JellyBaby's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Glee

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.

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!