We are huge fans of Glee – we love the singing, the dancing. It’s definitely “cheesy bad goodness” and we have to watch it every week.
However, there have been a couple storylines lately that have us a bit concerned. A few weeks ago, Shu’s wife decided to get a job at the high school to keep an eye on her husband and his budding romance with the guidance counselor. Her job was the school nurse and having no nursing training, started handing out over-the-counter cold medicine to help the kids stay awake during exams. Well, we work with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America and right now, kids are using OTC and prescription medications to get high at an alarming rate.
In the show, no consequences. In real life, potential addiction.
This week’s show highlighted Artie, the student with a disability. We have been extremely impressed with how they have incorporated Artie’s use of a wheelchair in the storyline. He is an active participant in the glee club and his friends are quite supportive. However, last night’s show focused on him and the students rallying to raise money so they could get the “short bus” to take them to competition. Really, a “short bus?”
They raised money by having a “handicapable” bake sale. We work with Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, an advocacy organization for people with disabilities. ABIL’s philosophy of independent living is always focused on people-first language and words like “handicapped” and “short bus” are no longer acceptable. To see examples of people-first language, click here.
Even more disturbing to us was the character who admitted faking her stutter in order to get out of doing a homework assignment in elementary school. Scottsdale recently hosted the National Stuttering Association’s annual conference and having had the pleasure of working with the NSA and attending the conference, it struck us as more than a little odd that the Glee writers incorporated that into the plot. Although Artie had the right reaction – he was upset that she’d made up something he thought they’d had in common (a disability) – it seems to us she could have just been a character with a stutter.
Are we among the majority here? Did anyone else find these plots offensive? Do you, like us, think the writers should have done a little more research before writing the words “handicapped,” “wheelchair-bound,” and “able-bodied” into the script? Or do you think they wrote the story like it might happen in real life?
Are we just sensitive because we’ve worked so closely with these organizations and identify with their messages, roadblocks and goals? Or do you agree with us?