The case for Janine Butcher
Janine gets a hard time in our Forums, so here’s her defence, written by Bec, one of our long-time forum members.
"Janine is nasty... vindictive... disgraceful... disgusting... a total bitch."
These were the types of words used about Janine in recent weeks and while they’re probably accurate, I can’t help but feel for her. People have accused Janine of being a caricature with no redeeming qualities whatsoever but to me, she’s anything but. As far as I’m concerned, she’s one of the most complex characters in the show.
All Janine has ever wanted was to be loved, whether it was from her dad, her replacement dad, Terry, from Billy or from Ryan. The problem is the first person that she wanted to love her, Frank, sent her away or left her behind. Because of this, she’s always felt abandoned or that she wasn’t good enough for him and it is her desperation to have a father figure in her life that has affected her so much. That’s why she turned to Terry Raymond who she thought could fulfill the role Frank left behind. When Terry got a girlfriend, Janine’s jealousy reared its ugly head and she feared that Terry would be taken from her just like Frank and so she did what she does best, manipulated the girlfriend out of the picture. At one point, she got so desperate for Terry’s love and acceptance that she waited in his bed for him, thinking that was what men wanted and how she would get the love she craved.
That same philosophy led her to prostitution which was also as misguided idea. I remember a story where she thought things could become more serious with one of her clients but of course, he just saw her as a dirty little slapper. Janine was rejected, again.
Then, when Billy Mitchell was the one to get her out of her prostitution/cocaine hellhole, she fell for him and for the first time admitted that she was in love but it was Little Mo that Billy wanted not Janine.
It’s no surprise then that Janine puts up a front to the world and uses hurtful words and spiteful actions to get them to hate her because deep down she feels like they should hate her. She was never good enough for the people she actually cared about in her life so she believes she’s not good enough for anyone and works to make everyone else think the same. In essence, this is one self-destructive girl.
So, then we have Ryan... somebody she clearly loves and loves her back and for the first time, Janine is able to let somebody in, to finally get her chance at true happiness only for her to discover the truth about Lily...
As a result, Janine now feels so angry because it took so much to let herself be happy like this and now it’s been ruined which means she goes back into self-destructive mode. She knows if she loses Ryan, then she might be alone forever because if the one person she was able to let in leaves her, how can she ever be good enough for anyone again?
Sure, Janine may be a complete and utter bitch with serious psychological issues but I’m still on her side. She’s reacting to this situation in the only way she knows how... to lash out, it’s her defence mechanism. All she wants is to be loved and she’ll go to any lengths to get it. Does that make her behaviour justified? Maybe not. But I can definitely understand it.