Last night  one of the story lines on 30 Rock revolved around allergies.

***Spoiler Alert***

A couple of the characters suffered from food allergies.  The reactions of the other cast members exhibited extreme insensitive and ignorance about the seriousness of food allergies. First there was Liz Lemon’s (Tina Fey) declaring that allergies were not real and merely psychosomatic. Then Jenna (Jana Krackowski)  intentionally spiked Kenneth’s (Jack McBrayer) food with strawberries. Yes, she knew he was extremely allergic to strawberries. Her motivation was to see the cute EMT who responded to the earlier call again.  Of course her plan failed. Kenneth faked an allergic reaction to teach Jenna  a lesson. In the end, Jenna confesses to Kenneth. In an effort to be a good friend Kenneth intentionally ingests strawberries so she can call 911 again.

***End Alert***

Yes, I know they make fun of everything on 30 Rock. However last night’s episode  crossed the line.  As someone who suffers from several food and medicine allergies I am outraged by this story line.

Unfortunately, many today still believe as Liz Lemon that allergies are not real. Somehow they are just imagined or the delusions of a picky eater.  I have actually had people chew me out for checking to see if food was safe for me to eat. I’ve been told that it is rude and I should be grateful for the food. I even had one co-worker who was determined to break me of my pickiness by openly attempting to block my efforts to determine if the food was safe. When I would explain the situation the co-worker would reply that the acid in orange juice (one of the foods I’m allergic to) gave her an upset stomach too and that I should just take a tums.  I am allergic to two of my favorite foods and if it were that simple to get over the allergies I would. I’ve had another adult lie to me about ingredients in food because we were eating with people from a culture where it was rude to refuse food.  It seems to me that it would be less offensive to ask rather than die from an allergic reaction.

Another element I found offensive was how 30 Rock made light of the seriousness of allergies. Honestly, I don’t know anyone with allergies who would knowingly ingest allergens for some crazy scheme.   There is a  common misunderstanding that a “little bit” won’t hurt you. My response is no it can kill me.

Food allergies pose a serious health risk for many. While my allergy to strawberries has never been that serious my reaction to oranges and shellfish can be quite serious. I can have a reaction to shellfish without even having ingested it. All I have to do is be near where it is being cooked. Many simple things like eating out, buffets, a church dinner, remember which resturants garinsh plates with fruit or even getting an ice cream cone can lead to a potentially life threatening reaction.

8 thoughts on “Allergies Aren’t Funny

  1. Does anyone in your family have allergies? How do they explain allergies then? It seems that sometimes the church is the worst with dealing with allergies. Either they deny it could be a problem or no one can identify who made a particular dish and its ingredients.

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  2. My five year old son has multiple, severe food allergies. It is a challenge keeping him safe, but he has never known anything different, and is already learning to keep himself safe.

    It seems every time there is a step forward with someone like Trace Atkins doing lots of interviews to benefit FAAN, someone writes a boneheaded column about food allergies not being real or a show like this comes on. It will live in reruns forever, and I wonder if some impressionable child will decide to eat something they are allergic to as a “favor.” [Bangs head against desk.]

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  3. DH can’t eat shellfish. They finally stopped buying shrimp cocktail at family gatherings. Our biggest issue isn’t food allergies but run of the mill allergies. My BILs wife is allergic to almost everything to the point where her allergist told her not to go to the ILs anymore (they smoke and have cats and she tends to swell up like a balloon for weeks)…and MIL told me that she thought it was in her head.

    My mom is allergic to mushrooms and she had to stop going to chinese places because they would just pick the mushrooms out…one day she ended up in the ER from anaphalactic shock…

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  4. Libby,

    Yes it is troubling that a kid might try that.

    Mom,

    I think that the is something just being figured out about allergies. Also, allergies to penicillin run in our family as well.

    Sandy,

    Yes that is troubling. I have similar problems with smoke & cats at my in-laws.

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  5. You’re “outraged” by the storyline… Do you have an allergy to things that are funny? Just because YOU have a food allergy, not all of us do, and it’s quite ammusing. I am sorry that you have to suffer with such severe allergies, however I have had times where television shows have poked fun at things I deal with, and I am by no means offended.

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    1. Chris,

      Dealing with allergies is quite different that dealing with things. Allergies can be a matter of life and death. It is idiots like you that pose a threat to people with allergies. Idiots like you kill a child with a peanut allergy because they give the child a peanut butter cookie. After all you think a little bit won’t hurt them. It is idiots like you that lie to someone with a food allergy resulting in an ER trip.

      Allergies are not a problem that you deal with they are a serious medical condition. Would you find it funny if they made fun of someone with diabetes or a heart condition? Ok, probably you would because you are clearly lacking all common sense or decency.

      Outraged is not the same as offended. I’m not offended. It is absurd that today supposedly intelligent adults find such a serious medical condition funny. I am outraged that idiots like you find it funny. You obviously are lacking any morals or common sense.

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