Thursday, September 26, 2013

I have a Dan Quayle moment

I watched the pilot of ”Mom”, the new CBS comedy on Monday. I didn’t have any clear idea of what it was about but I like Allison Janney so I figured, “Why not?” The answer turned out to be, “Because it’s not funny.”

Being an alcoholic and drug addict is not funny.
Having a parent who is an alcoholic and drug addict is even less funny.
Having two parents who are substance abusers is still less funny.

Having an affair with someone who is married is not funny.
Having an affair when married is even less funny.

A young boy playing a video game that involves hitting prostitutes is not funny.
A father who encourages his son to play such a video game is even less funny.

Getting pregnant before graduating from high school is not funny.
Being the third generation in your family to get pregnant before graduating from high school is every less funny.

It’s not that these topics can’t be funny - they can. (Well, not the video game that involves hitting prostitutes.) If you’ve read The Cracker Factory by Joyce Rebeta-Burditt or the Walsh Family series by Marian Keyes, you know that humor can be wrung from alcoholism and drug addiction. But that humor relies on unflinching, clear-eyed honesty about the damage done by these illnesses and about the insanity of trying to live with them, either as sufferer or as by-stander. The humor comes from acknowledgement of and confrontation with the pain, the darkness. “Mom” has none of that honesty; it refers to but does not reveal any of that darkness; and hence it has none of that humor. It is, quite simply, a lie and a very distasteful one.

No comments: