Does anyone else think Diabetes should become more Mainstream?

What I mean is why don’t we see more people in magazines, internet videos, movies and on television with diabetes? Does anyone else ever think about this? If so what are your thoughts on this topic?

Julia Roberts was a diabetic in Steel Magnolias…Can you think of any other characters in pop culture who was diabetic?

I can’t remember her name but one of the women in Army Wives. It’s the only reason I watch the show because military issues don’t interest me otherwise.

I agree with John. If they could get it ‘right’ then I’m all for it, but they so often get things wrong. That’s not really specific to D though. Either the writers/directors/producers don’t listen to the science advisors, or the science advisors for most shows/movies should be fired!

Brett Michaels!!

One of the characters on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (starring Edie Falco, about to start its third season) is diabetic. Although it’s not a large role, the character is fully realized and full of humor and quirks. He’s a gay male nurse who is quite up front about his struggle (and frequent failures) to eat as he knows he should. In one of the early episodes he goes low while treating a patient in the ER and Nurse Jackie takes him aside and tells him he has to get his act together. In another episode, the other nurses and doctors around him are chowing down on various delectables, and he waves a WASA cracker in the air and says something like, “It’s not fair! This is what I’m stuck with.” I love seeing a diabetic who’s not portrayed as a victim.

Well, this is just an aside, but in defense of Steel Magnolias, the original play was written by one of Shelby’s – the Julia Roberts character – brothers. It was a story based on his family and his sister did die from complications of type 1 diabetes. It was his tribute to the beautiful, strong women in his family and their friends. I liked the movie even more when I found out it was a true story – being a Southern lady with family from Louisiana and Mississippi, the characters cracked me up, especially Ouiser.

That said, yes I’d like to see more diabetic characters in film and television, but I do fear how they’d be portrayed. I can just see the stereotypes being reinforced: the fat side-kick who has an A1C of 14 but won’t stop eating Twinkies and cracking bad jokes; the gaunt and tragic, but handsome hero who gets dumped by shallow women if he lets on that he’s imperfect, until he meets The One; the grandmother lifting up her skirts at inappropriate times and places to jab needles into her thigh, embarrassing all the kids; the auntie who won’t stop talking about her diabetes, boring everyone into a coma.

You know the drill: pander to everyone’s stereotypes in the most obvious ways possible to pump up the laughs and/or the drama.

Maybe we need more diabetic WRITERS for a start?

I agree. There are several characters out there that tries to embody diabetes but it is way to complex. It is probably the most complex disease out there that everyone knows a lot of bit of nothing about . You cant tell if the person next to you has it, it is hard to put in any category because it qualifies for all. No one has answers or cures. I did like Julia Roberts character in Steel Mag it was as well rounded as I have seen in a diabetic character. I would love to see a movie about a athlete who becomes a D-er that might be interesting.

Halle Berry is not a character but she is a well known actress that has type 1…and there are several more like her out there…

Here’s an interesting (although really old) article about diabetics in the movies:

I read a hysterical novel about a female type 1 who hurried to take her Insulin so she wouldn’t run low. So yeah, I’m interested if Diabetes is well researched but usually it isn’t and the Diabetic croaks.

Chronic illness in general is not much portrayed in movies, TV etc. I have mixed feelings about this. There is so much more to life than diabetes – so a character could have it as an incidental thing, but in general I don’t see the need for much emphasis. Steel Magnolias was specifically about diabetes, and I think it was a tragic yet moving story. There have been other very good movies about other illnesses, such as Tuesdays with Morrie (I think that was the name), but in general, I am a lot more interested in the person than in the disease.

I guess I’m much more interested and involved with real-life interactions with other real diabetics than in make-believe in the media.