Disability on Glee
Already rather popular in the US and down under, Glee, a teenage musical sitcom, is just now hitting UK screens for the first time. A sort of modern day Fame, the show is set in an American high school and is based around an underdog glee-club. It prides itself on representing difference. The club even includes a wheelchair user. Or does it?
actor Kevin McHale, who plays all singing, all dancing, wheelchair using geek Artie Abrams, is not disabled himself. With more and more pressure being put on television and film companies to use disabled actors in disabled roles, disabled people saying its akin to blacking up etc etc, you can imagine it caused a bit of a stir when Glee first aired last year in the US.
On the back of an episode called Wheels, where all the club members acquired wheelchairs in solidarity with Artie, who uses one "even when the music stops", USA Today published an article around the disabled actors for disabled roles debate and a plethora of bloggers, including Ky posted their views on the character Artie and on portrayal of disability in the show in general. Apparently someone with a stutter and a couple of people with Downs Syndrome also feature in this particular bumper disability episode.
The question now is, will Glee provoke a similar response when it gets going in the UK?