Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Rights of Tan(ya)

Oh, for the good old days when to criticize Tanya meant instant pariah status. Tanya was the Yummy Mummy sainted and much put-upon wife of Max Branning, serial cheat and all-around scumbag, when the first of the gremlin family arrived on the Square.

Now, most people believe she is what I said she was all along - a hypocritical, selfish and amoral woman, who wasn't above breaking up a marriage before she hit twenty, someone who puts herself and her desires before her responsibilities as a mother, a closet alcoholic and a criminal.

She also isn't very bright.

But her single, most discerning fault is the ability to turn any circumstance concerning anyone or anything into something that is really all about her.

And this selfishness was behind her quest to find Ava.

OK, deep down, any intelligent EastEnders' fan knows Ava is a plot device who never even existed in a storyliner's mind until five months ago. One year ago, no one - certainly not anyone on the production staff of EastEnders would have thought Cora had had a secret lovechild stashed away someplace else in her past. Ava was created for two reasons: to cover the fact that Jo Joyner is leaving and to give that brittle and bitter old seahag Cora some depth and hope beyond hope that it softens her up for most viewers who see her not as Bryan Kirkwood's (and Lorraine Newman's) new matriarch, but as a drunken old battle-axe. A bit like this:-

But let's just humour the fanbois and rah-rah girls and substandard tweens for a moment and treat Cora's story as if it really, really were part of her originally intended backstory (you know, like in the days when EastEnders put an effort into creating characters and moulding the actors who played them to fit their standard).

Forty-eight years ago, Cora was involved with someone who was most likely a merchant sailor from the West Indies - sort of a cross between A Taste of Honey and Secrets and Lies.

You might remember the Mike Leigh film (the latter), but here's a smidgeon of A Taste of Honey, which took place right around the time Cora would have been getting up the duff and also was produced as a play, ironically, by Joan Littlewood, who was Ann Mitchell's dramatic mentor and teacher.

Anyway, Cora did what most girls in her predicament did in those days - went away, had the baby and put her up for adoption. (I won't go into the Swiss cheese-style holes confounding this story at this time). This would have happened, whether Ava had been a white child or bi-racial. In those days, it was not only a shame for an unmarried woman to have a child, there were precious few benefits available to her.

Most women like Cora (like Cora) went on to marry and raise families of their own. Some of their families knew what had happened to them, but some (again like Cora) chose to keep that part of their lives a secret for whatever reason.

We know, today, that many adoptive children seek their birth parents. Done officially, the contact has to come from parent to child, and then, only if the parent is willing and wanting contact made. We also know, from Friday's episode that, according to Ava, she had the best kind of upbringing, that she loved her white, adoptive parents, and that once, in her late thirties, she had thought of seeking out her birth mother; but had thought it best to leave her alone.

What happened in the past, reckoned Ava, belonged in the past. In other words, she was comfortable with what she was and what she had become, and she wanted to move forward.

Cora seemed to be getting on with her life as well. We know that last year, there was no reference, however oblique, to Ava - no binge drinking around the anniversary of her birth, no retreat into bitterness, no sulking on the part of Cora. Possibly, because Tanya had found Ava's birth certificate, this opened old wounds for Cora this year. And Cora knew how self-obsessed and narcissistic Tanya was, upon discovering that there had been another child, that she actually lied and told Tanya that Ava had died; because she knew that nothing would stop Tanya from tracing Ava - for no other reason than to compare her own circumstances to those of her long-lost sister's.

Once Patrick had inadvertantly leaked the fact that Ava was alive, Tanya was even more determined to find her - especially once she found out that Ava was a deputy head teacher. In other words, a well-educated, well-spoken professional occupying a position of trust in a community ...

Let's face it, being related to someone like that, for Tanya's social aspirations, was better than partying down with Mad May. After all, Tanya would actually be related to an influential person ...

'Ere, 'ave yer met mah sistah, Ava? She's only a deputy 'eadmistress. (Giggle, giggle).

So, first off, all that hypocritical, guilt-tripping shitfest she fed Patrick, when bullying him into accompanying her to Ava's school - all that stuff about poor, pitiful Ava being deprived of her family all those years (which was a good thing for Ava, considering the mental cases and drunks Cora, Ava and Rainie turned out to be) was just that: bullshit.

And once Tanya had a very confused and disorientated Ava sitting in her front room, after shell-shocking Cora with the revelation, all Tanya could think to do was suggest they have a bottle of wine and witter on about what she had - two daughters, a son, married to a man she was about to re-marry yadda yadda.

Ava looked like she couldn't decide whether to shit or scream. Of course, we know Ava's going to be drawn to this lot of dysfunctional poor whites like a moth to a flame. How long before she learns that Tanya killed her father, attempted to bury her husband alive, shacked up with her brother-in-law, the local Sperminator, for an entire year whilst baiting her husband, and also prostituted herself to the local psycho in order to get him on side for killing Max? How long before she learns that her own niece tried to kill dear old dad? Or that said niece is now being boned by her first cousin? Or that Max, her brother-in-law, had it off with his son's girlfriend?

Run, Ava, run!

Your sister is a recovering alcoholic and a junkie who won't go near her mother or your sister because they drove her to that sort of behaviour. Oh, and Mommy Dearest and Tanni-poohs are pretty ace drunks, themselves.

(Sorry, Louisiana, but there are several shades of alcoholics too, and Tanya and Cora are incorporated therein. They use any excuse for a drink - a celebration, a depression, stress, feeling lonely, feeling hemmed in, boredom. In fact, Cora manages a good buzz all the time). They're drunks.

Maybe Ava is  drunk too. Or bi-polar. Or a sex maniac. Or a serial killer. Who knows?

What I do know is that Ava was Cora's secret. And she had a right to keep her a secret from everyone. Tanya went after her sister for her own end - not for any benefit she could do Ava in any way.

On Digital Spy, there's a thread about Tanya's right to meet and know her sister. Quite simply, she has no rights on this score, and she doesn't know the damage she may have incurred because of this - not just to Ava, but also to Cora. Ava has lived her life and has actually benefitted from being adopted. Cora had moved on also. Neither of those instances were down to Tanya, but due to her interference, she's probably opened a can of worms which won't be closed now until some overt damage is done.

One of the commentators on Digital Spy, Mormon Girl, is badgering to the point of trolling the point that Tanya has every right to know her sister. No. She doesn't. If her sister denies her access to her person and Tanya persists, Tanya is breaking the law and can be prosecuted. 

The point, however, with Mormon Girl's insistance in pursuing this argument, even though other commentators have either pointedly ignored her or told her succinctly that they aren't interested in discussing this, is that Mormon Girl is autistic and is using her autism and her obsessive questioning and obsession with the Brannings as a means of pushing her religion and its quest for converts onto the forum.

Who's going to push back at anyone with a disability, right? It's not wrong to do so, especially if the disabled person in question is using that disability in order to promote an agenda of his or her own.

Tanya has no right to know her sudden sister, and Mormon Girl has no right to propagate her religious beliefs, especially cloaked in the disguise of her disability.

1 comment:

  1. You know what they say, give a dog a bone. Mormon Girl, obsessive-compulsive as she is, sunk her teeth into this theory about Tanya's rights and refuses to let go.