Friday, November 30, 2007

Standard Hollywood Storyline #4

Well it would seem that Hollywood has finally gotten around to updating that good old staple; storyline #4. It no longer is "bigoted blue collar white guy hates foreigner that helps him". It has been updated for the new millennium to include "bigoted blue collar white guy hates 'undocumented' work that helps him". This new expanded storyline made an appearance on TV this week in both Gray's Anatomy (old form) and ER (new form) storylines.

In the case of Grey's, a (black female) paramedic has a seizure while driving a rig that results in two ambulances being wrecked. The female paramedic has a (white) male partner who is very concerned for his partner and wants her to be checked out first. When they try to check him out, he tells his black female doctor that he wants a male doctor. When confronted with a black male doctor he then asks for a white doctor. This was because he had a swat-sticker tattooed on his belly and did not want the non-white staff to see it. If you watch the story, the white "bigot" did not follow any of the normal Hollywood bigot stereotypes, he appeared clean-cut, educated, well spoken and concerned for his non-white partner. He appeared to get along with his black partner and was concerned for her. The only indication that anything was amiss was his tattoo. At first I thought that they were trying to show the tattoo as a poor adolescent decision but based on the remainder of the story I think their real intent was to show us all that the white (what other kind are there in Hollywood) bigots still exist but have just gone underground (you can never be too careful around those white guys). As icing on the cake they have the "bigot" insist on a white doctor as a witness during his surgery to make sure that the female black and asian surgeons don’t have an "accident" while operating on him. Of course the black and asian doctors "rise above" this insult and operate on the man anyway and save his life.

In ER they follow the updated script and are even more blatant about it. They try to score extra points by tossing in the helpful illegal alien that does not speak much English. A blue-collar working man gets his arm caught and would have died except that he is helped/saved by a female illegal alien working as a cleaner (aren't they all?) and when everyone gets to the hospital, the man's bigot son blames the woman for his father's injuries. The woman (of course) has a son in collage (and doing quite well thank you) and her injuries are superficial. The two boys get in a scuffle at the hospital and plenty of the typical racial insults are used and the non-white boy gets to say how he in an American because he was born here. The writers try to cover all of the bases to make sure that you really dislike the white boy. Later the white boy tracks down the other boy and beats him with a bat. The second boy dies and then the first boy finds out from his father that the woman actually saved his life. He gets arrested and hauled away in cuffs.

Is this the only way Hollywood knows how to play this mime? That all white guys (sometimes gals) are bigots and all non-whites are down-trodden, hard working missionaries only trying to better themselves and their families? How about they mix it up just once in a while and try using a Muslim man that refuses to be treated by a woman? Or how about a black racist refuses to be treated by a white doctor? How about we use an actual story “ripped from the headlines” about a drink illegal alien driver with multiple convictions that runs over a little white girl? I would not hold by breath for that one, there are still some things Hollywood thinks is just too unbelievable.

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