Jerk

The BBC 3 sitcom Jerk, stars Tim Renkow as an anti-hero who exploits his cerebral palsy to get away with bad behaviour. Widely acknowledged to be ground-breaking in its representation of disability, the series is a radical departure from the narrative conventions that situate disabled characters as either victim or saint. With a clear kinship… Continue reading Jerk

Coronavirus memes: visual banter

There’s much that is positive in the abundance of coronavirus comic memes: in their assertions of shared experience and collectivity they clearly do provide a degree of relief. But as units of communication to be exchanged and circulated, they are often only placeholders for real emotion or feeling. Given that the experiences of strain, anger,… Continue reading Coronavirus memes: visual banter

British drabness vs American glamour

The US sitcom Speechless is one of a groundswell of recent television shows with a disabled main character. Special on Netflix and Jerk on BBC3 were created by and star actors with cerebral palsy, while Don’t Forget the Driver on BBC 2, also has a central character with the condition. All are billed are comedies, although the latter is frequently very dark. It… Continue reading British drabness vs American glamour

Visually countering the complexly embodied disabled character

Watching three recent comedies which feature characters with disabilities, I notice a similarity in the techniques which seek to address a mainstream, able-bodied tension around the disabled body. Speechless is an ABC sitcom about a white family with a teenage son – J.J - with cerebral palsy, who needs an aide to communicate. Kenneth, his aide, whom… Continue reading Visually countering the complexly embodied disabled character