Seriously? I’m Trying to be Entertained Here!

surprise“Just when I thought I was out … they pull me back in.”

This past weekend I was clearly channeling Michael Corleone from The GodFather: Part II.

Hey, I love a good flick or TV show as much as the next girl or guy but I usually know what I’m getting. Some days I’m in the mood for a drama with an Indie edge, other times it’s a light comedy, and sometimes I crave a meaty historical film that draws me into another time and place. I usually know what I’m getting based on the movie description … that is unless the description is misleading as it was with what turned out to be one rather moronic movie, Couples Retreat:

the comedy follows four Midwestern couples who embark on a journey to a tropical island resort. While one of the couples is there to work on their marriage, the other three set out to jet ski, spa and enjoy some fun in the sun. They soon discover that participation in the resorts couples therapy is not optional. Suddenly, their group-rate vacation comes at a price. What follows is a hilarious look at real world problems faced by all couples.”

Yeah, it wasn’t my first choice either, but I deferred to be a gracious hostess to our uncle and aunt visiting from Virginia who wanted to give the comedy a try. It got awkward pretty fast when it turned out that the real reason behind the tropical trip was for a couple who couldn’t conceive to decide whether (after their infertility had all but destroyed their married life) they remembered how to have fun, and more importantly, if they had what it took to remain married. Hilarious NOT! The portrayal of said couple didn’t do much to erase any one-dimensional stereotypes either: uptight, crazed woman and emasculated, frustrated guy. They looked pretty wretched.

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Not doing much to entertain here.  Blech…

Okay — who wants some popcorn — !?

Our collective saving grace came afterward in watching Olympic highlights. Nothing like some shiny-faced, enthusiastic, talented athletes to lighten the mood.

With aunt and uncle on their way to visit more relatives we elected to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon catching up with the cheesy but entertaining Spartacus.  Seemed safe enough until episode five focused on the infertility of the female protagonist — complete with a story line of a nubile, fertile, younger friend arranging a “fertility consultation” with the Priestess of Juno on the protagonist’s behalf. Ugh. Normally I prefer the non-gladiator scenes but manly gore was preferable at that moment.

Hey babe – would you like a beer or wine or whiskey?  I know I do!

At least the portrayal of the condition in Spartacus was comically absurd — and accurate. The Priestess of Juno charged a very steep rate for her services — with no guarantees. Nailed it!

After dinner, we tuned into HBO’s Big Love only to learn that Nicky has been diagnosed with secondary infertility. Seriously!?

When did infertility become such a favored surprise plot line? I’m almost afraid now to turn on the television.

The saving grace, though, is that after this trio of stories I realized how far I’ve come. In the past I would more than likely have escaped to another activity or found some other viewing choice. I had to turn off Children of Men two years ago within minutes of the opening scenes. This time I watched the infertility portrayals with a more dispassionate, critical eye. The doctor in Big Love gave Nicky a frank assessment of her options, while in Couples Retreat, the reality was clearly distorted.

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So in the interest of preparing others for what’s hiding in the sub-plots, any other film or TV shows that we should be prepared for??

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17 thoughts on “Seriously? I’m Trying to be Entertained Here!

  1. I hear that the movie “Up” starts out with the couple being infertile… I decided not to go see it.

  2. Colleen

    I wanted to say I think it is ok to see Up when you are in the mood for it, and yes there is certainly an infertility part to that movie. I think though that it truly shows that your life is certainly not destroyed by infertility. And really, isn’t that what you would want to see? It shows true love through ups and downs.

    I can’t think of any other warnings right now about current shows. I am too wrapped up in the Olympics!

  3. Diane

    I heard that infertility figures in the plot of “Julie and Julia”; I haven’t seen it. I wouldn’t skip a movie I really, really wanted to see if I knew that there was an infertility plot or subplot, but if I were lukewarm about a film, I might skip it on that basis. I’m in the “Fresh Start” stage as opposed to the “Coming To Terms” stage; I consider myself “post-infertility.” So I’m more dispassionate about it now, to use Pamela’s term. That doesn’t mean I want to spend my rare leisure time being reminded of it though!

  4. Bonnie

    I agree with this post wholeheartedly. It seems everything I watched now has something to do with infertility or someone is pregnant and doesn’t know how they feel about it. I have my moments when I still have to walk away and do something else. I am making progress though and can watch some of the so called entertainment.

  5. Jen B

    My family is very non-supportive. Instead of saying helpful comments when I revealed our IF, my father told me that my husband was going to have an affair. After that, I learned my lesson and never discussed it again.

    Then a few months ago, they saw the movie “Up”. I thought it was a good representation of what we were going through.

    Instead, my oh-so-mature 60 year old father said the movie was “weird” and “not funny”. He didn’t see the correlation with our IF situation whatsoever.

    It’s moments like this that make me glad I moved 1100 miles away.

  6. Pamela

    Ack! Jen, so sorry that you’ve haven’t had the support you wanted. Sounds like distance definitely has its advantage.

  7. Jen B

    I saw Julie and Julia. The movie doesn’t shy away from the pain Julia endured. During the movie, I found myself wishing the movie was all about Julia Child instead of sharing screen time with Julie. To sum, during the movie Julia Child became a personal hero to me. I would like to learn more about stong childless women who changed the world.

  8. Pamela

    You’ll get a chance to hear more about strong, childless women who have changed the world here on this blog. I had lunch today with the next guest post coming Sunday. She’s been a mentor to me … and there are a few others in the pipeline.  Here’s to our people!

  9. Renee

    Oh my goodness – we watch the same stuff. We watched Couples Retreat in the theatre – and I walked out in a total funk afterward. Sparticus – DH fell asleep during the Domina’s treatment, so my soggy emotions and I ended up watching it together… joy. Big Love is my favorite – watching those three women with their arms flailing about while they manage each other’s children typically makes me feel warm and fuzzy about my own childlessness… but Nicki’s visit to the doc was rough. Another one is Private Practice – the spin off from Grey’s. There is always a pregnancy, and pregnancy problem that combined with the made for tv background music always sends me to the wine rack.

  10. betsy

    I had that exact same thought after I watched Julie and Julia too! I too would like to learn more about strong childless women who changed the world!!

  11. betsy

    did anyone see “did you hear about the morgans?” i was so upset about the ending – if you watched it, you will know exactly why! :(

  12. Sam

    … There’s a new movie in the pipeline, due to be released on Mother’s Day, following the lives of four babies around the world from birth to 1yr. It’s called “Babies” and it’s going to be huge. I suspect the trailer, if it came out of the blue, could be pretty upsetting for some of us.

  13. Pamela

    Thanks for the heads up, Sam…!

  14. Happynenes

    Ach. I watched Children of Men and bawled all the way through. Ever since I’ve wondered on some level if all this infertility isn’t related to the failing environment. Still looking for the elusive why, me.

    I cried all the way through UP, too. It was not the feel good movie I expected. At the same time, I thought it was refreshing to see a movie for all ages presenting something other than the “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby” storyline. I like that you have a still from that movie on your blog.

    Peace,
    Happy

  15. Amanda

    While it isn’t specifically infertility, there is a miscarriage scene in Marley and Me. I have had trouble conceiving and the two times we have conceived, I miscarried. So infertility and miscarriage scenes in movies are very rough for me. I cried through that part in Marley and Me, and I also cried through the infertility part in Up. Both movies were shockers to me. They should come with warnings.

  16. Traslocare

    Good article…I will use some of these interesting principles myself…more great info please…

  17. ski holiday

    =)
    Mmmm…right thoughts!
    Amazing way of thinking.You’re definitely a creative person!

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