November 11, 2009

Glee's Not So Gleeful Take On Disability

After all the meathead baseball jocks dominated TV with their "sports" (I didn't see any Yankees doing the single ladies dance), "Glee" returns to the airwaves this evening. And while it's return will bring fans much uhhhh, joy, many people in the disability community are far from ecstatic about the show, in particular, tonight's episode (AP Article Here).

Word on the street is the Artie (Kevin McHale) will have his own musical number tonight. The song is "Proud Mary" and the Glee club members will join him in wheelchairs for the song (surprised they have time to do this in between all that damn pregnancy drama). The disability community is not mad about the song choice (hey, some people get fired up about Glee songs), they are upset that the McHale is not disabled (SEE THE SHOCKING PICTURE BELOW), and believe his role should have gone to someone who is.

I'm a big fan of "Glee" and I'm totally on the side of the disability community with this issue. While I understand that the producers have a responsibility to the hire ups to cast the best performer, I can't help but feel sad about the massive opportunity the "Glee" folks missed with this casting. It would have sent a powerful message and created a positive role model for other disabled actors. Gloria Castaneda, head of Media State Access, a California state office that promotes actors with disabilities said this:

"When a person with a disability sees a positive image on TV that looks like them, their whole attitude changes. It gives them hope for what they can do in the future,"

Glee is a bold show. There are strong positive characters of different races, sexual identities, and religions. It has tackled such serious topics as teen pregnancy and sexuality. So why can't it step up on the bright stage and belt one powerful jam out for the disabled community?


  1. I agree - well said, Timbo!

  2. Great point, man. PROPS.

  3. This post has been included in a linkspam at access-fandom. Thank you!