Are Coronation Street and other soaps hitting-hard enough with their plotlines?
With soaps like Coronation Street and EastEnders meant to be a portrayal of real life, social issues, there is often the question whether the story-lines that feature in these Modern soaps are serious and in fact hitting-hard enough for viewers. Personally, I think they 100% are.
For example, in recent episodes of Coronation Street, the show has dealt with some very serious and even dark plotlines, one example being the date rape of David Platt, a fan favourite character, and the teenage grooming of Bethany Platt. It is through these storylines that Coronation Street is able to raise the much-needed awareness of social and political issues that are a reality of the society and world we are currently inhabiting.
Another example can be seen in EastEnders which has focused on the issue of gang crime and the stabbings of innocent civilians by teenagers. This storyline, even now, still plays a prominent role in the soap as we see the impact this has had on the family involved.
So, then, by showing these storylines, the soap writers are indeed hitting hard on issues that need to be made aware to viewers: rape, murder, grooming – all of it is part of society and perhaps by showing these storylines in the soaps, we can help to make the world a fairer and more civilised place.
it can be done in a more sensitive and perhaps not as explicit way
However, despite this, there is heated controversy on social media regarding these storylines with people complaining that rather than raising awareness, the soaps are instead providing the means for others to learn and perhaps use the storylines in real life situations. While this is on some levels plausible, it is also suggests that perhaps we take soaps too seriously. This is only further added to when we see people go up to actors such as Connor McIntyre and treat them as if they truly are their characters.
Or, on the other hand, there have been complaints that often, when it comes to storylines like this, it is just too hard and even uncomfortable to watch and with soaps often airing at the early hours of the night such as 7pm and 8pm, parents in particular cannot watch anymore due to sensitivity to their family.
So, while some soap storylines are in fact hard-hitting enough, I believe it is also important that when it comes to portraying these issues, it can be done in a more sensitive and perhaps not as explicit way as many soaps have been gravitating towards recently. And, as many do with characters such as Gemma, it is also important to maintain a sense of comedy that ensures, ultimately, that these soaps are not too hard-hitting that people just find it too hard to watch. Comedy is also necessary for relief.
At the end of the day though, I applaud Coronation Street and the like for taking on serious and often even triggering topics and dealing with them in a way that will hopefully widen audience’s minds.