Cast Offs is a new British TV show. This scripted fake-reality show aims to spoof Survivor-type shows by placing six people with different disabilities (all physical or sensory) on an island. All are played by actors with a disability. The show also shows a series of flashbacks, with each episode focusing on one of the characters’ lives.
This isn’t a full review of the pilot, except to say that I’m not all that convinced that having PWD sledging each other for having a disability, Crips Behaving Badly-style, is all that much of an improvement over having temporarily-abled people sledging PWD. Self-deprecating and collaborative humour I’m all about; pitting PWDs against each other in snide and nasty ways, not so much. As usual, the show claims that it’s terribly adventurous and new, and that it’s all about “satire” and “the last taboo”. Who is being “satirised” and why here?
The point of this post is mainly to warn you about a scene near the beginning, if you are thinking of watching, but you’re triggered by sexual violence and threats of rape. The scene occurs without any warning or inkling of the turn the content is about to take.
Description and clip below the cut. **Trigger warnings apply.**
The scene comes during Dan’s flashback, just after a wheelchair basketball match. Dan is in the changing room, where there are three other men from his team. Two of them gang up on him, holding him down and stealing his clothes. There is no sign of humour in Dan’s face; he is struggling, he looks distressed and upset, and he is saying “fuck off”. As they hold him down, one of the attackers says “I’ll be gentle, truly, I promise. I’ll just slip the tip in!” The man then wheels off into the street with Dan’s clothes, with Dan in pursuit.
The aim, I am guessing, is to demonstrate that people with disabilities bully and assault and victimise each other just as much as everyone else. And that this is progress, showing it on TV, and that we’re terribly enlightened and edgy by depicting and watching such things. Plus, hee, they stole his clothes. That’s always hilarious comedy fodder, right? Right?
Actually, no. Assault and rape-threat scenes? Not. Funny. Just. Not.
By the way, Eastwick, I’m looking at YOU too. Now with full-blown rape, played for laughs, in episode 1×08. Be warned.