“Open Heart” is a new Canadian television series by Epitome Pictures, the same production company that brings us “Degrassi” and brought us “Instant Star”, centered around Dylan, a rebellious teenager, who is taking matters into her own hands and searching for her missing father, whom she recently learned is (or was) a diagnosed schizophrenic.
I started watching this series because it’s by Epitome Pictures, who seems to produce quality television series.
The first episode didn’t make me want to watch it more, but still, I gave it a chance. If you’ve not yet watched it, but you think you might want to, this post is going to spoil a few things for you, and you should read at your own risk.
1. Mental illness ignorance
The series takes place in a hospital, with the main characters either being doctors themselves or constantly surrounded by doctors. Why is Dylan so heartbroken to find her father is schizophrenic to the point that she keeps throwing it around? I understand people cope and heal with things in different ways, but it’s bothering me. Before it was learned that he’s “sick”, I knew he had to be schizophrenic or something, but I really felt like it was too much of a far-fetched assumption, because wouldn’t it have been handled differently or better?
Since the creator of “Degrassi” is also one of the creators of “Open Heart”, “Degrassi” has covered mental illness before, and the main location is at a hospital, I just expected medical-related aspects of the series to be covered differently, perhaps even with some scenes to educate the audience on it a bit. Children below thirteen even watch this, and they have Tumblr accounts, and if you read some of the things the younger fans are saying about Dylan’s dad and schizophrenia, it’s devastating. Why not try to educate them through a series they watch? We really don’t need more ignorance in the world surrounding mental disorders and mental illnesses.
2. The actors’ characters don’t do justice for the actors’ talent.
I know Christina Prosperi is a brilliant actress. I’ve watched her for years on “Degrassi”. However, I’m now watching her on “Open Heart”, and I don’t know if it’s the directing or the lines or what, but it’s making her look like a bad actress. Justin Kelly’s another actor whose character (or lines, or whatever) is making him look like a bad actor. I know these two actors are really, really great, but they’re just not getting to shine. I feel like they’re being forced to tone down their awesomeness to fit in with the cheesiness of the series, only it’s not cheesiness, it’s…
3. Cheesiness or something else?
It doesn’t feel like the teen medical drama it’s supposed to be—it feels like “Napoleon Dynamite” is being re-shot at Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital, with House, M.D. turning into this seemingly hunky know-it-all who’s not as funny or cute as he thinks he is. “Teen Wolf” mastered the cheesy drama/comedy, and “Degrassi” has a nice balance of that as well.
Perhaps the storyline is just being rushed? It’s hard to tell with Dylan whining all the time and needing things to always be about her or her dad—and cue Wes, who is going to pine after Dylan, which brings me to my deal-breaker.
4. Dylan forgave Wes’ possessive behavior too quickly.
Again, TEENS ARE WATCHING THIS. Remember The Twilight Saga? Teens all over the world gushed over Edward Cullen and shipped him with Bella, but that’s because Stephanie Meyer put them together, making the ship real—she made it seem okay. Edward was possessive, and he grew too jealous of Jake—he was nearly controlling, if not for-sure controlling, over Jacob’s relationship with Bella.
Then, we have Fifty Shades of Grey, a thing teens are [disgustingly] getting all hot and bothered over. I watched this twenty-minute preview of it, and it was so weird and cheesy and stupid and poorly written—though I’m blaming the so-called “novel” for that—and I felt so uncomfortable. Within that twenty minutes, the main characters had already met, and Christian Grey was already possessive over the Anastasia Steele.
Dylan went with Dr. Hudson to find the original graffiti from her father’s drawing during a hospital lock down, and upon their return, Wes attacked Dr. Hudson out of jealousy. When the hell is this ever okay? HOW is this okay? WHAT makes it okay for Wes to do that? What’s more, WHY is Dylan apologizing? They’re not official during that time—she didn’t cheat, and he didn’t own her.
I waited, and waited, and waited for her to confront Wes and explain to him that that sort of behavior isn’t okay, but she never did. Was I the only one who felt that that scene screamed “abusive” to me?
If I had kids of the appropriate age for this series, I wouldn’t let them watch this—then again, they’d know to either never treat someone like Wes treated Dr. Hudson, or to never let anyone treat them like that.
I’m still watching the series, waiting for a little dash of hope that it isn’t as downhill as it’s going for me, but if season one continues to go the way it is, you can count me out.