Friday, July 23, 2004

Something about the word 'abortion'

The New York Times engages in some head-scratching over the paucity of abortion on TV. It seems that even on the most "progressive" shows (O.C., Sex and the City), pregnant characters decide to keep their babies instead of aborting them. Here's the reason:
Mr. Schwartz [creator of The O.C.] said that Theresa had to continue the pregnancy for the sake of the series, since he needed Ryan to leave his cushy life in Newport Beach to care for Theresa during her pregnancy. He said he would not shy away from a character having an abortion if it fit in with the story. But Mr. Schwartz added: "It's complicated, it's messy, it's a scary topic. Dramatically, I don't know that it has much value compared to the reaction of the audience. It's a topic where everyone watching has a strong opinion."

Mr. Schwartz chose not to use the word "abortion" in the season finale. Characters spoke about "an appointment at Planned Parenthood" and trailed off at the ends of sentences. "There's something about the word 'abortion,'" Mr. Schwartz said. "That the show would sink under the weight of it."

One more illustration of how uncomfortable Americans are with abortion--it's enshrined in law, but they don't want it celebrated on TV. And this is not just a bunch of Evangelicals boycotting--that would be a plus for Mr. Schwartz (don't you love the NYT honorific?)--these are members of their core audience who would simply find something else to watch because the associations with The O.C. would become too painful to continue.

Yes, you can still get away with a movie that confers sainthood on an abortionist (The Ciderhouse Rules), but apparently Americans, at least, won't keep coming back for more.

But just weigh Schwartz's summary on your tongue: "The show would sink under the weight of it."

SOURCE: Godspy

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