Thursday, April 19, 2012

Who can joke about wheelchairs?

A woman on Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 was using a wheelchair last night.

It was someone's mother and the daughter had complained how her mom never took her horseback riding or stuff when she was a child. 

One of the jokes, supposedly, was that, of course, a person in a chair could not take her daughter riding.

Another was how people feel sorry for people in chairs and excuse their poor behavior.

Leaving aside the fact  that people in wheelchair ride hoses regularly, I always cringe when I see disabilities on TV because too often the actor portraying someone with a disability is not disabled.

The same happened when a deaf woman appeared on The Big Bang Theory.

And that one was even legitimately funny, and the woman is deaf.

The woman was a golddigger, but Penny didn't buy that. "Handicapped people are nice, Leonard. Everyone knows that."

Even when the joke is funny, though, my first, second and third thoughts are,"What do you know about wheelchairs or deafness?"

It's why I can't like Artie on Glee.  He made a wonderful speech earlier this season about how people in wheelchairs are often coddled and not trusted. Instead of cheering him on, though, all I could think was: "How dare you? What gives you the right to say what people who use chairs feel? What do you know?" The actor who plays Artie does not use a chair.

What do people associated with Big Bang know about deafness? 

Should it matter? The jokes are funny or not on their own. Why do I need the background?

I have thought about this since I saw Seth Green do a skit on Mad TV about jerks in power chairs. It is quite funny, I guess. The jerks tend to crash into wall and desks extravagantly, and I always wondered: "Did Seth Green know why people in power chairs do crash into things?" We aren't just uncaring souls. In my case, my muscles can't stop fast enough if I hit something and my fine motor skills are lacking. Others might have vision problems.

Maybe a friend or relative uses a chair so Seth does know all about it. But maybe not. And until I know, I just can't laugh at the skit.

And PS:  Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23 is way stupid. I am usually just too tired to change the channel after Modern Family. James Van der Beek is the only good part. He plays himself but as a narcissistic celebrity. Very good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am totally opposed to any show that uses someone who is not disabled in a disabled role. One of the reasons that I refuse to watch Glee!however, I must admit a minor exception, and that is Covert Affairs. One of the Actors plays an individual who is blind. But I read an article that he spent weeks with folks who were blind, learning how they lead their lives and get around. So, I do watch that show.

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