So, today I finished watching the first two episodes of the TV show Monk. The main draw for me was that the character Adrian Monk has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; or at least some combination of anxiety disorders.
As someone who suffers from this rather…unfortunate condition, I always am interested to see how such things are portrayed. As I watched it I couldn’t help but think that the writers tried to cram every single manner of OCD into a single individual. Now, I know that all cases are not the same and there is some overlap, but it just seemed like a very forced perception of the disorder.
Not to knock the rest of the show. I didn’t find too much fault with anything else, and TV shows being what they are do not represent things accurately or even in the best light. I can even dismiss that rather annoying way that they try to make it comical at times. That’s entertainment for you.
I just feel that it’s coming across as too gimmicky, and might take away from any further enjoyment from the show that I may have. I will still give it a chance, and do my best to enjoy it despite that.
Part of me just wishes that it handled it better, or possibly just spoiled by how it was portrayed in another show I’ve watched recently. In the British television show Whitechapel we have another cop drama. And,as in Monk, there is a major character that has OCD in it. But unlike in Monk they are more subtle about it.
There is fun poked at the disorder to be sure, but it’s more about how the other characters relate to him, not some random scene where the character is by himself doing something over the top. The comical aspects come more from the misconceptions of others, who don’t make a tremendous deal about it, and it’s more of the type of joking one does to the new member of a team.
One scene in particular stood out to me, not just because it was a scene that showed this character’s OCD, but it portrayed it in a way that made me go “YES….YES!!! I KNOW THAT FEELING!! THAT’S JUST HOW IT IS!!!” I didn’t get this feeling (at least yet) in Monk.
The scene in particular comes at a time when the character is under tremendous stress. A case has become rather personal with not only scaring a good friend tremendously, but one of his own men were seriously injured and then, out of fear did something to hurt the investigation.
Very stressful situations are just the time when OCD is particularly hard to ignore and it is most prevalent. The time when you are most bombarded by those thoughts that go through you head that you do not want, hate, despise, don’t believe within an inch of your life, but you can’t help but react to them defensively.
It was a very quiet moment when this scene was played out. He was leaving his office and being someone prone to counting rituals has to turn off and on the light several times before he goes. It wasn’t this moment that caught me. It was the short walk out and the pained look upon his face as he turned around and had to do it all over again.
That look on his face; it was dead on. It was perfect. It’s that moment when someone with OCD hates themselves for being weird about stupid little things like turning off a light. That moment when you thought you just got past that particular ritual and realize you have to go back and do the whole embarrassing motions all over again. The moment when you see the calming effect of such actions ripped right out of your hand. If I could I would have given this actor all the awards just for those two seconds of film.
Needless to say this is only my perspective of the situation, and I really don’t know what others feel about it. But, I feel that in one quiet moment the writers of Whitechapel captured more of the essence of such a disorder than in the whole two part story that began Monk.