(This post discusses sensitives themes in regards to depression and it diagnosis)
When you mention As Told By Ginger to people old enough to have seen it, it is guaranteed portion of that conversation will either:
A) Be everyone singing a bit of the theme song
B) Making your feelings about Miranda known
C) Mentioning the vague memories you have of a weird episode that everyone though main character ginger was sad.
We are here to take about C, the episode where everyone believes that Ginger might have clinical depression or even suicidal depression.
For those uninitiated into the world of As Told By Ginger, it was about middle schooler, Ginger Foutley, who like most preteens (and later teenager) has all matter of troubles. Whether it be the struggle for popularity, boys, divorced parents, and gross siblings, all of it is chronicled in her diary throughout each episode. The show resonated with its target demographic and had quite a few “special episodes”
The special episode we are talking about today is the show’s season 2 episode, And She Was Gone. In it, budding writer Ginger writes a poem for a writing contest and is shocked when the response from the adults around her is to think she has depression. A diagnosis that spreads throughout her school resulting in varying responses from classmates.
The poem “And She Was Gone”:
If there is one thing that I note about the poem, it is interesting to listen to the reactions from the real people who hear it, especially back when the episode came out. It is weird how almost universal the reaction of most is to some way or form, relate to Ginger. Those moments when an angst soaked teenage brain wishes to just escape everything, but more so when a person who may find the very act of existing to be a pain, wishes for a lack of it.
The confusion of Ginger’s surroundings is very well written. Even her bully/rival Miranda says if she had known she would have been easier on Ginger (a gross sentiment but a whole new level of kindness from her). The whole ride is confusing as Ginger is not even certain she has depression. She joins a school suggested group, encounters the reality of everyone else’s feelings and in the end, the growth she has gone through is somehow acknowledging the fact she should be allowed to decide how she feels but also that maybe the complexity of her feeling is something a bit beyond her. That discussing her feelings with others and learning about what makes others have their dark moments, is important.
Overall it is one of the most tasteful representations of depression in media, and those who suffer from it (I am speaking more about Ginger’s group). In the end, whether you reach the conclusion that Ginger has depression or not, it is always interesting to hear this portion of Ginger’s narration for the episode.
“Now the whole group therapy thing is over, I guess it wasn’t that bad, I’m kinda glad I stuck with it. I mean talking about your feelings is great way to past the time you know. I think the reason my poem struck a nerve was because everyone related to the main character including me, cause maybe us writers do put ourselves on to every page and maybe I didn’t write that story for the contest.”
“Maybe I had something to say but no matter what happens in the competition I already got more out of it then I meant to. Because somehow in writing that poem. I got a chance to know myself a little better to see myself a little more clearly and I kinda like what I saw, so even if I don’t get published I guess in someways … I already felt like I won.”
As Told By Ginger was an interesting and sometimes painfully relatable show. I think of And Now She Was Gone as being the best example of the shows brilliant writing.
One day we will talk about what I find the most cringe episode in the series…