This TV Show Talks About PTSD The Way Trump Does, And Proves How Wrong He Is
Donald Trump has recently come under fire for saying veterans who experience PTSD aren't strong and "can't handle it."
The United States Republican nominee for president said,
When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat — and they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you're strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can't handle it.
He continued by commenting on John McCain's past as a prisoner of war,
He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren't captured.
Of course, at this point, we aren't shocked by the alarming statements Trump can get away with. And, unfortunately for Americans, it often takes a symbolic representation of injustice, rather than actual injustice to alert us to some wrongdoing.
We saw the footage of thousands of refugees marching on foot to the EU border and felt nothing. It wasn't until we saw a child's lifeless body wash up on shore that the world stopped and asked, "What is happening?"
The same goes for Omran Daqneesh, the 5-year-old boy who was pulled from the rubble following a bomb that hit is home.
Americans knew our government was likely responsible for these bombings, we knew Syrians still needed our help, but it wasn't until the photo of Omar that we got emotional.
And according to public Google search history, interest in Syria rose during the release of the footage of Omar (on August 18), and then steadily declined over the course of the next week.
This is exactly what "You're The Worst" wants us to realize.
Let's start with this: "You're the Worst" is a comedy on FX. Actually, it's a romantic comedy, but as the show's creators say, not a typical one.
The show's two main characters are a couple in love. Digestible. Gretchen and Jimmy begin dating after realizing, basically, they'll never find anyone who will put up with the other one.
It's kind of cute in a "we don't want to live without each other way."
They also both heavily fear being an "average couple" -- so much so that in the opening of the third season, they spend night after night wasted at the bar.
Both refuse to admit to the other that they're hungover and tired of drinking; to do so would make them a boring couple.
What else would they do? Stay home and watch movies?
Gretchen and Jimmy also live with a roommate: Edgar, played by Desmin Borges.
Edgar was once a homeless vet who served in Iraq and has experienced severe PTSD ever since.
Because Jimmy essentially lets Edgar live for free in his house, they've developed a kind of leader-follower relationship.
Edgar makes breakfast for Jimmy and Gretchen every morning. Edgar picks up things at the couple's request and even drives them around so frequently, Jimmy refers to him as Uber.
Up until season three, Edgar's back story has always been brushed aside, mainly at Gretchen and Jimmy's lead.
In the episode, fittingly and sarcastically titled, "Men Get Strong," Edgar explains to Jimmy and Gretchen that he can't pick them up because he has to go to his VA appointment.
Edgar tells says,
Later this afternoon, I'm finally gonna have my consultation with the chief of staff at the VA.
Jimmy's response was almost identical to Trump's:
I actually just read something interesting about PTSD. It turns out in WWI, the official term for PTSD was cowardice and you were shot for it.
As a viewer, your first reaction is to find Jimmy despicable and wrong. You can see Edgar's face drop as Jimmy and Gretchen turn away from him.
In a totally different story format for the show, we see Edgar's struggle with PTSD up close and personal in the following episode, "Twenty-Two," which premiered on September 28.
In this episode, we can no longer rely on Gretchen and Jimmy to be the bad guys for us. Viewers come face to face with PTSD and how truly harrowing and obstructive it can be to someone's daily life.
We follow Edgar as he struggles to distract himself by enjoying time with his girlfriend, who he can't help but become aggressive with until she reminds him how important it is for him to make his VA appointment.
After she says she's there for him, he ends up hanging his head, repeating how sorry he is.
We follow as he goes to the appointment, and the chief of staff is an elderly woman wearing pearls and a knit skirt and jacket set.
She speaks with Edgar as if he is a child, saying girlish things like, "I like you!" before ultimately brushing Edgar aside because he has refused to take his 11-prescription pill concoction.
Ultimately, he is refused help and ends up drinking on the side of a road to numb his pain. His only savior? A man operating a tow truck who notices his VA papers in the car and decides to give him some tips about dealing with PTSD.
And all this happened after Edgar sought help. He was strong enough to search for help, but help wasn't around. The VA estimates about 20 veterans commit suicide a day.
The VA estimates about 20 veterans commit suicide a day.
We see Edgar toying with the idea himself as he gazes into oncoming traffic. Twenty veterans a day is a tough statistic to ignore.
But, of course, Trump has never been one for memorizing statistics, which hasn't deterred voters from supporting him in the slightest.
Our presidential candidate even said it himself,
I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.
It's kind of a scary thought to realize we need a TV show to fill us in on political realities we can no longer rely on our politicians for.
As the election draws closer and the second presidential debate airs on October 9, we can only wait and see how Trump plans to rectify his choice words on veterans suffering with mental illness.