Wednesday evenings Fox offers a unique, new TV series called “Almost Family.” Have you seen it?
I think the premise of the show is very telling of our culture to those with eyes to see. I will explain why here.
For those unfamiliar, the storyline, as described by IMDB.com is this: “A woman who grew up as an only child discovers that her dad fathered many other children as a sperm donor.”
Fox offers this on their “About the Show” section of their website dedicated to this “Almost Family” TV series:
“Executive producer Jason Katims (‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Parenthood’) and writer Annie Weisman (‘About A Boy,’ ‘Desperate Housewives’) bring you the story of an unusual family formed through extreme odds. Exploring such hot-button issues as identity, human connection and what it truly means to be a family, this unconventional dramedy taps directly into the zeitgeist, harnessing the emotional complications that new generations of IVF-bred children all face.
“Only child JULIA BECHLEY (Brittany Snow, the ‘Pitch Perfect’ franchise, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’) finds her life turned upside down when her father, LEON BECHLEY (Academy Award winner Timothy Hutton, ‘American Crime,’ ‘Leverage,’ ‘Ordinary People’), reveals that, over the course of his prize-winning career as a pioneering fertility doctor, he used his own sperm to conceive upwards of a hundred children.
“Reeling from this explosive revelation, Julia discovers two new sisters – her former best friend, EDIE PALMER (Megalyn Echikunwoke, ‘The Following,’ ‘90210’), and an ex-Olympic athlete, ROXY DOYLE (Emily Osment, ‘The Kominsky Method,’ ‘Young & Hungry’). As these three young women begin to embrace their new reality, Julia must figure out what life is like without Leon by her side; Edie comes to grips with her burgeoning sexuality, as her marriage falters; and Roxy faces adulthood out of the spotlight.
“Against all odds, the three women will attempt to form an untraditional bond as sisters, even as they must welcome a tidal wave of new siblings into their rapidly expanding family” (bold emphasis added).
WHAT CAN WE MAKE OF THIS?
A lot can be said on this, so I will throw in my two cents.
Now, I am not going to offer any analysis on the acting ability of Brittany Snow, Timothy Hutton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, or any of the other actors and actresses starring in the production. I have never heard of any of them, and it is really not relevant who is acting for the points I wish to make. Forgive me, too, as I have not seen any of it. In fact, I am one of those crazy people who does not even own a TV! Despite not seeing a minute of this show, my points still stand, as you will see.
I would like to point out the following:
First, we live in a culture where a major, primetime television network has invested in a new television series centered on the fallout of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) industry.
Second, we live in a society where IVF is pretty much a mainstream, accepted practice. As evidenced by this show being a “dramedy,” as Fox classifies it.
Third, just to be clear, participating in IVF so as to produce children is a gravely immoral practice. It violates the Natural Law, it treats children as commodities, exploits women who serve as surrogates, involves the grave sin of masturbation, is harmful to women who undergo its procedures, etc., etc. I am doubtful Fox’s producers will explore this in too critical a detail as to bring these facts to life to any great extent. I fear it might only make IVF seem as a moral good in society, which it is not.
Fourth, the main character’s father being a former IVF clinic doctor who used his own sperm to populate his patients sounds like a fantasy to many. But I assure you, this happens more often than you think in real life! I have no idea if the show explores the ethical concerns of this, but it ought to.
Fifth, I have seen on other sites that the main characters of the film have to spend their days wondering how many other siblings they have, and whether perfect strangers might be their biologically-related kin. These are real world concerns for IVF-conceived children in our day.
Sixth, I am quite aware that “Almost Family” is not the first television show nor production to explore this topic: there are dozens. The first one to come to mind for me stars Vince Vaughn and is the 2013 film, “Delivery Man.” IMDB.com describes the storyline this way: “An affable underachiever finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them file a lawsuit to reveal his identity.”
Seventh, of course, how we got here where IVF is pursued as a supposed treatment for infertility can be traced back to our cultural embrace of contraception use. Wait, how can I say that? Well, the contraceptive mentality that our culture breathes these days teaches that sex and babies can be separated. It teaches that whether children come into this world can be and ought to be controlled. The IVF industry comes along and takes the reigns on controlling fertility and makes it a scientific endeavor.
Where contraception users seek to have the pleasure of sex without the consequence of any resulting child, IVF seeks to flip that around. It bypasses the need for sexual intimacy and skips straight to playing god by creating, storing, and then implanting human embryos into women. All because society bought the premise that sex and babies can be separated. Lord, have mercy.
Just the fact that a show like “Almost Family” that explores the fallout of a rogue sperm doctor and the IVF industry resides on television speaks volumes. While it is pathetic that our society permits the IVF industry to exist, at least a show is exploring the moral ramifications of its fallout. Though, as I said previously, I am not hopeful that the producers will explore the moral implications to any great depth. With episode titles, thus far, such as “Related AF” and Notorious AF,” you will understand hesitancy in taking seriously anything the “Almost Family” producers do.
In a sane world, IVF would never exist. Barring that, in a sane world, a show like this would demonstrate the moral problems of this evil. But, we do not live in a sane world. Thus, I am not putting my faith in sanity prevailing, not even in the world of Fox’s new dramedy, “Almost Family.”
Have any thoughts about the new show, “Almost Family” by Fox?
Please share your comments below.