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Gilbert on The Morgana Show - lampooning learning disability?

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Messages: 1 - 25 of 25
  • Message 1. 

    Posted by luminous (U14327456) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    Gilbert, a character on The Morgana Show, Channel 4's new comedy series, has a learning disability.

    Tellingly, Channel 4 do not acknowledge this, but describe Gilbert as "a well-meaning but socially inept teenage boy who is making his own web-based show with the not-so-expert help of his granddad".

    Yeah, right! If that's the case, then why is Gilbert on Youtube with two physically disabled actors, where they are clearly playing a disabled TV crew (comprising interviewer, camerawoman and soundman)? And very obviously playing with their interviewees reactions to disabled people?

    I have to say I did find these 'Ali G-style' interviews (i think there are 6) with Z-list celebrities very funny. Especially the first one with Paul Danan. But this is because the joke is very much ON THE CELEBS (not Gilbert):

    www.youtube.com/watc...

    When I first saw Gilbert however my first thought was "oh no here we go". It was a trailer for The Morgana Show. This was the clip: www.youtube.com/watc...

    Then I watched the frst episode of The Morgana Show on 30th Nov (featuring a couple of Gilbert sketches) and my fears were confirmed. I didn't find Gilbert at all funny because it seemed that the joke was Gilbert himself - or rather his learning disability. (Oh look at Gilbert making a mess, oh look he's got his hands down his trousers, oh look he's behaving bizarrely)

    I'm not opposed to actors/comedians playing a person with a learning disability but it very much depends on the context and treatment.

    I can't imagine Channel 4 allowing a physical disability to be lampooned in this way - e.g. where the 'joke' is all about Gilbert's inability to walk / move around, or pick up objects . (ha ha ha look at Gilbert struggling to get off the floor, OR ha ha Gilbert's fallen over or knocked a pot of paint over etc etc)

    An re the disabled TV crew - why did Mogana enlist 2 physically disabled people to assist her, rather than say a pair of people with learning disabilities? Seems the only time we only get to see real people with learning disabilities on TV is when they are murdered or victims of hate crime.

    I showed one of the Gilbert sketches from the TV show to a person with a (mild) learning disability, and her response was: "Is that supposed to be funny?"

    I wonder what other people with learning disabilities will make of all this ....?

    Report message1

  • Message 2

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Otter25 (U14189455) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    unfortunately this comes under some people will laugh at anything. There seems to be a fashion in comedy at the moment for shocking people not entertaining them - the material is decidely unfunny. Tranodal Nights with Frankie Boyle is also in this genre

    Report message2

  • Message 3

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Lisy (U1824334) on Thursday, 9th December 2010

    Gilbert as a roving reporter previously appeared on C4's TNT show.

    Report message3

  • Message 4

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by cammy3005 (U14742477) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    what an absolute load of tosh !!

    There is nothing at all about the 'Gilbert' character that implies that he has a disability and, I'm slightly concerned that you would show one of the sketches, which are meant for adult viewing and shown after the watershed to a child, with a 'mild' learning disability or not.

    The whole point of the different characters is that we all associate them with people we may have met or known of throughout our lives. Personally, the Gilbert character is a fantastic representation of the boys I remember from primary school with their immaturity and clumsyness. But at no point did I think 'oh thats like a child I know with a disability'. Its an absolutely ridiculous accusation. My friends and i even had a long conversation which lead from 'Gilbert' about the silly things our children had done. Just because the character has big glasses and a regional accent does not mean he's portrayed as being disabled.

    I think that certain people will always be a bit oversensitive about comedy and convince themselves that sketches or programs are 'taking the mick' out of people that they represent. For instance, I have a mental disability, but having a sense of humour allows me to laugh at jokes mentioning mental illness as I take 'comedy' shows just as they're meant to be taken - FUNNY!!!

    Infact, if you see the rest of the Morgana show, you will see a wide variety of characters. One being an old lady, who thinks her television has pixies in it that talk to her. Was I angry because my mother suffers from dementia and often voices her strange thoughts just like this ??? No, of course I didn't, I laughed when I saw the sketch.

    Please take life less seriously and take comedy shows for what they are. Entertainment.

    Report message4

  • Message 5

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by Lisy (U1824334) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    There is nothing at all about the 'Gilbert' character that implies that he has a disability  

    Once again I refer you to Gilbert's previous appearances on the TNT show. It was explicitly stated that he's disabled.

    Report message5

  • Message 6

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by jockice (U1828467) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    And yet again we have a mysterious new poster commenting on a 'controversial' Channel 4 comedy. Of course part of the reason why the controversy continues is that these posters are determined not to let it lie, even though they've never ever had the need to comment on anything on a BBC messageboard before, and never ever do again afterwards..Why, it's as almost as if it was some sort of set-up....

    Am I really the only person on this board who can see through what is now becoming a very predictable publicity stunt?

    Report message6

  • Message 7

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by MattJ8 (U14258441) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    There was a thread about Gilbert on the TNT show when it first aired. When the original TNT show flopped I was pretty surprised to see the character make a return appearance in the Morgana show.

    I disagree with the OP about the original skecthes being funny with the disabled crew. From what I saw they did not in an "Ali G" sense merely film odd reactions of celebraties to people with disabilties but there was alot of fun poked at "look at Gilbert and his stupid questions" and "how silly having a blind sound guy" etc. I thought it lacked the wit and sophistication of the Ali G character and was aimed at getting laughs for the wrong reasons. I think this has continued into the Morgana show. I watched a single episode didn't find the Gilbert section even remotely amusing and so decided not to bother in future.

    As previous posters have pointed out Gilbert was explicitly stated as being disabled in the TNT show...it's not anyone jumping to conclusions.

    Hopefully the character will be put to bed in time. This isn't IMHO the witty and edgy contraversial comedy which can be expected of groundbreaking comedians, it's just dross.

    MattJ8

    Report message7

  • Message 8

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by cammy3005 (U14742477) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    yes i am a new poster. Usually things don't anger me much at all, but the post was so ridiculous, I set up an account just so I could reply to it.

    Does everything have to be a conspiracy these days? All I did was post my opinion, and now apparently I'm in cahoots with either the Morgana Show or Channel 4.

    You really make me laugh. Why don't you all just chill out a bit.

    I might post something else as that's my choice, but more than likely, I won't. The reason ? Life is too short to get your knickers in a twist over things that are only in your head.

    Me and my friends will continue to laugh at the comedy shows and also comedians that take the mick out of various things. You can stay on here and rant and rave about how awful everybody is being treated. Have fun smiley - smiley

    Report message8

  • Message 9

    , in reply to message 6.

    Posted by pdoff (U14553616) on Thursday, 6th January 2011

    "Am I really the only person on this board who can see through what is now becoming a very predictable publicity stunt?"

    No you are seemingly the only person on this board who THINKS they can see through what they believe is now becoming a very predictable publicity stunt.
    As for mysterious new posters commenting on a 'controversial' Channel 4 comedy....how dare they..tut..tut.

    Report message9

  • Message 10

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by Mhadaidh (U14260293) on Friday, 7th January 2011

    Disability is never funny , when it is either patronising or designed to make fun of disabled people and this show is

    One of the better portrayals of disability is in Family Guy , with the wheelchair-using policeman
    ok, the humour is coarse, but disability isn't used for the laughs

    Report message10

  • Message 11

    , in reply to message 9.

    Posted by jockice (U1828467) on Friday, 7th January 2011

    ""Am I really the only person on this board who can see through what is now becoming a very predictable publicity stunt?"

    No you are seemingly the only person on this board who THINKS they can see through what they believe is now becoming a very predictable publicity stunt.
    As for mysterious new posters commenting on a 'controversial' Channel 4 comedy....how dare they..tut..tut."


    Ho. And indeed hum.

    Report message11

  • Message 12

    , in reply to message 11.

    Posted by TimothyWhiskers (U14171685) on Saturday, 8th January 2011

    What irritates me is people who don't have a disability, turning up here and telling us what we should/ should not be offended at.

    Bottom line Gilbert is offensive, I saw the trailer and immediately made that decision, but gave it a chance and watched a show - still offended.

    Nobody seems even bothered that Boyle made a massively dig at a mental health anti stigma campaign - apparently it is still OK to mock mental illness.

    Report message12

  • Message 13

    , in reply to message 8.

    Posted by jockice (U1828467) on Saturday, 8th January 2011

    "yes i am a new poster. Usually things don't anger me much at all, but the post was so ridiculous, I set up an account just so I could reply to it.

    Does everything have to be a conspiracy these days? All I did was post my opinion, and now apparently I'm in cahoots with either the Morgana Show or Channel 4.

    You really make me laugh."



    Which is more than Morgana has ever done for me. But you can give her my love next time you speak to her...

    Report message13

  • Message 14

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by Voice_of_reason27 (U14752018) on Thursday, 13th January 2011

    I could not agree more. It is sick that she mock someone with disabillities, and i for one think it should be taken off the air. Many people justify that they find it funny by saying there is no evidence of Gilbert having any disability. This is obviously not true. I believe deep down they know it is wrong, but don't want to accept that they are laughing someone becuase he is disabled.
    I hope this show does not get a second series, and if it does the character of Gilbert should be removed. Thank you for the information about Gilbert appearing on TNT, it can help me resolve numerous arguements i have had with stupid people who could not accept the truth.
    Sorry if this comment makes me seem a bit mental, i just think what she has done is sick and imoral.

    Report message14

  • Message 15

    , in reply to message 2.

    Posted by gilbertisgood (U14752415) on Thursday, 13th January 2011

    ive watched every show and cried with laughter at 'gilbert'..is it cos he's an idiot? has learning difficulties? variously afflicted with some simpleness? who cares its hilarious!!!
    does the boris sketch which shows a boy in a grown mans body behaving like the idiot he is offend? probably not

    does the bloke who shouts loudly into his mobile abt shagging and making money offend? prob not but if anything i find his sort very offensive..especially in london bars..misogynists mainly..

    im sick to death of the pc brigade..the 'gilberts' of this country have benefits, carers, medications, and are generally well looked after..i know cos i work with them!

    get a sense of humour and get out more

    Report message15

  • Message 16

    , in reply to message 4.

    Posted by grizelda10 (U14752450) on Thursday, 13th January 2011

    i think your completely right and i think ppl who do not like this show should just not watch this...

    i personally watch this show with my friend who has spineadifida ( cant spell it) which is a disability and she loves this shoe and gilbert is her favourite bit!!!

    what makes me laugh is what about little britian takes the micky out of a fat lazy person who pretends to be disabled in a wheel chair and thats fine?? hhhmmm same situation.

    so i think people who dont like it dont watch but us who do no matter what you say you wont spoil it for us who have a sense of humour!! cos the people who enjoy life the most are the ones who laugh at all the problems that are thrown at them..

    Report message16

  • Message 17

    , in reply to message 15.

    Posted by hossylass (U3749845) on Thursday, 13th January 2011

    Sorry Gilbert-is-good, I am struggling to understand that should the Gilbert character actually be being portrayed as disabled, and that that is the crux of the humour, then why you should find it amusing.

    Disability is not amusing.
    Not even slightly.

    We find ourselves in some situations because we are disabled, that we find amusing, but that comedy value would be difficult to share if you weren't disabled.

    I used to be in the fire service, and I assure you we had a lot of laughs - but none of it would be transferable comedy.
    We had enough tact and diplomacy and understanding of the nature of humour to understand that it would not be appreciated by the general public.
    Oh except those with very sick and sad minds who wouldn't be laughing for the same reason...

    Maybe thats you?

    Report message17

  • Message 18

    , in reply to message 16.

    Posted by MattJ8 (U14258441) on Friday, 14th January 2011

    Facepalm!

    I'm always shocked when accused of being one of the PC brigade. I'm not overly PC and swear like a trooper from time to time.

    Just because I get offended by something it doesn't mean that political correctness has gone mad. It just means that I've been offended. Telling people I'm offended by something isn't something I should have to be be apologetic about. I'm not necessarily expecting someone to apologuse for offending me but they should have the decency to acknowledge that there might be a fair reason for me being offended other than the fact that I'm overly sensitive.

    Some of the comments here are fairly gruelling. To suggest that because you watch it with a friend who has spinabifida it's not offensive (granted this was only implied in the post and not stated explicitly) is rediculous. Someone who has a disability can be just as disablist as someone without one (although I'm not suggesting your friend is disablist).

    Anyway, just wanted to throw my hat in the ring once more.

    Matt

    Report message18

  • Message 19

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by GripOnReality (U14762412) on Monday, 24th January 2011

    Sigh.....................

    I understand that not all humour is to everybodies tastes, which is a good, it means we are not zombie like sheep simply following our peers or convention.

    The long and short of it is........... even people with disabilities (intentionally or otherwise) do and say funny things all the time - FACT You only have to spend time around them to know this is true. Is it immoral to laugh when they do? I think not, but only in the same way that it's not immoral to laugh when a small child, an elderly person or any other person for that matter, says/does something that is just plain funny.

    Might I suggest that people that dislike the show/character simply decide it's not for them and watch something else? There are many things I personally dislike on television at the moment, however, I am NOT planning on "demanding it be removed from broadcast" or suggesting the creators/performers should be publicly burned at the stake any time soon
    .
    In fact anyone who takes life that seriously and are so ultra sensative ought to consider whether a small dark cave away from "the evils of civilised man" might be a better place for them to be.

    Report message19

  • Message 20

    , in reply to message 19.

    Posted by TimothyWhiskers (U14171685) on Monday, 24th January 2011

    ps don't spend time around me, even if I am saying and doing funny things.

    Might I suggest that if you don't like what the community here thinks of something, you turn off and find another message board

    Report message20

  • Message 21

    , in reply to message 20.

    Posted by luminous (U14327456) on Monday, 7th February 2011

    Hi everyone, thanks for contributing

    I started this thread, and I'm not in cahoots with Channel 4. On the contrary I work for a disability charity that supported people with learning disabilities (who very rarely get to protest) to campaign and hand in a letter to Ofcom, resulting in a landmark ruling giving disablism parity with other forms of discrimination.

    Also, I've just done an interview with the comedian Richard Herring - who likes to push the boundaries of controversial comedy himself with his Hitler moustache, and current 'Christ on a Bike' tour.

    He has been very critical of the Gilbert character - on Twitter ("Morgana's witless portrayal of a disabled person continues") and on his own blog.

    He's also been critical of Frankie's Boyle's 'jokes' and the fact that comedians get away with disablist jokes when they wouldn't with racist ones.

    Interestingly he considers Gilbert worse than Frankie Boyle's jibes!

    Report message21

  • Message 22

    , in reply to message 21.

    Posted by VirtualScot (U14753770) on Monday, 7th February 2011

    It's not funny but i am happy now that someone has the balls to take the mick out of these ppl. Speaking as someone with aspergers, dyslexia and dyspraxia. The whole system of dealing with ppl with disability in the UK, is based on lying and patronising.

    With the notion they have ability's to achieve anything of merit in life. Which frankly the vast majority of ppl with if you want to term it learning difficulties (cough PC).

    Don't really even have much ability to peel a potatoes without slashing the wrists with the peeler.

    I have experienced enough learning support units and various other insinuations to safely say that most of these ppl are just frankly stupid.

    My inability's somewhat ironically enough from having social skill problems and high intelligence . My vulnerabilities to anxiety, stress and depression combined with the restrictiveness of working routines mean im useless at functioning at job and experience has proved this correct.

    But im not sad it's the truth i face it and deal with it. Gilbert is the truth so just face it and deal with it to.

    Report message22

  • Message 23

    , in reply to message 22.

    Posted by luminous (U14327456) on Monday, 14th February 2011

    You might want to consider what your reaction might have been had Morgana played Gilbert as a physically disabled person.

    Say someone in a wheelchair ...

    Imagine Gilbert-the-teenage-wheelchair-user in these two sketches:

    Gilbert keeps trying (and failing) to reach a cup from a shelf just out of reach. Eventually he manages to grab the shelf but accidentally pulls it way from the wall and the whole dinner service crashes to the ground ...

    Gilbert keeps trying (& failing) to force his wheelchair through a door-frame that's just a little too narrow. He rolls his wheelchair right back, takes a long 'runup' at it, gets stuck again and is thrown from his wheelchair ...


    Hilarious isn't it?

    No?

    In that case why is it ok for a joke to revolve around a person's learning disability?

    Report message23

  • Message 24

    , in reply to message 1.

    Posted by mp4401 (U14651796) on Tuesday, 15th February 2011

    I've seen a couple of episodes of the Morgana show. I've seen a sketch or two when he is making some craft type things in his house. If im honest I didn't until I saw this thread even consider that he was disabled.

    I say this because most of the sketch was about how everything around him was 1990s looking and I thought Morgana was playing a little kid in the 1990s using a VHS (thus the screen transitions to other things) and I thought it was his overeagerness that got him in trouble (such as the sketch when he shaved the cat).

    Looking at what you sent me, it transforms Gilbert out of the 1990s context, and it looks like what you describe: a person with a learning disability lampooned.

    Fromt he first two episodes of Morgana I didn't think he was disabled. I'm genuinely surprised at how he's portrayed in the link you sent, and also I do feel he's being permutated into something more offensive. I stopped watching the morgana show after a couple of episodes because the other sketches just weren't delivering on the funny.

    Report message24

  • Message 25

    , in reply to message 24.

    Posted by Scotastic (U14704805) on Tuesday, 15th February 2011

    "Imagine Gilbert-the-teenage-wheelchair-user in these two sketches:

    Gilbert keeps trying (and failing) to reach a cup from a shelf just out of reach. Eventually he manages to grab the shelf but accidentally pulls it way from the wall and the whole dinner service crashes to the ground ...

    Gilbert keeps trying (& failing) to force his wheelchair through a door-frame that's just a little too narrow. He rolls his wheelchair right back, takes a long 'runup' at it, gets stuck again and is thrown from his wheelchair"

    Then is found "Fit for Work" by Atos as he can Self propel and Execute 2 consecutive tasks.

    Report message25

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