The 32-year-old writer and bioethicist sums up her field as “basically those topics that people don’t want to talk about.” Having watched the sitcom about four older women sharing a house in Florida since age 2, Yuko began to realize that a lot of the issues in her research, like end-of-life care and HIV, were addressed in the show.
“Because the four characters on the show are so well established, they offer a very effective lens for looking at complex issues,” she says. “Really, for a lot of people, their first exposure to bioethics is through exposure to TV and movies.”
If pop culture can teach us about ourselves, what about the people we’re watching?
“There are so many ethical issues in terms of possible exploitation of performers, consent issues, paternalism [telling differently abled people they can’t perform],” she says. “And there are also ethical issues in terms of being a consumer — what should we be thinking about while watching it?”