succumbing to peer pressure

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A post that probably only Ahalya will appreciate

So I'm re-watching Party of Five, via netflix (feel free to mock) and I've finally gotten to the episode in the second season where Julia is pregnant (Before and After). I remember that this episode made an impression at the time, but re-watching it as an 'adult' I have a whole new level of appreciation. Julia is 15 (16?) and in love with her boyfriend, and he's a stand-up guy, and they've always been careful, and she's pregnant. And they spend an entire hour-long episode wallowing around in it. My two favorite things about this episode are 1) no one is a villain. everyone has different feelings and opinions, often in conflict, but no one plays the role of the bad person. instead they let it be complicated and messy and not black and white. 2) they aren't shy about the word abortion. they don't fall back on euphemisms or whisper it, they talk about it. And they really let Julia reason out her situation and the characters come across as very honest and unfiltered (and melodramatic, but the show always is). In the end she decides to get an abortion, but miscarries before her appointment. People try to tell her its better this way, but she really owns her decision - she acknowledges that she can't act like she hadn't made up her mind. No one shies away from any of it. She has a great argument with her boyfriend, who keeps asking if she's mad at him. She says he didn't do this to her, they both did it to her, but nonetheless, she's the one who has to carry it around (literally and figuratively). No matter how much he cares and wants to, he can't really share this with her, not in an equal way. Which is, sadly, so true.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for the delayed response, but I just got back from Alaska. Yes, I remember having those same reactions back in 1995(?) when they aired the episode. I was quite the budding pro-choicer back then and tried to convince my mother that this proved that POF was in fact, a show with depth. Also, I found it an interesting twist that it was the "cute good guy" (on whom I was crushing) with whom she got pregnant rather than the "troubled bad boy" (who seems IRL, along with his twin, to now be relegated to acting in made-for-Hallmark-tv movies).

8:41 PM  
Blogger Megan said...


Interestingly (though not terribly surprisingly) during the commentary for that episode a producer revealed that a) they originally wanted Julia to have the abortion, but were told by the network that the episode would never air if they stuck to that storyline and b) therefore an episode in 1972 when Maude has an abortion is the last (only?) time a main character on a tv show had one.

2:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, but what about Manny on Degrassi: The Next Generation? Granted, it took years before the U.S. would air that episode, and it was a Canadian show...

5:52 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Ah, I was thinking only of network tv. Degrassi only ever airs on cable, yeah?

7:45 PM  

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