Friday, June 15, 2012

Push girls on film

God knows I love a reality show, so when i first saw the ad in US Weekly [Tangent: Don't judge...I get it for free and didn't subscribe. But its not like I can throw it away...I have to read it and see who wore what best...otherwise Kim Kardashains face is just constantly teasing me from the back of the toilet.] for a new Sundance docu-series about 4 sassy gals in wheelchairs called Push Girls- I knew I must watch this. Although, it appeared to be something that I was really gonna like, I braced myself for eye rolling.

[Tangent: When I was a sophomore in college, circa 2002, I was obsessed with MTV True Life. When my University's disabled student listserve (yeah..its a thing) sent me an email announcing that they were casting True Life: I'm in a Wheelchair- naturally I wrote a letter of why I would make a fascinating subject. I remember clearly really trying to make myself sound fascinating and leaving out particulars like I spent most evenings eating canned corn and watching Trading Spaces. The producers must have bought it because I got a call a few days later telling me to start working out a shooting schedule and gaining clearance from MTSU housing etc. I did all of these things and started planning outtings and outfits to make myself seem way more interesting, only to have them call day before and tell me that they decided to go another way. Another way included a paralyzed girl who had made it her goal to get laid by the end of the episode. How could my marathons of America's Next Top Model possibly compete with that kind of mission statement? It couldn't...so I moved on and became a cynical bitch to anything that involved diabilities portrayed in primetime. ]

It was obvious that these lovely ladies were really gonna have to sell me on their stories, given that I have a harsh bias against these shows. I was also slightly irritated that they were all paralyzed [Tangent: Not that their stories aren't always more compelling, because let's face it- they are. Being born a result of a genetic mutation or birth defect is harder to sell than a tragic fall into a quarry. I agree wholeheartedly as a journalism student. As a disabled woman however, I think there is always gonna be a slight division between lifers and newbies. Its the cripps (tee hee) vs bloods of the disabled world...ok maybe not...but I think there is some divisiveness that I have noticed.]

However, I was determined to give it a fair shake.After watching for a few minutes, my eyes weren't rolling even though it seemed the girls all had a definite casting angle (ex wife of asian dude from 21 Jump Street; wheelchair hip-hop dancer; bi-sexual...etc.). They all actually were pretty likable and funny and to me. slightly relatable. Like when they were all hanging out together and commenting that they "never thought they would hang out with other people in wheelchairs because it seemed to draw weird attention." This is totally true. I always joke that its like some kids from "the center" missed their bus when I hang out with my fellow friends on wheels. Oddly enough, I even liked the show's slogan- "If you can't stand up- stand out." Damn, that's super clever...why did I never think of that?

After the two premiere episodes, I respected that it focused on how normal they were and didn't try to make it inspirational. Thank god its Sundance and not the Hallmark Network. To me it was a lot less like some TLC exploitation and more like Real Housewives: Wheelchair edition.

Don't worry ladies, you have been set to DVR...if you need a token genetic mutant for season 2, I am your gal. I will just have to find an angle.

2 comments:

  1. I mostly agree - it was better than I was expecting. I like that it got at some real issues (making babies, peeing, etc.) Though, one part that kind of weirded me out was when the out-of-town buddy came to visit and talked about her revelation that she could be in a wheelchair AND be beautiful. Self-esteem issue, or weird social comment??

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  2. Gingers, KJ. Your angle is gingers.

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