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Swithin

Call the Midwife: Gay Theme

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Did anyone watch tonight's episode of Call the Midwife? I don't want to give anything away, but there is a very powerful gay thread as one of the themes.

 

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I recorded a repeat on your recommendation and you're right; it was very powerful. It seemed as though there was an attempt to arrive at an uplifting ending, though, which reenforced his previously stated idea that he could only be really happy in his dreams. His rededication to his family was admirable, but it meant both denying something essential about his nature and actually trying to expunge it through the drug therapy. (Would that have been the "chemical castration" you mentioned in connection with "The Imitation Game"?) There were some very modern viewpoints represented in this period setting, but it was an effective way to counterbalance the fear-based reactions of the time. I haven't watched the series, but now I'll look for it.

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"Call the Midwife" is a great show, I've been watching it since its first season. Yes, even though the series is steeped in realism, most of the themes/cases do end on a note of hope, as I guess befits a program about childbirth. The period of the series -- the 1950s -- is the same period in which Alan Turing, whose story is told in The Imitation Game, was forced to undergo chemical castration -- basically, I think, medications which include estrogen. I think that was one option for convicted gay men during that period, the other being imprisonment. The scene at the end -- the applause for the wife -- was indeed uplifting, though perhaps a touch unrealistic to see even the hardest-hearted person of all rise and clap.

 

The nurses, nuns (of the Anglican variety), and doctor on "Call the Midwife" are compassionate professionals who work toward uplifting endings. I remember in one episode in the first season, there was a healthy, happily married pregnant woman who seemed depressed. As she went into labor, the midwife said she was going to have a beautiful, healthy baby, what was she so upset about? The woman, in labor, screamed: "I'm afraid my baby is going to be black!"  It was.  That would have been a problem in that place at that time, if not in any place at any time. When the baby (which was indeed black) was born, the loving (white) husband pretended not to notice. Narrator Vanessa Regrave's voice told us that he was a loving father, and proudly took the baby everywhere, never once alluding to the fact that something was just a little unusual.

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