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Silly to say it, perhaps, but be warned that there are spoilers for the Season 2 premiere of Adam Ruins Everything below.
For Season 1 of the binge-friendly Adam Ruins Everything, host and comedian Adam Conover conquered a smorgasbord of sometimes controversial topics and dropped a wealth of knowledge on viewers in every episode. For the highly anticipated Season 2 premiere, the show took on the endlessly complicated world of childbirth, and when Conover recently spoke with CinemaBlend about that and other episodes, I asked about the biggest surprises that came out of the premiere, and we shared a sense of awe over just how often postpartum depression occurs with both new mothers and new fathers.
I was very surprised by that. I was mostly surprised to learn how common it was. That episode come out of one of our head writers, whose sister had had a baby and had serious postpartum depression. And she talked about how nobody talks about it. I think there's more instances of it now, but the dialogue isn't there because the central narrative of motherhood, and fatherhood, is so much that you look into your baby's eyes, and you fall instantly in love, and your lives are changed forever, and you'd take a bullet for your kid. A lot of people don't feel that way, so then they privately had this experience of, 'I don't feel that way about my baby.' And they feel like there's something wrong with them, that they're a bad parent, when they've done nothing yet. You know? And that's horrible. So that was really striking to me, and I was happy we were able to get in there.
Speaking from personal experience, that section of the episode was a total game-changer, as that's information everyone should already be aware of. Many times when you watch a movie or a TV show that offers up a baby's delivery within a fictional narrative, or hear a timely anecdote, it's almost always portrayed exactly as he says, with the instant gratification and connection overshadowing any other emotions. (Not to mention all other post-birth practices involving clean-up and the like.) And sure, that does happen for some families, but not all families. And if Adam ruined any kind of stigma against acknowledging postpartum depression is a regular thing, we're pretty okay with that.
The episode, plainly titled "Adam Ruins Childbirth," was about as heavy as Adam Ruins Everything gets, and the host was not oblivious to the fact that he might attract some raised eyebrows as a man going on TV and telling both women and men that we're all likely misinformed about some things. But he assured me the females within the writing team and the crew were instrumental into all of it coming together. (And none of those females was Gwyneth Paltrow, who may or may not still think that steaming ones nethers will cure postpartum.)
Plus, as it goes with every episode of Adam Ruins Everything, its host and research posse weren't going into topics with pre-suppositions, and went where the facts took them. And Adam Conover told me he was also pretty stunned by the section about fertility myths, which opened his eyes up to how widespread and permeating those misconceptions can be for women.
The part about fertility I thought was shocking. Not because I had put stock in the 'fertility plummets in women after 35' factoid. But because the original study was so bad and had been spread so widely. We talk about bad science on our show all the time, and bad media reporting, but this is a really egregious example. I'm 34, I have many women in my life who are approaching that age, and they think that their time is running out right now, when they probably have 10 more years or so. That's horrible that they feel that pressure when it's a fantasy. It's not real. The pressure's not real . . . . I was really astounded by the intensity of the pressure that is put on women -- and men as well, but it's safe to say women bear the brunt of it [laughs] - at that point of life. Dating, marriage, engagement, all those things turn the pressure up and seemingly put the most false facts on people. But oh man, around having a baby, it is. More than anything.
Adam Ruins Everything has a ways to go before it runs out of topics, but I'm sure a short season's worth of episodes could be released focused entirely on birth (and pregnancy) myths and misunderstandings. And for what it's worth, Adam Conover said there's always a chance that the show could return to certain subject matter that had been covered in a previous episode, but that they'd likely find a different way to cover it so that it felt different enough.