I was thinking this morning, as I groggily made my way to the front room, that it really wouldn't be fair to start off a television-themed blog without addressing the world's longest running serial drama, Coronation Street. As I have mentioned in a previous blog entry from my non-specific blog, here, I have become a HUGE fan of the Street, and often comment to my wife that I wish I had tuned in to the weekly Weatherfield goings-on long before I actually did. The biggest problem when tuning into a show like this one is that there is no possible way, at least until after you've discovered a passion for it, to get the back-story behind the plots you find yourself embroiled into when you first tune in. When I started watching, almost as a whim one morning before anyone else in the house was awake, I knew from the outset that the show was decades old and that I would have no hope of getting anything straight right away, especially if I was only planning on this being a one-off viewing.
Thankfully, the stories grabbed me right off the bat, and I was sucked in just as solidly as large sections of many countries have been for years. And, as many people probably do when a subject suddenly grabs their undivided attention so completely, I craved more. I felt that the omnibus edition of Corrie that I was watching on Sunday mornings on the CBC just wasn't enough. I had to have more, because one day a week, even at two and a half hours at a go, just wasn't enough Corrie. So, I looked through the CBC schedule for starters, and discovered almost immediately that the show did in fact air daily, Monday to Friday, in wee half hour chunks, each and every weeknight at 6:30. I was thrilled! Corrie at once became my daily habit. I am stuck in the house with a heart condition, so I can watch the noon news rather than the 6 o'clock, so Corrie was all set to rule the 6:30 time slot! Wonderful!
However, my glee slid away. Suddenly, I started to think about all the years I had missed, purposefully avoiding watching this institution unfold, and I began to think. We're talking about a show that currently runs five episodes a week, every single week, all year long. There is no possible way to go back and catch up, no way to watch year after year on DVD, it isn't possible. I mean, how many discs would the entire history of Corrie actually take up? It boggles the mind! Thankfully, there are a few good sources of information, and as I took to the online shopping aisles to discover what there was to bring home to sate my need for context, I found books, small DVD compendiums, and behind the scenes glimpses at the stories and the actors bringing them to life.
Still, it just wasn't enough, so I dug deeper, and that's when I found the rich wealth of Corrie blogs. It wasn't long before I stumbled into Corrie.net, and for the most part my search (I thought) had come to an end. Then, I took a look at the main photo on the front page of the site. Wait, I don't remember that...why on earth is Gail in prison? She was smiling and happily discussing her son David's girlfriend, Tina, just the other day! As an aside, I really do like those two together, I think that relationship will stay steady for a long time, as long as Gary doesn't foul it all up...but I don't understand what this photo is all about? Was Gail in prison before I started watching? It took me a moment to pull my eyes away from the picture and take in everything I was seeing on that website. And then, my eyes flicked to the left, and the truth hit me like a ton of bricks: Canada is behind the actual airdates! There was a little "Coming Up" picture of something about some Kelly person leaving the Street, and then below that there was another picture with the caption "In Canada." In Canada? What the heck do you mean, in Canada? You mean we're...we're...delayed??!!?
Yup, as a new visitor to the Street, I had no idea for the first couple weeks or so that Canada is indeed behind the times as far as episodes go, and we're not the only country that is either. Notably, Australia shares this awful humiliation as well, though I'm not entirely certain how far back they are in relation to us here in the Great White North (sorry, glanced outside just now, and the 'light snow' we are to be receiving seems to be trying to make my impending trip to the dentist a test for the taxi taking me to the office). What I know for certain is that here, yesterday, on Friday, January 7th, 2011, my wife Andi and I watched an episode that originally aired across the pond on Friday, March 19th, 2010. That puts us about nine and a half months behind the times, and that saddens me. A lot. See, because I didn't stop there on the front page of the Corrie.net site, no, I had to venture further, and sooner or later I found the Episode Archive. And there, laid out for my reading pleasure, was months, years, what looked to be episode summaries dating in their completeness all the way back to December 1995! Now I can read, read, read, and catch up to where I am for years of missed shows! The thrill carried me away - for about all of a minute. Then, I saw what I didn't expect to see: 2010 was there as well.
That's right. Directly below 2009's list of months, there it was, 2010. At this point, it was Christmastime on the Street, and I knew which year it was (some of you are undoubtedly thinking, look, buddy, if you saw it was Christmas, how did you NOT know the show was behind the actual airing...in hindsight, I was being an arse, I know that, so shush...actually, if memory serves, they only started decorating the Street and talking prezzies at about the same time as I discovered the delay), so I knew EXACTLY what I was looking at: a crystal ball. Here, I could do more than catch up to the stories on Corrie, I could get ahead, I could jump to the present, I could rub people's noses in the fact that I, and I alone in my household, knew the secrets and twists that would unravel before their eyes in the ensuing months...
So, I became a cheater.
I'm not proud of it. Not really. However, at first I read ahead only a little, to get to the end of some of the more interesting developments that were currently unfolding. But then, I found a new wrinkle, and I had to follow that...and suddenly, I'm reading into the summer episodes of 2009, and next thing you know I'm reading about Christmas 2009, and...oh, I had to slow down, I was getting so far ahead of our airing of the show it was ridiculous! Tony and Maria planning to marry! Molly and Kevin starting an affair! Peter burning down his flat when drunk! Claire almost died! Norris almost smiled! Becky and Steve are still together! What do I do with this overload of information?
But then the worst thing that could have happened did indeed occur: Somehow, I'm still not sure from where, I got wind of the 50th anniversary plans, and everything fell apart. Now I have insight into the biggest event on the Street, I know the details, I know the life and death decisions the show had to make, and I know the worst thing of all - I have to wait until this freaking October to see it all!!! Now I knew I had a problem. So, I stopped reading ahead. Almost. If you are reading this from Australia, these next bits may be a spoiler, depending on just how far back you are in relation to us in Canada, so proceed with caution: I had to know if Simon got home from Blackpool in one piece, and wanted to see how Peter handled George as a result. I actually skimmed over other parts without reading them, so this whole Molly going back to Tyrone thing surprised me, as does Nick buying into Underworld (like I said, I know what's coming, so his being part of the naughty bits factory doesn't add up - yet). Still don't read forward anymore, because having to wait until even more interesting stuff unfolds would probably stop my heart then and there.
Well, now you know the whole truth. I was a cheater, I'm now reformed (didn't Peter say that once or twice about his drinking?), and the Street is unfolding at it's normal Canadian pace. The only problem I can foresee is what we do when we move to the Dominican Republic. Do they even get channels that carry Corrie down there? If not, move is off, sorry. Now that I found it, I'm not leaving it behind!