I am a devout fan of The Office, but I was not laughing at Will Ferrell as Deangelo Vickers in last night’s episode.
When he was describing himself to the Dunder Mifflin family, he mentioned that he has a peanut allergy and followed up by saying “It’s something I live with,” indicating the seriousness of the allergy. Then, later, when jealousy prompted Michael to act out by entering the room with a platter of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, the drama increased as Vickers backed away in panic. The Dunderites yelled at Michael to stop, but this only lead to him tossing the sandwich squares across the room. Vickers then also yelled for him to stop saying that contact with peanuts would make him itch all day. To which Jim said, “You mean you won’t go into anaphylactic shock?” Vickers replied, “No, I just be itchy. It’s all about comfort man.”
Message to Will Ferrell and the writers of my beloved Office: Depicting someone with a peanut allergy as an annoying person that fears peanuts because exposure will cause mere discomfort is really irresponsible.
Nut allergies are among the most deadly of all allergens. Yes, deadly. They don’t just cause itchiness. They can be fatal.
There is already a lot of frustration, misunderstanding and even hostility out there when people have to accommodate an allergy sufferer, such as in a school setting where peanut butter has been banned. In an attempt to be funny, you’ve just spread more misunderstanding.
As the mother of a child with a nut allergy, it impacts our life every day. It requires consistent vigilance at every meal, every restaurant, every snack, every family gathering, every birthday party, every playdate and on and on. I feel sad that my daughter has to live with this, but there is nothing I can do to take it away.
Making light of this serious, burdensome and deadly allergy is no laughing matter.