That's the searing question of the moment on Digital Spy.
Who's the love of Sharon's life? Grant? Phil? Dennis? Who, exactly?
Naturally, most people responding to the poll are Shannis shippers, a relationship into which I never bought. Surprisingly, two commentators remark on Shannis and then her relationship with Grant, both of which bear a closer examination.
The Forum Member Get Den Watts succinctly expressed what I felt made the Shannis relationship anything but credible:-
I was never convinced about Sharon and Dennis. She always struck me as being too mature for him. Interestingly (given the lack of physical resemblance between father and son), Sharon treats Denny the way she did Dennis, like a big child who has to be kept out of harm's way.This summed up my view of Shannis precisely, and it's why I always found them so incongruous as a couple. Firstly, Sharon never went for pretty boys - and Dennis was a fey, pretty boy. In actual fact, people have mentioned Dennis's traumatic childhood and background, based on abuse. It's interesting that all three of Sharon's serious relationships - with Grant, with Phil and with Dennis - all involved men who were victims of serious child abuse and battering by a parent, and all three had at least one alcoholic parent.
Sharon was always the stronger half of the Shannis relationship. It was established early on that Dennis had no sense with money, that he'd spent most of his adult life as a go-fer for the infamous Firm, so he was used to being given orders and acting without questioning. The fact that he seemed less than able to rationalise important circumstances in his life played a great part in why he died. Sharon appreciated and knew this inconsistency and tried her best, as Get Den Watts observes, to keep him safe.
He's also right when he says that the way Sharon treated Dennis is pretty much the way she treats Denny now - even the way she speaks to the child. Whenever Sharon looked at Dennis, she got the same look on her face as she gets when she looks at Denny - that of a loving mother who is proud of her bantam cock son - "Awww, isn't he cute? Just make sure he doesn't play too close to the street now."
Throughout their relationship, she always tried to keep one step ahead of his manoeverings - all for his own safety, mind you. For everyone who is remarking on her over-protectiveness of Denny, she got good grounding for this in the way she treated Dennis - the repeated referral to him as "mah dahlin" (something she always called Grant as well), the way he used to go into the mother of all sulks when she didn't do something of which he approved (in fact, Grant even called him out on being a big kid when he returned in 2005).
Actually, watch the following clip to see who exactly are the adults in the room. From the very beginning, evey the way Sharon and Dennis sleep dictates who's the dominant one in that relationship - Dennis turned away from Sharon, actually as far to the edge of the bed as possible, but always within arm's reach of Sharon, who drapes her hand protectively over his shoulder. And it's Sharon who "rescues" Dennis from the wrath of Grant.
Even at the very end of their time together, Sharon didn't trust Dennis to act for himself. Instead of telling Dennis what happened between her and Jonnie Allen, Sharon told Phil that she had by midnight to get Dennis away from Walford and frantically urged Dennis to accompany her to Florida. Dennis never twigged anything was wrong, and it certainly never entered his (or Sharon's) mind that Immigration and Naturalisation in the US would never have granted a residency to Dennis Rickman, who had a criminal record. So after all that, Sharon trusted Phil; and for all the anti-Phil shippers who are still raging about the fact that Phil "caused" Dennis's death, he simply didn't.
He told Dennis what happened. Dennis decided what course of action to take. Did Phil realise this? Probably, but then he didn't bargain on Dennis tossing Jonnie a mobile phone with which to call for medical assistance. Once again, Dennis makes a bad decision.
Wanna relive some memories? How about Dennis's last day on the Square? Phil didn't make Dennis do anything.
Ever the devil's advocate, another astute Forum Member, Filiman, begs to differ:-
I disagree. I saw it as that she was aware he was broken - he had a temper, could be violent, and had a bit of self-loathing, and was trying to stear him away from that.
The thing that distinguishes Dennis from Grant is that although Dennis had shit happen to him (abuse, being put in prison, etc.) and thus developed a violent, unpredictable nature, UNLIKE Grant, he never meant nor set out to abuse Sharon.
I fail to see how anyone can reckon Grant, who abused her (and was a woman abuser) could be considered her great love.
I would agree with Filiman's initial observation, but for a completely different reason, and that is one which is incumbent upon the point raised in his second observation, quoted again:-
The thing that distinguishes Dennis from Grant is that although Dennis had shit happen to him (abuse, being put in prison, etc.) and thus developed a violent, unpredictable nature, UNLIKE Grant, he never meant nor set out to abuse Sharon.Two points:
- Grant had a pretty rotten upbringing also. His father was a failed boxer and an alcoholic, who not only beat Peggy, his wife, but also Phil and Grant. Grant also laboured under the impression that Phil was Peggy's favourite - Phil always thought Grant was. He also laboured under the misguided impression that Peggy was repulsed by Grant because he reminded her so much of Eric, his father. However, it was Grant who, when seeing his dad beat Peggy, who was pregnant with Sam at the time, flattened his old man ... and promptly ran off to join the army.
- Grant never set out to abuse Sharon either. His upbringing, combined with what we now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in the Falklands was behind a lot of what happened in his marriage to Sharon. Don't forget also that Grant, on occasion, had struck Peggy and his second wife Tiffany. There's no excuse for that, but I wouldn't say Grant Mitchell was someone who got his rocks off raising his hand to a woman.
I fail to see how anyone can reckon Grant, who abused her (and was a woman abuser) could be considered her great love.Strange as it might be to fathom - and Grant was never a woman abuser. A woman abuser is someone like Trevor Morgan or Derek Branning and certainly not above Jonnie Allen's remit. Grant's problems stemmed from his upbringing and his combat stress, but he is Sharon's real love.
The first person about whom she enquired when she landed back in Walford with Phil was Grant. When Phil told her Grant was in Portugal, he asked if she were OK with that. Her hesitant reply indicated that Grant was very much in her thoughts. And if Grant were to sashay back onto the Square today, she'd drop Jack the Peg in a New York minute.
Sharon has always been the love of Phil's life; but Grant has always been the love of Sharon's life.