Is a Web-memorial for “Kutner” a bit too far?

Hes not really dead.  I mean, he still has Megan Fox.  Oh wait...

He's not really dead. I mean, he still has Megan Fox. Oh wait...

Here is the problem with this. Tonight, in the episode of House, the character Kutner committed suicide.  The show was heartfelt, with people crying, asking questions, and trying to figure out what went wrong to reconcile their feelings of loss.  The show even give some PSA message at the end, telling people that there were places a person could go if they were having suicidal thoughts.  Then, like a stupid kid trying to push the good deed a bit too far, Fox hosts a website dedicated to Kutner.  Uh.  Kutner wasn’t real.  At all.  Like, not even close.  By creating a website for a fake character that commited suicide is like me wearing a black arm band for Hawk, or holding a candle light vigil for Derek.  Even though I enjoy these characters, even though I will miss the character of Kutner being on television, these people aren’t real.  And there are real people who have committed suicide, and real people have created web pages mourning these real people.  Isn’t it a bit much?  Isn’t it a bit disrespectful?  The act of giving these adulations to a fictional character lightens the weight of real people having real mental issues and making horrible decisions because of it.  I think it is a bit much, and entertainment media needs to be careful just how deep the barbs of their heart-strings go.

Shhh! Being awesome is a secret!

"Shhh! Being awesome is a secret!"

(UPDATE) Kal Penn, the guy who played Kutner, has a very good reason for leaving the show.  He’s going to work for the Obama Administration.  Seriously. From Us

Penn will be the associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Liaison & Intergovernmental Affairs — a similar job he had while campaigning for Obama last year. “They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations,” Penn explains. “They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House.” Penn — known for his role in the stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle — says he had been “thinking” about moving into politics “for a while. I love what I do as an actor. I couldn’t love it more. But probably from the time I was a kid, I really enjoyed that balance between the arts and public service,” he says. “I thought this might be the right time to go off and do something else. There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs,” he says. “Obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor.”

Wow. This sort of makes the Web Memorial even a little more embarassing.  Raise your hand if you can say you’d stop acting to help Obama fix the world.  Yeah, I see a ton of hands raising…

[Special thanks to Mike!]


9 thoughts on “Is a Web-memorial for “Kutner” a bit too far?

  1. I think the website memorial is not in good taste or in good health. Many people struggle with depression and suicidal feelings. This feels off, wrong and as you say, disrespectful.

  2. It was amazing that they killed off a major character. But yeah, the website is over the top.

    I was glad they posted the 800 number though, which also comes up when you google “suicide prevention hotline.” I hope in this time of economic darkness, people who need that will use it.

    It would have been far better as a “memorial” if they had done something to publish suicide prevention information and links at that website.

    It also makes no sense yet that Kutner killed himself.

  3. what ever. its a site, get over it. if people want to make a site about there favorite character in a show let them. they know its a show. nothing to it. and as for it causing unhealthy “mental issues” is lame. if you really feel like by writing this that you’ve done good then you’ve wasted 10 mins of your life. go out into the world and help someone. don’t sit behind a screen and act like you have a voice that matters.

  4. “…these people aren’t real.”

    And neither is the internets. There are tons of things out there like this. Heroes has a whole side story that is interactive, which is even further removed from reality than this. It’s a website. About a dead character. There are many of them. Plus, I’m sure people who watch this show actually felt strong emotions when they saw this episode.

  5. a simple attempt to make sense of a personal struggle that is so intrinsic that most people fear the consequence of confronting it’s reality. That which we try to interpret from our impression of the most internal struggle, that of our own self-worth, when reflected in art, or attempts of art, will never truly gauge the epic nature of this struggle. Our life is our own and only true possession and that which motivates some individuals to abort their nature struggle, leaves this planes of understanding with them. This is our one moment, our one choice, our one life…

  6. It’s pretty interesting to hear why Kal Penn left the show. I assumed it was his decision to leave. But, to your point, Jay, I definitely think the memorial website is in poor taste. It was very, very gauche to see that after the powerful message they delivered in the show and the nice PSA following the shoe. Anyway, here is why he left…

    Penn will be the associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Liaison & Intergovernmental Affairs — a similar job he had while campaigning for Obama last year.

  7. I thought the memorial was bullcrap — in VERY poor taste. FOX has lost the ability make decent decisions.

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