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Name That Trauma :: Reader J.R. on Public Access Programming

February 2nd, 2010 by aunt john · 3 Comments

I recall that when I was in high school, there were a variety of educational, “after school special” kind of shows that would air on one of the local public access channels. They were all pretty old (from the ‘70s and ‘80s, and they dealt with the subjects that one would come to expect from such programming (alcoholism, dating, illness, friendships, etc.)

When I was 18, in the spring of 2000, (maybe a little too old to be scared by a public access show??), I was home early from school after exams. I happened to flip to the public access channel, which was airing a show about a young mother living with HIV. She had two young children, and I believe she had moved in with her sister so her sister could help care for her and her kids. This all sounds fairly innocuous, and at first it was. However, during the last 10 minutes or so, things began to change. First, there was a scene where the kids and their mother were playing a board game (maybe Monopoly?) because they were stuck inside due to the rain. The scene cuts to the kitchen, and all of a sudden one of the kids runs into the room and yells, “Aunt so-and-so, mommy cut her hand in the living room and there’s blood everywhere!!” Then you see the mother with her bloody hand wrapped in a towel or something.

Things became even more unsettling in the next scene (after the bleeding had stopped). It’s the middle of the night, and the mother is sitting alone in her bedroom with the lights on, and she’s staring into a mirror, covered in sweat, and sobbing. The camera then zoomed in on her face, all sweaty and teary, and lingered there for about ten seconds before her sister came in and consoled her. That scene really freaked the shit out of me. What added to the creepiness of this show was the face of the woman who played the mother; she had a really nasty, curly brown rats’ nest of hair, and her features were very harsh and angular. I recall that her lips were very thin and almost pursed as well.

The last thing I remember is that the show ended with the woman and her sister saying the rosary on the porch, and during the credits, the name of some Catholic production company came up. I don’t know if anyone out there has seen this, but it really disturbed me at the time I saw it. I really love the site, and I hope someone out there has seen this show and was also disturbed by it. Thanks!

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 thunderknightNo Gravatar // Feb 2, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Sounds like a show by the Paulists Fathers called ‘Insight’. Older show from the late 60’s and early 70’s I think! Awesomely scary show about mans search for meaning.

  • 2 shoggothkeeperNo Gravatar // Feb 5, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Man, I can remember some of the Insight series from my confirmation classes.  Some of them were ridiculously heavy handed.

  • 3 AsatNo Gravatar // Feb 9, 2010 at 3:35 am

    I’d forgotten about “Insight”!  Well, more like repressed all memories of it.  Wow, no wonder I dread waking up before noon on Sunday mornings.  As a kid I used to be up before dawn, hoping for more cartoons, and what did I get?  Scarring melodrama and “Vision On”!
    Also unsettling: “Inside Out”, a PBS series that set up a problematic ethical situation and then ended without any resolution…ostensibly to promote discussion.  But the real reason was to drive adolescent viewers mad with anxiety.

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