November 16, 2005

THEY DON'T BURN CROSSES ON BLACK NEIGHBORS' LAWNS EITHER:

Born Again: When it comes to the abortion issue, TV shows are where they were 30 years ago. (Rebecca Raber, November 15th, 2005, Village Voice)

It seems like everyone in TV land is pregnant these days. All of those plot-pushing hookups that keep us tuned in week after week have resulted in positive pregnancy tests for Housewives and high schoolers on every channel. This is often an unwelcome surprise, but none of these fictional characters, unlike their real-world counterparts who might agonize over the choice to have a baby, will choose to end their pregnancies. In fact, we might as well be living in an era before Roe v. Wade as far as TV is concerned. Characters these days rarely even say the word abortion when confronted with an unplanned pregnancy—let alone have one.

Surprising TV producers don't want viewers to hate their shows' character, huh?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 16, 2005 6:12 PM
Comments

I have noticed the trend of which the article writes. I wonder if anyone needs a weatherman.

Posted by: Lou Gots at November 16, 2005 7:01 PM

I can only think of two shows where a character went through with an abortion: Maude, which was a Norman Lear propaganda fest, and Dabney Coleman's Buffalo Bill, which only lasted one year.

Anyone know if the Maude-snuffs-her-baby episode can be plausibly linked to a decline in ratings?

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 16, 2005 7:38 PM

Aside from the combination of Bea Arthur's personality and Norman Lear's laugh-track juiced shows that grated like fingernails on a blackboard upon repeated viewing, the abortion episode was reported a major reason why of all of Lear's 1970s sitcoms, Maude just tanked both in bidding by stations when it went into syndication and in the ratings for those stations that did eventually buy the show.

Posted by: John at November 16, 2005 8:37 PM

The Buffalo Bill episode was just brutal.

Posted by: oj at November 16, 2005 8:40 PM

Well, the politicians in favor of abortion don't use the word, either.

Posted by: Kevin Colwell at November 16, 2005 9:24 PM

There's also the basic fact that plots require conflict. Since abortion is a repercussion-free option, it's useless to the plot. And depicting an abortion as having repercussions would be far more un-PC than pretending that no one thinks of it.

Posted by: Bob Hawkins at November 16, 2005 9:26 PM

Bob: I think you've nailed it.

Posted by: Mike Morley at November 16, 2005 10:38 PM

> The show's website trumpets that last year, when Ryan's ex Theresa (Navi Rawat) got pregnant, he "did the right thing and moved back to Chino to help raise [the baby]." Since when is dropping out of high school to work construction and raise a child while you are still basically a child yourself considered doing the right thing for anyone?

I'm not sure, but I think the answer is "Since some time before Woodstock."

Posted by: Guy T. at November 16, 2005 10:42 PM

Mike:

Don't forget Six Feet Under.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at November 17, 2005 7:26 AM

Also, have you seen any of the stars supporting abortion rights and the rest of the LLL program gotten an abortion to show their solidarity with the LLL platform?

Posted by: dick at November 17, 2005 11:43 AM
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