Last time: The Hogwarts Express took everyone to a wedding! Oh, and Sophie and Sian got outed.
This time: I’m going to need a minute; I’m still crying.
Before Sophie and Sian, I’d never heard of Coronation Street, and even after I started listening to murmurs about a lesbian storyline, I didn’t pay much attention. I gathered the basics: 50 year old soap geared toward an older, more conservative audience decides to explore a teen character’s sexuality. But I am so jaded by the false promise of these kinds of storylines (thanks, America!) and so accustomed to soaps being a lightning rod for less-than-stellar acting and writing (thanks again, America!) that I just glossed over the whole thing.
When I finally did decide to give it a go, I was really surprised with the caliber of the acting and writing. I was surprised at the sweetness of Sophie and Sian, both as individual characters and as a couple. And I was shocked that I actually started caring about them. Like really caring about them. The way you do when characters become more than one-dimensional vessels for ad revenue.
The mistake I made, from the very beginning, was listening to people compare Skins to Corrie — because immediately my hackles got raised on account of how can anyone anywhere on any plane of the space-time continuum think that anything could ever be as awesome as Naomi and Emily? But I see now that you can’t compare them because they’re not the same commodity.
Skins is a show about the very real phenomenon of teenagers forming their own urban families. The entire premise is heightened reality, and there are very few adults who are not caricatures. They serve their purpose, these adults, by adding weight to the friendships and they lend that absurd comedy that only the British can pull off. Naomi and Emily are my favorite TV couple ever, and I’d bet all the gold in my Gringotts vault that they’ll remain my favorite TV couple for all eternity. If narrative really is a lightning rod, Naomily was the perfect storm. But now I see that there’s really no need to compare them with Sophie and Sian at all. Because Coronation Street is a whole other thing.
For one thing, it is written for a wider, older audience — and that doesn’t give the lesbian storylines any more gravity, but it does change the social impact. Not in magnitude, but in bearing. And for another thing, the exploration of coming out and living out as teenagers within a community that has practically raised you is not the kind of storyline I have ever seen explored. I mean, it’s kind of revolutionary.
The adults on Corrie are an integral part of the story. Yes, we see through the eyes of Sophie and Sian as they work out their own self-acceptance while they’re working out their relationship, and we can never underestimate the impact that has on gays and lesbians at any age of life. But also we see the story through the eyes of a community of adults — especially in this episode — and the acting and writing is nuanced enough that I’m actually really, seriously moved by the whole thing. Like, I just felt lucky to have the opportunity watch it.
In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the wedding transportation!
Inside the Hogwarts Express, Sally is still having a full-on fit on Claire. Outside, Sian is panicked because she thinks her dad is going to find out about her and Sian now that Claire has shouted their lesbianism to everyone within a ten-kilometer radius. I don’t know if now is the right time to say it, but I kind of think Sophie should be like, "Sian, darling, you don’t have a father." Or, "Sian, sweetheart, you have a father but he doesn’t love you. Like at all. If he did, he would have come to the hospital when your internal organs ruptured." You know? I mean, yeah, that’s sad or whatever. But on the bright side: Your dad — real or imagined! — doesn’t care if you’re gay!
Sally bounces off the train and says not to worry, that everyone knows Claire is nuts.