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Magical Cripples and Their Life Lessons: Disability on TV


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#691

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Posted Jan 25, 2012 @ 4:10 PM

The movie "Coming Home" addressed this in a way I think no one who saw it would ever forget. But they can't be that graphic on network TV.
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#692

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Posted Jan 26, 2012 @ 12:57 AM

The movie "Coming Home" addressed this in a way I think no one who saw it would ever forget.


You're right -- I'll never forget it. Jon Voigt in his prime [crippled but handsome and sensitive] versus Bruce Dern as the uptight husband who can't compare.

Tonight I watched Beyond Belief on DVR, an uplifting hodgepodge of old segments from network TV. First, an American GI shot thru thu body into the leg with a live deadly RPG. Crying surgeons and bomb specialists. But the guy lived and was determined to walk again to receive his Purple Heart, which of course he did.

Then there was a dog who was being trained to be a service dog since she was born, but her doggy nature just couldn't cut it. It turned out she had great balance on a surfboard [who knew?], so she'd go out into the water with folks with a variety of disabilities, calm their fears, and help balance the board while raising millions for charities. But she was so good that they let her chase birds and hang out with the other regular doggies. For god's sake, they were considering her a failure because she acted like a normal dog when they wanted her to be Super Dog. I guess that's the theme, carried to animal extremes.
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#693

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Posted Jan 26, 2012 @ 11:40 AM

Super Crip, Super Dog....

I wish we as a culture would focus more on finding everyone a niche than on homogenizing with allowance for a few exceptionals.
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#694

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Posted Jan 26, 2012 @ 1:17 PM

I visit a website for folks with a wide variety of neurological problems under many sub-headings. In one, someone had posted a legit ad for models who considered themselves to have a disability. They were going to shoot on a certain date in NYC and then attend a gala in DC, so the person had to be available for those days. What I didn't get, even after reading it twice, was whether they were looking for average people with disabilities OR real glamorous working fashion models who had some kind of identifiable problem. I believe they were going to be some sort of "spokespersons", but I'd have to go back to check.

And therein lies the problem -- did they have to be stick-thin twentysomethings who knew how to walk a runway? Or were they supposed to be ADA average folks who were willing to attend these events? Because if the gig is that you have to be Perfect to look at, and then the audience finds out that you're only Almost Perfect and coping with a disablity, that only then will they cry, feel sorry for you and/or open their wallets and donate -- that equals a major problem for me.
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#695

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Posted Mar 4, 2012 @ 4:37 PM

I recently watched the first season of the United Stated of Tara on Netflix. I thought Toni Collette was amazing as Tara. I loved her male alter Buck the most. I thought it was great that the show didn't sugarcoat how difficult it can be for the families of someone with mental illness.
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#696

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Posted Mar 5, 2012 @ 10:19 AM

One of the most laughable controversies in recent memory is now going on over Once Upon a Time, after it portrayed dwarfs as a slave race that are hatched from eggs.

Apparently this is offensive to real-life dwarfs. Except...these aren't real-life dwarfs. They're a fantasy race who are even the same size as humans. It's like the reverse of the genuinely offensive review of Game of Thrones that called it a fantasy world with dwarfs, and is another one that just reeks of people wanting to be offended by something.
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#697

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Posted Mar 14, 2012 @ 4:06 PM

Megan Hunt's daughter on "Body of Proof" was diagnosed with Type I diabetes last night. Apparently Mary Mouser, the actress who portrays her, is diabetic in real life.
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#698

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Posted Mar 17, 2012 @ 9:10 PM

Speaking of dwarfs and political correctness, I smirked that Rosie O'Donnell went public about her admittedly weird fears of dwarfs and then, poof, show cancelled.

I doubt if the two events are connected but anyway, I like to imagine they were. Being gay, I liked Rosie about a decade ago when she was one of the few Hollywoodians insisting that gay parenting was no big deal, had no adverse effects on children, etc etc.

But after a while I got tired of her picking public fights with everyone and just wanted her to go home.
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#699

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 12:17 AM

Stephen Hawking had a cameo on The Big Bang Theory this week.
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#700

corvus13

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 11:55 PM

Stephen Hawking had a cameo on The Big Bang Theory this week.


I read that they were going to dub in his voice synthesizer but he asked them to use the real one.
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#701

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Posted Apr 8, 2012 @ 11:53 AM

Stephen Hawking had a cameo on The Big Bang Theory this week.

And he was just as funny as each of the regulars. I particularly enjoyed the fainter pun!
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#702

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Posted Jun 1, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

I'm seeing a lot of promotion of Sundance channel's new show, Push Girls, & I love what I see so far. Apparently the show follows several women who are wheelchair users & documents their daily lives. From what I've seen in various promos for it, they are all very vibrant, attractive, stylish, independent ladies & I feel like this is exactly what a lot of people need to be exposed to. It seems they're going to tackle the issue of relationships too, to which I say "AMEN!!!", as so many people still seem to think being paralyzed means you can't have sex/have kids. Unfortunately I don't get Sundance channel, but I'm hoping the show will end up elsewhere because I really don't want to miss it.
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#703

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Posted Jul 10, 2012 @ 1:39 PM

Having just taken a class at work on sensitivity when working with people with disabilities, one of the things we were taught was about 'soft bigotry' where the ablebodied presume the disabled cannot do something because of their disability. I've been watching MasterChef this season and it is fascinating how the treatment of Christine has been almost the definition of that. Not once, that I can recall, when an able bodied chef has been asked "Who is your biggest competition?" have they said Christine and yet she's been in the top more than any of them.
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#704

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Posted Jul 11, 2012 @ 4:10 AM

I have been wasting a lot of time lately, watching old game shows on GSN. Recently I saw an episode of one of the Pyramid incarnations (I can't remember if it was $25,000 or $100,000) where the contestants were all blind. They actually said it was "blind week" so every contestant all week was blind.

I only saw one show, but in the one I saw, they altered the format so that the contestants always "received" clues (usually they alternate between the celebrity guest and the contestant giving and receiving). Apparently they didn't want to figure out a way to allow the contestants to give (which usually involves reading a word that's hidden from a teammate). They could have used an earpiece to give those words via audio, but I guess they didn't want to bother.

Anyway, in the beginning of the show they ask the contestants what they do for a living, and one of them said she was an actress. The host asked what kind of roles she usually gets, and she said: "blind." She was trying to pass it off as humor, but the bitterness was evident beneath the snark, and I appreciated it quite a bit. You just know she gets scripts that call for "blind girl" rather than "love interest" or "career woman" or "mom."

They also asked the contestants if "blind" was considered an impolite word. Both of them said no. I thought that was a very weird question to ask.

The blind people I have known don't like the use of "blind" as a metaphor for ignorant or oblivious (blind loyalty, blind faith), but it seemed like the question was implying that it was somehow bad to use the word "blind" in any context, like it was a slur. Anyway, both of the blind people in the episode I saw seemed to find the question perplexing, as well.
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#705

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Posted Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:21 PM

Are there any common slurs for Blind or Deaf? This was brought to mind by this post, and a post elsewhere complaining about TSA abuse of deaf people in Minnesota, where TSA workers had allegedly referred to several people as "deafies" not realizing they could lip-read. That just seemed like a really awkward word to use as a slur, but searching my mind through all the slurs for various people I have heard over the years I truly couldn't come up with any. Are there common words or descriptors that we shouldn't be using?
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#706

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Posted Jul 12, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

I think people with disabilities tend to fall into extremes. The person who never complains about their life or the bitter person like House.

I think the only TV character I rememeber who never took offense with his own disability was Dr. Gregory House and he was offensive with everybody else.

Edited by visenya6, Jul 13, 2012 @ 12:47 AM.

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#707

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Posted Jul 12, 2012 @ 1:15 PM

Are there any common slurs for Blind or Deaf? This was brought to mind by this post, and a post elsewhere complaining about TSA abuse of deaf people in Minnesota, where TSA workers had allegedly referred to several people as "deafies" not realizing they could lip-read.

That's funny to me, because the deaf people I knew in college referred to themselves as "deafies" and to folks like me as "hearies." Or they'd refer to me as "deaf impaired," the way society sometimes referred to them as "hearing imparied." They weren't hard of hearing, they were soft of deaf.

Edited by StKatherine, Jul 12, 2012 @ 1:16 PM.

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#708

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Posted Jul 12, 2012 @ 9:34 PM

Charlie, a contestant on The Glee Project, has ADHD and indicated on his first talking head that he's mildly autistic. He got booted off this week for repeatedly being "All over the place" and failing to buckle down when it came time to perform. Well, yeah, that's classic symptoms of ADHD, isn't it? The show made absolutely no accomodation for him, unlike the accomodations they made for the blind contestant, Mario, and the girl in a wheelchair, Ali. The transgendered guy, the blind guy, and the guy with ADHD were all booted in the last three weeks.

Charlie NEVER mentioned his ADHD or autism after the first interview. He never used it as an excuse for his behavior, and yet you could see that the repeated browbeating for it was wearing him down over the last several weeks. He was in the bottom three the last four weeks in a row, and had to sing for his life, which he did wonderfully, each week.

I thought he was the best singer and had the best grasp of the characters they wanted him to perform. He was not a blank slate, like all of the other guys who are still in the competition.
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#709

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Posted Jul 12, 2012 @ 10:52 PM

Charlie was one of my favorite contestants on the show, but even he was aware that if he had won the role on Glee the type of risky acting choices he made (such as Mario'sCaneGate) could have potentially delayed production on a tightly scheduled multi-million-dollar show. Of course, in that case they either knew what they were getting into by picking him or shouldn't have picked him in the first place. I knew he was pretty much doomed halfway through the episode when they retconned the reason he was in the problem the previous week: casting director Robert Ulrich originally claimed in Week Five that Charlie was in the bottom for standing out too much (in a talent competition) and being disruptive with his Method Acting (without ever showing him disrupting production or causing problems), but then it turns out in Week Six that he was actually in the bottom the previous week for not standing out enough and blending into the group number too well.

It should also be pointed out that Ali, the wheelchair girl, has also never used her paralysis as an excuse for her weaknesses. The only accommodations Zach Woodlee makes for her chair in the choreography are basically the same ones he makes for (able-bodied) Kevin McHale's wheelchair moves as Artie. The only time she's used it at all as a reason for being different was in this week's episode when she volunteered to take multiple slushies and almost stopped breathing from the cold because her paralysis makes extreme temperature changes difficult. I assumed that has something to with her nervous system, but Charlie and Blake have mentioned in an interview that it happened to them too to a lesser degree, and she went for it with as brave a face as anyone else and apparently didn't freak out until her take was finished. She has also mentioned in an interview that her singing voice sounds the way it does because she physically can't use her diaphragm the same way everyone else does, but she's never used that as an excuse or a defense on the show either. Neither Charlie nor Ali have asked for any special treatment because of his Aspergers/ADHD or her paraplegia.

Ironically, Charlie and Ali are the two contestants with the most acting experience at roughly sixteen years each; Ali is a Tisch graduate and Charlie was (unsuccessfully) pursuing Broadway when he auditioned and one of the only contestants with any acting clips online; he's no Chris Colfer, but he's miles better than three of the four winners from Season One. Had The Glee Project been the type of show that had legit acting challenges instead of making music videos, they both could have potentially gone all the way, though technically Ali still can.

Edited by DMike, Jul 12, 2012 @ 11:08 PM.

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#710

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Posted Jul 25, 2012 @ 3:04 AM

Are there any common slurs for Blind or Deaf?


Deaf/mute people used to be called "Dummies" in olden days. Some people probably still use that. It was once assumed they couldn't speak or hear or understand because they were mentally impaired. It was assumed Helen Keller was beyond helping, and had a low IQ, before she met Annie Sullivan.
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#711

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Posted Jul 27, 2012 @ 10:58 AM

casting director Robert Ulrich originally claimed in Week Five that Charlie was in the bottom for standing out too much (in a talent competition) and being disruptive with his Method Acting (without ever showing him disrupting production or causing problems), but then it turns out in Week Six that he was actually in the bottom the previous week for not standing out enough and blending into the group number too well.

So Ryan Murphy and Co. are arbitrary, manipulative, insensitive clods? What an enormous surprise.
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#712

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Posted Aug 19, 2012 @ 11:31 PM

In Cartoon Network's new series Riders of Berk, the main character(a teen boy) has a prosthetic foot.

Edited by Trini Girl, Aug 20, 2012 @ 12:01 AM.

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#713

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Posted Aug 20, 2012 @ 9:21 AM

I think the only TV character I rememeber who never took offense with his own disability was Dr. Gregory House and he was offensive with everybody else.

Sometimes, hilariously, House took mock offense in order to catch people off-guard. In one of the early seasons, maybe even the very first, I recall Cameron decorating the office for Christmas. House picked up a candy cane and asked, "Are you mocking me?" The look of insta-horror on Cameron's face was priceless!

In a topic change - I've recently become a great fan of Downton Abbey. As other viewers will know, there is a character, Bates, who arrives in the beginning of the first season to be a valet to Lord Grantham. Bates uses a cane, having sustained a leg injury in the Boer War. As a valet, he's supposed to serve as essentially a personal assistant to Lord G., which in this case involves constant running up and down the 999999 stairs of the ginormous abbey, carrying bags and trays and who knows what else. Naturally, he really can't manage this, and the other servants are immediately on him about it, griping about how they're going to end up with more work covering for this guy who can't pull his own weight. As much as I've grown to love Bates, I must say that it does annoy me how the subject of his inability to do his job 100% essentially becomes non-existent after the first few episodes. Did he suddenly become capable of things he couldn't do in the beginning? Did the other servants -- who essentially work nonstop from dawn til midnight already -- suddenly take on some of Bates' duties without further complaint? I have no idea.
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#714

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Posted Sep 24, 2012 @ 9:33 AM

Kristina, one of the main characters on Parenthood, has just received Very Shocking News in the form of breast cancer. It's too soon to tell just yet, of course, but I'm betting on Very Serious Life-Altering Moments, where she and the family all learn about The True Meaning of Life. Then she will magically be cured, and it will be a non-issue by this time next season.
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#715

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Posted Sep 25, 2012 @ 8:47 AM

And Downton also has Matthew's magical self-fixing spine. Sometimes I really wonder what goes on in Julian Fellowes' head.
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#716

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Posted Oct 6, 2012 @ 5:09 AM

I wonder how long it will be before Arizona has a magical recovery and is skipping through the corridors of Seattle Grace?
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#717

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Posted Oct 6, 2012 @ 1:35 PM

I imagine they will quickly give her either a revolutionary transplant or amazingly realistic prosthetic because the CGI will be too expensive to maintain long-term.
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#718

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Posted Oct 6, 2012 @ 10:40 PM

I wonder how long it will be before Arizona has a magical recovery and is skipping through the corridors of Seattle Grace?

I imagine they will quickly give her either a revolutionary transplant or amazingly realistic prosthetic because the CGI will be too expensive to maintain long-term.




Well, able-bodied actor Laura Innes walked with a cane for over ten years on ER, when there wasn't even a plot reason for it, beyond the fact that the character had a disability. They only "cured" the character after the years of walking with the cane started damaging Innes's health.

I imagine that all they will have to do is always have her wear long pants, and limp, maybe giving her some kind of knee brace to help her limp. Any halfway decent leg prosthetic can be hidden under pant legs.
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#719

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Posted Oct 7, 2012 @ 4:23 AM

Well as long as they don't have Callie perform some magical leg transplant on Arizona I don't mind. I know Callie is not officially the super woman of GA but that would be taking it a bit too far. Knowing GA's they will have Arizona get the most super advanced prosthetic going and she'll just walking like a normal person.
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#720

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Posted Oct 8, 2012 @ 11:32 PM

Well, you do have to assume that a doctor would have access to pretty topnotch prosthetics, Callie being a super woman or not. Not everyone who uses a prosthetic limps. If Arizona limped at first, and slowly lost the limp, that would be totally within the bounds of reality.
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