The Mental Health Revolution Might Be Televised
August 20, 2021
And now, back to our regularly scheduled mental health conversations: Low Entropy Volunteer Writer Christina Liao identifies a trend in television shows exploring issues like self-love and loss.
In today’s media, topics such as self-worth, self-love and grief are discussed in a much more prevalent way, and externalities of these discussions tend to be very positive. With the media educating people on these subjects, consumers are more educated and aware of them. CW shows such as The Vampire Diaries and The 100, or Marvel’s WandaVision, all include these discussion points throughout the course of their shows. Many of the characters showcased have inner conflicts related to these subjects, and are written in a way that makes viewers understand them on a personal level.
Clarke Griffin, one of the protagonists of The 100, battles self-worth in a way that really makes us see the person beneath all the armour. She would go to many lengths to protect her people, even by dooming the entirety of another population. After having been branded the title of “Commander of Death,” she consistently wonders if she is a “good” person or a “bad” one, even though it is because of her actions that everyone she loves is alive. One idea that the show often touches on is that maybe there are no bad guys. Nobody is born a bad person, but everyone has done things we regret. That by no means makes somebody a bad person, but even someone who’s inherently good has done bad deeds. Whether it’s lying to a friend or not talking to their parents more before they died, everyone has experiences that they wish they could take back. However, this does not make them terrible people, or less worthy of love. Clarke battles this throughout the show’s seven seasons after having to constantly sacrifice things to survive and save the ones that she loves.
A show that explores self-love through the eyes of a character is CW’s The Vampire Diaries. A character that has battles of whether he’s worthy of love is Damon Salvatore, who’s one-half of the Salvatore brothers. He says that he wants to be known as the “bad brother” so he isn’t expected to be good. Being a good person can be hard sometimes; it gets exhausting. Everyone has times where they want to be selfish. Because of this, Damon wonders if he’s worthy of love. He knows he’s selfish, but he would still do anything for the love of his life. Through Damon we understand that everybody is worthy of love, especially someone who’s ready to give up everything to save others. Just because someone thinks they’re a bad person does not mean they’re not worthy of love. In fact, if someone is aware that they’re not “good,” that realization usually indicates a goodness within. Nobody is born a bad person, everyone has light and dark inside of them.
In Marvel’s 2021 show WandaVision, grief and its five stages is one of the main themes. Wanda Maximoff battles grief after losing her beloved Vision in Avengers: Infinity War. Her life in WandaVision is a whirlwind of grief, and leads to her accepting her loss and becoming very powerful. Discussing topics like this sheds the light on very real emotions that people feel when they lose a loved one. Marvel has released many limited series shows in 2021, and they all talk about important topics. With the large platform that Marvel has, these stories can go a long way toward educating people about the subjects they need to understand in order to accept others who are dealing with tough times.
Having shows that reach a large audience discuss these topics is an improvement upon society because it brings light to important issues. It educates the people that consume said content and creates material for discussion. Only with discussion can a society become more empathetic, educated and kind. These kinds of mainstream conversations are an important step to a world that is more accepting, and therefore loving.
What TV shows have had a positive influence on you? Let us know in the comments below or on our community site so we can all binge watch some quality content!
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