The dentists are mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.
According to a report in the New York Daily News, the Big Apple faction of the dental industry is plenty steamed over their depiction in the new Woody Allen movie Blue Jasmine.
Already generating glowing reviews and Oscar buzz, the film casts Australian actress Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, a divorced and destitute ex-New York socialite who relocates to San Francisco and takes a job with a seemingly respectable dentist Dr. Flicker (Michael Stuhlberg).
Before Jasmine can settle into her new duties, however, Dr. Flicker is making sexual advances and demonstrating generally unacceptable employer behaviour.
Dentists are fed up with their cinematic portrayal, which has been repeatedly sullied by the entertainment industry ever since W.C. Fields played a tipsy tooth-puller in the 1932 comedy short The Dentist.
Consider the glaring examples of bad dentists throughout film history. In Marathon Man (1976), Laurence Olivier was evil incarnate as an ex-Nazi who tortured Dustin Hoffman by drilling a hole into one of his front teeth.
In the film version of Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Steve Martin was a nitrous-huffing nutcase who actually got off on inflicting pain on his patients.
More recently, Jennifer Aniston played a sexually voracious dentist in the 2011 black comedy Horrible Bosses (and it’s probably worth pointing out that Aniston’s character on the TV series Friends was cuckolded by her cheating dentist fiancé Barry).
“Onscreen, we range from killers to buffoons to sexual harassers,” says Dr. Mark S. Wolff, chairman of the New York University College of Dentistry.
And remember that classic Seinfeld episode in which Jerry was worried his tooth-care specialist was groping him while he was under anesthesia? The dental industry was not nearly amused as viewers.
“Movies and TV definitely have fun at dentists’ expense,” Upper West Side dentist Dr. Debra Glassman told the Daily News. “Dentistry gets a bum rap. Patients have to have complete trust in their dentist. I treat everyone as if I’m the one who’s in the chair.”
Give full marks to the dental profession for not holding a grudge. Although Dr. Wolff believes Blue Jasmine isn’t likely to make people admire dentists, he also hopes that Allen has a really great dentist. “If he needs one,” says Dr. Wolff, “we’re happy to help with a referral.”
Note to readers: This story has been updated to include the fact that Cate Blanchett is an Australian actress, not British