Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sometimes Comedy Isn't Pretty, But It Doesn't Have to Be Cruel

After giving it some serious thought, I removed "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" from my Netflix lineup. It is a great show and I was pretty excited about it. However, the cruel lampooning of a real person nags at me. I know it wasn't THE thing that precipitated Dr. Brandt's suicide. It shouldn't have happened, period. The showrunners didn't need to ridicule someone to make "Kimmy" funny.

In some ways, this casts the same kind of pall that the shtick about bullying Gary/Jerry/etc. did over Parks and Rec.The inevitable pile-on on Jerry always made me wonder if the creators of the show really thought it was funny..

The only conclusion I can come to is that the people who write this kind of material have never been bullied or maybe they've never been bullied enough to understand the impact it can have. I can speak from personal experience, having been and still being the "Jerry" in many situations and having a costume director actually create character's look based on my appearance for a mainstage show while I was an undergraduate at Memphis State in the late 80s.

What happened this week brought back a lot of bad stuff I thought I'd left behind. No matter how good or bad your life is going, there is no way that public ridicule can not affect you. It hurts. It makes you feel that you are less than a person and if you aren't particularly outgoing, it makes you fearful, sad, and feeling that the only safe place is alone. Worse, there is no way to fight back because you are not in a position of power.

I think for me the worst part is that these are women-driven, women-centered shows that are marked by dick moves. I expected better.

No comments: