Monday, November 30, 2009

Another TV Rant

As I'm sure you've noticed, I watch a lot of television. Forgive me if I've mentioned this before, but I really enjoy procedurals, mystery-solving, case-closing, OMG-what-a-twist kind of dramas like CSI, Law & Order and House, M.D.

Lately, Mr. Savant and I have also been watching Lie to Me and Castle, because we both adore Tim Roth (who plays Dr. Cal Lightman in Lie to Me) and Nathan Fillion (who plays Richard Castle in, duh, Castle).

These two shows share a plot point in that both main characters are divorced, single dads with what seems to be full custody of their teenaged daughters. In both shows, the daughters and the dads share an idyllic, adoring relationship. The ex-wives do make the occasional appearance, but they're pretty one-dimensional -- Roth's character's wife is a Ball Busting Career Woman, while Fillion's character's wife is a flighty, wacky, eccentric actress. Both daughters, however are smart, popular, well-adjusted and they seem to count their dads among their best friends. They share confidences, ask for and take advice and also are completely supportive and accepting of their dads' careers and the time these men must commit to maintaining a successful career (Roth plays a psychologist who is the world's leading deception expert, while Fillion is a best-selling author of detective/mystery novels).

So far, I'm cool with this. Yeah, I'm aware of all the stereotypes there, as well as the blatant ignorance of class and socioeconomic issues -- both families in these shows are upper class with money to burn, they're white, yadda yadda. I'm sort of willing to cut some slack here, because there really should be more positive portraits of fathers on TV, in magazines, in the news, online ... so, taken on their own, these shows don't really piss me off too much. At least not yet.

We're also big sci-fi (ScyFy?) geeks, and we've seen the first couple episodes of V. It was during the pilot episode that I noticed something was a little off. One of the plot points involves actress Elizabeth Mitchell as FBI Agent Erica Evans uncovering evidence of a conspiracy by the alien visitors, while her teenaged son simultaneously becomes enamored with the culture and message of the aliens. In the first episode, the two have a fight during which she tries to ground him for some kind of inappropriate behavior, he lands a few verbal blows about how she's always working, too busy to be a good Mom, and storms out. At which point, her cell phone rings and she heads back to work.

So, this is what's stuck in my craw. Single fatherhood is, apparently, an awesome situation for all involved. The Dads are happy, the daughters are happy, everybody wins, especially since the ex-wives were clearly not good mothers! Single motherhood, however, that's a completely different story. Obviously the Mom has made The Wrong Choice by not only having a career, but being successful and involved in a job that requires extreme intelligence, skill and strength, and is now paying the price -- with an unruly, obviously disturbed, rebellious son.

Maybe the lesson here is that I shouldn't watch quite so much television ...

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