One of the great things about this blog is finding unknown or hidden places where mental health conditions are being addressed and looking at what is being said about them. One of the great, positive frontiers is children’s television. Newer shows seem much more willing to take a look at these controversial issues head on. One recent example is Adventure Time’s season four episode “I Remember You.”
Sybil is the mother of all multiple personality disorder movies. It was the first one to really catch the public’s imagination (except Jekyll and Hyde). It helped solidify what dissociative identity disorder looked like to the general public, and how they should feel about people with the illness. My question in watching it is whether it’s any good. As it turns out, it’s very good.
We’ve talked about how grief translates to film well, and how it dominates the discussion of mental health in American pop culture. The cinematic qualities of loss were easy to define and understand, so the emotion took hold as an appropriate topic for important movies. Many of those movies don’t have anything new to say about it. However, every so often, one does, and Ordinary People is one of those movies. By focusing on one family member’s grief and showing how it ripples through the other family members, the movie says something really powerful.
Dr. Frasier Crane has been overlooked in the last few years, but for many people, Kelsey Grammer’s psychiatrist was the mental health professional they knew best. For some, he might have been the only one. Through Cheers and its spin-off Frasier, he brought the good natured doctor (and some genuine mental health knowledge) to TV for 22 years.
Perception, the TNT television show, has an interesting hook. The main character, Dr. Daniel Pierce, is a neuroscientist who assists the FBI with cases. He also has paranoid schizophrenia. Instead of making him an empty shell of nervous tics, the show makes Dr. Pierce a fully formed person.