Lisy's Thoughts on Disability in Film & TV

Apr 23

Switched at Birth: Memory Is Your Image Of Perfection

Given how well SAB covers most Deaf/disability issues; it’s disappointing that the first time they touched on mental health, it ended with a stabbing.

As I’m forever pointing out on this Tumblr: People with MH problems are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. I’ve posted the stats so many times that I can’t be bothered to fish them out this time; you’ll only have to scroll back a few posts.

Apr 21

Switched at Birth: Uprising

I’ve been making my way through SAB over the last week. I’m about 2 thirds of the way through season 2.

Last night I watched the all ASL episode entitled “Uprising”.

Disappointingly it had to start with Leclerc and Marano explaining “this episode is all in ASL. There’s nothing wrong with the sound on your TV.” A sad indictment of the arrogance of hearing people.

It was great. It was full of rebellious energy and left you feeling so enthused by the kids occupying their school.

But the direction was so disappointing in places: Specifically all the times the camera was behind the speaker so you couldn’t see their hands/lips, meaning you had to read the subtitles to know what was being said.

Yes, I know I can’t speak ASL. (I can’t even speak BSL.) But I can read lips.

I realise that part of the premise was for the viewer to spend a day walking a mile in the Deaf students’ shoes. And in reality sometimes people stand with their back to Deaf people so the person can’t see their lips to read them. Not being able to see what someone is saying is a big part of Deaf people’s experience of the world.

But the episode was mostly about celebrating Deaf culture, Deaf history (specifically the 1988 Gallaudet protest) and ASL, It’s a disappointing celebration of ASL when you can’t always see the ASL.

That choice of direction - to opt for camera angles blocking the view of the signing - really put a damper on what was otherwise a great piece of TV.

Apr 14

Ouch show 107: Mental vacuum -

I talk about Ironside and Glee in this for a few seconds.

Apr 13

"Parenthood" The Offer (TV Episode 2014) - IMDb -

Watching this. It’s interesting. Adam and Kristina are generally so honest with Max. So it was disappointing that when he outright asked “why do the other kids hate me?” That they didn’t answer honestly “because they’re disablist.” (Ack, I know in American English they use the word “ableist”.)

Growing up I felt like it was my body’s fault that everyone hated me. I didn’t understand that it was because our society is riddled with prejudice; because no-one told me. Learning about disablism and the social model made me realise that I was not the problem. Yes it’s bleak to explain prejudice to a child, but if you don’t explain it, there’s the chance that they might end up feeling that their body/brain is the problem.

Apr 12


This show had a character appear in flashbacks in season 1 with all limbs in tact.

In season 2 she returns, minus an arm. She is played by an actor with all 4 limbs.

From a purely technical perspective; wouldn’t it be easier to put a prosthetic arm on an amputee in season one, than have to use expensive special effects to make an arm disappear in season 2?

The obsession with casting non-disabled actors to play disabled characters can create more problems than if they just used common sense.

Apr 07

Hollywood's Disabled Actors Protest NBC's 'Ironside' Casting - When Is It Their Turn? - TheWrap

TCA: Why 'Ironside' Producers Didn't Cast a Paraplegic Actor - TheWrap -

About to dive into Ironside seeing as it started in the UK a couple of weeks ago. Doing related reading.

Apr 04

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: End of the Beginning

Jesus. Not every disabled person is a supervillain. Or supervillain’s henchman/sidekick/patsy.

OK, so Mike Peterson is in a kill or be killed situation. I’d choose be killed.

Glee: New New York

Contains a scene which is essentially an instruction guide on “how to mug a wheelchair user.”

Thanks for teaching that to budding muggers everywhere, Ryan Murphy.

Mar 27

Disabled characters are written into stories for one reason: the disability. Do most people actually believe real disabled people spend our days obsessing about being cured? Or rhapsodizing about killing ourselves? Here is the truth: Disabled people barely ever even think about our disabilities. When we do think about them, it’s usually because we are dealing with an oppressive, systemic problem, such as employment discrimination. Can’t there ever be a disabled character in a book or film just because? Where the topic doesn’t ever come up? All sorts of interesting stories can be written about a disabled character, without the disability ever being mentioned. You know, just like real people.

The vast majority of writers who have used disabled characters in their work are not people with disabilities themselves. Because disabled people have been peripheral for centuries, we’ve been shut out of the artistic process since the beginning. As a result, the disabled characters we’re presented with usually fit one or more of the following stereotypes: Victim, Villain, Inspiration, Monster. And the disabled character’s storyline is generally resolved in one of a few ways: Cure, Death, Institutionalization.

” — Susan Nussbaum, Disabled Characters in Fiction (via kassapti)

(Source: worn-whorehouse-stairs, via flutterflyinvasion)