NBC has a new comedy that has a wonderful ensemble cast that includes former Cosby kid, Tempestt Bledsoe, as a working wife and mother of four boys, two of whom are twins. Her husband, played by Anthony Anderson, is the overwhelmed but has it handled stay-at-home dad and one of the tres amigos in the sitcom, Guys With Kids. Don’t worry, this is not a review of the show, although I will say, my reactions to the characters and plots has had me laughing, smiling, frowning, and rolling my eyes at various times. It’s a humorous look at modern parenthood and relationships from the guys perspective. As in all sitcoms, some traits and characteristics are amplified and exploited for humor while others are not given a thought. How much do you expect out of a sitcom, really?
***Spoiler Alert*** I will be giving away plot points about the episode 103 ~ Marny Wants a Girl
In this episode, Marny (Tempestt Bledsoe), has an interaction with her friend’s little girl that triggers what her husband, Gary (Anthony Anderson), identifies as her being baby crazy. He goes into a bit of a panic and confides in his friends what his fears, concerns, and his experience with the historical pattern that happens when Marny wants a girl. They help him formulate a plan of action to help him avoid Marny’s efforts to get him to “make a girl.” There are so many different themes and issues I could discuss here, but one really stands out to me, because it is something that I go through on a regular basis.
“Crazy” Marny was triggered by unmet psychological and emotional needs. She didn’t talk about her needs and why it was important for her until after she had done her best to manipulate Gary into doing what she wanted and he’d done everything possible to avoid expressing himself to her. When they finally did have a conversation, she sat down, admitted what she had been doing and explained herself to him in a very coherent and rational manner. She also called him on some of his stuff in a way that wasn’t shaming and he moved beyond his defensiveness in a way that enabled him to see her point of view. At that point, they both rationally agreed to stop being rational and go for the baby.
At the end of the show, they are both anxiously awaiting the results from a pregnancy test and she was visibly relieved to discover was negative. Of course Gary becomes quite confused with her reaction, because he was a bit disappointed (on her behalf?) at the results and questions her about it.
Marny: Oh, yeah, nooo. I was possessed by hormones. They were telling me to do CRAZY things last week.
Gary: You promised me you weren’t Crazy Marny.
Marny: I didn’t promise you. Crazy Marny promised you. (loud whispering) She must be learning to impersonate Regular Marny
Gary: (turns aside, loud whisper) She’s mutating! (turns back) So, um, you’re okay with this?
Marny: Oh, yeah honey. The twins are too young for us to have another kid right now.
Gary: (Groans in relief, throwing head back, then steps in and takes her hands) Well, you let me know when the time is right, okay?
Marny: nods lovingly
Gary: But how will I know the difference between Crazy Marny and Regular Marny?
Marny: (looks thoughtfully confused) I don’t know. (pauses, laughs) Wouldn’t want to be you! (laughs hysterically, kisses him and walks out.)
Now, I realize this is fictitious script writing. However, it wouldn’t be possible to have this kind of dialogue if none of the writers had ever experienced a conversation or life circumstance that was similar and it wouldn’t resonate with audiences if the same wasn’t true of the general population. It’s way too easy to stereotype a person and situation on the basis of an outward behavior and not identify that there is a deeper issue going on. We do it to others, we do it to ourselves.
Something that was a deep-seated emotional and psychological need and issue for Marny got brushed off as being hormone-related crazy. I struggle with that all the time. I’m 43 years old and have just realized in the past couple of years that my periods of highest anxiety, depression, and hypersensitivity tend to occur 1-10 days before my monthly starts. You would think that would be something to be able to predict, but it isn’t because I’m not on a consistent cycle. Sometimes my cycles are as short as 14-21 days and other times they are as long as 21-28 days.
Then there’s the little fact that I don’t seem to go more than a week or two with out a major stress-inducing life or interpersonal event. Seriously. Even after I stopped the manic overloading myself with other people’s lives and issues, single-parent, work, go to school and engage in toxic, co-dependent relationships at the same time episodes of my 20’s and 30’s. I’m living with the after effects and consequences of having lived that life and the after shocks seem to be generating emotional and psychological earthquakes of their own.
I NEVER feel like Regular Kina is present and driving the bus. I am not even sure who Regular Kina is. I constantly feel like one version of Crazy Kina or another is in charge and pretending to be Regular Kina. Which, now that I think about it, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If Crazy Kina learns to act like Regular Kina often enough and speaks and acts like Regular Kina on a more frequent and consistent basis, then, maybe, eventually, Regular Kina will be all that’s left, or at the very least the one interacting in healthy and functional ways with the people I love more often. That’s what counts right?