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David T. Cole

Black Box

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I read a warning that said the pilot was everything introduced at lightning speed & it settles. I'm not sure I believe that, but I'll probably try again & see. The music soundtrack of her hyper sexualized state annoyed me the most. Could it be more overt? We get it she hears music & wants risky sex. I want this to be better because the brain fascinates me & I've spent more time than I care to admit researching mood & personality disorders after having been involved with the spawn of satan.

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Even though ABC stopped promoting this as a Bryan Singer production (due to his current scandal), it reminded me of his other show - House.
The main character is considered a magical genius, resulting in everyone excusing their horrible, reckless behavior.
I don't think I'll be getting on the crazy train again...

Will Catherine go off her meds every episode, resulting in delirious twirling with arms outstretched?
Each time her boyfriend has enjoyable sex with her, will he ask, "Are you off your meds?"

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I watched the first half of this crapfest and had to turn it off.  I think Catherine Black is the most annoying character in the history of television.

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I'm trying to be positive this year, so:

Thanks for the reviews.

Some people are more likely to go off their meds when they feel a manic phase coming.  (Not from direct experience, but I've heard that.)

At least they didn't have the cycles happen in a period of minutes or seconds, as is sometimes portrayed--so yes, it could have been worse.

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I turned this off after the second time time this brilliant neurosurgeon dumped her meds. I almost turned it off after Dr. Black's loving boyfriend kicked her out of his SUV after begging her to tell him everything.  (Way to supportive there.) It doesn't sound like I missed anything.

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I am torn.  I like the main character; actually I really like the main character. her shrink and her niece/daughter.  Everything else is trite and predictable.  Not sure about this one.   Honestly I would have liked it better if the show was more about the woman's mental illness and less a soap opera about her family and another House Hybrid.  May give it another episode but I don't think I will stick with it for long.  Pity.  I really like the main character.

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The behavior of the main character was not anything like an unmedicated bipolar person.  Between this show and Perception and that mess with Christian Slater, there is a message being sent that it somehow diminishes a person to take medication for a chemical imbalance.  Knowing how very very painful it is to be untreated for a bipolar disorder, I have to protest any show that underscores the idea that people lose something of themselves when they get help for a serious and chronic illness.  It's true: medication does change a person's emotional makeup.  Some things are lost in this change.  What is gained in its place is peace, the ability to trust, the ability to make genuine connections with others, the ability to regulate one's emotional intensity, the ability to distinguish what is real from what is simply felt, the ability to forgive oneself and others....  I'm wasting my breath.  It takes up to six weeks to build up the medication in the system, and something less than six weeks for it to wear off.  Just in case anybody was keeping track of reality.  Which the writers obviously are not.  They wouldn't dare have a main character do something as self-destructive as smoke -- horrors!  What a bad example to set! -- but they're encouraging people who need help to turn it down and refuse their meds.

 

Whoever that playboy doctor is, he's such a bad actor that Mr Washables and I laughed every time he spoke.

Edited by FineWashables
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Knowing how very very painful it is to be untreated for a bipolar disorder, I have to protest any show that underscores the idea that people lose something of themselves when they get help for a serious and chronic illness. It's true: medication does change a person's emotional makeup. Some things are lost in this change. What is gained in its place is peace, the ability to trust, the ability to make genuine connections with others, the ability to regulate one's emotional intensity, the ability to distinguish the ability to forgive oneself and others.... I'm wasting my breath.

Thanks for sharing your insights! I've never known anyone with BPD, but I'm very close to someone with a panic disorder, and you are exactly right about the meds. They made my person feel a bit "off", especially at first, but it was much better than the alternative!

A question for you (or others): it seemed to me they focused almost entirely on her manic episodes, and skimmed over the depression half. Did you get that sense as well?

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Yes, I did.  My guess is because TV manic makes for thrilling sex in red dresses, while TV depressive makes for unwashed hair in a bathrobe.  We've all experienced something akin to manic when we're hyperexcited about something -- witness Bridezillas, for example -- and we've all experienced depression.  The difference is that those emotions are a direct result of some tangible event, victory or loss, whereas with BPD the emotions are caused by random impulses from brain chemistry rather than something "real."  There are probably tens of thousands of possible combinations of medications that can be tried, maybe more, and if a person hangs in there and gets a doctor who's an expert on brain chemistry (neuropsychopharmacologist is a fun word!) then there's something out there that will pretty much clear up the problem -- for most people, anyway --  without making the patient feel like they've been drugged.  What people need to know is this: if your meds make you feel dragged out or like you're not yourself, then you need to try a new med.  Keep trying until they get it right for you.  Don't settle for whatever sample a rep dropped off with your GP that week.  

Edited by FineWashables
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I tried with this show, but I can't. I can watch almost anything but this show is unbearable.

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It's worth watcIing this episode just to see the last scene.  It's very bizarre and funny.  Dr. Black gets a phone call from her brother of her daughter playing at her piano recital.  What Dr. Black does in response to this is priceless. You just know the editors of this show are having a blast.

 

 If anyone watches, please post. I'd like to discuss.  

 

I discovered that there is someone on the show that I dislike more than Dr. Black and it is the surgeon she had a fling with.  He is so offensive.  Poor casting, IMO.

 

I did like this episode better than the first one.  And I don't think she's going to be going off her meds that often. 

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I actually watched this because I couldn't believe it would really be as bad as the promos made it seem.  BUT NO. It was even worse.  So bad so so so bad.  And what the hell is going on with Kelly Reilly's weird speaking affect?  Is that simply the problem that she can't do American accents without contorting her mouth and looking like she's got a piece of lemon stuck in her cheek or something?

Edited by Maurina

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I watch (I'm embarrassed to say).  It's my favorite comedy hour on Thursday nights!  The show is so offensive in so many ways - the completely wrong way it portrays someone with Bi-Polar disorder (symptoms do not return if a person skips one day of meds), the actor who plays the brain surgeon (he is pure comedy with his terrible acting - soap opera star), the obvious stereotype of Dr. Black being Esme's real mother, the Patient-of-the Weeks diagnoses - surprise!  brain tumors!,  etc etc blah blah blah.  

 

Last night was only slightly offensive than the first episode - but Soap Opera Doctor was his usual hilarious self.  

 

The ending with Esme's piano recital and Dr. Black stepping out of herself to dance to the music was well done.  As shown, she was imagining her dance, but the camera faded into her still sitting on the bench.  About the only well-done scene in the show.

 

Not sure how long I'll stick with this debacle - probably until something better replaces it.  I'm surprised the show has lasted 2 episodes.

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Is that simply the problem that she can't do American accents without contorting her mouth and looking like she's got a piece of lemon stuck in her cheek or something?

 

I think the actress, poor thing, is trying her best -- hard to enunciate when the script is causing you to vomit in your mouth every few minutes.

 

Things that would improve this show:

1) If she must dance, let her be mistress of the River Dance.

2) If she must be hyper- sexual, let her kink be hitting on old dudes  - guys with hair in their ears and bad teeth and fingerless mittens, all freaked out she's flashing her nips at them ("Please stop, lady -- I just wanted a few bucks for a bottle of Ripple!")

3) Let this all be in Vanessa Redgrave's mind -- while starring in the real series "Black Box Theatre" -- filled with Vanessa's manic dreams about Ms. Black, an upstart Eve Harrington type out to steal her thunder in an all female community theatre production of "Inherit The Wind."

4) If there must be a cocksman doctor, let *him* be the midget.

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I admit I had high hopes for this show, hoping it would show BPD in a more real light, that the writers actually consulted a psychiatrist for input....but no, it was typical Hollywood fanfare.  Even those with rapid cycling BPD cannot just decide to miss their meds for a little manic high and, low and behold, there it is minutes later.  But then, she's finished being manic, so back on the meds and minutes later she is back to the middle.  Notice that no one at the hospital notices her erratic behavior (actually, it was more like she kept it under control until she could sneak into that stairwell and do her naked dance), she is able to see her patients and prescribe meds in between bouts of crazy, probably unprotected sex with her co-worker.  This is not entertaining, educational or realistic in any way.  

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My husband and I are watching it. I don't know why - much of it is indeed cringe-worthy. The situation with Esme is one of the oldest soap opera tricks in the book, so that's a big disappointment. I actually like the relationship she has with her brother. He seems like a good guy but that makes me wonder why he's married to such a shrew, such an unlikable character. 

 

I think Dr. Black's boyfriend is also a terrible, terrible actor. He delivers his lines in a monotone and his facial expression never changes. They seem to have absolutely no connection, no spark - two strangers who just happen to be in bed together. 

 

There really is little to compliment. I feel a little embarrassed to be watching it. I'm sure it won't last long.

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And demeaning not only to those who suffer from BPD, but to the brave and compassionate people who choose to love them and learn to live with them.

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Mmmm.  Psilocybin and chocolate, my favorite.  Now, see if I drank that just before watching Revolution, it might just have made sense. 

 

I rather liked the discussion, however cut short, about Jerusalem Syndrome and the conflict between science and religious epiphany.  They should have gone farther into that instead of bringing out an outright cure for Jacob by the end of the episode.  Good luck billing him for your services.

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I'd never heard of Jerusalem Syndrome & found that topic interesting until Dr. Jazz Music cured it away.

If I cared enough to bet, I'd bet my two cents on quirky, brain-scan girl having some form of agoraphobia that allows her to function only in the Cube & that little hideaway room is her actual living quarters. How will Dr. Jazz Music cure her?

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So let me get this straight.  The journalist takes a round to the head in East BF Egypt, sorry, Syria, is evacuated by land, sea, and air to Germany and eventually to The Cube, and it is only there that the round becomes so dangerous that they have to evacuate the entire hospital, shut down every medical device, and make the doctors step back to the 16th Century in order to be successful?  Only if it was truly a setup to put Dr. God in a sympathetic light so that Catherine can consider NOT being a boring housewife.  And can Will have his coat back now, please?  Cleaned?

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I think the previews from three weeks ago waaaay over hyped this episode. I remember thinking it was going to be a little more interesting then what it was. I ended the whole thing wondering wtf.

And although I don't really like any of the three in this stupid love triangle thing, I think she should be with Bic (I think of razors when I say his name). Idk why but her actual fiancée just gives me weird vibes for some reason. The MUA was awesome though.

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The exploding round in the head case was inferior to the makeup artist/synesthesia case, but it sucked time away from the interesting case. Grey's Anatomy did the bomb in the operating room a few years ago. Yawn. This seemed underwhelming. I prefer the odd brain disorders & mysterious cases to typical OTT tv drama.

I do agree that boyfriend Will seems a little hinky & I'm not sure why. I think he's pretty & he cooks which should make him super attractive to me, but either the actor is playing him off or that's how I'm reading it. Bickman, although not as good-looking to me, is becoming more interesting. Even though it's obvious his ego barely fits through a door, it still seems like there could be things to explore about him.

I thought the vision of Black as a housewife was funny. I can imagine that sounding like a living torture to her. I'm not sure I understand the point of skeevy hostess & her sitting around in her undies. Is it just to taunt Will or is she hoping he'll give in? Didn't they imply she's going to be stalkerish?

Oh who knows. This series got a 13 episode order but it's ratings are falling so the above questions will probably never be answered. They cut back on the jazz music dance of crazy this time. I'd put up with that if they'd give us more interesting cases & less boring fiancée interaction.

Edited by ramble

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I can't stand Bryan Singer so I wasn't expecting anything from this show but it was watchable for summer with a strong cast. At this point my favourite character is Bickman--he's well cast. It's dumb fun in the way Nip/Tuck was and would benefit greatly from being on cable. 

 

It's neat seeing Breaking Bad's Lydia in this frumpy mom role.

Edited by anonymiss

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I think the previews from three weeks ago waaaay over hyped this episode. I remember thinking it was going to be a little more interesting then what it was. I ended the whole thing wondering wtf.

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