Thursday, May 13, 2010

Say What? Did you understand the message behind “Glee”?

Some time ago I wrote a blog about the TV program “Glee” and the actor, who plays Artie, who is in a wheelchair but who isn’t really disabled. As the series unfolds Glee has apparently generated more controversy and debate about real actors playing persons with disabilities on this and other TV programs.

Tuesday night’s episode was about being true to oneself. This was played out by several of the characters as they sang and danced their way through their difficulties. Rachel looses her singing voice and Finn calls her a “vocal cripple”.  (I thought this was an interesting choice of words.) Then he takes her to meet his friend, a quadriplegic.

I was pleased to learn that they used a real disabled actor to play a (real) role as a quadriplegic who had a spinal cord injury. The scenes involving this actor were realistic, touching and meaningful. In fact, I felt that the entire episode had many provocative moments, especially when Rachel first meets the former athlete who is paralyzed from the neck down. He says how much he misses his body, his friends, girls, and his life! .But then he says he has learned more about himself…that he likes math and can sing. This touches Rachel’s heart and she makes a return visit on her own and offers to give him singing lessons.

The message was clear—appreciating what you have and not that which you have lost.

We all have so much to be thankful for in our own lives. We truly must learn to embrace the gifts we have and make the best of them.  I felt the concluding message was most meaningful. I may not get the words exactly right, but here’s the message, as I heard it (told by a dad to his gay son):   It’s your job to be yourself and the parent’s job to love you for what you are.

Isn’t that so true? We love all our children for exactly what they are.


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