The Uphill Slide

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The Soap Opera Life

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I recommended Blackstone to my friend who’s interested in native life. The cast is of native heritage. The setting is a reserve in Canada. The plot strikes on it all. Sexual abuse, spousal abuse, incest, family, addictions, poverty, mental illness, foster care, fraud, greed, abuse of power, violence, murder, damaging the environment, strength, love, faith and on and on. I watched it a couple of years ago. All but the last season tying up the loose ends. I binged it on Netflix from the beginning until the end. I was struck this watching by the soap opera feeling of it and disturbed by the out-of-sync subtitles.

I warned my friend of the nudity and sex acts in a strip club. I warned her about the profanity. Her husband hates listening to that on the screen. He heard too much at work. Me too. At work and home. Guilty of it myself. For effect. But not in public around strangers. It bothers me when it’s not authentic and heart-felt. It often fits the screen story though. It has impact and is part of the telling.

Blackstone is a melodramatic soap opera. It has so much to say in such a short time. It’s necessary. To make you empathize with a daughter’s suicide. With the pain of addiction. With disgust and hate for a corrupt leader. Life is the soap opera that drags out for years with often unsatisfying endings. No saviors. No just desserts for the evil. But television gives us the satisfying endings that offer hope.

Spoiler:  Leona, the strong conscience goes on. Gail, the alcoholic with liver damage who sees her daughter’s ghost berating her forgives herself and finds a creative outlet. The strong women characters survive. Andy, the #1 bad guy, contracts AIDS from all his cheating and fucking. And he dies because he waited too long for treatment. That was the soap opera ending for a selfish life. But don’t completely blame his character. He grew up on that reserve too with his own corrupt father. And don’t confuse his character with the actor, Eric Schweig. Read a little about him.

The End

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