Archive for the ‘Television’ Category

Domestic violence

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

Today the Washington Post has the first in a three-part series about pregnant or newly post-partum mothers who are murdered.  It builds off of the interest in the Laci Peterson murders, and refers to the findings from a study a year or so back that found that homicide was the leading cause of death for pregnant women in Maryland, accounting for more than 20 percent of the deaths of pregnant or recently postpartum women over a six year period.  That’s a mindboggling statistic.

While some of these homicides are apparently unrelated to the pregnancy, the majority of them are committed by the soon-to-be-fathers.  The article quote Pat Brown, a criminal profiler, as saying:

"If the woman doesn’t want the baby, she can get an abortion. If the guy doesn’t want it, he can’t do a damn thing about it. He is stuck with a child for the rest of his life, he is stuck with child support for the rest of his life, and he’s stuck with that woman for the rest of his life. If she goes away, the problem goes away."

That quote comes across as perhaps more sympathetic to the murderers than Brown intended, but I think the general point is right.  I have no suggestions for solutions.  Giving the fathers the right to force an abortion seems deeply wrong to me.  Allowing them to opt out of paternal rights and child support just screws over the kids.


I’m embarassingly addicted to The Amazing Race, but am increasingly disturbed by the abusive relationship being displayed by Jonathan and Victoria.  It’s painful to watch.  Maybe I’m giving CBS too much credit, but I assume that the producers didn’t see the signs of this when selecting them to participate.  If that’s true, I’m not sure what’s the right thing to do.  Does showing this behavior on a "reality" show make it seem normal?  Would editing the coverage to de-emphasize it be abetting after the fact?  Should CBS be including links to support groups on the show’s website?

What kind of TV show are we?

Monday, December 6th, 2004

This month’s Blogging for Book’s assignment is to "describe in 2,000 words or less why your life would make perfect sitcom."

Ok, here’s the pitch:  "It’s about a family — with two boys — a toddler and a preschooler — but the twist is that the DAD stays home with them, while the mom works.  And he drives a minivan!"

Are you doubled over with laughter yet?  No?  Oh, I’m not either.  Gee, I guess that unless you find the concept of a father changing a diaper inherently hysterical, my life probably won’t make a good sitcom.  Oh well.

So, I’ve been trying to figure out what sort of TV show my life is:

Blessedly, it’s not a soap opera.  No life-threatening illnesses, no affairs, no mistaken identities. Thank you, G-d; if possible, I’d like to keep it that way.

In spite of my sons’ best efforts, it’s not an opera.  While there’s lots of singing, and occasionally bursts of passion (otherwise known as tantrums), there’s no build-up to a dramatic peak with the tension resolved in the final act.

It is definitely not a decorating, or house repair show.  All our walls are off-white and when something leaks, we call a plumber.

My husband suggested that it’s an old-time serial adventure, with the hero getting into a scrape each week, but always pulling off a daring escape by the end of the episode.  And it’s true, our dialogue often sounds like a bad melodrama:

"You must go to sleep."

"But I can’t go to sleep."

"But you must go to sleep."

"But I can’t go to sleep"

"But you must go to sleep."

"I’ll go to sleep."

"My hero!"

However, I’ve decided that it’s really a science show, something that might run on the Discovery Channel late at night.  One day we learn what happens to milk that has been left at room temperature in a sippy cup for two week, the next day we discuss where pee-pee comes from.  We learn some biology, some physics (our youngest cast member is engaged in an extensive exploration of gravity and its effects on everything from his breakfast to Daddy’s keyboard), a little meteorology. The budget may be low, the effects cheesy, but we’re all learning together and having a good time.

On the lighter side

Saturday, November 6th, 2004

Taking a break from the heavy-duty election-related posts, I have to ask: what’s up with ER?  In particular, what’s their issue with reverse traditional (working mom/SAHD) families?

First, in the season premier, they have a baby suffering from botulism, having been fed honey by his clueless SAH father.  When the bitchy working mom learns this, she screams at him for not having read the book.  He responds something like "which book, you gave me 10."

Two weeks later, Susan is asking for the promotion to chief of emergency medicine (which she had previously turned down), because she needs the raise in order to make up for the lost income from her husband, who is going to be a stay-at-home dad.  Within five minutes, she’s asking whether some of her troubles are "punishment for being a bad mother."  What-the-*&^(?  Not loving being home full-time and returning to work makes her a "bad mother"?  Good grief.  Plus, as the fine folks at Television Without Pity point out, we’ve previously seen Susan being a darn fine mother — not to her baby, but to her niece, little Suzie, the one she parented when sis was a druggie, and moved to Arizona to be closer to.

I don’t know why I care — this show has clearly jumped the shark — if not years ago, certainly at the start of the season when they actually had a shark in the show.  The main problem with it is what my husband refers to as "Chris Claremont Syndrome" — when you run out of plot ideas, inflict something horrible on one of your characters.  But I’m still not quite willing to give up on it.

(In case anyone’s wondering why I’m just posting this now, I’m just getting around to catching up on everything that’s piled up on my TiVo.  As far as I’m concerned, TiVo is up there on my list of the top 10 best things ever invented for busy parents.  You never have to watch anything that’s inappropriate for kids when they’re up; you can watch Blue’s Clues and Max and Ruby at any time of day; you can fast-forward through all the commercials; you don’t miss any of your show when you’re interrupted; and you never watch dreck just because there’s nothing else on.)

Bad Joke Day

Friday, August 27th, 2004

On an email list I used to be on, the rule was that you could only forward jokes to the list on Fridays — “bad joke day.” This email I received from a parenting list qualifies in my book:

Are your kids OUT OF CONTROL?
If so, GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK and contact NANNY 911!

FOX and Granada USA are looking for families that have a child or children who are out of control for the upcoming new unscripted series NANNY 911. Our “Nanny Specialists” will come to your home, assess the situation, and work their incredible “Mary Poppins”-like magic to transform your terrible tykes into perfect angels. To take part in this fun, family TV show, applicants must be legal residents of the U.S. with children between 2 and 9 years of age.

Oh fer cripes sake. That’s just what your messed up kids need — to be on a reality TV show.


My weekend plans include installing XP SP2 onto my computer. If I don’t post again for a while, you’ll know why.