How Hollywood Casts The Handicapped

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 5 2012 @ 8:10pm

Alyssa Rosenberg contrasts Push Girls, a new reality show about women in wheelchairs covered here, with standard depictions of the disabled:

Most of the time, Hollywood seems confused about how to treat actors with disabilities. Movies and TV shows rely heavily on stories that focus on disabilities themselves rather than the people behind them. The most prominent disabled character on television, Glee's Artie, is played by the able-bodied actor Kevin McHale. And the show's played out a number of miracle-cure storylines for disabled people, from giving Artie mechanical legs that let him walk but that he never uses again, to first giving cheerleader Quinn a surprising recovery from a spinal cord injury and then having her manipulate other characters based on their sympathy for her. Disability is something to be overcome, rather than a vehicle to new perceptions and storytelling opportunities.

Alyssa follows-up.