JellyBaby's Blog

Archive for the ‘Stuff I've Been Watching’ Category

There were mixed views on ‘Wheels’, the episode of Glee shown last Monday on E4. Disability was under the microscope as Will Schuester made the club use wheelchairs for three hours a day to get them to be more sympathetic to wheelchair-bound Artie, played by Kevin McHale.

With a touching storyline and some great wheelchair-height scenes showing exactly how hard it is to get about in school in a chair, you’d imagine it would be popular among disabled viewers, but there was just one problem. Kevin McHale, who plays Artie isn’t actually in a wheelchair himself.

Disability campaigners are angry that the team behind the comedy TV show didn’t cast someone who is actually disabled. Surely there are plenty of talented singer/dancer/actor types who use wheelchairs? Casting McHale meant a talented disabled person might be missing out.

But not everyone thinks this should be the case. After all, acting is all about playing a character. Straight people play gay people and vice versa; Brits play Americans and Americans play French; actors can play cheerleaders, hockey players, writers or models regardless of whether they are themselves. Why can’t an able bodied person play a wheelchair bound one? Glee’s director said that McHale was such a perfect choice for the role that it was impossible to turn him down.

Not so controversial was the storyline involving a down syndrome girl joining the cheerleading squad. Sue Sylvester, the intimidating coach, was no less scary as she coached Becky. This concerned Will Schuester who thought she should show more compassion towards a girl with learning difficulties. Sue’s response? To say that she wasn’t going to treat Becky any differently to the rest of the Cheerios because she had learning difficulties. OK, so bullying’s wrong and Sue Sylvester does go too far but I agree wholeheartedly with this statement. Treating disabled people equally means no discrimination – whether that’s negative or positive.

Personally I loved the episode and liked seeing a mainstream show tackle subjects that aren’t usually shown on TV, especially down syndrome which is an often misunderstood condition.

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It’s freezing cold outside, it still gets dark by 5pm, and the excitement of the Christmas break is well and truly a distant memory. Luckily although outside may be cold and dreary, there’s a bright new TV obsession for me to enjoy in the shape of Glee.

If you haven’t heard of the new musical comedy show, currently showing on E4 on Monday evenings, you must be living in a cave, as it has taken the world by storm. It became on of Twitter’s most talked about telly shows last year after the first season was shown in the U.S, has won a Golden Globe, and has now taken the UK by storm, with their cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ reaching the top 10 last Sunday.

The show follows the Glee club of an American high school, as they face the perils of secondary school life from bullies to boyfriends, interspersed with lively performances of songs ranging from Amy Winehouse’s Rehab to Kanye West’s Goldigger. It’s like High School Musical, but cool enough for anyone over 12 to admit they like, and filled with witty one-liners.

With it’s catchy tunes, bright costumes, and funny storylines, Glee is the perfect way to chase away those January blues!

The words “interesting” and “BBC3” are not words you would usually hear in the same sentence, but I recently watched an interesting programme on the channel called “Britain’s Really Disgusting Foods”. In the show, Alex Riley takes a look at the food we usually eat without thinking twice and shows the kind of process it goes through before reaching our cupboards.

The episode I watched was all about dairy products, from cheap cheese singles (that can have as little as 6% cheese) to the pints of milk we pick up at the supermarket. Now you might not think about where your milk has come from when you pour it on your cereal each morning. I know I never do, which was why it came as a shock for me to realise exactly how little British dairy farmers are getting paid. Alex explained that although it costs around 28p to produce one pint of milk, supermarkets don’t pay enough to our farmers to make a profit. Perhaps the most shocking thing of all was that the Co-Op, which always makes a fuss about its ethics, is paying only 23p per pint, which is the lowest of all the supermarkets. With Co-Op stocking everything from FairTrade chocolates to rum, it’s amazing that they are ignoring the plight of the dairy farmers in our own country. Every day two dairy farmers go out of business because they simply can’t stay afloat. This is both depressing and disgusting – how can a supermarket that prides itself on stocking a wide range of FairTrade produce ignore those who produce one of our staple commodities? I understand that all supermarkets are trying to cut prices for their customers in these tough economic times but surely it is common sense that they pay their producers a fair price?

So next time you make a cup of tea or eat a pancake, remember the true cost of your pint of milk.