ARMY WIVES: Aristotle Would Have Watched TV

Those who are looking at this blog for only reference to art house films, and heavy documentaries will be disappointed. Television is what is closest to the average person. The average person is where morality and ethics derive.

I have been tracking the development of ARMY WIVES since its first episode. Inherent in its story line related to war, knew it would of necessity deal with ethical themes. ARMY WIVES is an ensemble cast. It is the story of four women, and a man who are spouses of active duty army personnel. They are raising their families on an army base in the USA. They are of different socioeconomic backgrounds and they become friends. Last night’s episode deals with loss, grief and redemption on the domestic front.

Season 4, Episode 7, May 23, 2010 10 PM PDT Lifetime:
In this episode in the ‘A’ story line a pregnancy is lost by a couple who dearly wanted another child. The husband, who has seen active duty, has the strength to explore his own grief and feelings of inadequacy to support his and his wife’s pain. The second army wife, the closest friend of the woman who has lost her pregnancy, is struggling with issues around her husband’s absence in family life. He is often altered in his character, related to his secret missions. She is choosing between divorce and living through it and moves to a compromise -- an acceptable action for her moral tension. The third army wife, a nurse cum paramedic, struggles to reconcile the loss of her son to a reenlistment and fears that he will not finish college, ( loss of a dream for her progeny), and may have worsened post traumatic stress disorder or die in combat. The fourth Army wife, who has lost her eldest daughter to a bombing on domestic soil some episodes ago, now sends her daughter off to college. She chooses to regain something she lost, when she became an army wife, her own education. She dropped out of Harvard Law School and now wants to return to study law at the university near the army base where she lives.

Information flow and changes in technology, medicine, and ecology shift at warp speed. It is important to see how artist and media synthesize and influence morality in this shifting milieu. In particular, the genre melodrama is closest to the hearts of the majority of the people. In many ways, television is the equivalent to the Greek Poetics of Aristotle - yes the Greek plays. At the end of the day, many look at television and deal with aspects of their own lives that would be too painful to access without the distance of the screen. This is one of the ways that film and television work. It is also the reason that bioethicist and clinical medical ethicist especially need to understand how film and television communicate.

Season 4, Episode 7, May 23, 2010 10 PM PDT Lifetime

(For more on Film/Bioethics on this site see "Lighten Up" - slides 29 - 36, and in the reference slides at the end for Aristotle, On Man in the Universe, Walter J. Black. New York, 1943.)



love the blog. Check out the film D TOUR. You can find it on iTunes. It is a documentary about a rock band drummer, born with one kidney, who needed two kidney transplants-- his search for a living donor. It is a great film for spreading the word about organ donation and transplant awareness and the hope of new life through sharing your life with another person.

September Williams, MD said...

Thank you for the D TOUR film reference. I haven't seen it as yet. This is definitely in keeping with my own documentary work extracting from those who know - the universality of their own stories - so in film the premise - carries the story - or what a film means. As you have outlined it the story here is "human spirit triumphs over natural adversity with the help of a strong community." The Plot is about what you see on screen, in this case I'm guessing the journey to find a live kidney donor. I'll have a look at try to review it. I'm guessing TX (transplant) bioethics that you could explain briefly to me why the technology of living donor versus cadaver donor is needed and adds to the drama of this story.

Dr John said...

Love the idea for the blog, September: ethics and TV need to meet!

September Williams, MD said...

Thanks John - you should know -- I'm sure you have done as much good helping people to eat well - through your Chef MD program than much of what we have done in clinics and ethics consultations!
I'm hoping reviewing materials in real time in film and television
provides support to good programing in theaters and broadcasts. Often the window of opportunity for a film like LA MISSION reviewed here, is closed after the first weekend of screening if people don't know what it is about.

Fortunately the through the California Film Institute there are
opportunities to see material in preview and get the word out early on films. I arguablly note that the MVFF has one of the best pogrammers in the field. Television is different -- you just gotta watch or have a herd of folks who flag material for you -- I do both.