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5 Shows After Dark: Mental Illness is so Wacky and Useful in TV Land!

By Genevieve Burgess | Miscellaneous | July 23, 2012 | Comments ()


"Bachelor Pad" on ABC at 8:00pm ET. Third season premiere. In order to take us a little further down the reality competition rabbit hole, this season not only includes former "Bachelor" and "Bachelorette" contestants as always, but also a handful of "super-fans" who haven't been on the related series before. I'm sure that's exciting to someone.

"American Ninja Warrior" on NBC at 9:00pm ET. Two hour fourth season finale.

"Top Gear" on BBCA at 9:00pm ET.

"Vito" on HBO at 9:00pm ET. This is a documentary about the gay right's activist, Vito Russo, who was active in the community from the 70s up until his death in 1990. He created the original presentation "The Celluloid Closet" about representations of gays and lesbians in movies that would go on to become a book written by Vito which was later adapted into the 1995 documentary of the same name.

"Perception" on TNT at 10:00pm ET. For those of you who enjoy spending an hour going "That's not how schizophrenia works" every Monday.

Genevieve Burgess hates summer television just as much as it hates her.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • BWeaves

    I remember hating The Ruby In The Smoke, because Rose Tyler (or whatever her name was in that show) takes opium to help her dream about the truth about her childhood. Yeah, right. I don't take opium and my dreams are freaking weird and make no sense. Brocolli gives me hallucinogenic dreams. Dreams do not predict the future or help you solve crimes. Dreams are your brain's way of ripping off its clothes and streaking.

  • dahlia6

    Mental illness is never portrayed right on TV, or anywhere, for that matter, and good bloody luck getting help for someone who actually has a problem. In my part of hell, its still looked to as more or less some sort of demonic voodoo possession than out of whack brain chemistry. (Side note, Snake Man of Appalachia is filmed in my hometown. Hellllllooooo crazy religious faith healing hour of insanity! We can cure it with snakes!)

    Its pretty rampant in my family, too. Mental illness, not snake handling, thank God. We mostly play it off for laughs when we can, because getting help for it is damned near impossible in a culture where people don't even want to acknowledge it exists. I come from a long line of women who've killed their husbands over mental snafus. Both my grandmothers were completely insane. God finally took them out before they had a chance to take over the world. My dad's mother tried to kill one of her daughter with a kitchen knife, and tried to kill my grandfather 3 times over the course of their 62 year marriage. Once with a knife, once with gun, and one with a cast iron skillet full of bacon. I've had a couple of aunts have to "go away for a while" a nice euphemism for someone who's had a complete breakdown and had to be committed.

    As far as I know, I'm pretty normal, meaning I haven't attempted to kill anyone yet or been committed, but 40 seems to be the breaking point with the ladies in my family. I could about 8 more years before all hell breaks loose.

    I hope I do the family proud.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Its pretty rampant in my family, too. Mental illness, not snake handling, thank God.

    I don't know. I'd rather wrestle with snakes than with chronic depression.

  • Jana Faust

    Thanks for the heads-up on Perception, Pajiba. I don't need another angry hour in my day.

    My brother has schizophrenia (or schizoaffective disorder, the diagnosis varies), my sister has bipolar disorder, and everyone else has issues with depression and anxiety to various degrees.

    What really struck me, dahlia6, was your comment about the women getting the crazy later in life--same with my family. Some women in my family really lost it around/after 40--a time when they either had a hysterectomy or started menopause. I'm 43 now and I'll admit that it makes me a little uneasy. Oh, and my grandma is crazy religious, too. And lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which I sometimes refer to as the Appalachia of the North).

  • GunNut2600

    I know the feeling dahlia6. For my family, its depression and OCD. Its funny because on the outside, my family seems very successful (except my youngest brother). For whatever reason, the male members of my family all have struggled with it but me. I constantly am wondering if I am beginning to show the symptoms or if I am starting the decent into it.

    Just this weekend, I spent about an hour just trying to get to the breakers in my fathers house to fix his kitchen stove. I had to constantly work with him just to let me into his basement because he can't handle the loss of control. Its not that he doesn't trust or love me...he just has that break in his thought patterns that we constantly have to work with.

    Its amazing because the man is incredibly strong. Four kids, a successful 50+ year marriage, and he started three separate successful businesses. But the smallest thing can trigger him into shutting down. The most pathetic thing is the shame he feels. Its fucking palatable. And he shouldn't feel shame for anything.

  • dahlia6

    That shame and embarrassment is the worst part of having an illness like that - knowing you need it but being unable to reach out to it for various reasons. When I was in college, I was seeing a therapist to help me deal with a lot of the family crap. A friend of mine, who was also dealing with her own herd of drama llamas, gave me endless shit for seeing a therapist because "You're a grown up. You should be able to deal with your own problems instead of crying about it like a baby."

    Later I found out her version of being a grown up about her issues was doing rails of cocaine and playing Russian Roulette, so I think I'll stick with my therapist, thanks.

  • GunNut2600

    Seriously...as a person that grew up in a home that was racked with mental illness (my father, older, and your brothers were all committed at least one point in time as I have grown up), I fucking can't stand how its portrayed in films and TV.

    You don't get special powers...you aren't going to randomly do shit....and it sure as shit isn't funny (though one time I did have to climb up on the roof of my brothers apartment to convince him to come down, that we weren't all going to die from cell phone radiation, and he should be wearing more than tin foil...that incident was pretty darn cliche and fucking hilarious afterwards).

    Thanks to medication and therapy, all of my nutty family is doing a lot better...except the younger brother who tends to self medicate with alcohol more than anything else. But there is a constant need to keep an eye on everyone. It ain't fun. Its hard as shit to get someone help in this country if they don't want it. And its insanely expensive too.

  • no one

    I really wanted to like “Perception”. But I don't think it's going to work out.

  • Irina

    Eric McCormack is trying his best and I like how Sherlock apparently started a scarf-porn trend but "Perception" is an awfully boring show.

  • BWeaves

    scarf-porn, yes

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