National Alliance on Mental Illness
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STIGMABUSTERS ALERT: March 2004
Cracking Up: One of the Worst
On Tuesday, March 9, the FOX TV network premiered a new situation comedy: "Cracking Up," in which a wealthy dysfunctional family invites a psychology graduate student to live in their Beverly Hills mansion to treat their young son as part of his work toward his degree.
What the therapist in training discovers is that the son is fine; it's the rest of the family that gets to him. The mother has bipolar disorder exacerbated by alcoholism. The father is a business executive and latent sociopath. The oldest son exhibits obsessive-compulsive symptoms. Their Latino maid is an offensively stereotyped immigrant who wants to flee the "crazy" household, but can't because the family has hidden her immigration papers. The blonde cheerleader daughter? Well, never mind. You can imagine.
It's a lot like "The Addams Family" or "The Munsters" from the 1960s, except that the stereotypes and butts of jokes involve mental illnesses and substance abuse.
The premiere episode ranks as one of the worst examples of stigma in television history.
The second episode on Wednesday, March 10 was tamer and less directly offensive.
The third episode will air in what will be the show's regular slot on Monday, March 15 at 8:30 PM EST (Check local listings).
Please Take Action at Two Levels
Key Message Points
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With more than 220,000 members and 1200 state and local affiliates, NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with severe mental illnesses.
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