Truth & Consequences

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Truth & Consequences

Carter's forehead, pressing on the glass of Elaine's front door. Carter, Carter, Carter, for god's sake, drop the chalupa, will you? Elaine opens the door in her robe and asks in an exasperated tone of voice, "What are you doing here?" He asks if he can come in. Elaine tightens the neckline of her robe for the umpteenth time since the storyline began. Um, Ms. DeMornay? The character didn't have her sternum removed, okay? That bit of blocking bites. Stop doing it. Thank you. Anyway. Elaine lets Carter in; he gives her a scary stare, and then he leans in and kisses her. She breaks the kiss and walks quickly away, and Carter shuts her front door, still fixing her with that eerie leer that tries for "sympathy" but takes a wrong turn at "unhealthy fixation." Elaine leans on a wall, pressing a hand against the top of her chest and looking, basically, like she has a bone in her throat, which I suspect she soon will if Carter gets his way; Carter comes up behind her and puts his hands around her waist and says -- get this -- "if you want me to leave, just say so." Oh, because the forty-seventh time you'll actually obey her? Whatever, Carter.

He starts kissing her hair, and as he begins to peel her robe away from her neck to kiss her there, she says queasily, "I don't want your sympathy." Carter nuzzles her and says nothing, and she starts hyperventilating and touching her side, and she turns around and stares into his eyes while letting her robe drop away a little bit to reveal a flagrantly fake scar. She half-sobs and grabs the place where her breast used to be to hide the scar, and as opal pointed out, Elaine would still have drainage tubes attached to her surgical site after a few weeks, never mind slapping her palm down on it like she can't feel anything. Carter peels her hands away from her chest, and he kisses her again, and she wraps her arms around him and starts kissing him back, and I would like to know exactly how the writers expect us to stomach this portrayal of a post-mastectomy woman. I have not had breast cancer, thank God, and neither has anyone in my family, thank God, but I have known a number of women who have survived breast cancer, and never mind the numerous medical inaccuracies involved in this plot -- never mind the fact that Elaine went home from the hospital one day after a major invasive procedure, and never mind the fact that we have not heard anything about her receiving treatment with radiation or chemotherapy, and never mind the fact that, when you have had a breast removed, you do not wear form-fitting suits or heavy coats or what have you a mere two weeks after the surgery, because it hurts too much. I would not presume to speak for breast-cancer patients or breast-cancer survivors. I feel sure that, if I had to have a radical mastectomy, I would feel a bit insecure about my single-breasted post-op appearance too. But I would feel much more concerned about my hair falling out, and about radiation making me sterile, and about possibly getting an infection at the wound site, and about the possibility that I MIGHT DIE OF CANCER, and I find this entire plotline, and the characterization of Elaine as a needy, vulnerable vamp who only needs the love of a good man to heal her psychic wounds, extremely simplistic, patronizing, and offensive, and if the man in my life got all condescending on me and said, "I still love you and want to have sex with you even if you only have one breast," I'd be like, "Well, bully for you, pal, because I'd have let them take my whole damn leg and a couple of fingers if it meant I would live, and by the way, I don't really feel like having sex right now, because I have A TERMINAL ILLNESS, so save the Dr.-Feelgood routine for someone who DOESN'T value herself as anything other than a sex object, thank you very much and GOODBYE."

Yes, I know it is only a television program. Pardon me while I jam my nose back into joint. [Crack.] Okay, let's move on.

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