Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Painful Memories Well Done

**This is going to have spoilers from some recent Dallas episodes.  If you aren't caught up to the series and you plan to watch it (and dont want the spoilers), skip this post.**

I've admited my guilty pleasure of watching the remake of Dallas.  I grew up watching the original and, for old times sake, decided to watch the new one. It's not child appropriate, so I DVR it and watch it (usually the next day from when it aired) while the kids are napping.  Peter could care less so he doesnt want to watch it with me, and it gives me a relaxing time on the couch.  On my DVR as of yesterday were 4 episodes; I hadn't watched it in 3+ weeks (it airs on Monday nights here).

The last episode I saw in real time was Ewings Unite, which ends with tragedy.  It would take too long to fill in all the details, but one character is pregnant with twins.  There is an explosion on a methane rig.  The episode ends.  Finally, I decided to watch the next episode, Guilt and Innocence, yesterday.  LOSS TRIGGER ALERT.  Clearly, this is a TV drama and what is more dramatic than a pregnant woman trapped under collapsed I-Beams.  She is rushed to the hospital only to be told, along with her estranged husband, that she has a uterine aneurism (as a result of trauma) and that her placenta is starting to pull away from the uterine wall.  The only safe option, they are told, is to repair the aneurism and abort the babies.  At this point, I'm a sobbing mess because, regardless of what happens in the series, I know this pregnancy is going to end badly.  I should have stopped watching, but I didnt.  The parents refuse the abortion and the mother makes her husband promise that, should the choice between she and the babies be made, he must try to save the babies. 

The episode continues and, of course, she has to be rushed into emergency surgery.  In spite of all of the arguments against him, the husband/father makes the decision to try and save all three of them.  The doctor comes out, finally, and tells them that she was successful... but that success could be very temporary.  Both the explosion and the surgery have done dramatic trauma to the babies and they need 4 more weeks in the womb before they can attempt to save them.  As the episode winds to a close, the unthinkable happens.  The heartbeats of both babies begin to slow and then, as the home audience watches the TOCO with the television parents, they move to zero before becoming nonexistent. 

Cue mass sobbing in my living room.

As much as I wanted to not watch, I turned on the next episode, Let Me In, which begins with the two parents, each grieving in their own way.

And here's why I am dedicating an entire post to Dallas.  I was on the floor amazed by how well done this was.  I was amazed by the fact that they portrayed the deaths of 20 week babies and the agony that the parents were going through which, though dramatized were not nearly as over-dramatized as you'd expect (especially on a show like Dallas).  I was in awe by how well done Let Me In went into the different aspects of grief, from the emptiness and anguish to the anger.  From those not knowing what to say or do (but wanting to help) to those who just seemed to disappear from the entire thing.  It was extraordinary, I think, for a TV show to actually "get" it.  Which, in a lot of ways, makes you realize that someone writing that show "got" it.

The father begins to dismantle the nursery at his house; the mother continues putting hers together so that she can just sit in the room and remember.  This example alone shows the different ways that people can grieve and, in this case, because they are parents living apart, it gives you an idea of what could happen if they were living together with two entirely different ways to process their loss.  Ultimately, this is a TV show, so we find out that it's actually the maternal grandfather who is responsible for the explosion, so heaven only knows what cans of worms will be opened as the series continues, but still, for what this was, I thought they did a great job of bringing the loss of pregnancy and of children to the mainstream, if only for a few moments in primetime.

There's also this feeling that, subconsciously, I knew something "bad" was going to happen with a pregnant character along the same gestation as I was, so even without realizing it, I opted to not watch.  I mean, I've watched the other shows I DVR... But for whatever reason, I just didnt click on that series (normally I watch them in the order they've been recorded).  Did my subconscious just realize that, being 20ish weeks along and watching a 20w pregnant woman lose twins would be too much?  Would trigger too much?  I don't know, but I'm grateful I waited to watch them. 

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I also saw this episode this week and was pleasantly surprised that they dedicated almost an entire episode to exploring the aspect of loss...congrats to the show for a job well done. It was refreshing to see a TV character mourn her twins instead of just going on with her day.