A couple of days ago, I linked to a great essay by Neal Gabler in the LA Times about how television shows often depict close knit families and friends, who spend hours trading jabs and sharing tender moments. Gabler said that in reality, most people aren't hanging out together and are drawn to these shows, because we all secretly wish that we had closer ties to others. David Brooks responds.
I'm lucky enough to be embedded in a community with a lot of friends and family. While our family isn't nearly as beautiful or witty or dysfunctional as the family on Parenthood and our homes aren't nearly as nicely decorated, we are pretty involved in each other's lives. Actually, sometimes we could all use a break from each other.
So, I watch Parenthood not because of the depictions of extended family life. I watch it primarily, because I like to look at the nicely decorated houses. All that lovely molding! Check out the landscaping around that house!
I also watch the show, because one character is a child with Asperger's Syndrome, and the drama revolves around how the family has to adjust to this fact.
While I was waiting for the kids to get out of social skills class last week, the other parents and I chatted. I asked if anyone watched Parenthood. They all did. They didn't watch it for the house porn (crazy, right?), but because of the Aspie kid. I asked them what they thought of the show. They was a ten beat pause, and one of the moms said, "they don't make it bad enough." Everyone nodded and smiled.
Or funny enough. Yesterday, Ian and I read his Ready Freddy reader together. At one point, the hero of the story, Freddy, was day dreaming in class until the teacher spoke, and he "came back to earth." Ian was completely baffled. Why did Freddy go to the moon? How did he get from his classroom to the moon and how did he get back? Where's his rocket?
The actor who plays the Aspie kid also doesn't quite get the correct voice quality and the spaced out, eye gaze of a real Aspie. I told Steve that I thought that they should have gotten a real kid with Asperger's to play the role, but Steve didn't think that you get get a real Aspie to play the part. The director would go crazy. "No, you can't wear a Viking helmet on the set. No, you have to say your lines and not talk about Spongebob. Stop walking in circles! This isn't the time to build the most magnificent Lego creation. You aren't allowed to wear the same shirt again. Go, hug that strange lady who is pretending to be your mother."
Yeah, it wouldn't work.