Sunday, October 26, 2003

Does Kim (of “Kath and Kim”) have depression?

Leaving aside the theoretical iss-ewes to do with the medical diagnosis of fictional characters, this rant against the most-excellent (and the only ever good) Aussie sitcom “Kath and Kim” has got me mighty worked up.

For whatever reason, “Kath and Kim”-knocking seems to be a particularly Sydney thing (with the exception of Geoff Honnor). I’m assuming here that the John Miner who wrote this latest diatribe is this one. Certainly, a male baby boomer who has both lived high on the international conference-circuit hog and has a chip on his shoulder about depictions of mundane suburban Oz fits the "wanker" identikit perfectly.

I’ll let my case rest with two factual corrections. First, the characters of Prue and Trude were not “belatedly” introduced, as Miner claims. As well as appearing in series one of K&K, they were also in “Big Girls Blouse” – a kind of progenitor to “Kath and Kim”, which featured all the current show’s lead female characters.

Second, no character on “Kath and Kim” is remotely close to being what I’d consider poor, or (Brett aside) even working class. Kath is of independent means and Kel is your average John Howard-voting small businessman (that’s them as Melbourne-dwellers, anyway – Geoff Honnor pegs them as Lathamite aspirationals, but I don’t see any sign of them being 4WD owning fuckwits). What none of the characters emphatically are is university-educated, and it is here that Miner really gives his age away.

Miner had a mid-70s undergraduate education entirely on the public teat, and – as is so often the case with his privileged ilk – seems utterly incapable of grasping today’s Realpolitik that user-pays tertiary education often correlates with later unemployment and poverty. Kath’s also being a baby boomer means that her lack of higher ed is neither here nor there on the personal wealth front, but for Kim – a sort of flagbearer for generation Y – being a spoilt princess for a living is undoubtedly a very, very clever career choice on her part. After all, why slog it out at the call centre – which is full of graduates who often really are clinically depressed – when she can shop at the mall and otherwise mooch her days away, all free of the stresses of a large HECS bill, and the related anxiety that there should be something more?

If Kim is suffering from depression, then – I’ll have what she’s having.

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