Lunchtable TV Talk: Getting On

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Getting On ended its chaos-filled run after three barely noticed seasons. An entire season happened without my ever hearing of it – it was completely under the radar and got very little media attention as TV shows go. We are supposedly in this peak TV period, which could arguably let a lot of quality TV fall right through the cracks. But it would also seem that the wide range of shows would send different tastes in different directions, allowing for exposure to pretty much everything – just smaller amounts for each thing. Then again, as a recent article from The New Yorker aptly points out, Getting On is not pretty. The environment: “Even in an age of downer comedies, Getting On is a hard sell. It’s set in a failing extended-care ward, whose patients are elderly women.”

Doesn’t sound like something most would like – nor something that would be funny, but it manages to be engaging, deeply human and ridiculously funny. It’s also brutal, ugly and true – painfully true.

I recently slogged through all eight seasons of TV’s House M.D. and wrote about it and how House’s misanthropy was perfectly summed up in one of House’s monologues in the first episode, railing against the idea that a person can die with dignity: “It’s always ugly, always….You can live with dignity, we can’t die with it.” House was able to describe this, but I have never seen anything show this truth as effectively or honestly as Getting On did.

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