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November 2010

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COMMENTS

Private Practice Rape Episode — I Object

Written by , Posted in General

I have a lot to say about the much publicized Private Practice rape episode, so get comfortable.  I have been watching television for most of my life, because it’s an escape.  It’s meant for entertainment.  It’s meant to take me out of my own world and put me in another.  I understand that there are many ways to entertain a fantasy world, but I don’t think any of those ways should include acting out rape on television.  It’s unnecessary, and it’s a very easy way to go.  KaDee Strickland promoted the episode on The View, where she said that she was honored to play the part, and that she spoke with many rape victims so that she could accurately portray the scene without offending anyone.  I don’t disagree that it was accurate, respectful, and risky.  But that’s not the point.  The point is that Shonda Rimes (the creator) makes very easy choices to produce the emotions she hopes to produce.  That includes giving characters cancer, killing off a man with a young daughter, and finally — getting someone raped.  You might think it was brave to write this episode — but I don’t — I think it was easy.  There’s a very loathed writing practice that they tell you about in film school, and it’s called “kick-the-dog.”  In a nutshell, it means that writers often execute the very cheap tactic of letting the audience know that a character is bad, by having that character kick a dog.  It’s easy and looked down upon because there are many other more creative ways to inform the audience about a character, and having him kick a dog is an easy way out.  I consider Shonda’s writing to fall within the kick-the-dog umbrella.  Think of another way to create emotion, and another way to create drama.

  • Mongoose

    So is there a developed character “kicking the dog” by way of raping KaDee Strickland? Is this a means to paint another character as bad?

    And are you saying it is tacky to use rape to boost ratings? Hmm… I don’t know where I stand on this one….

    • http://www.theDishmaster.com The Dishmaster

      No. That’s not my point. Perhaps my writing was flawed. Kicking the dog is cheap writing as is this. I think it might not be quite as analogous as I thought.