappear”, just before he forced their car into the lorry’s path, was a memorable and bone chilling moment. The best thing about Thomas’s performances this week is that even at his most warped, there were moments where you could actually begin to empathise with Lachlan. Watching his scenes with Chrissie made me wish they’d spent longer periods of the Whites’ tenure exploring the impact of the family’s destructive and enabling behaviour, instead of whitewashing Lachlan’s past and absolving him of responsibility. Thankfully now we’ve seen and they are embracing the true extent of his dark state of mind.

When the Dust Settles

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h08m46s046The intense build up to the Whites’ car crash and the gripping aftermath was a definite highlight of the week. Dispatching of Chrissie and Lawrence like this did make me feel like the characters had never lived up to their potential, however the impact on Lachlan and the repercussions of his actions will be one to watch. Chrissie’s death scenes were surprisingly moving and Lachlan’s dawning realisation of the aftermath was compulsive viewing. With the accidental voicemail and Rebecca’s recall being critical factors in Lachlan’s future, I’m looking forward to seeing how this pans out – I just hope it doesn’t drag on!

Like Mother Like Daughter

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h10m59s740I loved that this week’s episodes saw Sarah showing she’s more like her mother than ever before as she confronted Joe Tate about his treatment of their family by storming Waterhouse HQ and unleashing her anger at him. Brave stuff from a young girl and some of Katie Hill’s best work so far! I love the mother-daughter bond they’ve forged now that Sarah’s grown up and it also gives us both the harder and softer sides of Debbie’s personality as she still reels from Joe’s reveal. Debbie’s at her best when she’s ruthlessly protecting her children, but I also enjoy seeing this hardness disappear when she allows herself the time to be vulnerable and cry. This is the most I’ve enjoyed Debbie’s character in ages. Hooray!

Lord of the Manor

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h09m24s366Joe Tate claimed his rightful place as head of Home Farm this week and I’d be lying if I said those scenes of him surveying his new property – his family’s previous home – weren’t slightly thrilling. Joe continues to be the cold campy bastard Home Farm needs, but with Graham grounding him and trying to be the angel on his shoulder things are definitely intriguing. There’s a lot more going on under the surface than Joe would like everyone to believe, including if he really did have some feelings for Debbie. I’m already excited about his future in the village!

Tip’s Return!

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h12m38s098It might not be the Emmerdale romantic reunion we were waiting for, but this week Tip and Jai reunited and hearts were melted all over again. Not only is Tip an adorable little pup, but she brings warmth and a bit of humour back into Jai’s storylines. It’s hard to believe how villainous and hated he was just a few years ago! It also made Priya lighten up, giving her bickering sibling scenes with Jai and gave endearing cheeky chappy Gerry another thing to do in the village as he took up dog walking. Jai and Tip are the cutest – can we keep them together please?!

Fail

Lost Her Mojo?

vlcsnap-2018-01-14-14h03m57s583Resident vicar Harriet Finch seems to be having a wobble over her faith, but I think it’s a bigger problem than that. There was something a bit feisty and different about Harriet not so long ago but playing second fiddle in Cain’s affections and sticking with him hasn’t done her character any favours. She’s lost all her guts and fire to moon around behind Cain. Sure it might be to prolong a Cain and Moira reunion, but anyone can see Cain’s heart isn’t really in it – even Harriet can see it. Now that she knows Moira killed Emma and that Cain will protect her and the child they share, it really makes you wonder why a once confident and headstrong Harriet still bothers with him. And she might be having a crisis of faith right now, but it’s been a drain to watch her become so interfering.

Emmerdale’s Worst Moments of 2017

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Emmerdale had another huge year full of great storylines and incredible performances, but it wasn’t all perfect. Here’s my look at where it went wrong in 2017.

Make sure you read my Top 10 Best Bits of 2017 later today!

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5. Anti Climaxes and Dragging Storylines

One of the biggest issues of 2017 was the pacing of storylines. Huge and long running stories that ended on a whimper, or stories that dragged on and on forever. There were notable exceptions of course, but sometimes stories ran on way past their sell by date. Even some of the best stories, like Emma’s downfall, could have benefitted from a faster, punchier conclusion. Smaller subplots like Tracy’s erotic novel ran for months, squeezing out every last second of humour until nothing was funny anymore; Rakesh took months to leave after his lies were exposed; I felt jaded by Vic and Adam’s lovely marriage ending several times in repetitive ways; similarly fatigued by Robron’s nine-month relationship breakdown (and Robert’s never ending revenge); Dan and the teen gang/Josh story lasted weeks and went nowhere having no impact on any of the families it involved; much like Jai’s drawn out relationship with Nell (which did benefit from some brilliant final moments) it’s had no long term effect on the characters, making any investment in the story pointless. So here’s hoping for 2018 that the fat is trimmed and stories aren’t stalled to delay shocks and twists, before they become anti-climatic.

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4. Sizzle Free Love Affairs

My biggest wish for 2017 was less cheating after the adultery-fest of 2016 and while that didn’t really happen, 2017 saw the rise of something just as disheartening: the sizzle free love affair. We had Cain and Harriet getting jiggy in the vestry – a combo of good and evil that should have been sinfully seductive viewing but fell flat in Cain and Moira’s shadow, especially when Harriet seems to be selling herself short. We had Megan and Frank – a dry and boring relationship which even Frank’s fling with Charity couldn’t liven up. Then there was Chas and Paddy – a strange and incompatible mismatch which requires strong cringe glands. And finally, the plot that soured our summers, Pete and Priya. Tipped as this big sexy affair for the summer, both characters suffered from horrible personalities and sub-zero chemistry levels. All the bum grabbing and clothes tearing in the world couldn’t save them.

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3. Finn the Stalker

It feels like forever ago now, particularly as poor Finn is now six feet under, but one of the worst plots of 2017 had to be Finn the stalker. Finn had been a fairly loveable, sweet geeky guy until this story saw him become clingy and crazy in his attempts to be with his boyfriend Kasim. Despite the unhinged behaviour being explained as Finn trying to cope with his dad’s death, Finn grew desperate and unlikeable in extreme ways (graffitiing the word “Yestergay” on Kasim’s wall for one) which made little sense and ruined what people loved about the character. Thankfully after a short trip to Australia, Finn’s personality went back to normal and we could all just forget about the bad plot. It’s just unfortunate that after all that, he ended up dead. Finn deserved better.

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2. The White Family

The White family were featured as one of my worst parts of 2016 and here they are again! Things didn’t improve from the previous year, as throughout 2017 the Whites continued to be isolated from the rest of the village and relied on exposition-heavy backstories to provide depth and create more inner-family conflict. Their entitled attitudes and unlikeable personalities meant their circular and tired arguments didn’t make for engaging viewing. Even Robert’s tedious and endless revenge panto plot didn’t improve things as it lobotomised the family making them look more gullible than ever before. Ultimately it felt like the confusion about what to do with the family ran on for another year as their limbo between victims and villains never settled. Another year of wasted potential. Their bad deeds (erm Andy, Alicia to name a few) were barely mentioned and their real points of interest (Lawrence’s sexuality, the family’s nastiness) ignored. If only they’d embraced the Whites as true, self-righteous villains (like they’ve just started to with Lachlan) then we might have seen something good.

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1. Robron Smashed to Bits

Oh boy. Where to begin.

After Aaron’s traumatic child abuse story of 2016, he was owed some happiness in 2017, right? Wrong. After a romantic and heartfelt wedding, Aaron was packed off to prison where he was tortured and abused in well-acted but nasty scenes that felt like a cruel step too far. At the time I questioned the darkness of these scenes after the hopeful future that was earned after Gordon’s trial. Once again throughout the year, Aaron might as well have been used as a voodoo doll. If people weren’t desensitised and sick of Aaron’s misery then 2017 might have pushed them over the edge.

On the outside, Robert was in bits and after learning that Aaron was taking Spice (a well meaning and educational drugs plot this wasn’t), Robert imploded their relationship by sleeping with continual thorn-in-Robron’s-side Rebecca. This was never going to be a popular move just three weeks after the wedding, but at every step the story became more wearing, more frustrating and more miserable. The handling of Robert’s bisexuality had already been praised in the LGBT community but the clumsy way his sexual identity had been inexplicably and repeatedly linked to being faithful in the dialogue meant his cheating was hard to not see as a huge backwards step and a muddled, dated message to the audience. Having spent so long redeeming Robert in the eyes of the viewers, Aaron and his loved ones it was depressing to see that destroyed.

It didn’t stop there, of course. We had the inevitable pregnancy, more drugs, more self harm, more arguments and finally a big split. Rebecca’s personality shifted when the story required, having been introduced as a flighty vixen in 2016 eager to get Robert for herself, Rebecca became the eternal martyr lurching through multiple personalities when the story required it. Rebecca’s point of view was barely featured, meaning her flip-flopping decisions never showed much more of a purpose than to cause more grief between the already fractured couple. Beyond frustrating.

Having once had soap’s hottest property in the palm of their hand, even the most ardent Robron fan was exhausted and despondent. So after all that and promises behind the scenes for a reunion in 2018, is it too much to hope for a less torturous 2018?

Fave or Fail? (9-13 Oct 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! We said goodbye to Finn this week and discovered that Emma’s death might have been murder.

Faves

Farewall Finn

vlcsnap-2017-10-15-12h56m01s905For a lad that spent most of the time in the village being unappreciated, Finn had a huge send off this week as Emmerdale gathered to mourn. It wasn’t just your usual church service and pub wake, but individual characters got to come and say their goodbyes to his coffin and there was a superhero themed get together in the Woolie too which was a really nice touch. All of the coffin-side mourners gave emotional and touching performances, especially Amy Walsh (Tracy) and Chris Chittell (Eric), making his death feel all the more impactful on the wider community outside his family members. Last week it felt like his death was overshadowed and bogged down under too many events happening at once, so I’m glad that this week gave enough time and space to letting the villagers grieve for him. RIP Finn, you’ll be missed.

Murder Mystery

Emmerdale - Ross and Pete's Suffering Is Far From Over - YouTubeEmmerdale went a little CSI this week as DS Benton began investigating Emma’s death as a murder rather than a suicide and kicking off an infamous soap Whodunnit. Whodunnits aren’t always my favourite plot as it often involves lots of characters doing unexplained shady things and looking suspicious all to ramp up the suspense, but so far it’s been pretty fun and it even included a suspect montage set to Kylie Minogue! I liked the twist of having the police conducting their enquires before the rest of the village knew, looking on at the Bartons as outsiders and making it seem like its own forensic spin off. There are lots of likely culprits but I hope Emmerdale doesn’t keep us hanging on for too long before we find out the truth of Emma’s death!

Baby Beginnings

Emmerdale - Moira Reads Out the Paternity Test Results - YouTubeIt seems early days for Moira’s baby storyline but the warning signs are there that she’s not bonding with him and his arrival has caused friction in the Charriet camp. The awkward tension of the paternity reveal was really worth watching this week as Pete got the news that he wasn’t the little one’s father and Cain had to deal with the consequences. Poor Harriet faced up to the inevitability that she’d always be second best while Cain and Moira remained their usual stubborn selves, insisting nothing will change. We’ve seen Cain’s reluctant father routine several times now so hopefully something new will emerge from this storyline in future and as for his future with Moira, the chemistry is there in spades, but it’s going to take a while for them both to soften up for the idea. Let’s hope for Harriet’s sake that Cain doesn’t drag out the inevitable and kid her – and himself – in the process.

Bonus favourites:

  • Gerry’s continued integration into the village – he was sweet and supportive of Liv, helping Doug with his gardening (wingman goals), the comedy torture scenes with Zak and Sam
  • Vanessa finally getting a storyline
  • Sam and Lydia getting engaged!
  • Belle being there as a mentor of sorts for Liv

Fails

Silly Filler

Emmerdale - Tuesday 10 Oct 7pm - The ITV HubWith the big Barton plots dominating the screen this week, it was disappointing that many of the other plots felt a bit pointless. While there were good aspects (Sam and Lydia getting engaged, Gerry being a rather entertaining addition to a scattering of stories), the teen plot and the factory story seemed to go nowhere. Both Lydia and Rishi add comic value to Emmerdale and regularly make me laugh, but this week’s story of the elusive Una was short on giggles. With Lydia unable to let go of her old home and memories of Steve, her fake alias of Una was exposed by the Sharmas. It wasn’t the worst plot ever – it just wasn’t funny enough. If they needed a mix up to get Sam to propose surely there was a better way. As for the teens – we’ve seen so many of their alcohol inspired antics now – surely it has to be leading to an actual story soon?

Shouty Man

Emmerdale - Pete Can't Accept the Truth About Finn's Killer - YouTubePete Barton is the human equivalent of nails down a blackboard. One shout from him and that’s my teeth set on edge for the day. And boy did he do a lot of shouting this week. I get it, okay? He’s grieving, he’s angry at the world and he was told he was a dad – and then he wasn’t. Pete’s got a lot of things to be upset and angry about, but there’s still something so unsympathetic about him. If you’re able to put aside his sleazy behaviour with Priya and forgive him that (miraculously Leyla managed to, while still spouting off at Priya), you’d recognise that he’s suffering a big loss right now. The world is against him. But still, his sadness turns from zero to “I’m gonna thump you” in thirty seconds and all the aggression and gurning doesn’t exactly lead to much sympathy, sorry mate. In fact, Dale View is a bit too heavy on the male posturing and aggro right now which isn’t helping. Also there is the knowledge that Pete’s moods vary between just two – aggressive and dull – and if we were picking Bartons to lose, I’d have picked him over Finn any day.