Thursday, July 5, 2012


Tonight when it was time for me to go to bed, my dad was engrossed in a movie and my brother wasn't home. I can't yet make it upstairs on my own, and my mom can't carry me upstairs. I could have whined until my dad interrupted his movie carried me upstairs, but I decided for just this once to be selfless and to watch the remainder of my dad's movie with him. It was on some movie channel, so he couldn't have stopped it and restarted it when he finished transporting me up the stairs. (We have a DVR but not Tivo.)

Even though I wasn't the one who chose the movie and wasn't actually watching it with any genuine interest, I'm still slightly embarrassed to admit what the movie was, but it's hard to explain from where I'm coming without divulging the title of the movie, so I'll share. My dad was watching Superman, and I actually watched the last portion of it with him. It's hard to even concentrate on what's happening on the screen anyway with that particular movie, because it features the late Christopher Reeve. I for one cannot watch a movie with Christopher Reeve in it without becoming extremely depressed about the poor guy becoming a quadriplegic and then dying, and then his wife dying of cancer, leaving behind a little kid. Then if Christopher reeve were not depressing enough, there's poor Margo Kidder playing Lois Lane. Ms. Kidder had and possibly continues to have major mental health issues that have ravaged her quality of life.

But I digress.  Depressing stories of the movie's actors notwithstanding, I must return to the original point of this post, which is that Superman was one of the most asinine movies ever made, yet my father took it all in as though he was having some sort of a religious experience. It could have been Saving Private Ryan or Dr. Zhivago when considering the intensity with which he viewed the movie.  Even though no one else was present to witness the spectacle, I was positively embarrassed for my father, and by extension, for myself.

My father refuses to watch TV medical dramas or sitcoms. This is all perfectly fine. He's ensconced in the inner workings of the medical field all day long during every work day, much as I am ensconced in a rather dysfunctional family all day long when I am not in school and in an incompetent school system when I am at school.  Why in hell would I want to watch TV dramas or sitcoms about dysfunctional families or incompetent  educational institutions when those are what I live day after day?  So it's understandable that my father would not choose as a diversion to watch a TV program about his profession. Quite frankly, I would wonder even more about his sanity than I already do if he did choose to watch medical dramas and sitcoms. It's his reason for avoiding them and complaining when anyone else chooses to watch them that utterly baffles me. My father refuses to watch TV programs in hospital settings because they're not realistic!!! Did you get that bombshell? TV dramas and sitcoms aren't  true-to-life in every detail. Remember, you read it here first.

Just so the significance of my dad's issue with medical dramas and sitcom is not lost, allow me to be more specific. My dad absolutely detests  House -- both the character and the program. It seems that it wasn't realistic enough for him. Let's take the premise of House for starters. A university hospital decides to have a multimillion-dollar diagnostics department in which at least four doctors (except for the time when all Dr, House's underlings quit on him and he was forced to provide diagnoses with only the assistance of a hospital janitor) and God knows how many nurses and technicians work for days at a time solving just one case involving just one patient.  The title character breaks virtually  every known hospital policy on almost an hourly basis. House is a consummate ass who treats almost everyone deplorably, yet his shortcomings are forgiven because he nearly always comes up with the solution to each week's patient's health crisis just in the nick of time before the patient dies. (Just to keep the show from being too formulaic, every once in awhile a patient dies, then House comes up with the solution.) He's essentially a psychopath.  Bad science attempts to masquerade as bona fide medicine.  (A protozoan is not a fungus. Even Jesse Spencer knows that!) Nothing about this show relates in any way to the real world of medicine. And I haven't even touched upon the season when House assembled an entire room full of doctors in a surreal reality-show like competition to determine who next could join his band of outlaw physicians.  The show has (or had; it's final episode aired last spring) absolutely nothing to do with realism or with the actual world of medicine, diagnostic or otherwise. People who watched it did so because the characters were compelling, the dialogue was clever and humorous, and the plot, though incredibly far-fetched, was intriguing. Enough said.

So my father  is not content simply to stay away from the TV when House is on, but rather, takes his vendetta against House, Grey's Anatomy, or even old Dr.  Kildare  reruns, to a level that can best be described as rabid evangelical extremism. He's like the leader of the al-Qaeda of TV Medical Programming Reality. I've seen him attempting to having a rational discussion with a two-year-old about how a resident physician would never have time for so much adulterous sex as is portrayed on Grey's Anatomy. (No one else but my ex-boyfriend's baby brother would listen to him.) He practically foams at the mouth if forced to remain in the room while an episode of Scrubs airs.

So one would be justified in assuming that my dad has an aversion to any programming whatsoever in which the subject matter is portrayed with anything but the utmost technical accuracy. I might have thought so as well, but I've seen the man sitting on the edge of the sofa, gazing at the screen in  practically a hypnotic state, shoving popcorn into his mouth as Superman throws down boulders to create a makeshift dam when an earthquake destroys the existing one, or flies at the speed of light against the Earth's orbital direction in order to reverse time so that Lois Lane's death can be undone.  It's truly mind-boggling and more than just a little bit scary that a man charged with decoding the mysteries of blood and lymphatic malignancies can be entertained with such mindless drivel.

Good night, all, and remember that it's only one-hundred-twenty-three days until election day.

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