Book

Bodies' representation in contemporary American TV Drama

Description
Bodies' representation in contemporary American TV Drama
Categories
Published
of 10
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
Share
Transcript
  1BodiesinContemporaryAmericanTVDramaMartinWincklerEversince CSI:CrimeSceneInvestigation ,thefirstcontemporary«forensicdrama»,startedontheCBSnetworkinthefallof2000,manyaudiencesinAmericaandintherestoftheworldhavebeenpresentedwithinnumerableandcarefullyprocessedimagesofthehumanbody,oftendeadordying,butsometimesalsoaliveandstruggling.Inashortamountoftime,duringthepastdecade,weekafterweek,audienceshavebecomefamiliarwithoneofthemostterrifyingandfascinatingproceduresthatexist:theautopsy.Thankstotelevisionwe’vecomealongway.Well,ofcourse,Frenchshowsstillindulgeinunnecessarynudity,whilenakedgenitalsarestillprohibitedonAmericannetworks.But,fortunately,showingtheinsidesofadeadbodyisnotatabooanymore.Thejaggedorbitofabulletpiercingthroughskin,breakingarib,ricochetingonavertebra,enteringtheaortaandfloatingdownstreamtowardsadeadendintheiliacarteryisthekindofvisualridecontemporaryAmericancrimeshowsfrequentlytakeuson.Simplyspeaking,theuseofCGIeffectsincrimeshowshaschangedthewaywelookatthehumanbodywhenitissubmittedtoviolentevents.ButMedicalfictionhastakenbodiesseriouslyforalongtimetoo.AndeventhoughMedicaldramasarenotasnumerousasCrimedramasonscreen,theyhaveshownthehumanbodyinmuchmoresubtleandvariousways.Intoday’s’presentationIwillfocusonthreeofthemostinterestingAmericanmedicaldramasproducedinthepastthirtyyears.Allthreehave,eachinitsownway,changedthewaythepubliclookedatdoctorsonscreen.Originally,IhadplannedonincludingseveralBritishshowsbutinthecourseofmyresearch,Idiscoveredtheyhadsuchadistinctiveculturalpersonalitytheydeservedanoverviewoftheirown.Pleaseacceptmyapologiesforleavingthemoutthistime.TonightIwon'tspeakabout PeakPractice or Bodies ,orthemarvelousbutforgotten Psychos orevenaboutthefemalephysiciancharacterinBBC’s Mistresses, butbesurethat,intrueTerminatorcyberneticfashion, I’llbeback.   2InAmerica,Medicaldramashavebeenproducedeversincethedawnoftelevisionandfromthebeginningtheydealtwithbodiesinsomewhattamertermsthanthosenovelsandmotionpicturesused.Thetwomostsuccessfulshowsofthesixties, DrKildare and BenCasey (bothairedfrom1961to1966),hadaconservativewayofshowingpatientanddoctors’bodies–tuckedunderimmaculateandmeticulouslyironedwhitesheetsandwearingstarchedwhitecoats.DrKildarewastheidealson-in-lawwhileBenCaseywastheattractivemaverick.Afewyearslater(from1969to1976), MarcusWellby,M.D. opposedthehand-holdingbenevolenceandhumanityofanoldphysician,tothestraight-laced,X-ray-visionedandbloodworkingattitudeofhiscolleague,doctorKiley.Attheverysametime MedicalCenter didjusttheopposite:there,theolderdoctorwastheorthodox,theyoungerdoctortheradical.Theshowsneitherfeaturedbareskinnordepictedphysicaltrauma;pathologicallesionswererepresentedcrudely,alwaysonmodestpartsofthebodyandweremoresuggestedthanactuallyshown.Thisofcoursewasbeforespecialeffects,especiallymake-up,tooksuchasoaringimportancefirstinhorrormoviesthenineverysinglemotionpictureandtelevisionproduction.In1982,NBCwhichwasthenthemostexperimentalnetworkinAmericaandwouldgrowtobeNumberOneduringthenexttwodecades,orderedandprogrammedashowcalled StElsewhere .Oneofthetwogroundbreakingtvdramasoftheearly80’s–theotheronebeingtheverysuccessful HillStreetBlues ,thismedicalshowcreated,developedandwrittenbywriterswhowerenotdoctorstookadifferentlookatpatients.Intheveryfirstsecondsofthethirdepisode,doctorslookatpathologyslidesofalivercarcinoma.ThenDrAuschlander,playedbySirAlfredHitchcock’sformerproducerandactor,NormanLloyd,askshisresidentswhattheyshouldtellthepatient.Oneofthemrepliesthepatientshouldknowthetruth;thatsheisdyingofcancer.DrAuschlanderthenasks:‘Ah,yes,butcanyoutellher when she’lldie?’Inthefollowingscene,afemaledoctorannouncestoapregnantcouplethattestshavefoundabnormalitiesinthefluidaroundthefetus.TheirchildhasDown’ssyndrome.Shedescribestheprobablementalretardationandthebody’sdeformities.Finallytheyaskforthesexofthebaby.Theyalreadyhavetwohealthygirls.Thebaby’saboy.  3ThenweseeDrAuschlanderandhisresidentswiththelivercancerpatient,anolderblackwomanwhojokesaboutkeepingtheyounggood-lookingdoctorswithher.Aftertheyhavelefther,thedoctorsdiscusswhichtreatmentwillmakehercomfortable.Thenwe’retakentoanOperatingRoomwhereDrCraig,thehospital'sleadingsurgeon,isperformingabiopsyonaman’stesticleandjokesaboutaddingavasectomyintheprocess.Whenheasksforthejar,hemissesanddropsthesampleonthefloor.‘Ohwell.Plentyleftwherethatcamefrom’,hesays.Inthefollowingscene,thepregnantcouplediscusswhethertheywillkeepthebabyorif,asthefatherstronglysuggests,theyshouldgetanabortion.Hiswifewantstokeepthebabyandsheasksifheeverconsideredthatthiswasherbodytheyweretalkingabout.Still,shedecidestoterminateherpregnancy,anddoessoalone.Attheendofthehour,DrAuschlandertellshiscolleagueDrWestphalltheironyofhissituation:he,thehepatologyspecialist,hasrecentlyfoundoutthat he isdyingoflivercanceranddoesn'tknowwhattodo.Hiscolleagueanswersheshouldgoseeadoctor.Onhiswayout,DrAuschlanderstopsathiscancerpatient’sbedsideandtheystartplayingcards.Thisverysignificantepisodewasfollowedbyanolessimpressiveonecalled‘CoraandArnie’.Besidescontinuingthestorieswhichstartedinearlierepisodes,ittoldtheverydifferentstoriesoftwoelderlycouples.Thefirstoneisonvacation.Thewifehaspassedoutfornoreasonandtheyoungdoctorwhotakesherhistorydecidestoadmither.Shewillbegivenallsortsoftests,allnegative,andallveryexpensive.Whensheisfinallyreleasedattheendoftheday,theirvacationisdefinitelyruined:thebilladdsuptomorethan1300dollars.Theothercouplehasamuchsadderstory.CoraandArniearetwohomelesspeople.Arnieisretarded,andCorahascometotheERbecauseoftheitchingshehasonherwholebody.YoungDrMorrison(playedbyDavidMorse)admitsher.Duringthecourseoftheepisode,wegetaglimpseatCoras’legsanddark-toedfeet,weseehergivenabathandputtorestinwhitecleanbedsheets,butwealsohearhertellArniethatheshouldgetsomethingtoeatandweunderstandthatwithouther,hercompanioncan’treallysurvivebyhimselfonthestreet.Meanwhile,DrMorrissonhasdiagnosedgangreneinbothCora’sfeet.Hetellshershemaynotsurvivetheinfectionthathasstartedinhertoes.Theyhavetoamputate.ButCorawon’tleave  4Arnie,andshedecidestocheckoutofthehospitalwithhim.DorisRobertsandJamesCocowhoplayedthehomelesscouple,bothwonanEmmyAwardforthoseparts.Writtenmostlybynon-doctors, StElsewhere hadadesperate,sarcastictone,probablyinspiredinpartbySamuelShem’s1978influentialnovel TheHouseofGod. (Inepisode5,oneofthecharactersbetsonahorsecalledGomer–theacronymShemcoinedfor‘GetoutOfMyEmergencyRoom’.)Itwas the groundbreakingmedicaldramaoftheeighties.InSt.Eligiushospital,patientsdiedwhileotherrefusedtreatment.Youngdoctorswerebulliesormalechauvinists,andwhentheydidn’tbecomerapists,theydiedfromAIDS.Darkhumorwasalwayspresent.Andwhentheshowended,thelastscenesuggestedthatallthestoriestoldduringthepastsixseasonswereonlythefigmentsofanautisticboy’simagination. St.Elsewhere metwithmuchcriticalsuccess,butitdidnotratehighwiththepublic.It’samiracleitremainedontheairforsixyearsandIwishwehadmorethanitsfirstseasononDVD.Itwastheliterateviewer’smedicaldrama.Tooliterate,maybe.Butitledthewayintalkingfranklyaboutrealpeople’slives–andshowingasmuchoftheirbodiesasitcould,atthetime–inanew,noholdsbarredfashion.After StElsewhere wentofftheair,theAmericanpublicwaitedonlysixyearsbeforeitsawthenextsuccessfulmedicaldramawasproduced.It’sastonishingwhenyouthinkaboutit,but ER startedin1994.Itscareerendedonlylastspringafterfifteenseasons.Duringitsfirsttenyears,itconstantlyrankedamongthetoptenshowsinAmericaandattractedbetween20and25millionviewerseachweek.Atonetimeitwasoneofthemost-watchedshowsontheplanet.Beforethat,ithadbeen Baywatch. Lately,Ithinkit’smostlybeen CSI:Miami . Othetimes,Othecustoms ,asMarcusTulliusCicerooncesaid.Anyway, ER wasandstillisthemostrealisticAmericanmedicaldramaofhistory,andithadastrongandlastingimpactonthepublic.TheaveragenumberofnewHarvardgraduateswhochoseemergencymedicinewentupthreefoldafteritstartedairing ER haditsownwayoftreatingbodies.Itwasstillinawayaverymodestshow,showinglittleofthepatient’sprivateparts.Butitwasmuchbolderthan StElsewhere,  5showingbloodandinsidesandmanymoretechnicalprocedures(includingintubationandcatheterizationandopenheartsurgery)thanhadeverbeenshownbefore.Italsoshowedthedynamicsofemergencyrooms,theballetofdoctorsandnursesgoingfromonebedtoanother,thestrippingofclothesandwhatitmeantforpatients.InoneearlySeasonOneepisode,DrBenton’s,asurgicalresident,bringsinhismotheraftershehasfallendownthestairs;Elah,oneofthenursestellshimheshouldleavetheroom,astheelderlywomandoesn’twishtoappearnakedinfrontofherson,eventhoughheisadoctor. ER wastheshowoflongcameramovementsthattookyoufromoneendofthewardtotheotherinonlyoneshot.Itwasthefirstshowthatgavetheaudiencethefeelingahospitalisalivingplace,withcrowdsallover,notjustasoundstagewhereactorsplayeddoctorsandextrasjuststoodthere.Anyofthefiguresyousawbrieflyatthebeginningofthehourmightturnouttobethetragicpatientoftheweek.Yousawbodiescoveredwithtattoos,menwhohadabilliardballstuckintheirmouth,otherswhowalkedinwithanarrowintheirback.ElderpeoplewerefilmedwithoutanymakeupandtheyreallytookouttheirfalseteethwhenyoungDrCarteraskedthemto.PatientshadseizureswhileDrGreeneputacatheterintheirneck,andthecameragavelong,deepshotsofthecomatosefacesofpatientsandtheworriedeyebrowsoftheirfamilymembers.Andoneofthedoctorswouldpointonanultrasoundmonitor’sscreentoshowyouthepenisonamalefetus.If StElsewhere wasasarcasticshow, ER wasadisturbinglyrealisticmelodrama.Inaseasononeepisode,DrGreeneadmitsaverypregnantwoman.Twelveyearsearlier StElsewhere haddealtwithanemergencydeliveryinanapartmentwithateenageboyhelpingthewomangivebirthwhilebeinginstructedbyanOBGYNonthephone.Nosuchthinginthisshow,whichwascreatedbyMichaelCrichton,famouswriterandHarvard-trainedphysicianandsubsequentlywrittenbyateamwhoincludedseveralrealdoctors.Sincethewomanhaseclampsia,GreenedecidestodothedeliveryintheER.Everythinggoeswrong.Thebabywon’tcomedownbecauseofsomeunforeseendystocia.Atonepoint,thephysicianisshownstrugglingwiththebloodiedheadofthebabyanddecidingtopushhimbackinthewombinordertoperformanemergencyc-section.And,ofcourse,justwhenthey’reabouttodothat,thewomanhasaseizure.
Search
Tags
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks
SAVE OUR EARTH

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!

x