Wednesday, August 17, 2011

iCarly - iLostMyMind

The kids were all asleep (including the littlest) and L went to see some of his buddies for a few hours. I finally had some time to sit down and finally watch the 'iLostMyMind' episode of iCarly. I first heard about it last week from Chrisa from The Mindstorm: Raising a Mentally Ill Child. Apparently I was behind the times because in talking to L i found out that he had seen the previews for it weeks ago and had been wondering why I was so quiet about it.

After watching the previews I was appalled by what I saw but decided to reserve my full judgement until I had a chance to watch the full episode. I dvr'ed it and finally watched it Tuesday night. I had tried watching it on Sunday but after the first few minutes turned it off. Before going on let me give you a very quick overview of the premises of this episode: Sam has disappeared. Carly and Freddie have not been able to get a hold of her for three days and they are getting worried. Thanks to a 'pearphone' app they locate her and find out that she is at 'Troubled Waters Mental Institution'. Upon arriving there they find out that she checked herself in because she thought she was 'insane' for having kissed Freddie in the previous episode. Her friends decide to 'break her out' as she cannot check herself out without a parent's signature which she cannot get as her mother is 'in Tijuana getting laser hair removal'.

I had been warned that it was a troubling episode but reality was worse than I had anticipated. While watching the show I took a whole page of notes. But where to start? There was just so much wrong with this episode. From the posters on the wall saying things like 'Only bite food' or even 'Friends don't kill friends', to the dirt on and holes in the wall, to the huge age gap in the patients portrayed on the show, to the actual portrayal of patients (woman walking around with steering wheel, patient starting at wall, guy cracking up over static on tv and then running of screaming when told that there was nothing on TV).

This show has done nothing to improve the idea people have of mental health institutions. What I am worried about most though is the viewers of this show. As season opener it had a reported 5.5million viewers. Most falling in the kid or tween category. What did they learn from this episode?

1. It's a dirty place (there was dirt and grime everywhere and trash cans were overflowing)
2. Violence against patients will have no repercussions (Spencer kicks patient without any apparent reaction from staff)
3. There are more security guards than nurses, no doctors anywhere to be seen
4. There is a 'panic button' that will start a loud alarm and close down the ward
5. Patients might threaten guards who will back down and comply with patients requests

Not to forget that Sam was able to check herself in for simply being confused about her feelings for Freddie. This episode was all over the place (and I know I am too). I will try to write another blog post on this when I have had a chance to put some more distance between watching it and writing about it.

If you have watched it, what were your impressions?

2 comments:

allbluezoo said...

Personally, I think you're taking the episode too seriously. They do the same kind of thing with *every* subject on iCarly.

I watched the episode with my tween and really didn't think anything of it.

This is the same show that had Sam and her mom locked into some room until they resolved their issues last season.

steppinoffthepier said...

I didn't see the episode but I've been a patient in a mental health ward. It was at a local hospital and a lot of those patients had been worse and been in the state hospital.

One girl came in while I was in there and would just look at people and sob anytime they spoke to her. Turns out that she was so psychotic(sp?) for the first few days that she thought we were all her friends and family and she was scared because she didn't understand why we didn't know her. Many patients described the state facility as being dirty. 18 and up was on the ward I was on. I was the second to youngest at 21 when I went in and there were people over the age of 50. There were people who slept all the time, there were people who talked to themselves, there were people who wandered the halls and never spoke to anyone...

I really think the show just spoofed the sad reality of America's mental health. Shit like what was portrayed actually happens. Everyone doesn't get to go to a really nice facility that's clean and doesn't allow patients to feed off of other's mania.

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