A few months ago, I “liked” the FB page for “The Mysteries of Laura.” I like Debra Messing. I liked “Will and Grace.” And I love “Law and Order: SVU.” NBC was advertising Olivia and Laura together under the hashtag #WomanCrushWednesday. I assume I am the target audience; FB did plenty of advertising before I “liked” the page.
I was sold. I’ll watch a new show.
And I did.
And NBC needs to get a clue.
“The Mysteries of Laura”
Laura (Debra Messing) is a detective with twin sons. She is in the process of a divorce from a husband who cheated on her and is disinterested in his family life. She is a funny, tough detective who reminded me of Encyclopedia Brown. She is busy, and her kids are ill-behaved. When the twins get expelled from pre-K, she looks for a new facility. Worried about the boy’s behavior in a school interview, she drugs them with cough syrup. The boys fall asleep and one vomits during the headmistress’ questioning.
One of the reasons I fancied “Will and Grace” was because I knew that it was a part of social change. I have seen a positive trend in acceptance of homosexuality and others, like Rick Santorum, have acknowledged that television has an influence on this change in perspective.
I have always wondered when that started with “Will and Grace” though. Did NBC-thinkers decide from the start that the show would be influential? Did they realize it after a few episodes? Did they realize that customers (viewers) were attached to Will and Jack, and saw them as people? Did they initially intend to do this with humor? Was it a happy accident?
Maybe it was a bit of it all. It matters that it happened though. TV is influential. Advertisers pay big money for TV spots.
Did you know some kids get high from OTC drugs?
Perhaps educating parents (and NBC) is key. Drugging kids for a break is abuse. It sets a bad example. It is dangerous. I have no idea what it does to a developing brain or liver because I’m not a medial professional – and most parents don’t know either. I do know that my pediatrician has never suggested it as a possible parenting technique. Doctors warn parents about giving cough medicine to kids.
Why is NBC worsening a serious problem? Parents have warning signs to observe if their child is perhaps abusing OTC medicine. Organizations are devoted to stopping OTC abuse. The government knows it is a problem.
It seems NBC news knows it is a problem. But on a new show, a parent is reassured of her mothering skills after drugging her kids. NBC, get a clue, please.
TV is not real life!
I know this. Whenever I write about a television show sending a nasty message, I get called names and receive a bunch of weird blog comments.
And before anyone says it, yes, I have watched shows like “Breaking Bad” and I am not a meth cook. But. But – think about what parts of that show has influenced viewers, and what parts are fixtures in society. (Jessie’s catch-phrase? Walt’s, I am the one who knocks or Say my name?)
Another character who abused drugs comes to mind – Karen from “Will and Grace.” That always required quite the suspension of disbelief on my part. Secretaries don’t swallow down handful of pills with vodka midday while their bosses sigh and carry on. Karen was disgustingly wealthy with a household staff. I know no one like Karen. Even if I did, Karen is an adult.
Last night, Laura drugged her kids behind closed doors. She hid this. The writers capitalized on parents’ overwhelming… well, their overwhelming children. Parents are overwhelmed. Parents often don’t know what to do. They wanted moms to related to Laura.
Laura was overwhelmed and drugged her kids. And after she told her children’s father – a serious moment in this comedy-drama -he explained why she was a good parent. The husband gave a huge speech about Laura and her fabulous mothering. The kids told her that yes, you really are a great mom. The most serious moment in the pilot episode was a pep talk for Laura – that she is a good mother – and that her kids love her.
Unfortunately, I know that kids are drugged and I have heard parents discuss the best OTC meds to quiet children. Parents brag that they keep medicine in the glove compartment of the family van, ready to dose on long trips. This is a real-life scenario and NBC handled it incorrectly. It would be the same as if Laura beat her kids to quiet them, and then her husband told her what a great parent she is.
If you are a parent who thinks, “I watched Laura drug her kids last night and I would never do that,” good. I’m glad. I’m not going to do it either.
Television does influence viewers. Some television shows massively change society. If we weren’t influenced by television, why would retailers spend billions of dollars on advertising and product placement?
So maybe a hundred people will read this blog post today, and no one from NBC will.
I am writing this as a parent who has the sense and the ability to defend little kids. Until television companies see that this stunt is offensive and that some parents will take this message as an acceptance to drug kids behind closed doors, and until they lose money over their crummy storyline, nothing will change. I’m hoping to make a tiny change.
Social change can happen. NBC knows that, and they’ve profited from it before. Why are they trying to make money providing humor in abused children? Why are they targeting me with a product that has a dumb message? (I’m your target audience? Really?! I am offended). It’s offensive to everyone. NBC needs to get a clue.