Thursday, August 11, 2005

I do not think it means what you think it means.*

I found this article by way of a post over at Blogging Baby (which I don't usually read, so I’m not sure how I came across it this time) about the new NBC show, Inconceivable. Basically, the producers of the show came up with the idea after sharing stories of the trials and tribulations of fertility treatments. Because they’re two gay guys (not a couple) who both had kids using gestational surrogacy.

More power to them, to be sure, but this really explains a lot. The show seems like it’s going to focus on the cutting edge technology - the stuff that people look at and think, “they can really do THAT now?” Like using the combination of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate to help a gay couple have a baby. It’s new frontier for most people. And that’s fine. But the bulk of people undergoing fertility treatments aren’t trying to be cutting edge, they’re trying to build families. And that’s emotional, and hard, and if they already were a heterosexual couple and assumed they had the necessary bits between them, then it’s brutal and can feel like a failure to do what comes naturally to so many people. (Just to clarify - I have nothing against gay couples using surrogates, or lesbian couples using inseminations, or whatever else. And I know those situations can be fraught with their own concerns and frustrations, too. But it’s a different kind of situation, in some ways.)

It was the jaw-dropping thing that convinced writer-producers Marco Pennette and Oliver Goldstick, co-creators and executive producers of the new NBC drama "Inconceivable," that their experiences with in vitro fertilization and surrogate pregnancy had the makings of a television series. (From the Yahoo article.)

See - shock value. New technology, far removed from what “normal” reproduction looks like. “Jaw-dropping” technology. I guess that’s what sells. But it doesn’t inspire much confidence in the accuracy of the show - hopefully they’ll get the terminology right (transfer vs. implant, for example) but I’m not so sure they’ll capture the experience.

As the program description suggests, the “noble quest” to “help desperate couples give birth” will be balanced by the clinic staff's “own occasional adventures involving sex, deception and secrets.”

Actually, I don’t think the show is really about fertility at all. I think it’s just a new backdrop for the same old ensemble dramas we see everywhere else (the right balance of science a la CSI and soap opera a la Desperate Housewives seems a timely choice, given the ratings). So maybe it won’t really suck that much, since it won’t really be about fertility.

Plus, have you seen the graphic for the show? That egg isn’t going to amount to anything!

* "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (The Princess Bride, of course)


  1. Slutty little egg--doesn't she know that entertaining multiple visitors means crappy embryos?

    I am having the "train wreck" phenomenon with the show--want to watch, yet scared of what I'll see! I do worry about the salacious stuff being more interesting than our nuts & bolts, garden-variety infertility.

  2. I think you hit is square on the head when you called it CSI meets Desperate Housewives.

  3. That graphic is hilarious. I don't think it bodes well for the show however.

  4. I will watch to see what its about, and will write angry letters as soon as they screw up. Maybe I should start with that screwed up egg...

  5. I just can't bring myself to watch it because I just know that not far into it, with all the inaccuracies, that I'd start imitating Elvis and shoot out my t.v. or something like that. Since I'm infertile, I can't possibly afford a new t.v., so I'll just skip the show ;)


  6. Only an infertile would spot the problem with that egg!

    I'll be watching it. Hopefully it won't make us look too bad.

  7. I think a show written by gay men about reproductive issues - where much of the discussion would be about female bodily functions - is pretty much guaranteed to be bizarre. With any chance it will never make it over here, so you'll all have to enlighten me electronically (and I'm sure you will!)