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Lies the Television Told Us

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  1. Introduction
  2. Mother, May I Sleep With Danger? (Lifetime Network)
  3. 'Jeremy': Pearl Jam (MTV)
  4. Secret cutting (USA Network)
  5. 'Normal Again': Buffy the Vampire Slayer (FX Network)
  6. Conclusion

The media exists for the sole purpose of entertainment, and the easiest way to bring this entertainment to the people is through television. This being said, it can be understood why the media functions the way it does; entertainment needs to be entertaining. Isn't it only expected that writers would strive to blow everything out of proportion? Even the news focuses mostly on the heart wrenching. So really, can television be blamed for the way in which it portrays mental illnesses? Why give viewers the boredom of a psychiatrist's office when they can be given violent, sick people lost to the madness of schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies? Instead of striving for realistic integrity, television works toward the most violent portrayal of mental illnesses it can create.

[...] Depression can wear many faces, but in the opinion of television ratings, it is best received when it dons the mask of violence. Secret Cutting (USA Network) Mental breakdowns, the sudden plummet of an individual into mental torture, have always been a favorite of television shows and movies. But never has much focus been shed on the ways in which people deal with these tragedies. The process of self-mutilation, which has gained popularity lately with numerous references in popular culture, is one of the most dramatic way in which mentally disturbed people can prevent a total breakdown, and due to its addictive nature, it can become more of a habit than a necessity. [...]

[...] ?Normal Again? Buffy the Vampire Slayer (FX Network) Sometimes, the television shows that are most separated from the field of psychology are the ones that raise the most issues of mental illness. Buffy the Vampire Slayer has always done so; claiming to be an eternal metaphor for growing up, it cannot help but touch upon psychological issues. From dissociative and multiple personality disorders to simply breaking down completely at the death of a loved one, the mental disorders portrayed by the characters in the show are endless. [...]

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