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Pregnancy on TV

It’s Thursday and I’m back to talking TV. I had some things I was going to write about, but then I watched this week’s episode of Southland. I really like this show because it does so many things right.

But this episode really ticked me off.

**WARNING – SPOILERS**

Detective Lydia Adams (played by Regina King) is one of my favorite characters. She’s a homicide detective. This season, she found out she’s pregnant. The father is a married man. That isn’t the part that really bothers me because although I hate the idea of infidelity, shit happens. This is some stupid shit, but everyone screws up.

Lydia struggles with the whole idea of being pregnant. She doesn’t know if she wants to have the baby at first, so she hides the pregnancy from everyone, including her partner. Then, after getting hurt on the job, her doctor advises her to get off the street. I understand her hesitation because she’s worked hard to get where she is, and she doesn’t want to step back. But after getting hurt, it seems like she’s decided to have and keep the baby. This might be her only shot at motherhood — she’s not really young anymore and she’s had few relationships.

Even after making this decision, she continues to hide the pregnancy. She outright lies to her partner about it when he asks.

I find this really bothersome. When you’re pregnant, your first job is to protect the baby. Lydia continues to put herself and her baby in jeopardy.

But this week took the cake. She’s going after a murderer in a cramped abandoned building. Does she let her partner push the door open and go first? No. Of course not. She’s the senior officer after all.

To make matters worse, a guy runs out the front door and her partner yells, “We have a runner!” and then takes off with the two uniforms after the runner. What the hell kind of partner is he that he leaves Lydia alone? And he knows she’s pregnant. Even if she doesn’t admit it, he knows.

Does his absence make Lydia stop? Hell, no. She pushes through the door and gets attacked yet again. The gang banger is on top of her and trying to stab her through her bullet-proof vest. Fortunately, her partner does come back in time to save her, but all I’m thinking is WTF?

Lydia finally tells her partner to go on without her and admits she’s pregnant. At the end of the episode, Lydia’s at the doctor and her belly’s been punctured, but we don’t know the extent of the damage.

I think this portrayal is kind of like the discussion earlier in the week about annoying character traits in heroines. The kickass heroine was mentioned by a couple of people and I think Lydia falls into this category. I have nothing against a woman choosing to be a cop or anything else, but that being said, things do and should change if you’re pregnant. It no longer makes sense to try to do it all.

Lydia is not the only character that acts this way, although I think she pushed it way too far. Mary Shannon on In Plain Sight fought constantly about being put on desk duty. She’s a U.S. Marshall working in the Witness Protection Program. Temperance Brennan from Bones is working through her pregnancy, but she has two things going for her: 1. She doesn’t overdo it and 2. Booth is always there. 🙂

Who is your favorite pregnant character? Or who do you dislike the most?

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The Return of Old Friends (and they’re not all cops)

Ahh…now that the holidays are over, we get back to the important stuff: good TV. 🙂 Of course, many of our regular shows will pop up with new episodes (I’m looking at you, Castle). But for me, I also look forward to the  return of some favorite mid-season shows.

First up, Southland. I really thought this show had gotten canceled. It started out on network TV and was cut. Then TNT picked it up. In case you’ve never seen it, the show’s about LA cops (big surprise, right?). What makes this show unique is that it isn’t about one department or division solving a big crime each week. It follows a few detectives and a few uniformed cops. We get snippets of their personal lives, but because it’s such a big cast of characters to follow, you don’t spend a lot of time with any one character. Mostly, we get to see what being a cop does to these people. We see them doing the boring parts of the job as well as the exciting parts. While I do watch this show every week, and I look forward to its return, I can’t say I’m excited. Kind of like when an old friend is coming to visit; you’re happy to see him, but you don’t get all hot and bothered over it.

Now, Justified, on the other hand, really heats things up. The show is based on an Elmore Leonard story, so you know its roots are solid. Raylan Givens (played by the very sexy Timothy Olyphant) is a U.S. Marshall with a hot temper. He has a habit of shooting people who come up against him. Every shooting, though, turns out to be justifiable, hence the name of the show. During season 1, Raylan was transferred

back to Kentucky where he grew up. He has strong ties (not necessarily good ones) to Harlan County. The cast of characters is diverse and real, but it is Raylan who brings me back each week. He’s a damaged hero, but you don’t know that right away. He seems pretty put together on the outside, but his ex-wife pointed out, “You’re one of the angriest men I know.” And it’s true. That anger pops out and although he doesn’t turn into a raving lunatic, you see it in his eyes. Not a man I’d want to cross. Putting all that aside, the plot lines are drawn from real life. Real people trying to survive in small towns in a crappy economy — drugs, gangs, and coal mining.

The show that I am really excited about is Shameless. This is another show that we Americans stole from the Brits. I’ve only caught part of one episode of the British version, so I can’t say whether it’s any good. I am totally in love with the American version, though. I love this show for so many reasons: 1. It takes place in Chicago (who doesn’t like to see their hometown on TV?) and the producers do it right., 2. It’s about the Gallaghers, a large Irish family (you remember my post on Blue Bloods?), and 3. The family is so real, yet unique and damaged that you want to see what will happen.

William H. Macy plays Frank, the good-for-nothing drunk father. Mom took off a long time ago, leaving eldest child, Fiona in charge. Fiona is in her early twenties and she’s become mom to this group, at the expense of her own life. Lip (Philip) comes next in line. He’s a genius, but doesn’t even seriously consider furthering his education to make life better, mostly because he has no role models to look to. Ian is next. He’s ROTC and gay. He hides being gay because a white Irish boy on the south side of Chicago isn’t supposed to be that way. Debbie wants a normal family; Carl is a serial killer in training; and Liam is a biracial baby. What I love most about this family is that they’re not just dysfunctional. They are a hot stinking mess, but they have great coping skills. They make life work. Every time it looks like something will finally go their way, it seeps from their grasp (usually because of something Frank does).

This season the episodes are all supposed to take place over the summer, which should make things even more interesting. Last year it was winter in Chicago and the kids had school. Winter in Chicago is pretty yucky, but summertime is great. Plus, the episodes are going to air while it really is winter here. I can’t wait.

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What returning shows are you most looking forward to?