Friday, January 04, 2008

Not A Farewell, A Goodbye

Last night we saw the final scenes of the baddest of bad girls, Tracy Lynette Langton Barlow Preston Cropper Barlow. As she exits stage left, let’s take a moment to appreciate this gift of a character. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you:

Tracy Barlow – A Retrospective

January 24th 1977 – A Child is Born

Now that Tracy is in jail, one has to wonder if that Parish Priest was right when he refused to baptize young Tracy Lynette Langton. Her mother kept at it and eventually the deed was done. However, not even a ceremony and the most boring godmother on earth, Emily Bishop, could keep the evil at bay.

Listening to Tapes

With her parent’s relationship over and Ken Barlow stepping in as an adoptive father, on paper everything was ok. However, in real life, it was a bit more difficult than that. Notoriously selfish and fatally inept, Deirdre and Ken did not, exactly, provide a stable emotional environment for Tracy to grow up in. There were break-ups and affairs. Tracy often came last in Deirdre’s life and the best thing you could say about Ken was that he was consistently around (which is more than Daniel Osborne can say of him). As a result she was a well stroppy teenager.

But when did the real trouble start? When did she go from your standard troublesome teen to evil vixen? Well, Deirdre and Ken broke up in 1990. So began the parade of men in Deirdre’s life. Tracy found out about the love triangle of the century and confronted Deirdre with her affair with Mike Baldwin. Tracy said some things to her mom that, while possibly true, should not come out of the mouth of a teenager. So, she got slapped. Shockingly, hitting Tracy didn’t solve any problems, because Tracy soon hit the bottle. Then she hit on her mother’s boyfriend, Doug Murray. They didn’t have an affair but he did involve her in a bit of petty fraud. Take THAT mom!

Things really started to go downhill when Deirdre decided to marry Samir Rachid. Tracy wasn’t big on the idea, maybe because Deirdre met Samir on Vacation? Or, he was about 3 years older than Tracy? Or, Deirdre managed to mess up her relationship with the only stable person in Tracy’s life? I don’t know which reason stood out, but Tracy was pissed! After Deirdre’s pleading, Tracy attended the wedding, only briefly.

Know what else she did briefly? Ecstasy. That didn’t go so well. Tracy got a bad batch and ended up in a coma. Now, follow this chain of events.
Tracy goes to rave, takes Ecstasy, ends up in coma
Tracy comes out of coma with massive kidney failure
Tracy chooses kidney transplant over life-long dialysis
Samir volunteers to donate kidney
Samir is attacked enroute to hospital
Samir dies but kidney is still good
Deirdre blames Tracy for Samir’s death?
That’s not irrational at all. No wonder Tracy legged it to London as soon as she was well enough.

Tracy, Girl, You Look Good!

By 1996 Deirdre found it in herself to forgive Tracy for killing Samir and stealing his kidney. That’s nice. Tracy returned to the cobbles for a short time. She was 19, engaged and a florist.

On Christmas Day 2002 she came back to the Street. Her marriage was over. The details are unimportant but suffice it to say she cheated on him and told everyone that he had done the dirty on her. Oh yeah, something remarkable happened in London. While she was always pretty, she came back super hot and way bitchier.

If Tracy Barlow has an Achilles heel, it’s men. Testify! They really inspire her destructive behaviour. Her messy relationships with blokes started as soon as she got back to Weatherfield. Tracy was home for about 15 minutes before she hoped into bed with … wait for it … Dev Alahan. P.S. he had previously had an affair with Deirdre. Take THAT mom!

This is when she started the relationship that would be the hallmark of her life in Weatherfield. Tracy may have been evil. Tracy may have been mean. But after that one-night-stand Tracy loved Steve McDonald and she would stop at nothing to have the opportunity to be with him. Which was too bad, because he didn’t love her and wanted to get back with his ex-wife, Karen. Tracy’s feelings for Steve were probably the only thing about her character that made her seem human and relatable. She was just so bad, and in some cases for no real reason. But, we have all chased after people who don’t want us and it has made us do crazy things.

Crazy things like betting Bev Unwin that she could get Roy Cropper to cheat on his wife. She succeeded with the help of the date rape drug. She didn’t actually have sex with Roy, but she did get him home and undressed. He believed they did have sex and when Tracy found herself to be pregnant, she immediately claimed Roy as the father. Wanting a child of their own, yet unable to conceive for obvious reasons, the Croppers bought the baby from Tracy. In order to secure the deal, Roy required that Tracy marry him, which she did. Tracy regretted that decision and successfully fought to get her baby back. She re-named her Amy. We call her ‘Unibrow.’

She and Steve had tried a couple of times to have a relationship, but it was mostly for Amy’s sake, or because Steve was lonely and often did one stupid thing after another. He also ended up playing some custodial tug of way with Tracy. This just made her more and more bitter and for a while everything she did was aimed at upsetting Steve, including getting him arrested for kidnapping after she convinced him to take Amy to the airport to “look at the planes.”

As a mom, Tracy is almost as responsible as Deirdre. I think like a lot of young women who get pregnant before they planned, she still yearns for her freedom as a young single person, but does love her child. We saw Sarah Platt go through this … at 14. Mind you, Tracy was in her mid 20’s. Tracy has been known to leave Amy alone to go out at New Years. She constantly left Amy in other people’s care and regarded her parents as live in baby sitting. Also, Amy spends most of her time in a dishwasher with Bethany Platt where they have ugly contests. It is always a draw.

A Girl Can’t Be This Bad and Get Away With It

For a woman who was always so proud of her power over men, she really let Charlie Stubbs unhinge her. If evil was a tornado, those two would have been the eye of the storm. I guess his murder was the best way for the Street to dispense of the two meanest characters to walk the cobbles. And it was shocking.

Tracy killed him with a very heavy statue. Yes, it was a work of art. For that crime she went down for 15 years and this is how we said goodbye to Tracy Barlow.

Really, I think her leaving the show in this manner was the only way the writers could satisfy the viewers. She has been so bad for so long, something had to be done. Just leaving town wasn’t good enough. She needed to be punished for all that she had done, all the pain she had caused and, incidentally, for killing Charlie Stubbs.

As sensational at the Street can be, a long-term prison sentence isn’t typically broken for the show. So, chances are, we will not be seeing Tracy again. So ends an era.


Jacqueline said...

You rock girl!

Anonymous said...

EXCELLENT background, Debbie! That was informational and educational!

Michigander Fan

Anonymous said...

Oh, and very enjoyable as well!


Anonymous said...

Very good background.

However - lots of kids have similar backgrounds but don't murder boyfriends. She just seems too over the top evil and it's just as well she's gone.

pip said...

Thanks for that, Debbie! I agree Tracy was born evil. Unfortunately that didn't leave much room for character development. She was a fairly entertaining character while she was around, but I'm not sorry she's gone. Now, how to get rid of Janice . . .

Debbie said...

That was a lot of fun to write, but it was also a lot of work. Tracy has beed the focus of so many story lines and involved in so many others. It was literally two days work (in between my actual job) to research, write and edit. Crazy.

kunzie said...

Debbie, excellent and enjoyable post! Even though I knew of the 'guilt' verdict in advance, when it was read, my arms shot over my head, touchdown-style. However, I must admit that Tracy added tons to the show. It will be interesting to see Amy's eventual fate (other than waxing weekly). Can Steve hack it as a dad? Is the little look-alike actually Kate Ford's daughter, and also leaving the show?

Leah said...

Don't forget she also stole her grandmother's boyfriend, Wally, as she thought he was worth a bob or two. Turned out he was a liar and a Wally. I think Deirdre or someone pushed her in the pool?

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