Langford on Soaps: Hello (again) John Paul and Goodbye Doug on “Hollyoaks”



I knew I would hate this past week’s episodes as just reading the spoilers had me dreading what was going to play out. But what I didn’t know was how much I would hate it. Ste has become a pathetic, weak and utterly spineless character and all in the name of he and Brendan’s destined coupling. Of course that’s on the writers because a strong individual who had any self-respect would never go back to an abusive relationship. Destroying a character to make a relationship work isn’t exactly brilliant writing.

And the thing is, the writers aren’t even trying to write Ste as strong or showing any growth or maturation after they worked so hard to show him becoming a new person; starting a new business and getting into a relationship that wasn’t perfect, but far more healthy. He’s right back where he was a year ago, obsessed with a man who beats him. And according to the show, who initially set out to write a story about the pain of domestic violence two years ago before they fell in love with Brendan Brady and he became all that’s good and right in Hollyoaks, that’s a good thing.

For example, Ste’s initially not wanting to move to America with Doug because of his kids was always a bunch of garbage because you knew it was about Brendan. His kids were just an excuse and never really factored into anything. I think the worst part is that Ste continues to sniff around Brendan and then lie to Doug’s face and paints Doug as the bad guy when he questions what’s really going on. Of course viewers fall for this since many of them hate Doug because he goes on about Brendan, even though he’s right. Sure, Doug should see the obvious and move on, but Ste lying to him doesn’t help and only keeps his hopes alive.

The scene where Ste begs Brendan to ask him to stay in town and after a kiss Brendan punches him in the face was appalling on so many levels. It just astounds me that the show thinks it’s romantic for a victim to plead with his abuser to love him and be with him. Now of course, we’re to see feel sorry for Brendan hitting Ste because he ‘had to do to it’ and ‘he did it out of love’, but it’s not different than when he broke Ste’s ribs, beat him black and blue and stalked and harassed him. Those were because he loved Ste as well, but couldn’t deal with being gay and hated that Ste had found love with Doug and wanted revenge.

But this punch is an acceptable kind of abuse is the message we’re getting from the show. And Cheryl falling for Brendan’s ‘woe is me’ nonsense about how he had to hit Ste again and her falling for it also shows what a poorly written character she is. She’s asked Brendan to leave Ste alone for months, but it takes Brendan hitting Ste for her to want them back together again? Huh? What?

And I wonder, what was the point of bringing Leah’s real father back now? Ste and Doug had already decided to move, there was no real purpose in having him show up and want to take Leah. And of course he had to be a homophobic bigot. Big surprise. I suspect though that he’ll be back once Ste and Brendan have reunited and we’ll get to see Brendan manhandle and threaten Billy to stay away from his daughter and the Stendan fans will wet them themselves squeeing with delight. Whee! Can’t wait!

All in all, it was a tough week for me watching this show and I suspect next week for the ‘grand reunion’ will be even tougher. To be honest, I’m considering taking a break until Brendan has left the show as it’s not fun or enjoyable to watch anymore. Yet, I do want to see John Paul now that he’s returning so I’ll stick it out, I guess.

I’m so glad George is back. I was afraid would write him out following the tragedy of the car crash. I could have done without the gushing over Maddie though. She was a hateful, despicable person. On the other hand, Tilly and George always saw her through rose colored glasses no matter how badly she treated the rest of the world so I guess they would pay tribute to her. I loved that Esther spoke up and told it like it was regarding Maddie, even if her friends weren’t listening. As for George, I just hope there’s a storyline in the works for him. He’s one of my favorites which say a lot since I couldn’t stand the character when he first debuted.

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