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Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

This author has written 1621 posts for Hoyden About Town. Read more about Lauredhel »

20 responses to “New TV show Glee does crip-drag – very, very badly”

  1. Fine

    That’s some of the worst scriptwriting I’ve ever seen.

  2. Mindy

    I thought the African-American girl said she wasn’t a backup singer? Seems that the script writers disagreed. The whole thing with the wheelchair is just screwed up. Don’t they realise that they’ll get a more credible performance from someone who *gasp* actually uses a wheelchair?

  3. tekanji.livejournal.com/

    Echoing Mindy’s thoughts, I like how the able-bodied white hetero girl and boy get to do the star number at the end. At least Disney (whose High School Musical this is clearly based on) went with a Latina for their female lead character.

    While far from perfect, I’ve found that Disney Channel casting tends to be intentionally diverse while still (most of the time) avoiding falling into the “writing to a stereotype” trap that Glee seems to have done with its pilot episode. Of course, (dis)ableism, subtle race issues, rampant gender issues, heterosexism, etc etc still apply.

    Since Glee‘s a TV show, though, there’s the possibility that time will remedy some of the glaring issues. Hopefully as the show goes on the diversity will actually be utilized instead of shunted to the role of comedy backup.

  4. Anna

    When I saw the trailers for this show, I was absolutely irate at the prop-element of the character “using” the wheelchair (and ranted about it in someone’s LJ), but told myself I should wait till the actual show – maybe the prop-element would go away?

    *sigh*

  5. kt

    I have recently enjoyed the TV show Breaking Bad for it’s portrayal of a character with CP (played by an actor with what wiki calls “mild cerebral palsy”).

    The character is an inteligent, sensitve, goodlookin’, sometimes angy and rebelious teenager (15 or so). The show revolves around his father but the son’s story line is the stand out for me as rounded portrayals of people with disabilities in TV is so rare.

    Please note that the show can be i) very volent ii) racially problomatic iii) does not pass the Bechdel test. Sigh.

  6. amandaw

    I don’t think there’s a single character who isn’t a stereotype. I watched clips on mute, and yes, noticed who it was chosen for the “star” parts in the last. Hum.

    Any deviation from cis white het abled male norm = “character development” for cis white het abled character. No such thing as a character who simply is Asian, neuroatypical, queer, or anything else, on their own terms. It’s always an angle.

  7. Mindy

    “the PWD issue that I got stuck on”

    (OT) I wouldn’t say stuck on, illustrated or examined, yes (/OT)

    When can we have a glee club that doesn’t need to be saved by a white able-bodied jock? Who, shock horror, get by on their own talents despite being underfunded? I suppose when we can have real actors with real disabilities, and people of every size colour and shape who are good at what they do rather than fitting into a narrow character definition. Which for Hollywood, is like never. Because then we’d have to admit that they exist or something.

  8. MomTFH

    When I heard the writer/director/producer interviewed on Fresh Air, he waxed poetic on his wheelchair-bound “archetype” character. He said that they picked the most talented performer for every role, including this one. I wondered, “Yes, but is he really a wheelchair using actor?” Terri never asked.

    I am not surprised to find out the answer.

    MomTFH’s last blog post..Wow, that’s offensive

  9. lil sis

    THANKYOU! thankyou for this post and the links to reviews! oh my goodness i watched the whole thing and it was AWFUL. so many things wrong with it… my sister and i just sat there making snarky comments and being confused and exasperated, waiting for something? anything? to explain the shitfulness. it ticked every box, ablist, sexist, homophobic etc etc, and also was BADLY WRITTEN AND REALLY DID NOT MAKE ANY SENSE AT ALL WTF?!
    i’m guessin a whole buncha white dudebros are behind this awful shame and giant waste of money… let’s hope it goes the same way as “racheals getting married” and mysteriously disappears after the first showing despite the heavy advertisement.

    in closing i would go crazy without the feminist blogosphere, THANKYOU

  10. Anna

    Having just now watched the three first episodes of this show, with more disability fail I hate everyone.

  11. Helen

    I’m a bit bemused because I watched the pilot, had draft post in the wings, watched in September and it was the Pilot again, there seems to have been an Ep 2 which I’ve missed… then I was out last night and missed it AGAIN.

    So the claim of the lead actor who in interview said that the black humour would become much more black and the show more intelligent as it goes on, isn’t coming to pass? (Quelle surprise!)

  12. Helen

    OK, I officially need a holiday, because I hadn’t missed it – it airs on Thursdays here, not Wednesdays. Saw it last night and we’re definitely one episode behind WA – funny. Anyway, the Unfeminine Coach shits me to tears. And the simulated sex in the “sexy” number? and the balloon scene in the Chastity club? Creeeeepy.

    There have been numerous ads for it now that it’s back on and it’s all about “You can succeed if you’re the Underdog”. Yes, as long as the good-looking Jock and Teacher come in and tell you what to do all the time.

  13. Mindy

    @ Lauredhel comment no.15 – I was really enjoying the book up until that point. That crap ruined a rather clever idea.

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