Well, it seems we have found ourselves sucked into yet another melodramatic television series. This time, it’s AMC’s “The Killing”. This show brings a brooding and morose feel to Sunday night television, in case you were feeling too happy or optimistic. The story revolves around the murder of a teenage girl in Seattle and the subsequent manhunt. It is modern era Noir, and includes an ensemble of dead beats, likeable drug addicts, absentee parents… and that’s just the cops!
The Killing could be your guide to inept police investigations, corrupt politics, obsessive determination, or keeping your hair looking decent in near constant rain. But I prefer to take it as the perfect guide how NOT to be a parent, by observing the actions of Stan and Mitch Larsen. The Larsens are the unfortunate parents of Rosie Larsen, the girl who is tragically murdered and dumped in a pond. I cannot begin to imagine what the pain and grief would be like to lose a child, so to even think I can criticize their actions following the death of their child is absurdly presumptuous.
And yet, I persist. Why? Because these two people seem to be devising the perfect road map for how not to react to tragedy. After all, they have two remaining children, though you could easily forget that fact – the Larsens seemed to have. Warning- If you are not caught up on the series, but are interested in watching it, there are some spoilers in this.
So without further ado,
How Not to be a Parent, According to Stan and Mitch Larsen:
1. Focus on yourself as the only real victim when tragedy strikes.
It is awful that Rosie Larsen is murdered… for her entire family. Mitch seems to think this horrible event only really effects her, as she never seems to acknowledge the grief of others. Her two young boys have lost a sister, but she takes no pains to try and comfort them or be there for them. Everyone around her just makes it worse. Don’t they understand the pain she’s feeling?! Yes, Mitch. They really do.
2. When you do finally spend time with your children, neglect them, scare them, and nearly kill them.
Let’s go for a drive! Here, in the garage! Only, I’m going to get out of the car and leave you kids here. Be good! Deep breaths!
Come on, Mitch! I know you’re upset. I know you don’t really have a handle on things. But at some point zoning out while your kids are sucking carbon monoxide in the four runner should be a heads up that maybe you should seek some help. Her reaction upon learning of this misstep could be summed up as: “Oops”.
3. Abandon Your Children When They Need You Most.
Clearly, Mitch is a danger to her children. Well, it’s the children’s fault! Everything hurts her! Instead of seeking grief counseling, going to her family for support, or doing anything that demonstrates she has genuine concern for the rest of the Larsens, Mitch takes off, citing the fact that their very presence in her eyes brings her pain. Love you, too, Mom!
4. Make Sure Justice is Done by Attacking Anyone Who is a Suspect.
The anger overflows in Stan following the murder of his daughter. Who could blame him for that? Who could blame him for almost killing a man because he was a person of interest in the investigation…wait, what?! Yeaaaaaaah, no. See, turns out the guy Stan beat within an inch of his life didn’t kill Rosie after all. Stan would have discovered this had he waited even a few minutes before unleashing the fury fists.
At least Stan turned himself in after realizing this, teaching a lesson to all who know him that it is foolish and dangerous and disruptive to try and take matters in your own hands. Except, his mentally unstable best bud who goes and does the exact same thing to the next suspect, who turns out to not be involved, either. Which brings me to my next point,
5. Allow Mentally Unstable and Deluded People to Integrate with Your Family and be Near Your Children.
Belko. Good hearted ticking time bomb of self-loathing, delusional sense of duty, and dangerous sensibilities. Looking for a babysitter?
6. Alienate Anyone Who has a Positive Influence on Your Children.
While Mitch is out buying pancakes for hitchhikers and Stan is beating the shit out of anyone with shifty eyes, who is left to watch the two young Larsen boys? Thankfully, Aunt Terry is there to seamlessly pick up the slack, save the boys from asphyxiating in the garage, and to maintain a sense of normalcy for these poor abandoned children. They trust her, and she even manages to muster a smile or two from the beleaguered boys. Clearly, Aunt Terry is a bitch who must be shunned.
Stan is quick to rid her from the premises after discovering she participated with an online escort service. Granted, that’s some pretty lascivious behavior, but it’s not like Stan the Man is so upstanding. You know, he almost killed that guy who was innocent? And Terry bailed him out when Mitch said screw it and blew off. Oh, yeah, and Stan used to work for the mob and borrowed money from them. Also, Terry is the only one who gives a shit about his kids!
7. Lie to Your Children. CONSTANTLY.
Regarding paternity: What’s it matter? Regarding Belko’s death? Belko who? Shut up, brat. Talking to kids is uncomfortable and weird. It is always best not to do it, and just pretend everything is fine and they are normal. Their endless sobs are the sounds of consistent parenting.
8. Don’t be the Adult. Show them Kids Who’s Boss.
When your whiny bitch of a son is crying and complaining, just because his mother left him and his father is emotionally vacant and drove away the only positive person in his life, teach him what’s what with a firm open palm slap across his tiny little mug. Then scream and tell him you hate him. He’ll probably grow up to be a doctor.