Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cora the Drunk(en Man in Drag)

Here is a man in drag:-

And here is Cora:-

Spot the difference? 

Once again, there's a raging discussion at the Kindergarten about the woman we're all supposed to love,admire and revere as Walford's next matriarch, natural successor to Pat ... Cora.

You can read the discussion here, but make sure you have plenty of tissues handy, because you'll cry laughing at the unmitigated, narrow-minded gumpf which they call "wisdom" emanating from the arseholes mouths of the resident teenaged fanbois sages - namely Cack Jarr AKA Jark and The Other Slater Cousin. (I guess their combined ages total thirty-six, but that's no match for life experience).

Arthur Lager (great name, incidentally) starts the ball rolling with this observation:-

As hard as I have tried I cannot get to like Cora & tonight I lost any positive feelings I had about her.

This sanctimonious whisky fuelled alcoholic fag guzzling old hag preaching her views to all & sundry and treating people just how she thinks makes me sick. After leaving the house & walking across the square she was walking with great difficulty, was it the alcohol causing her to walk like it or the ridiculously high heeled shoes she was wearing.  She resembled a drag artist wearing high heels for the first time. (Not that I would know anything about that sort of thing)

I can understand how many years ago Cora’s situation would have been classed as taboo & I also understand it must have been a shock to see Ava again after almost a lifetime. A first meeting would never be easy but I felt Cora was heartless to her. Cora demanding that Tanya leaves the room; what a damm cheek to order somebody to leave a room when it is not even Cora’s house.
Why should Patrick have to put up with this witch’s behaviour? She was downright horrible to him.
The only thing close to her heart is the whiskey bottle, so go on Cora, and fry your liver that is assuming the fags haven’t got there first.

Couldn't have said that better, myself. And he's not alone. Nebraska weighs in ...

 Re Cora: I agree with Arthur Lager in a way, I find Cora somewhat difficult to like. 
Although I think the actress is rather good and her performances are usually impressive, Cora just lacks warmth and the constant relying on booze (how come we're supposed to believe Lauren has a drinking problem, whenever she drinks less than her gran?) doesn't help either. She's like the character you really want to sympathise with, but her woes can't quite strike to the heart.
I often see her compared to Pat, but she's nothing like her. Pat was brash, but she wore her heart on her sleeves, which made it so easy to feel for her. With Cora I have to try to rationalise why I should feel for her, and I'm not sure I'm intended to feel this way. 
And of course Cack Jarr (Jark) and his little flying monkey Lola know better (but don't really). First Jerky ...

 Where has this perception of Cora the alcoholic come from? She doesn't drink any more frequently than Patrick, Tanya or Max. And although I don't see the big deal in how she was walking, it did strike me that she was walking like that because she was in a state of shock, not because she was drunk (which she wasn't).
Remember JerkyJackyJark is twenty. He's seen the world.

And la-la-la-la-Lola:-

 Lauren has an issue with drink , Cora and Tanya do not IMO 
Of course, she knows all about alcohol and alcoholism and its variant phases.

Of course, Cora has a drink problem. As does Tanya. As does Rainie. And now, ostensibly, so does Lauren. Does anyone see a pattern here? It's obvious. Behaviour is learned, and many also believe that alcoholism, as a trait, can be passed from generation to generation. EastEnders has already adequately examined this extensively in its study of the Mitchell men, from generation to generation, starting with Grandad Phil, continuing with Eric and onto the current Phil, himself. Alcoholism coupled with violence. The Mitchell men were drunks, and they were violent when they were drunk.

There's the same sort of pattern in Tanya's family.

When Cora was first introduced to the viewers, she was drunk, and during the course of the evening, she got drunker.

Later we found out that Cora had been evicted from the council flat where she'd lived for years because she'd been given an ASBO for - get this - tormenting and harassing a young single mother. She was called the ASBO Granny. On the way to Tanya's wedding, she was already buzzing, regaling Tanya with the story of how she was five months gone with Tanya by the time she married Tanya's father.

When he fell ill with cancer, she couldn't take the strain and left her young daughters to sit with her ailing husband while she went out on the razz, drinking and clubbing. When Tanya asked her to look after Oscar, she was reluctant to do so. She got drunk, and Oscar fell down the stairs. She and Patrick got drunk one afternoon at Max's house, and plied Abi and Jay with drink, until Abi puked her guts onto the carpet. Abi was fifteen at that time. Cora thought it was a lark. She willfully and proudly bragged to Lauren about how Tanya misbehaved, shoplifted and committed acts of petty crime as if it were a badge of honour and to be emulated.

It's easy now to say poor pitiful Cora turned to drink as a result of giving her child up for adoption, but I would say that it's obvious that drink has always been a part of Cora's life. She probably was drunk when she slept with the sailor and got pregnant. It happened then and it happens now. Whilst living at Dot's she was quick to regale all and sundry about kicking it up in the Sixties in Swinging London. One of her first acts as a resident of Walford was to team up with Rose to drink with Patrick (with the hope of a sexual favour afterward). Rose won that contest.

Look, this is the woman who's supposed to be a matriarch - successor to the likes of Lou Beale and Pat; but she's nothing like either of them. As someone on Digital Spy remarked, she's more battle-axe than matriarch. A matriarch is someone who's approachable, understanding and wise. A matriarch doesn't judge and helps anyone who seeks her guidance. 

Lou Beale protected her family ferociously, but she also viewed every inhabitant of the Square as her extended family, even those who had wronged her. Even Pat. Pat was one of the least judgemental characters ever and always fought for the underdog or anyone she thought wasn't getting a fair enough shake, even if that means going against the accepted grain of thought. The only time Pat didn't give good advice was when Bryan Kirkwood's crew were writing for the character. But then, Kirkwood gave us Cora.

 Cora is none of that. She's petty, bitter, vindictive and spiteful. Cora was seen threatening Janine Butcher when Janine was in the early stages of her pregnancy, and she was seen baiting and harassing her on her wedding day, when Janine was actually in the first stages of premature labour. Show me a matriarch who's done that?

Her advice is skewed as well. Considering her patronage of Lola, she's struck out twice on occasion with her - first telling her to go bang on Social Services' doors until they gave her her child back. Lola did just that, as well as trash Trish Barnes's office and assault her, and accomplished nothing. Then, after several self-pitying drinks, she tells Lola that the baby's better off in care. Go figure.

As for her granddaughters, again channelling a commentator on Digital Spy, I wouldn't let a woman like Cora within a mile's radius of my daughters. She's a bad influence. When Tanya was actually encouraging Abi to plough her energies into studying instead of mooning after Jay,  Cora followed that up by telling Abi that the most important thing she should be doing is being a friend to both Jay and Lola. Forget the schooling.

As for thinking that Cora drinks no more than Patrick, that's utter bullshit. Cora has a permanent buzz on. Her diet consists of coffee, cigarettes and booze. She kept a bottle of whiskey in the back room of the charity shop, which - I'm sure - was against regulations. The line uttered most by her is "I need a drink" and she's most often seen propping up the bar in the Vic.

Patrick wasn't drunk when he took Jay under his wing and protected him from the angry populace of Walford. Patrick didn't reach for the bottle when Heather died, and he doesn't cry into a bottle of rum every time he thinks of Paul. When Patrick gets drunk, it's occasional and intentional, a time of celebration or whatever. He may have a tipple every day, but he's never drunk all the time.

As far as alcoholism goes, just as there are seven shades of grey, there are seven shades of alcoholics, and alcoholism is a disease which creeps up on a person unawares - in fact, an alcoholic is the last person to know and realise he has a problem. Cora always has a buzz on. After noon, an alcoholic beverage is in her hand as much as a cigarette is. That's dependency. That's alcoholism. 

Look at it this way, just as all gay men aren't effeminate, so all alcoholics aren't lush drunks. Most alcoholics function normally on a day-to-day basis, but they do have a dependency.

Remember when Lauren got drunk on her birthday and Cora found her in the Vic? When Cora marched her home, the first thing Cora did was pour herself a stiff whiskey from Max's supply. Tanya met them with the ubiquitous glass of wine in her hand.

And speaking of Tanya, anything is an excuse for a bottle of wine. Tanya's upset, she drinks. She's happy, she celebrates with a drink. She's lonely, she reaches for a bottle of wine to keep her company. She's bored, she pours herself a glass of wine. 

She used her best friend Jane as a mask for her drinking. With Jane on hand, she didn't have to drink alone and cause natter. Now, she's got Sharon to keep her company, but is she mindful that Sharon has an addiction problem, herself, as well as being the daughter of a woman who died an alcoholic? Tanya doesn't care, as long as she can have her tipple.

She couldn't even stop drinking when she was having her cancer treatment, even buying underaged Lauren drinks in the Vic. And there's barely been a time she's gone to the Vic that she hasn't emerged stonking drunk. Even Friday, she thought to celebrate having baked a cake with her mother by popping out to buy - yes - a bottle of wine. During her first separation from Max, she got so drunk on two occasions that Abi, then a small girl left the house in the dead of night without her knowledge.

Rainie has acknowledged her addictive behaviour and sought help, even realising that one of the encouraging factors in her addiction was her mother. The other was her sister. So she removed herself from the problem. When she told her mother as much in a letter, Cora's reaction (she was already drunk) was to get drunker and destroy Rainie's bridesmaid's dress. When Cora, in a sober moment, told Tanya some valid home truths, Tanya's reaction was to open a bottle of wine.

Tanya and Rainie observed Cora's behaviour and learned to depend upon alcohol. Lauren's done the same with Tanya. When she's stressed, she drinks. When she's bored, she drinks. When she's happy, she needs the booze. And all that behaviour stems from Granny Goodwitch.

Cora is not a matriarch. She's not a sympathetic figure or one which inspires warmth. That Ava has been introduced as a plot device, most likely to attempt to make Cora more of a matriarchal figure, extending her influence over the Square. I would remind EastEnders (who seem to have lost their way) and all who watch this show that matriarchs are not created, they develop.

When Pat arrived in Walford, she was a blowsy blonde who'd married one brother and slept with another. She was in her mid-forties. Remind you of anyone who's just returned to Walford?

Here's a clue: It ain't Cora.

And finally, for the teen-aged psychologist, The Other Slater Cousin, who says:-

I think this is us seeing how much Cora actually struggles with showing emotion. She puts her pride before everything else in fear of getting hurt. So she has buried those feelings for Ava so deep within her that seeing her again it was easier to keep her at arms length instead of a big emotional embrace which could end in Cora getting her heart broken. 

I actually think it is all reflective of the old British thing of painting on a smile and keeping emotions to yourself.

Really, how old are you? Because the single other dominant trait inherent through three generations of Cross women and evident in Cora, Tanya, Rainie and Lauren is selfishness. All of them put what they want first, and the rest be damned. 

Forget the fact that Cora didn't once think about Ava's birthday last year because Ava hadn't even been created or thought about, the way she carried on this time and the way she treated all those about her, including Poppy, who was guilty only of bringing her a cup of tea, was totally selfish. She's even taken over Dot's house as if it were hers and invited waifs and strays in. 

Tanya regularly puts herself before her children, and with Lauren, Lauren is the only number one.

Stop tying this virulent old lag to the myth of the British stiff upper lip. Because that's what it is. Pat told people to buck their ideas up and get on with life; but she did so with great warmth and compassion. Some things that Cora lacks.

1 comment:

  1. I immediately thought of you and this blog during tonight's episode when Cora decribed herself as barely a woman haha.