Audience response: Representation of Disability

Here we have some negative feedback from the audience on the representation of disability

“There was, in fact, a lot to feel good about in the episode, including consideration of the need for ramps in a big high school, and a wheelchair-level look at how hard it is to get around without getting blocked or bomped. There were also a couple of subplots that dealt with faking disabilities, including one in which a girl admits that she’s been faking her stutter, causing Artie to tell her how much it hurts him to find that they don’t have this important thing in common after all, and she can just leave her disability behind.
Unfortunately, there’s some irony in having actor Kevin McHale deliver lines like, “I’m sorry that now you get to be normal, and I’m going to be stuck in this chair the rest of my life. And that’s not something I can fake,” because faking is exactly what he’s doing. This episode’s disability focus has brought complaints from disability advocates about the casting of a non-wheelchair-using actor as Artie. Those who disagree that McHale’s wrong for the role argue that it’s acting we’re talking about here, and you hire the best actor regardless of his abilities or disabilities.
I do think there are times when that’s true, and certainly making sure that every single actor has everything in common with every character would make casting a ridiculous challenge. I think there’s some merit in taking things role by role — and for this particular role, I don’t think an actor who’s faking the disability can be the best choice. Not for a show that’s about championing underdogs, and being true to yourself, and appreciating unexpected strengths. If your show’s about that, saying “But there was nobody in a wheelchair talented enough for this part” feels like a slap in the face to all the real-life Arties out there.”

Original Source


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