When is a joke, one joke too many & one step too far..?

I don’t know if it’s just me being too sensitive or whether I really do have a point with what I’m about to talk about. That’s why I kind of wanted to put this out there to see what other people think.

I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to the soaps on TV. Not all of them, I don’t have time for all of them, but I’m not afraid to admit that both Eastenders and Coronation Street are on series link on the Sky box. Judge me all you want. I love them.

Anyone who is anyone will know that Corrie (we’ll call it Corrie because yes I’m lazy and it’s easier to keep typing!) has been in the news big time this week due to the character, Hayley Cropper’s storyline. I’ve been watching this storyline since it began, and each week as it progressed I could feel the lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger.

For those who really have been living with their heads in the clouds, or aren’t as sucked in by these things as me, Hayley was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given months and then later in the storyline, just weeks to live. Hayley decided she didn’t want to wait to waste away and wanted to die with dignity and to make the choice herself as to when that time would be. The story focused on Hayley and Roy her partner as a couple and how he too would handle her decisions and the choices she made.

Image courtesy of ITV

Image courtesy of ITV

Well last night was the episode I have been dreading. Last night Hayley had said her goodbyes and took a concoction of drugs that helped her slip away peacefully with her beloved Roy by her side. Oh my days was it emotional. I have no shame in admitting that I was in floods of tears watching and was very much affected by the storyline. I couldn’t stop thinking about it even after it had finished. Hats off to the writers of the show as I’m pretty sure that is what they set out to do when they come up with the story.

There’s been a great deal of discussion in the press and on the television following this, about whether this storyline will encourage people with a terminal illness in ‘real life’ to want to do the same. I’m not here to discuss that, but I will make one point, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, I’m sure a great deal of things go through your mind as you come to term with the news, and I’m sure that of ending your life in the way you want to will be one of those things. I don’t think a soap opera will make the slightest bit of difference.

Anyway, the point behind this blog actually has nothing to do with the storyline as such. Or the reasons behind it. The point of this blog was for me to work out whether I’m being too sensitive or if I am in fact, in the world of social media, surrounding myself with some cruel, sick and insensitive individuals.

The majority of people that I am friends with on Facebook and follow on Twitter, all felt as I did last night. Emotionally involved in the storyline and feeling quite sad at the end. There were however, and I’ll admit it was the minority, but even so, quite a few people who found it necessary to make jokes, actually, lets change that to SICK jokes, about what they had viewed. I was totally and utterly sickened by what I saw and read and it just left me dumbfounded and speechless.

Now there will be people out there who will accuse me of having no sense of humour and tell me I should probably lighten up. But I can assure you that I really DO have a sense of humour and I am very laid back. I just don’t find death very funny or amusing. Because, it’s not, is it?

Death, whether it’s on the TV in a soap opera or in ‘real life’, is very much that. Real. And it happens every single day. There are people out there right now as I write this and as you read it that have just had devastating news that they have lost someone and they will never ever see them again. Their lives have changed forever and the grief that they will feel will be beyond painful.

How can anyone joke about such a thing? Please, tell me.

“Oh but it’s a soap we’re joking about, not real life!” I’ve no doubt that that is the answer I will get to that question. But my point is this. TV has the ability to get us right in the heart. To take us back to the moment. To bring back all kinds of memories. So chances are if you have ever lost anyone, watching something like this will be painful and upsetting and it will take you back there in a second.

So, no. I don’t want to read a joke about it thank you. Why would I?

Maybe it’s me. I don’t know. But I do think there are people out there who need to sit back and have a think before they publish their ‘jokes’ for all to read. It might be funny for you but it may be utterly heartbreaking for some.

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3 Comments

  1. Karen
    21st January 2014 / 7:21 pm

    I don’t think it’s your lack of humour – in others I think it’s a lack of empathy to situations outside of their own. Gallows humour doesn’t offend me – glib humour does, when there is no consideration for what happens when that joke goes out into the world and then is heard. The ‘it was only a joke’ argument doesn’t work for me when someone says something that in the normal framework of conversation I would find unforgivable. I don’t watch Corrie anymore – but am a fan of it, because it has dealt with humour, drama and tragedy so well for so many years. I think what perhaps made this characters death more real was the actors engagement through social media with promoting awareness and research for her characters cancer – and the right to a dignified death. And, of course, the performances. Anyway – that was my long winded way of saying – some people just don’t think… And they are the lesser for that.

  2. 15th August 2016 / 2:04 pm

    Absolutely loved this post. I remember sobbing as we said goodbye to Hayley for the last time, the utterly heart wrenching moment when Carla and Anna arrive upstairs to find Roy lying holding her, and the feeling of loss that came with the death of one of my all time favourite tv characters. I’ve always been the one in my family to cry at tv shows or films, I get far too attached to the characters. But I agree, whether it’s on the screen or in real life, death is nothing to make light of. Yes we all have different coping mechanisms, my dad regularly makes jokes about tv deaths but wouldn’t dare in real life, but that’s no reason to make jokes. These actors and actresses, especially in soaps, become a part of our lives and so the loss of one of them often feels similar to losing a family member or friend.

    Thank you for sharing such an important and well written post, and thanks for making me cry simply remembering Hayley’s struggle! xx

    • Jaki
      15th August 2016 / 8:00 pm

      Ah thank you so much for reading and commenting on this. I love seeing my older posts getting some time of day. But at the same time I’m sorry for making you cry!! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. xx

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