Thursday, July 28, 2005

Over There: Iraq's ER

Over There is a new war drama on FX based on what is on in Iraq. I've been skeptical about this show for quite a while. Partly this is because I think it is too soon for a fair treatment of the subject. Emotional and political objectivity about the war will require time. Mostly it is because the people who are heralding the series are Newsweek and the New York Times. In short they are the people who I trust the least to get the story right.

Most Iraqi war vets think it is a bad combination of overly-sensational and poorly-researched. Many of the early shows are non-stop combat, a scenario that Iraqi Veterans call unrealistic. What is a soldier's life? Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Most of their time is spent waiting for orders, training, and performing humanitarian missions which are conspicuously absent from the show. They also get the tactics wrong in ways that the vets consider stupid. For instance the pilot has soldiers driving over a marked landmine.

Now these problems may not be entirely deliberate. ER suffers from similar problems. For those who have never worked an ER rotation, they generally involve sitting around and trying to find things to do. To make a single season of ER, you would have to compile the equivalent of every worst day in the ER ever from a staff member's entire career. I expect Over There to be much the same. I am very concerned about this show turning Iraq into Vietnam II because, for one reason, many of the creative staff members are from the Vietnam era and may project their own experiences onto this new war.

UPDATE: For a collation of reviews from actual military blogger who have been there, check out this post at Arghhhh!

No comments: