I just finished watching Farrah’s Story and I wanted to salute her for creating a great documentary. I read a few articles previous to the airing of the show that asked the question, “why would someone so notoriously private want to record such a personal experience and share it with the world on network television?” My initial thoughts were that she wanted to spread awareness of cancer and how it not only invades tissue, marrow, and organs, but also the lives of those diagnosed as well as their family and friends, and in Farrah’s case, her fans. Farrah’s story accomplished all of that. But, I think it also accomplished something else – something that, whether conscious or not, played a large role in motivating Farrah to make this documentary and then to share it with the general public.
Farrah seemed extremely agitated by the leak of her personal medical information and also with the paparazzi that appeared to lurk around every corner, desperate to get a shot of her with a cane, in a wheelchair or even on a stretcher. I think what infuriated her most about it, and rightly so, is that the tabloids’ presentation of her battle with cancer aspired only to show weakness. When people heard or read about Farrah Fawcett and her battle with cancer, the only images that they could reference were hospital and airport paparazzi photos on the covers of tabloids or on celebrity web sites. Farrah ripped those two-dimensional images right out of our brains and replaced them with the depth of a human narrative. There were moments of weakness, but Farrah was able to rescue her dignity by sharing her suffering with us in a manor that revealed a great deal of strength and grace. (It reminded me of Johnny Cash’s later recordings on American Records, which showed all of us the incredible spiritual strength that can reside in a body and voice that may appear weak on the surface)
Thank you Farrah – I wish you all the best with your continued struggle.
I encourage you all to watch Farrah’s Story if you have the chance. It isn’t a “masterpiece of modern film-making” by any stretch, but it is a wonderful example of what reality television has the capacity to be. As of today, here are the upcoming showings scheduled on the various NBC cable networks:
MSNBC – Sat, Jun 27 – 1:00 PM
OXYGN – Sat, Jun 27 – 3:30 PM
OXYGN – Sun, Jun 28 – 8:00 AM
MSNBC – Sun, Jun 28 – 6:00 PM
(From TVGuide.com – All times EST)
Other Farrah specials:
Saturday, June 27
E! – 4:30 PM – Michael & Farrah: Lost Icons
TV Land – 7-9 PM – Charlie’s Angels, two episodes
TV Land – 9 PM – Chasing Farrah, the first two episodes of her 2005 reality show
Sunday, June 28
E! – 10 AM – Michael Jackson & Farrah Fawcett: Lost Icons
Monday, June 29
E! – 10 PM – Michael & Farrah: Lost Icons
Biography Channel – 10 PM – Bio Remembers: Farrah Fawcett, a tribute to the star
Click here to see my previous Farrah post in which I show my admiration for Farrah with a pen and ink drawing a silly arrangement of Charlie’s Angels trading cards.
Here are a few more reviews of the documentary on the web:
UPDATE! NBC has made the entire documentary available on line! They’ve divided it up into eleven parts, which I have included below – or you can watch them at MSNBC.
UPDATE 6/25/09 – Possibly because of Farrah’s passing, MSNBC has removed most of the Farrah’s Story videos from their site. I’m hoping they will be re-posted soon or that they will be re-airing the documentary on television. Either way, I will update this post when I hear anything. Until then, I think I found the beginning of Farrah’s Story on a different video hosting site. (My apologies for the fact that the videos automatically start) If you know of anywhere else the video is available to watch online, please leave a comment.
MSNBC has put a couple of the videos back up (parts 4 and 11) so maybe the others will be close behind.
UPDATE 6/27/09 – The videos are back up! Here is the complete documentary in eleven parts:
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