The last time I talked about a television show, it really was Must See-D-TV. I mean how cool is it that there was a contestant on The Amazing Race with diabetes traveling the world, glucose meter in hand, insulin pump at her side?
But this time I have mixed emotions.
I began watching the DVD set of the first season of Modern Family.
No, there is not a main character who is diabetic. The show has nothing to do with diabetes. I find the show pretty entertaining. The cast includes Ed O’Neill who you may remember from Married With Children and Julie Bowen who was Jack’s ex wife on Lost.
So I’m going through the episodes and I am watching the one called “En Garde” in which Manny, the stepson of Ed O’Neal’s character, wins fencing match after fencing match making it to the finals. When he finds out he has to fight a girl, he decides to retire.
His mom and stepdad encourage him to continue. When they arrive at the finals, a woman sits down next to them. They ask if she is the girl’s mom.
Turns out Caroline’s parents have passed away and her nurse from the children’s hospital brings her to the finals. Of course Manny’s parents are supposed to feel bad.
The nurse says “She’s our little miracle. I only wish her father had made it back from Afghanistan to see this.”
In comes Caroline’s cheering section which is comprised of children in wheelchairs and on crutches.
His mom says “Oh my god, we have to stop him.” She and Manny’s stepfather make cutting-your-throat gestures to try to tell him to stop, but he takes this as meaning he should go in for the kill.
He says “Expect no mercy” to which Caroline replies “Bring it on big boy.”
He scores point after point, winning by a landslide.
Feeling bad, the mom asks “So can we take you and Caroline out for an ice cream?”
And as if they added insult to injury, the nurse replies “We can’t. She’s diabetic.”
To which the stepdad mumbles “Of course she is.”
She Can Eat Ice Cream
I was taken aback for a second there. Did they just use diabetes as a way to make the family feel even worse?
And what about disseminating misinformation?
Kids with diabetes can eat ice cream.
Will my daughter’s friends’ parents see this show and decide not to include my daughter in an ice cream social or birthday party because they think she can’t partake?
See, here’s the thing: They make this substance called insulin and miraculously you can eat ice cream and take insulin to cover it.
Wow, see how that works.
Now I’m not saying ice cream is an every day thing. But it is not something that we eschew because of diabetes.
So do I boycott* the show because some writers were sitting around and one said, “Hey, you know what would be hilarious. What if the girl has a really pathetic life and Manny beats the crap out of her at the finals and Manny’s parents offer to get her ice cream. But you know what? She can’t because she’s…wait for it…wait for it… punchline: DIABETIC.”
*No, I haven’t boycotted. I love the show!