It’s not even that they killed off one of my favourite characters and destroyed my favourite couple - I’m not happy about that, obviously, but it’s almost beside the point. I was unhappy with the show way back in Season 3. I think it had something to do with co-creator Jon Robin Baitz getting fired by ABC, but whatever the reason, the show changed. It stopped being emotionally resonant and interesting, and instead started playing to clichés and changing characters completely for no reason.
I truly fell in love with the show during an episode in Season 1 with a flashback where Kitty recounts to Justin what it was like being in New York on 9/11 and I started crying, which is rare for me during television shows. Back then, I actually believed in those characters and I loved the way the show portrayed politics within a family. It didn’t give you any easy, trite answers back then, and even though I’m sure if I lived in the US I’d be a Democrat, I found myself listening to Kitty’s Republican opinions and pausing for thought. In fact, when I first started watching the show, I barely knew anything about American politics, but I found it so interesting that I then went on to watch The West Wing and follow the Obama campaign closely. I miss that show. The show that wasn’t afraid to talk politics, or portray a gay man’s love life realistically, or deal with the reality of finding out that who someone you admired and is now gone wasn’t who you thought he was.
Now what? Since Season 3, we’ve had characters who’ve been all over the place. Kitty went from loving politics, to hating campaigning and wanting kids, to deciding she wanted to run for office. Kevin went from being a lawyer who was very much a Democrat to working for a Republican senator. And then we had plotlines that were just reused over and over. After a whole season about Rebecca finding out she was William Walker’s daughter, she found out that she wasn’t, and some other guy was his son instead. After a whole season about Tommy and his fertility problems, they decided to give Kitty fertility problems too. And finally, the icing on the cake is that, from what I hear, the show has made a decision that politics will no longer be a part of it (which I believe had something to do with axing Robert).
So what’s left? Fabricated family drama with no real substance. People used to like Brothers and Sisters because you could relate to the characters and their situations. I see parts of myself in Kitty, and her relationship with Justin sometimes reminds me of how I am with my younger brother. Now, I can’t relate to any of these characters. And the heartbreaking part is that the actors are all so, so good that it seems like such a waste. They deserve better, and so does the audience.
I’m sorry for this long rant, but it’s just that I remember vividly watching an episode of Brothers and Sisters with my parents and laughing and crying with them and enjoying myself so much that at the end of it I said that it was probably my favourite TV show. Now I can’t even bear to watch it.