Ozzily Yours

Monday, April 30, 2007

Another Way TV Shows are Different from the Real World

I get that abortion is a touchy subject, I really do. It's a topic that people all along the spectrum get very passionate about, myself included, and that can make it hard to discuss. But does that mean that the world of popular culture has to pretend it doesn't exist?

If you haven't watched last week's Lost yet, you might want to skip this paragraph. If you have watched it, perhaps you can explain to me why it is that neither Juliet nor Sun even broached the subject that perhaps Sun should consider terminating her pregnancy? I mean, even a perfunctory three-line conversation, which ended with Juliet saying, "Yeah, we tried that, the women all died anyway" would have been preferable to just pretending the option didn't exist. Of course, this whole episode seemed wrapped up in the concept of womanhood being inextricably tied to reproduction - the implication that Sun's and Jin's marriage wasn't complete until they produced a child has been bugging me for a while now, and this didn't do anything to help it.

Still, though, I do think that this is a widespread oversight. The most egregious example, which I still get pissed off about when I think about it, came in the season finale of Scrubs last season. Two women found themselves unexpectedly expecting: one had proclaimed, along with her partner, that they most definitely did not want any more children, no way, no how; the other had been on one date with the child's father, having met him within the last month. Additionally, between these four characters, three of them were medical professionals, and the fourth sat on the hospital board; all would know the specifics of what abortion entails, its risks as compared to risks of childbirth, the fact that, despite what some women are being told, it does not lead to increased risk of breast cancer or difficulty conceiving later in life, etc. And yet no one even broached the idea of abortion. Not for even a second. It was wholly illogical, and a pansy-ass move, as far as I'm concerned.

I'm sure the TV producers are just concerned about alienating certain viewers and, potentially, losing ad revenue as a result, and I know that that's a business decision. But how come no one cares about alienating viewers like me?


  • Because you are not going to start a crusade, enlist a large religious group, and start a huge boycott of the advertisers from the show. You may stop watching, but you recognize that freedom of speech involves the freedom to make fluff on tv and that if people want to watch it then that is up to them.

    In other words, to the tv producers, you don't matter. The relgious zealots on the other hand, do.

    By Anonymous Moth, at 4/30/2007 11:01 AM  

  • I think the "not complete without a child" thing is very Asian. Remember it was a big deal for Sun that it was Jin's "fault" that they couldn't conceive. The whole mail honor-tied-to-virility thing. Very traditional.

    But the rest of it - yeah, yuck.

    By Blogger Adam875, at 4/30/2007 11:02 AM  

  • I'm not 100% sure that the issue of terminating the pregnancy won't come up -- though I don't necessarily like the 'coin-flip' plot, where one option is all sunshine and smiles and the other is death for everyone, either.

    I will be watching as the story progresses; this is the classic case, right, where carrying the child to term threatens the health of the mother? But I think there's a lot of factors that might come into play before the abortion topic gets brought up; should Sun even believe Juliet (that liar!)? Given her story, I'm not sure it bugs me that Sun would want to first focus on "whose baby is it?" before "how long do I have to live, what are my options?"

    That said, you're totally right in terms of shows in general. Even shows that espouse liberal viewpoints in tons of other situations pretend like abortion just doesn't exist, when it comes to that moment in the character arc.

    By Blogger Adam, at 4/30/2007 5:58 PM  

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