zondag 9 juni 2013

The horrors of today ('s high school)

I watch a lot of tv shows (I think that's been established), but it's not all fun and games. I watch everything. From the funny in The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, the musical things in Glee, the the drama in One Tree Hill and Parenthood, the weird and crime solving in Castle and Bones, to the magical in Once Upon a Time and Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the sci-fi in Warehouse 13 and Lost Girl. A couple of weeks/months ago there was an episode in Glee where it focused on a high school shooting. For a show, filled with songs, this is a hard thing to do because it's such a serious and fearful issue. I have never been through anything like it, but I remember all the news items. It's important to show these things, because they are happening. But this also puts a lot of pressure in how to show that on television. So for today's blog, I will focus on a couple of episodes from different tv shows that focused on a shooting.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 3x18 Earshot (23/03/1999)
Storyline: Buffy gets infected with demon blood which causes her to be able to read minds/hear thoughts. At lunch, when she's in the cafeteria, she 'overhears' someone thinking "This time tomorrow, I'll kill you all!" Buffy and the scoobies set out to find however this person is and stop it before it's too late.

Backstory: The WB had to postpone airing this episode, because the Columbine High School shooting took place a week before the originally scheduled air date. This episode wasn't aired until September, five months after it was supposed to premiere. Initially the season finale (Graduation Day Part Two) wasn't supposed to be aired either, because the students are weilding weapons as well as the fact that they blow up the school in this episode. Due to thousands of letters of fans who demanded that the episode be aired, they aired it. This time it was almost two months after the original air date.

Why it's so good: [SPOILERS!!!] Danny Strong (from Gilmore Girls among others, but also the writer of Game Change) plays Jonathan, a student who's feeling ignored and wants to solve his problems with a gun. The fact that he feels ignored is relatable for a lot of teenagers (my thoughts). I can also imagine that a lot of teenagers feel, while they are in high school and can't deal with all the drama, they want it all to stop. They feel they need to do something drastic to change that. Buffy finds him in time and tells Jonathan: "My life happens to, on occasion, suck beyond the telling of it. Sometimes more than I can handle. And it's not just mine. Every single person down there is ignoring your pain because they're too busy with their own. The beautifl ones. The popular ones. The guys that pick on you. Everyone. If you could hear what they were feeling. The loneliness. The confusion. It looks quiet down there. It's not. It's deafening..." (you can check my quotes page for the entire dialogue)

My So-Called Life, 1x03 - Guns and Gossip (08/09/1994)
Storyline: [SPOILERS!] A gun is heard being fired in the hallway of Angela's high school. Though no one is hurt, numerous rumors begin to circulate about the possible shooter. In the end you find out that the gun belonged to Angela's openly gay friend Rickie. He brought the gun to school for protection. 

Background: In 1994, when the episode first aired, guns and metal detectors in school were a big topic of discussion. It also shows that even though Rickie might be openly gay, he is still being bullied which affects him greatly. Even though it seems nobody sympathizes with him.

Why it's good: I actually can't really remember this episode all to well... I just remember that I felt for Rickie. So even though I'm totally against guns, I guess I can understand that he felt he needed protection because he didn't feel safe in his high school. And maybe that's why I think it was such a good episode. Even the main character of the show, Angela, kinda looked at him - after he was being bullied - like 'what did you expect?' Guns are NEVER the sollution to any problem, but the real issue that should be adressed in this episode is to stop the bullying of who-ever. Whether they are gay, straight, bi, 'nerds' or geeks, it doesn't matter. We are all equal and should be treated with respect.

One Tree Hill, 3x16 - With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls, We Slept (01/03/2006)
Storyline [SPOILERS!!!]: A bullied student, Jimmy, takes the students of Tree Hill High School hostage after a dark time capsule video from him comes out. Peyton gets shot and is bleeding out, while another group is stuck in a classroom with Jimmy. Eventually Keith, Lucas' uncle and a former father figure of Jimmy, goes into the high school to talk him down. Jimmy lets the hostages go, but he realizes there's only one way out for him and shoots himself.

Background: This episode contains a few 'nods' to Columbine, like the fact that Jimmy was born on the anniversary of the shooting. A large part of the episode also takes place in the library.

Why it's good: The way this episode is filmed is extraordinary. It's thrilling, and deals with many point of views. They show the fear and hate from Jimmy's point of view, the fear and nerves in all the students but also them talking about how to fix all of it, while Mouth can't believe his former best friend was driven to this and tries to understand how it came to this. Others simply see him as the villain. When tragic stuff like this happends - whether it's someone dying, getting ill or anything else happening in your life - it has far reaching effects. This storyline will follow for many episodes and the show really deals with the aftermath. That's part of why it's so good. In a lot of series, when something happends, it's just for one - maybe two - episodes and then they have all moved on. Which is sad, to say the least. Everyone has to work through their emotions, but on television they usually don't get the time to do that. In One Tree Hill they also showed the aftermath: the guilt of Jimmy's former friends, who feel they could have done more, the mother who has lost her son but will get no sympathy from anyone and everything that has changed in the high school since then. The actors are at their best, just as the writers and producers.

Glee, 4x18 - Shooting Star (11/04/2013)
Storyline [SPOILERS!!!]: After gunshots are heard during a glee rehearsal, the students and teachers are trapped in the choir room. Some of them decide to film messages to their loved ones. A lockdown followed and they all stay put. But logically every students is worried about the other. Just as shown in the vid from One Tree Hill the emotions are high which leads to fights and screaming matches. At the end of the episode it is cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester who claims responsibility for cleaning her gun and it accidentally going off. Later you find out that the gun belonged to Becky, a teenage student with Down syndrome.

Background: The episode aired four months after the Sand Hook Elementary School shootings. One parent from that school complained that it was still too soon. Glee has done serious issues like these in the past: suicide, texting while driving, transgenders, bullying, coming out and many others. ... But this is just something that can't be fixed with a song.

Why it's good: It was good that in a serious episode such as this one, they didn't have many musical numbers. It was stripped of that. But they still ended up singing it out, which feels wrong. When a gun goes off, life doesn't just go back to normal with a song... The fact that it was actually a false alarm, lessened the effect it had. Because for a lot of people, it is real and it actually happened. So it feels fake. It also feels a bit wrong - even though it shows a lot of character - that the coach takes the fall. Because if Becky felt the need to bring a gun to school, she needs help. It didn't take care of the problems she might have had. Even though I think it's great that they took on this issue, I don't think it was meant for the show. It's a good episode, full of emotions, thrills and fear, but this is one issue they didn't handle correctly.


I know there's not a lot of interaction on my blog, but if you know any other eps concerning this issue or if you disagree with my oppinion, feel free to let me know ;-)

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