Monday, November 22, 2010

The Solis' and Immigration


It's no secret that I am one of Desperate Housewives biggest fans. Perhaps part of the reason that I love the ladies of Wisteria Lane and their families so much is because they live very different lives than the ones I have seen my neighbors live, it is far from the reality I know. And perhaps this is the point of television shows, as with movies, to transport the audience to an imagined place, to entertain. More importantly I feel that media can be used as a teaching tool, for awareness and tolerance, instead as I've seen in many different places, the media is used as a way to socialize individuals in a very particular way.

I have deviated from the point of this blog which is to discuss the treatment of immigration and family in season seven episode 8 of Desperate Housewives titled "Sorry Grateful." Here Gabrielle and Carols have invited Juanita's biological family over, Hector and Carmen Sanchez for Thanksgiving dinner so that they can have their first Thanksgiving with their biological daughter, Grace (the two girls were switched at birth). In keeping with stereotypical male female gender dynamics Carlos forces Gabby to go out and get the dessert, as that "was the only thing he asked her to do." Being tipsy and unable to drive she asks Hector to drive. Not knowing that their family was "illegal" she asks him to drive on the shoulder so that they can make it to the bakery before it closes. As a result, they get pulled over and Hector gets deported back to Mexico. Upon the news Carmen runs home and packs up the belongings she can carry so that she can hide as she fears that immigration will come looking for her too.

In this episode the screen-play writers have portrayed immigration as something that can happen at any moment and displaces families. In this they are writing facts, but they could have handled this real life situation with more care than simply an opportunity for the Solis family to care for their biological daughter without Hector and Carmen to tell them how to treat her. This could be an opportunity to educate the public on how laws displace families who have dreams not criminals. Which is how Hector and Carmen were made to feel. I feel that the media has serious flaws that need to be addressed, as to how to go about it I am at a loss. There is no way to portray any individual without thinking of their respective stereotypes.

I included a picture of the scene in question but I also added link from the official ABC website link so you can all watch the episode yourself to analyze or enjoy at your leisure.

1 comment:

  1. I agree completely with this post in terms of the problematic portrayal of immigration, but I noticed something about this episode that may have been overlooked that touches on a completely different subject. You mentioned the "stereotypical male female gender dynamics Carlos forces Gabby to go out and get the dessert, as that "was the only thing he asked her to do." Here, it seems Carlos is asserting his "machismo". She is the woman of the house and should do what ever Carlos asks, especially when it comes to the household/kitchen activities. It is interesting how this subtle comment projects a powerful image of the gender dynamics in Latino families to public audiences. I have yet to watch this episode but in past episodes I have noticed that this is a constant pattern/theme in the Solis family. Carlos often asserts his masculinity over Gabby adding to the gender dynamics and gender roles that we discussed in class earlier in the semester.