Monday, December 03, 2007

addiction and/or daddy issues

At the risk of sounding like Linda Richman, I'd like to give you a topic to discuss among yourselves or at least comment on.

True or False: There is NO SUCH THING as a primetime, hour-long TV show that isn't about addiction and/or daddy issues.

I say TRUE. Thoughts?


Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...

Nova is prime time.

Amy said...

I watch a handful of shows so let me run them down:
House - yes! addiction!
Bones - kind of - Bones has daddy issues but that's not central to her character. She has lots of issues and also is awesome.
Bionic Woman - kind of - Jamie has daddy issues but are they central? debatable.
Battlestar Galactica - kind of - both issues are well represented on this show for sure.
Lost - yes! daddy issues and addiction are major themes!

Those are the shows I watch. I think you're on to something! TV definitely uses daddy issues and addiction as shortcuts to character. xo

amy said...

How could I forget Heroes? Parental issues, both Daddy and Mommy? check.

My question for further debate - what do you mean by 'about'?

Dinah said...

Fine, Jeff. I will amend my question to primetime, hour-long, fictional, non-educational dramas or comedies. Way to be a stickler and ruin all the fun. ;)

Amy--good question. Perhaps "About" isn't the right word. What I meant was, "focused on." I've simply found these two things to show up consistently as either story arcs or driving forces for a show's primary characters. To the point that I can't think of a show that does not feature an addict of some kind, themes of addiction/recovery, and/or a variety of storylines focused on abandonment, living up to expectations, abuse, or any other theme that ultimately boils down to "daddy issues."

Battlestar Galactica - Adama is bringin' the daddy issues for both Lee and Starbuck. Tigh's bringing the addiction story.

Bionic Woman - I don't watch.

Bones - I'd say the storyline with her father is totally central to her character, and their relationship has been a big part of the arc this season. And didn't we find out Booth has a gambling addiction, from the Vegas episode? I don't remember. (Interesting note about Bones: in the books, Tempe is an alcoholic.)

Jeff said...

I totally admit it's a very common theme because it's so generally accessible. We all have parents and parental figures in our lives, so it's easy for us to relate to people who are struggling with those types of relationships. I submit CSI: Crime Scene Investigation as only a marginal member of the category; while parental and addiction themes do show up from time to time, the major themes are science and puzzle-solving. That does not extend to CSI:Miami with it's creepy David Caruso "daddy figure". Yick.

Dinah said...

I agree that CSI focuses more on science and puzzle-solving than anything else. But there was also a whole arc about Catherine's dad, and the series kicked off dealing with Warrick's gambling problem, which still gets mentioned from time to time. Then again, I think it's actually impossible to center a show around cops of any kind and not deal with dad (was a cop/criminal) or addiction (the job makes me drink).

As for the others, I've started to notice it so much that I've started wondering--are these themes prevalent
1. because they're universal,
2. because the writers are addicts/recovering addicts,
3. because writers, by nature of choosing creative employment, always feel like they have something to prove to the father who wanted them to get a "real job", or
4. because writing for primetime, in general, has gotten a little lazy?

Personally, I think it's more a mix of 2 and 3 than anything else.