Tuesday, March 29, 2005

why I don't watch TV

So over the weekend my sister was watching Andi's panel on BookTV, and she said she felt like she was in a time warp--Rhoads (and some of his interlocutors) sounded like something out of the early eighties. (Didn't help that many in the audience appeared dressed in fashions of the times...) And that was kind of hopeful, right? Rhoads is a throwback, these attitudes are really on the way out (or all the way out), etc.

Maybe. But last night I watched Everybody Loves Raymond. I've never actually sat through an entire episode before. (And really I didn't last night, either. I was doing laundry and knitting and just wanted company on the tube, all right? Just so you don't think I really watch this stuff...)

Anyway the premise of the show was that the wife (Deborah? Debra?) had PMS, but wouldn't admit it, and that Ray was trying to deal. OK, so she was a screaming shrew, in front of his friends (unforgiveable, of course), and he tried to get her to admit it, and take some OTC meds ("with St Johns Warts!" he said) and feel better. Oh, it was awful--every stereotype in the book. Ray's father counseled him to take action, on the theory that what's now a mood later becomes a personality.

I was getting all incensed at the stupidity of it all, when there was a moment. Ray's feeling all put upon because Debra went out shopping, leaving him with the kids and dinner and baths to take care of. Debra really lets Ray have it: she does this every day, after all, and he's having problems with just one evening? And then she goes on: he's a slob, she picks up after him, watches the kids, cleans up after them, etc., etc., and why shouldn't she be pissed off? I was really on her side here. She wasn't even shrewish as she went through her litany. It seemed pretty reasonable to me. Could it be a little feminist moment on CBS here?

Well, no. In fact that passed over almost unremarked, and in the next scene Ray is reiterating that Debra goes a little crazy on her "ladies days" (!) and pulls out a tape recording of a rant about the lint trap to prove it. The only ray (sorry) of hope was seen in Ray's parents: Ray's dad tries a similar thing with the tape recording but it has only picked up his mad rants. But poor Debra ends up pilloried for her mood swinginess, Ray is the good guy, the end.


I know, anti-feminist crap in pop culture should be no surprise. But still, it was.

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