Thursday, October 11, 2012

Darkness and Light

It's raining, bitches, it's raining!

Oh my G-d... This is such a big moment for me.  There are so many people I'd like to thank.

I'd like to thank my husband, for putting up with my whining and restraining himself to only the occasional eye roll.

I'd like to thank my air conditioning for sticking with a chubby girl with an attitude problem, and for responding to my flicking it's face when it didn't serve me fast enough.

I'd like to thank Zeus for finally paying attention to the rain dances in my backyard, and my neighbors for not calling the cops when I started performing them nude.

I'd like to acknowledge the other brilliant weather systems in my category - snow, you may not have won since the 50s but I have faith in you.  Earthquakes, even when my husband has doubted you and therefor eaten all the chef-boyardees out of our earthquake kit, I believed.  Sunshine.. you're a spotlight hogging little bitch and I think we can all say we've had enough.

My dark-hearted rainy soul is so happy.

Anyhoo.

I signed in with thoughts of mentioning this, and wouldn't you know it - Jen over here was thinking the same thing.

On the sad, growing-like-a-tumor list of things I used to enjoy but now do not (or at least enjoy less) because of infertility, we can add "Modern Family".

I love Modern Family.  Honestly if you're one of those people that knows it gets a lot of attention but has yet to watch it - do yourself a favor and get the first season on netflix or something.  It is genuinely funny, and I'm a funny snob.

Oddly enough, the only couple on television that really reminds me of Bub & I is the lovely gay couple on Modern Family, Cam and Mitchell (me being the crazy Cam, and Bub being Mitchell, equally crazy but on a more even keel).

But sadly - spoiler alert - on last season's finale, one of the characters got accidentally knocked up, and so this will be a season full of pregnancy hijinks.

::Le sigh::

I love this show so much that thus far sticking with it.. Although honestly, after watching last night I turned to Bub afterwards and said "I dunno if I can watch this anymore... fuck."



Not to mention last night, one of the couple's was contemplating a vasectomy, and mentioned in a hush-hush tone their neighbors who weren't able to have kids (the joke being 'and we are so jealous').

But seriously... is there no safe television show anymore?  I'm starting to feel like a member of some seriously under-represented group that is just never going to see ourselves on television.  Like albinos.  Or road kill photographers.  Or people who hate ice cream.

Which is totally fucking bonkers because statistically... we're all over the place.  Not including us is more akin to when television used to pretend (and still sometimes does) that black people don't exist.  Or when movies used to pretend (and still sometimes do) that gay people don't exist.  We're here, we're infertile, get used to it.

And I would like to state very clearly for the record, that I don't think including someone going through infertility somewhere on television has to be depressing.  As you may have gathered simply from my blog, from my point of view a lot of what we go through is totally ludicrous, and often hilarious.  Just because something has the element of sadness in it doesn't mean it has to be an endless bummer.

For example, if someone told me to add someone in their 80s to a script, my mind wouldn't automatically go "oh, well, now I have to write someone who has dementia and is slowly but surely approaching death".  Shit, The Big C is a hilarious show that is constructed entirely around a woman who has cancer.

As a writer, reader, tv-watcher, movie-lover - I'm sick to death of writing choices that involve lumping sad things with sad things and happy things with happy things, and ne'er the two shall meet.

I will argue to the death that the most interesting movies/tv shows, shit the most interesting anything, are the ones that make light of dark.

So many examples, but to keep this from turning into a novel, I give you my all time favorite movie, American Beauty.



(I don't know if I have ever mentioned this before, but Alan Ball - who Bub got me in a room with once and I almost died a Beatlemania like death - is my screenwriting hero).

There's a movie that asserts in the first few minutes that the main character is going to die.  There's an affair, a kid that's being abused by his parents, love lost between a married couple, and death.  If you'd never seen it before and I gave you that description, you'd probably think this is a horribly depressing movie that I love.

It's not.

It's the perfect mix of darkness and light (perfect, I tell you).  There's no dancing around the dark and pretending it doesn't exist, and there's no wallowing in it with no humor until your fingers are all pruney.  It's accepting that darkness exists, and finding the light in it.

So why, oh why, can't there be anything on TV or in film that does this for us?

Whenever we're mentioned, it's in passing - or it's considered such a touchy subject that they flit past it so quickly that it's ludicrous.

The examples I can think of off hand are both in "Friends" (which I love - could seriously quote you every episode).
  1. Monica and Chandler think they're fertile.  They both get one test, on the same day, have a 30 second conversation with their doctor finding out they both have problems.  They hug, apologize to one another, and within a few days (no discussion of treatment) immediately go to adoption.
  2. This is sillier - but Phoebe is a surrogate for her brother.  Without any drugs or what not, she gets IVF, goes home the same day, takes a positive pregnancy test a few hours later.  (My brain hurts).


I've only ever seen one thing - just one - where it had to do with infertility, I watched it and went "yesss... this is so dead on".

It's movie starring Mr. Gene Wilder called "Funny About Love".  It's a good movie - they should require you to view it before they hand you your first round of Clomid pills. Seriously - get ahold of it.  It sprinkles in funny (it's Gene Wilder, after all) but it's pretty dead on.

Other than that - where the fuck is our movie?  Our television show?

Someone needs to break down the wall and freaking acknowledge us because it's getting goofy.  (And yes indeed, if I can figure out some brilliant plot I'm going to take a crack at it).

There is absolutely no surviving this life with any joy in it if you don't acknowledge the dark and the light.  There is absolutely no surviving infertility without accepting the dark and searching like hell to find the light in it.  There is absolutely no art, film, literature, that is truly brilliant without both elements.  There is no life that is brilliant without both elements.  Therefor, there is no artistic representation of life that is any good or worth a hill of beans without both in it.

There is a ton of silly within horrible, and I am sick to death of waiting for someone to try to tackle us in art.  Any art that lasts is when an artist tries to tackle the difficult - otherwise museums would be full of velvet paintings of puppies, and television would be nothing but orange-tinged New Jersey women getting drunk and getting in fights (instead of just... mostly).


I'm going to try to get inspired, here.  I am.

I'm curious, my little kumquats - what have you watched that you thought 'got it'?  What were the most laughable attempts?

50 comments:

  1. Yeah I remember that scene with Phoebe and thinking that something stinks about the script writing on that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I watched it loooong before having babies was even something I was remotely interested in and yet I found it strange...

      Delete
  2. You are so right! I don't get it, either. I can't even think of any good examples, but there are lots of ridiculous ones. I think Friends may actually be the most crazy, just because it's SO wrong, but I know there are others. Parenthood addressed it a tiny bit last season. One of the characters finds out she can't carry another baby, and she's way upset, but her despair only lasts a few episodes before they turn to adoption...which I suppose could happen, although I would think it would take a bit more time. I thought the adoption issue was handled ok (it's still ongoing), but not having any experience in that area, I could be off base. I thought maybe they were also going to deal with fertility treatments, since one of the other characters is 40-ish and saw her ob/gyn to ask about the possibility of having another baby, but that story line seems to have vanished. I will say, though, neither story line was particularly funny - just not ridiculously wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to have to look into this.. I wonder how they handle adoption? It's either portrayed as easy-pacheezy, or my personal favorite, a-la-horror movie, you get some demon child send here to bring on the apocalypse.

      Delete
  3. I haven't seen many movies or TV shows (I'm a pop culture recluse) but the book I'm reading now, gets it. The lead characters baby brother is kidnapped by crows and these are her thoughts about telling her parents " the thought of rushing home to tell her parents terrified her; their hearts would be irretrievably broken. They had waited to long for Mac to come along. She didn't know the whole story, but understood they wanted to have a second child sooner, but it just hadn't come about. They had been so happy when they found out about Mac... the entire house had felt alive and light."

    I think it captured the sadness, loneliness, and joy of IF in just a few sentences and then moves on so as not to dwell on the topic for the purpose of adding cheap sentiment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooooh! Sounds interesting - what's the name of the book?

      Delete
    2. Wildwood by Colin Meloy (also singer of my favorite band). I'm going to write a review on my blog in a day or 2. Upon reading more the parents infertility takes a much bigger role in the story and I am loving how it is handled.

      Delete
  4. Amen sister! I couldn't have said it better myself how we are not only misrepresented, but severely under-represented on TV and in movies. Not to mention the ignorant fertiles we have to deal with all the time IRL.

    If you get your IF screen play written, feel free to include some of the shenanigans that happened to me while on this journey...like how I (almost) clogged the toilet after trying to give myself my own PIO shot. Good times, I tell you, good times. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ya know, I should start collecting moments-of-hilarity from you people in regards to IF, I should..

      Delete
  5. Omg, sams, I could also contribute a trying-to-give-my-own-PIO-shot story that involves flicking the needle for air bubbles and watching the entire thing fly out of my hand, do a spin, then land (stabbed) in my knee, which proceeded to bleed profusely. As I tried to catch it mid-air, I also somehow BENT the needle 90 degrees, which did not help. You don't see THAT on television!

    Was also going to say that I've heard Parenthood deals with adoption and/or infertility fairly well, but can't vouch for it. That movie One Day with Anne Hathaway does a good job, too, but it's only really at the end that she's coping with it (then she gets hit by a truck -- much easier to write into a script). Um, Giuliana Rancic?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your PIO shot story literally had me laughing out loud! It is the perfect blend of hysterically funny, completely ridiculous, and sad. Thanks for sharing and owning your clumsiness!

      Delete
    2. Okay, that story made me die. ;)

      I'm trying to remember One Day, I feel like I saw it...

      And Giuliana Rancic! Yes indeed, she is one of the... four? five? celebrities I can think of that have come out with it and I dunno if I would've been a giuliana girl without it - but good Lord she has my respect for putting it all out there.

      Delete
    3. OMG....I so wish you had gotten that on video....the laughter that is supposed to help with implantation (study with clowns and they freak me out so I rely on my blogging buddies to give me good laughs) would be fulfilled completely just watching that over and over and over....still laughing and I'm really glad I didn't take a drink of anything before reading this...holy shit this is funny!!

      Delete
    4. It was pretty funny/sad/funny... I just remember staring down at this bent syringe in my knee and thinking, "Nobody else in the world is currently in this position."

      And YES -- I've totally read that crazy-ass study about clowns improving the odds of IVF, which is INSANE!!! My logic is actually that the clowns scared the embryo so much, it had no choice but to bury itself into the uterine lining and hide!

      Delete
    5. That movie One Day I feel completely hit the nail on the head in regards to the emotional and temporal side of IF. But when I think about the ending I sort of freak out; so if and when I finally come to terms with my childlessness, the universe is going to let me get hit? suffer, Suffer, SUFFER, Acceptance, DEATH.

      Delete
  6. I love love love this! TV is pissing me off big time!!! And I will halfway vouch for Parenthood. It did a good job with infertility (as best as TV can do) but scared me off adopting! Maybe a good job with that? I dunno because I haven't been through that. Yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what did it do with adoption? I'm always curious! That's a whooole other issue in film & TV.

      Delete
  7. oh and what's up with SoCal weather?!? I'm heading down to SD tonight and will be leaving amazing fall weather in Sac behind! This is not right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a bunch of bull shit! Although, at least in L.A. it's finally finally finally getting fallesque. Like, I'm wearing pants right now. (That makes it sound like I'm usually bottomless... Okay, I'm usually bottomless).

      Delete
  8. Maybe Baby did a pretty good job, but then I am in love with Hugh Laurie so I may be biased. Up, I have never cried so much at a cartoon and that includes bambi, the most moving depiction of infertilty I can think of. SATC managed to get the emotional level right with Charlotte and then ruined it by giving her a miraculous post adoption 'real' baby.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. P.S. If you need a hand with that film script I am here to give it. This film must be made! I am a great ideas girl. I can conduct interviews and proof read and edit and brainstorm. Plus I read a script from an actors viewpoint, always useful.

      Delete
    2. My darling Em, let's do this shit! G-d knows I need an artistic distraction and my current writing project is a wee bit intense. I'm trying to think if it would be a screenplay, what other story-driving elements we could toss into it so that it wasn't 'infertile only' viewing... Let's get on this!

      And yeah, I totally got on board with Charlotte (that episode after she has a miscarriage makes me die) but then, yup, all problems are fixed in half a second and she is a born-again fertile.

      Delete
    3. Oh and if we are talking fails, Baby Mama. Nuff said.

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh my, emhart vomit all over your blog. please delete!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know I like it when you vomit on me.

      Delete
  12. The fertility-related episodes of Friends bugged the shit out of me - even before I knew I was infertile! (And don't even get me started on the palaeontological errors.)

    I'm with Em - Maybe Baby was the closest I've seen to a movie getting it. I still had problems with it, though. There were plot elements that annoyed me because they really had nothing to do with infertility and just seemed gratuitous. Still, it did have its moments, and it at least attempted to portray the humor AND sadness of the situation.

    I guess you were meant to be the one to write THE movie for us, my dear Stork. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I'm seriously trying to figure out a way to write some collective love letter to our people...

      I have never heard of Maybe baby! Looking this up.

      Delete
  13. I thought of Parenthood too. It deals with so much real lifeness I cry EVERY episode. But I love it. I also thought they were going to get into infertility treatments and think they still might.

    Private Practice is another love of mine. Also ended with adoption but it did have several episodes of Addison going through treatments and acting hormonal batty. They also had a woman carrying a baby with no brain to term so that was hard and great as a member of the loss club. They run a wellness clinic with a couple characters focused on fertility. But that sort of faded out when Naomi left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Private Practice.. okay looking into that one.

      I am, apparently, the only one not watching Parenthood. Bubs got into it the first season (Bub has aspergers, kid has melodramatic version of aspergers) and then he kind of left it.. wondering if it's on netflix..

      Delete
  14. I fully support your writing a movie on infertility...I bet MANY bloggers would be willing to let you use their experiences...both hilarious and heartbreaking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'mma tellin' ya, we're going to do this shit. I'm going to start brainstorming on plot to throw in other than 'girl tries to get pregnant'. Our little community needs a love letter.

      Delete
  15. Very good point indeed. Obviously this means that you must write that script! Who would be better qualified???

    Some other examples that come to mind are the Jennifer Garner's character in Juno and Charlotte from Sex and the City. I must also agree with the others...I LOVED Parenthood's portrayal of infertility. It helps that it's my favorite show on TV right now and it always makes me cry, but I thought they handled Julia's struggle very well leading up to and including her pursuing an adoption. If you haven't watched it yet, you should definitely check it out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. See, I did love Jennifer Garner's acting in that movie, and they definitely addressed infertility (she has to at least be close to someone who's infertile because girlfriend gravitates towards these roles) but there was something about her character I didn't like.. Sort of.. sterile? I felt like they totally nailed all the pain, emotion, being a mother without a child, but gave all the.. interesting? to other characters.

      Delete
  16. I think a few peeps mentioned parenthood which has some infertility related bizznezz, but one of my favorite all time movies is Julie and Julia and there are a few scenes that alude to the pain julia feels about being infertile. One is when her and her husband are walking and they pass a woman with a baby carriage and Julia's face just falls. The second is when RIGHT after the scene where her sister gets married in France Julia's husband, Paul, gives her a postcard from her sister anouncing that she's pregnant. Julia starts to ball into her husband's shoulder and then pulls away and says "I'm just so happy" while still crying and her husband just says "I know".

    It's just....so how my life is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OMG - I LOVE that scene.

      I hadn't seen that movie in a long, long time - then I watched it a couple of months ago and just seeing that scene (that others probably wouldn't have given a second thought about) made me weeeep.

      Meryl fucking Streep, ladies and gentleman.

      Delete
  17. Please write that movie! They need one! I really don't think I've see anything that leads me to the "theeeey got it" thoughts. This is why, you Stork, must write one! I'm going to have to watch that movie you suggested.

    :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! I'm digging all this support.

      Do rent it! Do it when you're having a somewhat.. emotionally stable moment.. but it is good. It's the only movie I've seen where they've dealt entirely with infertility that I enjoyed long before I was infertile. (An old Glenn Close movie called "Immediate Family" does too - but it's mostly about the adoption side of it).

      Delete
  18. Not one bit. The hubs and I joke about writing a book: he said she said about infertility, the ups and downs, the funny and sad shit. I think it would be a hit...huh???

    We actually watched Modern Family last night and both turned to each other a number of times, and were like WTF??? You would think someone on one of these shows was infertile. Probably too embarrassed to write it though!! UGHHHH Hollywood is so sucky!!

    BTW I am loving loving loving this rain. I am so friggin happy right now!!! Cheers!!!

    ReplyDelete
  19. There was another line in Modern Family that bugged me last night...when Gloria and Jay are at the "baby-care" class and the people next to them say something like "We are so excited, it took us a really long time to get pregnant" and Jay responds with "She's (Gloria) Latina, you just look at her funny and she gets pregnant". That bothered me...maybe I'm just over-sensitive to this stuff.

    I too will jump on the band-wagon of STORK MUST MAKE AN INFERTILITY MOVIE!

    I agree that Private Practice did a decent job of portraying Addison's infertility and I like that one of the main characters (Jake) is an infertility doctor. But things could be better, for sure!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I just watched a red box movie.. Baby makers. Okay, I lie I only watched a little bit, but it was about an infertile couple. It was funny, but the actors were so bad I couldn't take any more.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Put your feet up this might be a novel over here....

    I wrote about this exact topic here: http://fertiltyfrustration.blogspot.com/2012/02/infertility-and-adoption-on-tv.html
    I have more MUCH more to say on this topic, but haven't revisited it until tonight....you'll read why...

    When watching Modern Family tonight while avoiding the debacle I mean debate, I had some serious issues....OK the popping up pregnant sucked, but Cam and Mitchell's response was priceless. However in the first episode when they were at the parenting class and the couple next to them said "we've been trying for so long for this baby" and Jay's response is "she's latina I just have to look at her funny." The look on the other couple's face hit me right in the heart and I paused it and said something to Babe about it. He didn't catch it, but he said I'm probably not the only IFer who caught that. It made me angry, but it did catch the reality of comments like that. I think again how IF and the struggles with family building, for every lifestyle is so under and misrepresented...take the NEW NORMAL....Love the show, think it's hilarious, but the whole It worked right away sucked....because it doesn't always work like that...

    The Friends thing made me laugh because I believe Courtney Cox herself struggled with IF to get her daughter Coco....I would think an IFer would want to get it out there correctly...the Phoebe surrogate thing...my guess is they fluffed over it just to make it funny...and cute.

    I agree that UP is the only thing I have seen that truly captures IF and the pain that goes along with it. Julia & Julia did a nice job, but it was very subtle. I haven't seen Maybe Baby, but I think I'll be looking into it...especially with Hugh Laurie...

    I think you are the perfect person to take on this project. I say you write a post asking for the most "perfect blend of hysterically funny, completely ridiculous, and sad" moments in our IF journeys...You could use those to make a composite character or a group of characters, say a blogging support group, going through IF who write about it all and then in the end meet up in real life....Some with happy endings via birth and adoption, and others who have the not so happy endings....so it is all portrayed and the world will then know the absolute truth....If I was creative enough to do it, I would, but you're writing is SOOOOO much better than mine...

    Oh and I just realized someone else made the same suggestion while looking for the quote from taleofacautiousoptimist....

    Love this post!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Maybe Baby is one of the best representations I've seen on infertility and it doesn't have the neat happy ending that a lot of movies try to have when dealing with the subject. UP was the other one that showed it really, really well. I cried buckets over that one.

    You should totally write a script about all this! I think (like some others have suggested) it would be cool if you could incorporate the blogging side. It's a big part of my life already and I haven't been doing it that long. The women I have "met" and the relationships I have formed have been amazing.

    Great post (as always)!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Not that I have watched it because frankly it appears so twatful and in your face fertile, but you could write the IF version of that What to Expect bollocks, like a gazillion different routes of IF into one big fat movie. This will be amazing! I am excited already! And you and Em are legends already in my eyes so consider me an already sworn groupie! Any chance you wanna write an MRKHer in and I will dish any dirt you like, there's plenty of comedy (on top of the sad stuff) in doctors telling you your Vag is too underdeveloped and your womb doesn't exist etc!!! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  24. "And we are so jealous" - what kind of joke is that?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yay for rain!! :-D

    I've heard good things about Modern Family. I want to check it out. I've seen other shows get ruined, too :-( Booo!

    I love movies like American Beauty! <3 Wish there were more like that.

    Once show I LOVE - but nothing to do with infertility - Six Feet Under. It's so funny and dark and sad. These people make me feel better about my life, for sure. We are close to being done with it. Just got into it from Netflix.

    One movie I adore is Away We Go. It does mention miscarriage and some infertility.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa! Six feet under is also Alan Ball - prrrrobably my favorite show of all time. (Prepare to have a full tilt nervous break down by the time you get to the finale).

      And Away we go - I loved that movie! That scene where the girl who has miscarriages is dancing on stage kills me.

      Delete
  26. Before our first IVF attempt, I actually thought we'd get to skip the TWW and have a beta right away - probably because that's how it happened on Friends. Yeah. Moron!

    Can your movie occur during the zombie apocalypse? You might get a blockbuster that way - more people to educate/hopefully make less moronic.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I thought they did a good job with Meredith and Derek in Grey's Anatomy. In the finale of season six, she has a miscarriage, and even though they keep trying through season 7, she can't get pregnant again. At one point, she has a break down where she talks about not being able to understand because they are doing everything right (I always remember the part where she is listing everything they do and one of the things she mentions is holding her legs up after sex). She also has some problems with side effects from her fertility drugs. It doesn't necessarily fit the bill of being funny, but it is much more realistic than other shows, and there is a cute scene where they run into an elevator acting like they are going to have sex, but he actually gives her a fertility shot in the butt.

    ReplyDelete