Psoriasis TV Appearances

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know that I am a movie geek. I love watching and critiquing a wide variety of genres and titles. On top of that, I only have to watch a movie once, and I can quote it for years. My wife always jokes that she wishes I remembered appointments and birthdays, as well as I, remembered movie lines.

One thing I have noticed through the years is that once in a while I will be surprised by a psoriasis reference on the big screen. Sometimes they make me laugh, other times it is a stark reminder that mainstream culture doesn’t really understand what psoriasis is. I compiled my top three most notable psoriasis mentions.

"The Singing Detective"

Debuting in 2003 starring Robert Downey Jr., this low-rated flick was based off a mini series from the 80s. While it’s cool to think that Iron Man has a psoriatic background, this movie doesn’t do justice to those that have the disease. In fact, most of the descriptions of the plot describe the main character as having a “terrible skin condition” without even naming the disease or it’s ties to the immune system. No to mention, he looks more like a burn victim than someone with psoriasis.

There were a few areas of the movie I could relate to. The movie centers around his hallucinations of himself in exciting stories. There have been many times in my disease that I have fantasized about being someone else; someone without a chronic disease. I also was struck by a line from the doc in the movie “It’s tempting to believe that the poisons of the mind have erupted onto the surface of the skin.” Boy, oh boy, can I remember times when I wanted to find a “why?" to my disease and was convinced it was something I did. Overall, not the best representation of what we go through.

"Shallow Hal"

This is one of my all-time favorite movies. Shallow guy gets a spell put on him by Tony Robbins that distorts his view of people. He sees them based on what kind of person they are. A mean person looks to him to be ugly, even if physically they are beautiful. On the flip side, those with good hearts he sees as attractive, even if they aren’t by society’s standard.

There is one scene where Hal is jealous of a former boyfriend of his current girlfriend. He is raving about how he doesn’t understand why she wouldn’t want to go back with him and says: “I could practically see the halo around his head. I can’t compete with that!” to which she responds, “OK, first of all, you’re probably the only person in the free world to ever refer to Ralph as a ‘pretty boy’. Secondly, that halo around his head, it’s called psoriasis. You can’t stand within three feet without getting flaked on.

I distinctly remember watching this with my now-wife and sinking down into the theatre seat. I am pretty sure every person with psoriasis cringed inside at that part of the movie. Not only was psoriasis used as the “ugly” feature of the person, but they also took a stab at the one characteristic of the disease that is most embarrassing. That being said…I still love the movie and will forgive that part.

"Orange is the New Black"

Alright—I know this isn’t a movie but roll with me here. I don’t know much about this show, because I don’t watch it. My wife is the fan, and she made me watch a clip that mentioned psoriasis, because well…our lives revolve around it! So apparently there is an inmate that is talking to one of the guards, and he makes a comment about not being able to get rid of her. She responds by saying “you can just think of me as your prison psoriasis.” Again, we see another negative connotation towards the disease, but also one that is spot on. I know I roll my eyes and think—ug, you again! —when I see a new spot. So, I will let this one slide.

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