Now this is just a random post nothing too serious but how many mentally ill people do we see as the lead character where yes they are seen as a strong person, but with an underlying current of ‘Isn’t this funny? Laugh at the person who is struggling with something we don’t understand’
I suddenly twigged onto this after watching an Ally McBeal series I got from a charity shop yesterday.
She sees things, talks and dances with hallucinations, struggles with relationships, is promiscuous and generally shows a lot of the signs of severe mental health problems. But these are all the parts of her we should be worrying about in the program…instead they are the ‘funny’ parts of a program that shows an otherwise strong woman. What kind of role model was she for anyone growing up with issues??
Sheldon Cooper a young man with obvious Autistic spectrum disorder who is a brilliant physicist, top of his field but is made out to be the ‘silly’ one who often is the butt of the other characters jokes.
Now don’t get me wrong these are programs I have enjoyed and laughed at many times. I Like these characters but often can’t laugh where I’m obviously supposed to as I feel their pain! I see myself in their struggles and where the writers have thought that it is just a funny situation I watch and feel a tightness in my chest as memories come flooding back often meaning I change channels or fast forward through the section that makes me uncomfortable.
It suddenly twigged today that maybe these are a stepping stone for people who do not struggle with mental health issues to understand what they comprise of but I can’t help thinking that we should have moved past this by now. Why should the comedy come from peoples struggles? Would it really be so hard for them to just include mental health issues in a comedy without having it be the main butt of the joke or the alternative of it being the serious dramatic problem to be solved?
Bring on the Mental Health revolution!