An Alzheimer’s Sitcom: What's Your Take?

72 Comments

A television comedy about Alzheimer's disease may sound like a poor excuse for a joke, but the ABC network is apparently attempting to marry these two incongruous ideas together. According to deadline.com, ABC recently purchased a show entitled, "The Alzheimer's Project" (not to be confused with the 2009 HBO documentary of the same name).

At this early stage, little is known about the specifics of the show—what issues it will try to tackle, how it will handle the aspects of the disease that are not at all funny—but it will center around a father with Alzheimer's disease and his attempts to re-forge his relationship with his family.

Sam Sklaver, a former staff writer for HBO's detective dramedy, "Bored to Death," is slated to be the writer for the new show.

Addressing previously off-limits health conditions appears to be an emerging trend for popular television networks.

NBC recently began airing "The Michael J Fox Show," a sitcom featuring the show's namesake as the lead character--a newscaster battling Parkinson's while balancing his career and family life. Fox himself has lived with Parkinson's for over two decades. His presence on the show, which has garnered mixed reviews, lends an element of reality to the fiction.

But Alzheimer's may prove to be an entirely different beast.

As any Alzheimer's caregiver can attest, looking after a loved one with the disease takes family members through a unique spectrum of emotions. It's difficult to imagine that a half-or even a full-hour show could to capture this journey in the way it deserves. Still, if done correctly, such a production could lend some much-needed awareness about what life is really like for those living with Alzheimer's, and their families.

We want to know: What do you think about a comedy about Alzheimer's disease? Can it be done? Should it be done?

Share your thoughts below.

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72 Comments

A COMEDY about Alz? How tasteless. I wouldn't watch it. As far as I'm concerned, there isn't a damn thing funny about it.
My mother was absolutely insistent that we laugh at the mishaps that were caused by her disease. Her directive was that we keep a list of all the things she did and tell funny stories at her funeral. I remember once we had gone through a lot of trouble to make sure that she would remember that we were having a 93 birthday party for her. All around the house were invitations and it was marked on her "calendar". Every day I came over and planned the party with her so that it might go into her long term memory. The day before the party, she picked up one of the invitations and read it. "oh" she said "you're having a party for me. When is it?" "tomorrow" I responded. "Oh, that's so nice of you, here -let's put it on my calendar." And then she turned to me and said - "I have a feeling that you've told me this already!" And we laughed and laughed. Her attitude was that you have to have a sense of humor about this thing. What else could she do? So, please have a comedy show in honor of my mother! She would be the first to approve.
Judging by the tastelessness of many current sitcoms, I shudder to think of how ABC will make a sitcom about Alzheimer's without descending into stereotyping and inappropriate hilarity. I think it could be better handled as a one-hour family drama, incorporating lighthearted moments but showing the reality of the impact that Alzheimer's has on the entire family.