One of the great luxuries of being a stay at home mum is day time television… Do you sense the sarcasm? Being a parent of two young children I rarely get to watch anything other than ABC 2, it’s not that I don’t like Fireman Sam, Mister Maker or Ben and Holly but sometimes it’s nice just to sit, disengage from life and watch something a little mind numbing yet vaguely entertaining.
I’ve always been a supporter of Aussie dramas starting at an early age with A Country Practice, Rafertys Rules and Blue Heelers. But as my tastes have matured (cough, cough) Packed to the Rafters, Rush (purely because of the guy with the scar), Offspring and also Winners and Losers. Some of these shows are better than others but all provide some light entertainment and escapism from the craziness of life for an hour or so. I do love a good Aussie Drama, I like supporting home grown talent, actors and producers. I like that for the most part they are based around regular life, have minimal violence, good characters and mostly good story lines.
Recently I was taking some time out while Eden was having her daytime nap, I decided I’d catch up on Winners and Losers as it had been some time since I’d watched it. All was going well I was into the second episode of the day, said baby was still fast asleep when bang it hit me… Did he just say that? No, he didn’t! Yes, he did! I better rewind to just check that he actually did say that.
Let me set the scene, this is what unfolded…
Frances is dating a guy called “P.Dog”, annoying character who in some previous episodes was a team building trainer for a day that Doug and Sophie attended. They did not get along with him to say the least. When Doug first hears of Francis dating this guy, he rolls into a scene of describing his dislike for P.Dog and his annoying personality, then says something to the effect of something being wrong with him, ‘it’s like he has an Extra Chromosome’…
Really Channel Seven? Did you just do that? A show that’s characters are based around a “no bullying” standpoint. A show that seems to place value on freedom of choice, marriage equality and the acceptance of differences. Did you just make a slur about a minority of people with an intellectual disability? Did society just let this slide by? No outrage, no-one complained, no headlines on the news ‘Down syndrome community outraged by channel 7 senseless script’.
I know it wasn’t a personal attack on my daughter, but does that make it ok? If this was a racial slur on a football field or a political faux pa about ethnicity or religion I’m sure we would have heard about it. What were the script writers thinking? Did the Actor (Tom Wren) not question the line? Did anyone while filming not think that this was a careless insensitive statement?
Trust me I don’t want to be angry about this, being an anxty over protective parent is not who I am. It’s just I thought as a society that we’d come further than this sort of thoughtless behaviour. For a channel who was all over the Baby Gammy story! Outraged by FCUK when they printed RETARDE on T-shirts, you sure seem to have stooped to the same level channel 7.
I sat on this for a couple of weeks cos like I said I didn’t want to be “that parent” I didn’t want to overreact, was I just too close to the rawness of this? But now I can’t just sit on it, the more I think about it the more I realise I need to act. If the parents of those with Intellectual Disabilities don’t act, who will? Now it appears I have left my run too late, Chanel 7 only accept complaints up to 30 days post airing date. BUGGER!
Lesson learnt ‘the standard to which I let slide by, will be the standard my children are forced to live with’. I hope channel 7 did get some complaints and that they have seen the error in their judgment, if not I will surely be there next time to take a stand.
(Please share this if you believe the rights of those with disabilities are still not being respected in mainstream media. Maybe if enough of us make a fuss, the world will eventually get it).