In the seventh episode of the first season of Dead Like Me, George befriends someone who can see gravelings, and then everything gets worse, and then everything gets better. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Dead Like Me.
LET’S DO THIS.
- Okay, let’s start out with some of the more obvious stuff. Man, this episode did not handle mental illness very well. I don’t often talk about ableist slurs used in episodes because… jesus, I’d have nothing else to talk about ever because they are everywhere all of the time across the universe. And I have a complicated intellectual relationship with that brand of slur as it is, but this is neither the time or place to have that discussion. I’m more concerned that this episode puts all of humanity into this gross dichotomous existence: the sane and the not sane, and the not sane are a different brand of people who are immediately un-dateable because of it. Um, what? I am definitely not sane by any standards, and I’m pretty sure my boyfriend enjoys dating me. And to me, this sort of treatment is far more degraded than the use of the slurs. People with schizophrenia date, they are more than their mental illness, and treating them as if they’re freaks of nature helps no one. And it certainly doesn’t help get rid of the stigma surrounding mental illness either!
- It’s always been a sort of unspoken rule around this place that we should all respect a person’s breaking point or point of no return when it comes to consuming media. And you know, I’d totally understand if all the grating ableism in the story and language of “Reaper Madness” was too much for anyone. So if someone says that they don’t want to see past this episode, let’s not do that thing fandom does too often where they’re all BUT YOU HAVE TO WATCH MORE because no they don’t.
- And for the record, this episode made me uncomfortable (even more so since I was on video watching it), but I found a lot in it that I did like, most of it to do with the continued subtle character growth.
- Two episodes without Roxy??? She wasn’t riding piggyback with Betty, so where’d she go?
- Anyway, I will say that I was pleased that this episode didn’t try to come up with some clever explanation as to why Ronnie was able to see the gravelings. He just could. And it’s interesting to see how this reflects on Rube, too. I’m intrigued that Daisy seemed to know much more about Rube than I expected, especially since she was able to tell George that Rube had a very black-and-white view on knowledge. Ronnie didn’t fit Rube’s perception of the world. Rube was wrong. Not only that, but he maintains a hardline stance that the reapers are not to interfere or intercede in the lives of the living. But didn’t we see him do just that in the previous episode when he tried to gently nudge Joy in the right direction? It’s fascinating to me that the writers are putting these moments into the story because it shows us that Rube can be flawed.
- George goes through “Reaper Madness” with two separate people giving her attention in an almost reverential way: Ronnie and Fiona. Like the ending of “My Room,” this is something George has never experienced. She lived a life of cynical apathy and never sought to be someone that people looked up to, and now it’s happening. SHE’S GROWING AS A PERSON. That’s so awesome to me! Granted, this show always twists the expectation of how that storyline plays out. This is not a puppies-and-rainbows scenario. I mean, Ronnie’s admiration of George ends with him falling off a balcony and landing on a newly-married couple, killing them. Still, she makes a somewhat emotional connection with two separate people in a matter of days. This is progress.
- As ridiculous as this show can be sometimes (the water cooler death in “My Room” is just… what), it’s really refreshing that the Reggie/Joy storyline is extremely down to earth and subtle for the most part. Given that Reggie is not bursting with a desire to talk about her feelings, it’s a big deal to me that she is trying to do something to move forward. That doesn’t excuse her extremely rude response to her mother trying to do something to help her, however. But I’d say that Reggie making any sort of attempt to bring joy to her life is better than nothing. I don’t know if she’ll stick with drumming, but at least it’s something, you know?
- It’s interesting that Clancy can show such emotional depth and acceptance for his daughter, but the man barely seems to try with his wife. I know his mind is elsewhere, and I suspect he’s not entirely faithful, but it’s not helping Joy that her husband acts so brash with her. Granted, he does express a brief moment of physical affection, but is that enough to repair their relationship? Most likely not.
- George, however, is the real key behind Joy and Reggie’s continued healing process. Her mystery notes to Reggie and that beautifully planted “I love you” message are just so goddamn sweet, I swear. See? George can care about people.
- Okay, can Roxy come back in the next episode? Thanks.
The video commission for this episode is now archived on MarkDoesStuff.com for just $0.99!
Mark Links Stuff
– I have been nominated for a Hugo in the Fan Writer category! If you’d like more information or to direct friends/family to vote for me, I have a very informational post about what I do that you can pass along and link folks to!
– I have announced what the next books I am reading on Mark Reads will be, as well as updated y’all on the events, cons, tour dates, GOING TO EUROPE OH MY GOD, and general shenaniganry going on in my life. I have a similar post up on Mark Watches, detailing the next two shows I’m doing as well as the return of Double Features, and I finally explain what happened with my Vimeo account. Check these posts out!
– Mark Reads Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is now published and available for purchase! It’s available in ebook AND physical book format, and you can also get a discount for buying the ENTIRE SET of digital books: $25 for 7 BOOKS!!!
– Video commissions are open, and you can commission a Mark Reads/Watches video for just $25!