Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Motherland Depresses The Shit Out Of Me.

Motherland is a relatively new comedy series on the BBC that follows a modern, middle class white working woman and her struggles with balancing childcare, cliquey playground mums, an unhelpful grandparent and an absent/selfish father. Whilst I do think it’s very funny, and in some ways quite perceptive, I am also depressed as shit about a few key details. And I actually don’t think it’s helpful to have another TV series which represents childcare as solely a woman’s responsibility, however hilarious and possibly true to life it is.

I do get that art reflects life so in this instance the popularity of this show is down to the fact that mothers see their lives reflected back at them. That IS the experience of many women in the UK right now. They work and they struggle and they sort out the childcare. But if we keep portraying that as the norm on screen, it’s not going to change anything is it? At some point, instead of saying this is your experience...isn’t it shit? How about challenging the stereotypes and having a comedy which represents BOTH parents struggling? Because it IS the responsibility of BOTH parents.

My biggest problem with Motherland is the representation of men. They are either entirely absent – the husband of the main character (Julia) is always off at the football or a stag weekend or at his “more important” job. OR they are simpering weirdos who the female characters either tolerate or are mildly repulsed by. WTF? WHY?

Why are the fathers depicted like this? Like they don’t give a shit about their kids parties or schooling or have any interest in their lives at all? Is this the experience of the writer? Because if it is, I feel sorry for her. Of all the partners / fathers I know ...even the ones who are the most self-absorbed and Neanderthal in attitude (thankfully not many) NONE of them have ZERO interest in the lives of their kids. I’d say at the very least most fathers would be present at their kid’s birthday party, no?

And if they ARE totally absent, as much as that is totally shit, it’s also surely partly your responsibility for putting up with it? There’s a point where Julia is on the phone to her husband, at a stag weekend and he asks, albeit insincerely, if he needs to come home. YES. YES YOU FUCKING DO YOU SELFISH PRICK. And she says no, it’s fine. I’m sure many women relate to that. You feel guilty asking them to help because “they need a break too”. They work hard too. Sure. But when do YOU get a break? Why isn’t he organising the kids party and navigating the social awkwardness of kids parties with cliquey parents? Why aren’t YOU off on a canal boat with a donkey hat on, swigging Pimms and singing songs about vicars and tits?

Because you’re a woman. And that’s your job. According to TV adverts, soap operas, comedies, dramas. Woman sort the kids out, men go to the pub. Still. Now. In 2017. W.T.F.

Also, a small note here as well….the writer, who LIVES in London, doesn’t seem to have noticed ethnic diversity either. Which is odd, given that only 44% of London is White & British according to the 2011 consensus. But perhaps I am being picky here? One thing at a time, eh?

The one character I do really like and I think IS true to life is Liz. Liz DGAF. She’s single, she’s always trying to get a date, she takes parenting with a pinch of salt and she’s singularly unimpressed by the bitchy mums. She’s #squadgoals for me. But what IS Kevin? Does ANYONE know a Kevin?


My plea to the BBC is this…. Can we PLEASE have some Fathers in comedy who aren’t totally shit? They do exist. And even if they don’t exist in abundance, then seeing them represented on screen can only help encourage them to be less shit? And maybe encourage some mums to put up with less shit? Surely? PLEASE? In 2017? Yes?  
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