Raising Hope Raises Eyebrows

Did anyone see the “Tarot Reader” episode of FOX TV’s sitcom Raising Hope which aired a few weeks ago? I’d be interested to hear your comments and opinions if you did.

It was insulting to readers and clients alike … or was it? Although the usual stereotypical depictions of both parties were in place, by the end of the episode some good points had been made.

Let’s start with the offensive depictions, which include but are not limited to:

  • The notion that a stranger has the secret and magical answer to the dilemmas of life.
  • The depiction of readers as a demanding, rude, and abrasive lot.
  • The concept that psychics are ready and willing to accept payment (cash only, please) for bogus information.
  • The fact that beaded curtains and tacky furnishings are a prerequisite for the trade.

Granted, the clients who seek Virginia’s brand of guidance are a hapless bunch. Blindly trusting, they swallow everything that Virginia spews, all of which is rooted in her own opinion of what they should do: “Cut that rat-tail!” “Neuter your truck!” “Call your mother!” All of which opens the door to further offenses:

  • Readers are allowed to tell you what to do because they’re  all-knowing.
  • Readers tell you what you want to hear so you will pay them.

And perhaps the worst cut of all:

  • Clients who seek out the advice of Tarot readers are idiots and therefore deserve what they get.

As Virginia soon discovers, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes along with telling people what to do. Initially, she’s very impressed by this: “Now people sit up and listen [to me], like I’m a god … or Judge Judy.” But soon she sees the havoc she is wreaking by the misuse of her gifts, and as fast as that neon sign went up, it comes down. “It’s too much pressure! Too much power!” Which brings us to the “plus” side of this episode’s equation:

  • There is a lot of power and responsibility that goes along with being a reader. Both the reader and the client need to be aware of this fact.
  • A reader’s motivation counts: Is it about the power? Money? Self-importance? A lack of anything better to do?
  • Idiot readers attract idiot clients and vice-versa.
  • We all reap what we sow: readers, clients, and everyone in between.

All in all, I’d give this episode of Raising Hope a “7” on the offensiveness scale, an “8” on the net value scale, and a “9” on the entertainment/interest scale. Tarot has a lot of trouble being taken seriously, and this little melodrama probably didn’t help matters. But the Tarot, like an elusive dream, does manage to regularly float to the surface of American popular culture. If you happened to have seen the episode, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

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2 Comments

  1. Josephine Mori said,

    February 20, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Tarot is a Raymond Chandler blonde. http://filmsnoir.net/film_noir/marlowe-on-blondes.html

  2. Cathy said,

    February 20, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    Yeah, you know I like the show but I couldn’t watch that episode. I read Tarot, pictures and do medium work. 99.9% of the time I do NOT take money unless it really seems important to the client to pay me. It’s not about ego or money, it’s about helping people and they come to me, I don’t go out looking for them. If they need me, I have a good reputation built up, they find me in the grocery store, call me on the phone, etc. and I help them. It’s what I’m here for just like your accountant is there to do your taxes and your dentist cleans your teeth. I have a bachelor’s degree, I am an educated, fairly well off person with a job and a full life. I just also happen to have this one particula gift which, incidentally, has run in my family for generations.

    So…..having said all that…..yeah I found the episode really offensive. And since I otherwise enjoy the show, I felt a little betrayed by the writers as well.

    Thanks for the article!


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