Sunday, March 4, 2012

Review: Out with PFLAG, Part I

First thing: in this review of Out With Dad episode 2.07 I’m going to spoil the entire plot of the episode, so if you haven’t watched it, go to here, watch it, and come back and read my review.  I think you will find it worth your time.

To an extent, Out with PFLAG was what I was expecting it would be.  By this, I mean I am somewhat familiar with the type of support group meeting depicted in this episode (I took some counseling classes years ago.) and I knew there would be stories based on real experiences of viewers of Out With Dad.  I also figured out the “girl from the washroom” would be at the meeting.

Yet despite this episode meeting certain expectations, I think it was one of the most heart-wrenching episodes of the series.  The viewer-submitted stories that were dramatized were the types of situations that are far too typical for people who are homosexual.  There are far too many barriers in our western society for people who are “different” and these stories also remind us that in other societies things are worse.  Much worse.  I applaud the people who submitted stories to writer/director Jason Leaver for inclusion in this episode.  Sharing such life events can be wonderfully informative and helpful to others, and it also takes a lot of courage to speak up about such events, especially when they are not about the happiest times in your life.

Seeing and hearing from Claire was an excellent development.  Her story puts her character in an interesting position of being the middle between Rose (supportive parent) and Vanessa (non-supportive parent).  I am very interested as to where Claire’s character will go in the future.  I’m sure there are fans that are screaming for her and Rose to develop a romantic relationship.  Right now, I think a friend going through the same thing she is would be nice.

And about Morgan, the final speaker before the end of part I.  I don’t know if I can articulate my feelings. I know this is a fictional account, but I also know there are so many abused kids in the real world, and sexuality is one if the things kids get assaulted for.  I’m sad but I’m also angry.  I’m very angry that people can do such evil and that other people, by their own stupid words and deeds, encourage abusive behavior towards people who are “different”.

Kate Conway did an excellent job in her portrayal of Rose in this episode.  And she did it with mainly body language, as Rose doesn’t have many lines this time.  The mannerisms of Rose really show how shy and unsure of herself Rose can be.  It’s easy to see what she’s thinking as she reacts to the other members of the group telling their stories at the meeting.

Will Conlon also did a top job with just body language.  I can imagine Nathan wondering if bringing Rose to this meeting was a good idea.  It’s certainly good for Rose to see that there are other people who have gone through or are going through similar situations as hers.  However, some parts of the stories are scary, especially to a shy kid who has just discovered her sexuality.  But the negative stories should also remind Rose of one thing: she’s not going to have trouble with her parent not accepting her, even if she encounters other people who do not accept her.

The biggest strength of this episode, as with the series, is the writing.  Jason Leaver tells a tale that makes the viewer care about the characters.  And, like always, I end up thinking a lot about the circumstances in the episode.  It’s what I like the most about this series: it makes me THINK!

 And hey, there’s about a month to go until the next episode.  Which gives me some time to think.  Maybe I’ll finish my other Out With Dad-related posts I’ve been working out.

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