Glee Show Analysis Research Proposal
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Four Episode analysis
In the “Glee” show, various characters in the different episodes represent disability. One of the significant characters that play the roles of the disabled characters is Artie. In some of the episodes, Artie is represented as a stereotyped character while some episode represents him as an active representative of disabled people. In episode 9, season 1, Artie’s character is stereotyped in a way that he is denied privileges that other non-disabled students are granted. For instance, the school cannot afford to provide a bus that is wheelchair-accessible to accommodate the needs of Artie, who had a trip to regionals. In the episode, Figgins informs Will that the school does not have adequate money to hire the bus that can take Artie, together with his wheelchair to sectionals. In the same episode, Artie also shows how he is isolated from the others by performing a “dancing with myself” by wheeling through the halls. The episode also shows the unfavorable socio-economic status of the disabled people. Quinn, who has Finn’s child, represents the instance of unexpected pregnancy among the students. She cannot raise the money to take care of the medical bills, and hence raises money from her friends.
In episode 19 season 1, Artie is depicted as a positive portrayal of the disabled people. This is because he believes that he can overcome his disabled condition. Similar to Emma, he has a dream that one day he will overcome his paralyzed condition and walk again. Other non-disabled people such as Tina are willing to help the disabled people instead of isolating them. For instance, Tina presents a research literature that provides some remedies about the paralyzed spinal cord, and this helps Artie to continue chasing his dreams of getting out of the wheelchair. However, although Artie realizes that he cannot walk and dance with Tina, his dreams leads him to adventure. He learned that he could dance using his wheelchair. Tina requests that he should sing the lead vocal “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” a role that he seems to enjoy. This is a clear illustration that Artie wants to be the part of the group.
In season 4 episode 13, Finn is represented as the disabled person who has accepted the way he is, but put more effort on overcoming his situation. Finn is aware that he has intellect weakness, but he remains competitive and passionate. For instance, in this episode Finn is challenging the Glee Club to do their best in their Diva Week. Finn tried to calm Emma down from her negative emotions about her wedding so that this cannot affect the regionals. It is evident that Finn is passionate and competitive despite his disability conditions. He challenges Emma to judge the competition as a way of boosting the competition participated by the singers. This portrays that being with a disability does not limit the power to influence others.
In episode 10 season 4, Artie continues his desire to acquire the full potential of walking again. He continues to daydream about overcoming his disability obstacle. He dreams about the Christmas angel showing him of how the things would be if he had not encountered the accident that left him disabled. This clearly illustrates that Artie is among the disability people in the Glee that desire to overcome their situations. The episode shows the desires of the disabled people to have all the aspects of non-disabled people. It is also significant that disable people are not stereotyped like some of the episodes in the show. For instance, when Artie have an accident on the ice, the non-disabled freshmen girls help him to get back into his wheelchair.
Glee also provides an adequate portrayal of the disabled characters especially by utilizing the characters who actually live with disabilities. One example is Lauren Potter, an actress who portrays the character of Becky Jackson in the movie. With her disability, she is chosen to represent the People with Intellectual Disability in the president’s committee, and she hold a position on the Board of Directors for Best Buddies. This non-profit organization aims to create opportunities in the community, leadership, and workplace for people with developmental and intellectual problems. Her involvement and participation in public positions show how the disabled people are represented positively and accurately. In addition, her involvement gives the people with disability a role model represented in the media.
Although there are some positive representation and portrayals in the movie, cases of negative representation of disabled people in the media is evident. In the past decade, Television, as an entertainment media, has generated stereotypes towards the incapacitated individuals. TV continues to represent the misconceptions of the disabled people instead of stepping in to change the thoughts and opinions in the society. Mostly, the assumptions associated with the disabled are grounded in myths, superstitions, and beliefs observed in the past. As an entertainment media, TV has induced the stereotypes in the modern culture, and this has led to discrimination within the society. The current trends show that these stereotypes are growing at an alarming rate raising the needs to introduce control measures that will restore the situation to the norm. Although the blame cannot be solely put on TV, its role cannot be underestimated. The most common stereotypes of the disabled portrayed in TV include the disabled person as pitiable and pathetic, the disabled as a burden, and the disabled as incapable of participating in community life. In addition, other stereotypes include the disabled as an object of ridicule, the disabled as a sinister or evil, amongst others. In fictional programs, the disabled represents the crime character especially in thriller films. These programs portray the incapacitated as monsters, criminals, pathetic and powerless victims
In Glee series, the theme of isolation and difference emerges throughout the show. The protagonist, Artie Abrams, was isolated from other members of the society because of his physical inabilities. In real life, McHale (Artie Abrahams) was a popular figure because of his dancing skills. Ironically, the production team assigned McHale the disabled character, and this never went well with the intended audience. The decision to use a popular character as the protagonist and incapacitated was unwise. The TV series would have been more successful if the directors had used a physically challenged person to play the role. The isolation incorporated in the movie is social and physical. It has the objective to pinpoint the experiences of the disabled in the society. In real life, McHale was a popular dancer but in the series, he is given a paralyzed character. The TV series used the term, “paralyzed” to mean the lack of movement that develops social incapacity. As demonstrated by this character, the disabled could not dance like ‘normal’ human beings. Artie fails to enjoy life and to participate actively in the club. The isolation of Artie is profound and frequently revealed by the TV directors.
TV as an entertainment media has painted negative pictures that undermined the less privileged. In real life, the TV shows and programs rarely conduct interviews with the disabled on a common basis, and this element demonstrates that the physically challenged were isolated and discriminated against in the society. The movement of Artie’s body revealed that he was not comfortable to act in the assigned role. In most situations, the disabled operates their wheelchair with ease and understand the right time when to move and when to stop, unlike Artie. The production team could have used a disabled person rather than using a non-disabled character to represent the less privileged in the society. TV has created perceptions that have influenced the public to view the disabled as abnormal and anomalous individuals.
It is inappropriate and untimely when the members of the society treat the physically challenged persons as a burden. They are required to accept them and treat them with care so that they can feel humans and appreciate life. The society was ignorant and unwilling to make the lives of the disabled an element of celebration. In the TV series, Artie lacked the full capacity to participate in normal community events. The TV series exemplified how media used stereotypes to convince the multitude that incapacitated persons were abnormal compared to normal beings.
In the TV series, Artie is isolated and discriminated from the social group comprised of members of a dance team. Moreover, it is uncertain whether there is a known cure for spinal cord injury. His inability to dance together with the spinal cord injury made it hard for Artie to woo Tina in a relationship. Artie explains to Tina that he had the abilities of normal beings and his sexual parts functioned fully. The grand revelation tempted Tina to drop her perceptions and treat Artie as a normal human being. The director illustrates that Artie cannot achieve his ambitions of becoming a dancer unless he is cured of spinal cord injury. The scene depicts that the less privileged individuals could not achieve the goals in life. For as long as I can remember, TV has inflicted stereotypes associated with the disabled people drawing negative perceptions in the manner at which the society treats them.
Brown, Sonya C. "Body Image, Gender, Social Class, and Ethnicity on Glee." STUDIES IN POPULAR CULTURE (2014).
Kociemba, David. "" This isn't something I can fake": Reactions to" Glee"'s representations of disability." Transformative Works and Cultures 5 (2010).
Sheppard, Alice. "Rockin'and Rollin'on Fox's Glee." Disability Studies Quarterly 31.1 (2011).
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