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Of disability and Glee. May 20, 2010

Posted by phoenixaeon in Disability, ECA, End of EA300, Glee, Joss Whedon, OU, Safety Dance, TV.
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So, yesterday I finally got to see the episode of Glee that I had been waiting for: Whedon Glee. Yes, Joss Whedon directed the episode and being a Whedonoholic I had to watch.

At the end of the episode – titled Dream On, I didn’t know whether or not to feel offended. I know I felt a bit grrr. You see, the episode focused on Artie, the disabled kid confined to a wheelchair. Now, while it’s good that there is a disabled character in the show, I had already been through the yay! then the grrr! when discovering he wasn’t actually disabled (yeah, the ‘Why couldn’t they have hired a real wheelchair user’ argument flared there), but this episode added a new dimension to that argument. When, in the middle of the show, he says he’s been trying out the new therapies and that they’re working, I was thinking, no, they can’t do this. First, one foot off the footrest. Then the other. Nah-ah! Then he stands, walks over to a CD player and puts the music on. ‘All I wanna do is… dance,’ he says.

Well, I felt as if it were mocking the people stuck in wheelchairs. I watched in stunned disgruntledness as he danced, jumped, leapt up stairs. Not good. (Yep, can you see the chip on my shoulder yet?)

As it got to the end of the episode, I was still feeling a little bit grrr. But then I thought about it – because I often react before I think, something I really should get under control. Anyway, it occurred to me that the scene was actually quite deep and I could also see the sense in hiring an able-bodied character to play the part. You see, when I dream, I never dream of myself being disabled. I’m always able to walk (and I mean walk properly, not the doddery wobble I call a walk!), run, climb, whatever. So having an able-bodied actor in the part of a disabled character makes sense if you want to demonstrate this. I can’t believe I had been so blinkered not to realise the potential at the beginning.

I hadn’t realised how bitter I felt about losing the ability to walk until now. Eep. I think I need to sort that out, as it really is just a sad fact of life. Ho hum.

Anyway. Enough of this ECA avoidance. I have just under 150 words left to conclude the pantsness of the essay and then EA300 is done. And then I can relax. Maybe read a book that I don’t have to analyse. Like I’m ever going to be able to read a book un-analytically again now!

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Comments»

1. I used to have such balance but I don’t know where it went. « An alien voice under a duvet of dreams. - September 2, 2010

[…] in Abyss gazing, LGMD, Stupid wheelchair. trackback A while I ago, I posted a rant about disability and Glee. I mentioned in the post my bitterness regarding the scene where Artie stood from his wheelchair […]

2. phoenixaeon - June 22, 2010

What is this Penguin’s Problem you speak of? I’ve just done a quick search online and can find no mention of it. I am very intrigued now!

3. Powerfairy - May 31, 2010

Maybe you should write about it, how bitter you are. Where its been hiding and why it has been hidden.

And as for reading, The Way Back Home, by Oliver Jeffers, I could read that forever, but read it as if its written for an adult and not a child . And read Cathy Horton’s Penguin’s Problem. If you can’t find it let me know.


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