Thursday, October 1, 2009


So I spent all summer thinking about tonight's premiere of Private Practice, and last season's finale.

Do you ever write blog posts in your head? Long, elegant, well-thought-out positions that explain your view of the world? And then they buzz around in your head until they finally make it out or just sort of drift away? Or is that just me? I think I've written and rewritten in my head this post 7 different times, as different thoughts have occurred to me.

I spent some time after the finale reading various pop watch sites, and the general consensus on the baby stealing story was: ewww. Well, not just ewww, but eeek, horrifying, awful, too terrible, not appropriate for TV but for a horror movie type coverage. Not positively reviewed at all. And I've noticed that the producers have taken some of the mystery out of what will happen tonight: pregnant about to be carved up Violet will live. The promos make that clear, the TV guide blurbs state that right away. What's less clear is if the baby lives.

So that brings me to my latest thoughts. Which, quite coincidentally, Tash covered very nicely in Glow in the Woods.

I like Greys Anantomy, even though it is a ridiculous soap opera. I like it because it is a ridiculous soap opera that just happens to be set in a hospital. Who cares of the science and medicine is a little dodgy (the cancer? the FACE transplant?! Please.). I'm not watching for that. But Private Practice? Well, there are precious few places where infertility, baby loss, grief, the whole she-bang are covered in pop culture. Grieving parents, desperate want to be parents - all fodder for a soap opera. And maybe it pisses me off that PP gets it so wrong. They don't even come close to getting it right. And it's quality actors, a quality show, and it's....wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. On so many fronts. A fertility doctor that doesn't even consider the possibility of terminations. A surgeon that would even consider sleeping with a vulnerable patient's husband. A ridiculous mish mash of doctors that don't even seem to work right professionally. All set in a fertility/wellness clinic. In a world where pregnancy, infertility, grief and family building are so misunderstood, can't they get anything right? Any little piece of it?

And then there's this storyline, of a ambivalent mother (a previous victim of a violent rape) being victimized in such a horrifying way. Conscious, telling her attacker how to cut her open to remove the baby safely. It turns my stomach to think of watching it tonight, though the producers have made it clear the show picks up 20 minutes from where it ended - the butchery over, the baby gone, the mother clinging to life. Will they write off this pregnancy by having the baby not survive? My stomach is churning even typing those words. I don't think I can watch. I don't think I can not watch.

The other issue from the finale is the infidelity. The male half has signed onto another show, and won't appear on PP, so it seems that'll just end. I hope, anyway. It was so distastefully done - the wife, on bedrest, with a desperately wanted pregnancy, her disgusting horny husband on the prowl, divining true love in a few lustful exchanges. Ugly, selfish, grotesque people.

But, the network must be doing something right, as I will probably watch. But I may yet retreat into the safety of a less upsetting, more escapist soap opera, and wait for a time where a more realistic protrayal of family building is created. Beaue there is drama. There is heartbreak, There is love. It could be done right. Or it can be done sloppily, and grotesquely.

So what about you? Watching? Any other baby loss stories in pop culture got your attention?


Kymberli said...

I've never watched PP, but now certainly doesn't seem like a good time for me to start. I hope you'll write again about what happened and your take on it. It sounds like the episode will make me cringe just by the way you've already described the storylines.

One pregnancy-related, make-an-IFer-cringe storyline which has been irking me is the one on "Glee." I LOVE, love, LOVE the show, but there's a whole fake-pregnancy-to-keep-the-husband storyline going. Then a student got pregnant. The wife basically says, AHA! I will get a fake belly and then "adopt" her baby and pass it off as my own! This situation makes me squirm in my seat, but I can't help but be impatient to learn how it will all turn out.

Jo said...

I am watching (right now, actually). I love the PP, ridiculousness and all. It's one place, at least, where they are discussing infertility (unrealistically, perhaps, but at least talking about it) instead of pretending that it doesn't exist, or placating anyone with "in God's time" or "relaxation" nonsense.

I'm with Kimberly about Glee, too -- squirmworthy storyline, for sure.

Tash said...

I don't do medical shows anymore, and after reading this I'm really really glad about my decision. Dead babies pop up in enough other places.

Tash said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
niobe said...

I'm pretty much completely disconnected from pop culture. In fact, since we gave away our tv a couple of months ago, we're currently tv-less.

Not that I have anything against tv or pop culture. In fact, I feel a tiny bit inadequate that I've never managed to structure my life so I have enough time to watch tv. And we are planning to replace the tv when we get around to it.