The Other L&O:SVU Issue

October 24, 2011

Parenting

In my previous post, I spoke of one reason why L&O:SVU may have lost me as a viewer.   Here’s another.

!!SPOILER ALERT!!

Last week’s episode dealt with a pretty heavy subject, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  The infant who died in the episode did so through no fault of her parents, regardless of what issues they may have had, or that the drama implied that they had.

The mother brings the baby into bed to co-sleep the night that it dies.  She explains later how she placed the infant on its back, and was careful to make sure no blankets or pillows were near, and that neither she nor her (passed-out-drunk) boyfriend rolled over on the child.  Yet, the baby still stopped breathing for no known reason (confirmed by the M.E.).

So, why put the co-sleeping in?  The mother did commit a cardinal no-no by allowing the baby to co-sleep in a bed with an inebriated adult — but to have that issue drive the moral of the story, the plot would had to have had the baby die from suffocation or trauma, not SIDS.

Next, why make this couple so dysfunctional?  I think the story would have been served as well, if not better, by a “squeaky-clean” couple who are driven over an emotional cliff when their baby unexpectedly dies of SIDS while co-sleeping.

And, why not have the baby die while in a crib?  SIDS happens there, too (as it did to my grandmother’s first child).

While the episode didn’t come out and blame the SIDS on the co-sleeping, some viewers may now be left with an association between drunkenness, domestic violence, co-sleeping, and SIDS.  I don’t think the narrative needed to make those associations to be dramatic.  And unfortunately, co-sleeping doesn’t need any more negative associations.   It already gets a bad rap.

I think it’s time I give SVU a rest.  It’s not really just this episode.  I’ve found that since G was born, I have MUCH less of a desire to see procedurals about rape, abduction, and abuse.  I wonder now why I ever liked the show to begin with, to be honest.  I think it was that I liked the characters – the detectives.  Now that those characters have changed, there’s nothing left to invest in.

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