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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Conveying political and social issues in shows is important

Image by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay
Film and television have a cultural impact on society.

The United States faces political and social challenges, many of which are portrayed in films and television. I think that “Grey’s Anatomyis a great example of a show that incorporates real life issues into its storyline by raising awareness and making their audience reflect on its impact.

Grey’s Anatomy is a show that focuses on medicine, however, it explores social and political topics as well.

During the latest season of “Grey’s Anatomy,they addressed the overturning of Roe v. Wade, showing scenarios where women were denied reproductive healthcare.

Associate Professor of Film and Television Mahmoud Salimi said when you produce art, your perspective is there no matter your voice, as it tells the story. 

“Artists are humans and they live in a society that’s affected by social and political streams, and challenges and issues. So, to reflect those in the films is part of art and artists,” Salimi said. “Otherwise, all the stories presented will be the same; with no angle, with no perspective.”

Associate Professor and Film and Television Program Director, John Fitch III, had a different view on the relationship between the storyline and theme. Fitch said the storyline is more important than the message, but there are successful movies that are more politically and ideologically inclined.

“Most of them succeed because of the story that they’re telling rather than the ideology behind it,” Fitch said.

According to Fitch, conveying political and social issues is important, and shows like “Grey’s Anatomy provide opportunity for discussions and can advocate for change. Fitch also said talking about political and social issues in film unfortunately have the potential to lead to violence and exclusion, ultimately dividing people.

“I think because we are political beings, and we as humans are constantly wrestling with issues of how we should live and how we should treat each other and how we should navigate this thing called life,” Fitch said.

In the article, “Abortion on TV: Love Is Blind, Grey’s Anatomy Among Shows With Abortion Plotlines,” Research Analyst Steph Herold, who studies the portrayal of abortion on TV and film, talks about how it can help people make sense of the world. 

Herold says there is a lot of misinformation on abortion nowadays, and that TV and film can help address and challenge abortion’s misconceptions, which gives audiences a glimpse into the subject. 

In the “Grey’s Anatomy episodes “When I Get to the Border,” “Training Day,” “Pick Yourself Up” and “Happily Ever After?” they showcased the impact of Roe v. Wade being overturned, raising awareness and opening the opportunity to discuss abortions.

With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, a lot of women around the U.S. were in a critical state, with bans prohibiting them from ending their pregnancy, even if they had a medical condition that required it.

Herold said that after “Grey’s Anatomy” addressed abortion on the show, audiences were more knowledgeable on the subject. However, the show did not seem to change the audience’s perspective on either supporting abortions or not, according to Herold. 

“I think that it’s really important for popular culture to include these discussions, these timely discussions of things that are happening in our real society,” Fitch said. 

Fitch said controversial topics have been shown on television for many years, and that it is unavoidable because it forms part of the general conversation that we as a society are all having. 

“I think it’s completely natural for those kinds of things to show up in entertainment, I think it’s good, I think it’s healthy,” Fitch said.

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