I don’t usually watch TV shows right when they air. It’s just not normally possible with the way I run my schedule. That means I am able to fast-forward through commercials, so I am not totally in the loop with the latest as-seen-on-TV products or what’s coming up on network TV. But, on Sunday night I watched the live broadcast of the Academy Awards, which meant I saw the commercial for the upcoming TV show Resurrection about…oh, 917 times. That’s 917 times too many.
If you haven’t seen one of the previews for the show, the basic premise I gathered from repeated forced watchings is this: a bunch of people who died are suddenly alive again, un-aged since their deaths. The commercial that plays over and over (and over) features a young boy being returned to his parents over thirty years after he died. The parents are much older and are like, “Our son died thirty-two years ago,” and then BAM there’s their little boy, looking exactly the way he did on the day he died.
(You can watch a long preview on the ABC website, but I am linking with the disclaimer that it literally makes me nauseated every single time I see it.)
The first time I saw the commercial for the show, I looked at Mike and said, “Was that…did that just happen?” The concept of death as entertainment is nothing new. I watch medical and courtroom dramas while Mike watches true-crime shows. People (adults and kids) die in every episode, but these shows are rarely as emotionally manipulative as Resurrection appears to be in a 30 second commercial.
I have to think that anyone who’s grieving will have problems with Resurrection. We all wish we’d had a few more minutes, we all whisper bargains and pleas that our loved ones will return. It’s the not-so-secret fantasy of every grieving parent that our children will somehow come back. In fact, in one of my bereaved parents groups it was common to hear the wish that our children were kidnapped instead of dead, because then we could hold out hope that they would return. Death meant there was no hope, and this TV show is preying on that.
I can appreciate that this is a clever, high-concept idea that hopefully explores some interesting territory, but that doesn’t make it easier for me to stomach. This commercial really hits me the wrong way, but it just seems so insensitive to milk the grieving parents angle. It touches on the biggest fear of many, and the living nightmare of several.
Every night before bed I plead with Madeline to come back to me, because the day I stop asking her to return is the day she dies again. Will the TV show ever discuss the grieving these people had to live with every second of the day? Will it shine a light on the emotional torture of being forced to continue moving forward with your life when one of your reasons for living is gone? I’ll never know, because I’m not going to watch.