TV finally warming up to disabilities?Dec 06 05:46
Maybe you’ve noticed the same trend I have recently: A noticeable surge of disabilities on TV (DOTV). I’m not here to complain about some show not getting it right (even though some are getting it wrong). I want to celebrate this awesome trend. not psychoanalyze it. From reality shows to hour long dramas, we’re popping up everywhere, and there are a few DOTV you should definitely know about.
Rollin’ with Zach: As a person with a disability, its mandatory that you know about the upcoming show premiering on the OWN network (The Oprah channel), Rollin’ with Zach. Zach Anner, a twenty-something guy with Cerebral Palsy who’s obsessed with travel, is the host of this ½ hour travel reality show where gets to travel across the country, trying everything from waterskiing to rock-climbing to being the first contestant in a wheelchair on The Price Is Right. If you’re not giggling right now, you should be, because he‘s as funny as he sounds.
Paralyzed and Pregnant (with twins!): Many accuse TLC of being the 21st century version of the freak show proprietor; only they’re less obvious about what they‘re actually doing. TLC premiered their special Paralyzed and Pregnant with Twins, earlier this year (which of course shouldn’t be confused with it’s predecessor, Paralyzed and Pregnant, which was just as insightful, showing a C5 quad give birth and the familial after affects that followed, but wasn‘t produced with as much tact). Paralyzed and Pregnant with Twins shows a female paraplegic from Louisiana carrying naturally produced biological twins. It covers every intimate aspect you’d aspect, and reruns quite often.
Glee-riffic: I’m not a fan of characters spontaneously busting into song, so the popularity of Glee took me by surprise. The show follows the adventures of a high school glee club and all the drama that goes with it. Artie, one of the club members, is a full-time wheelchair-user. Artie gets a lot of screen time, a couple of love interests…he’s viewed as just as important as any other character.
Of course these few examples just scratch the surface. What Not to Wear will be featuring a woman who uses a wheelchair in their new season (that just premiered), Say Yes to the Dress featured a female wheelchair-user last year, and Boardwalk Empire is currently tackling the issue of childhood Polio. We also can’t forget the Hall of Famers of disabilities on TV: Timmy (and Jimmy) from South Park.
Disabilities are a tTV rend to be sure right now, let’s just hope it lasts.
What are your favorite portrayals of disability on TV at the moment?
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.