Desperate Housewife Bullied?

Judge Elizabeth White declared a mistrial on 3/19/12 after the jurors reported they were deadlocked. Eight supported actress Nicollette Sheridan’s claim; four didn’t. .Judge White on 3/13/12 issued a directed verdict dismissing the battery claim  and Michael Reinhart, who has supervised construction of the show’s sets since it began eight years ago, testified he was copied on an email in 2010 — shortly after Sheridan filed her lawsuits — in which ABC/Disney executives discussed having IT wipe computer hard drives to eliminate any reference to Sheridan’s termination. And the Human Resources so-called “professional” who investigated Sheridan’s complaint that she was slapped by Cherry failed to interview Cherry!!! PGB

This woman was allegedly assaulted by her boss and then killed off.

The trial began this week in a case brought by Actress Nicollette Sheridan, formerly of the ABC soap opera Desperate Housewives, who alleges she was whacked upside the head by the hit show’s creator Marc Cherry and then killed off  when she complained to ABC.

Sheridan alleged Cherry slapped her  in the face with his hand during a rehearsal on September 24, 2008 after the two had an argument regarding a cut line of dialogue. When Sheridan complained to ABC, she says she was fired in retaliation — her Desperate Housewives character, Edie Britt, was killed in a freak electrical accident in April of 2009.

ABC has argued that the decision to kill off Edie Britt was made prior to the alleged smackdown and that the supposed slap was a mere tap, done for the purposes of artistic direction.

“This is a man hitting a woman in the head — hard — without her consent,” said Sheridan’s attorney, Mark Baute.

Battery occurs when the defendant’s acts intentionally cause harmful or offensive contact with the victim’s person. While battery requires intent, the prevailing tort definition does not require an intent to harm.  It is only necessary that the defendant intend to cause either harmful or offensive contact.

Sheridan’s lawsuit initially alleged damages over claims of sexual and gender harassment, assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wrongful termination and more. However, during the pre-trial phase, the judge threw out some claims and the actress dropped others. Now the case involves claims of wrongful termination and battery.

If Sheridan wins, a judge has ruled that she will be eligible to reclaim one year’s salary, not the $20 in pay for the show’s full run that she originally sought. Her attorneys are seeking almost $6 million.

A sad reality of this type of case is that Sheriden, 48, is out in the metaphorical cold while ABC continues to be a major television network. ABC lists as potential witnesses many of Sheridan’s former co-workers – including Desperate Housewives cast members Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria. Of course, if Sheridan’s allegations are true, the remaining Housewives stars presumably do not wish to be killed off like Edie Britt until the series ends this season.

Work & ABC’s Modern Family

What’s so modern about ABC’s  hit comedy, Modern Family?

None of the caregivers on the show have an outside job. One is  comfortably ensconced in the affluent middle class with her realtor husband and three children, and the other, a young Colombian woman, is married to a rich guy at least 25 years her senior, and lives in a mansion with her trophy husband and her young son.  Even the male who has the principle childcare role in the gay relationship stays home to care for the couple’s adopted baby!

If this were truly a modern family, there would be issues relating to the difficulties of working while  being in a loving relationship and raising a family in America in 2011.

A one-income family with children is a rarity today.  Between 2008 and 2010, the number of stay-at-home mothers fell from 5.3 million to 5 million. (Stay-at-home dads held steady at around 150,000.)

If the show was a bit more realistic and portrayed six working adults, at least one, possibly two, would be bullied by a supervisor.  They would be experiencing  potentially severe emotional stress and anxiety and fearing termination  in this poor economy. Their angst would spill over to their relationships with their significant others and children, in turn causing them angst. And it might even drive the target to drink!

Possibly the family depends upon the partner’s income to pay the mortgage, light bill, or school tuition payments. All of these things ultimately would be threatened by the bully.

The women would be paid 20 percent less than their male counterparts for the same work – and significantly less than women workers without children who didn’t take time off from their careers. These parents would be  forced to make endless difficult no-win choices between their work and their children.   Many working moms even today come home each day to start their second “job” of running the household – making dinner, cleaning, and taking care of the kids.

Let’s get real.  Half of all relationships end in divorce.  These at-home spouses do not appear to have any jobs skills and/or they’ve taken significant time out of their careers. Are they completely clueless about what is going on out there?  According to a 2011 research report by the Family Research Council:

  • Mothers who were not in the workforce before the divorce are very likely to experience poverty following their divorce.
  • Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.
  • Following a divorce, the parent (usually mom) with custody of the children experiences a 52 percent drop in his or her family income.

It’s not a pretty picture for the children either.  The FRC says the children of divorced mothers are less likely to earn incomes in the top third of the income distribution, regardless of where in the income distribution their parents’ income fell.

But none of this is occurs in the magical land of  automatic sprinklers of Modern Family, which, come to think of it, is just about as modern as Leave It to Beaver, Daddy Knows Best, and The Dick Van Dyke Show.

Let’s just hope the girls  and boys who watch the show each week do not believe what they see, and expect that they too can be part of an affluent one-income household in a posh suburb where a white knight brings home a fat paycheck every week.

I don’t want to pick on Modern Family, which is a sit-com, and funny at that.

Just sayin’