Glee: Poster Children for DisabilityFail

You saw last week’s Glee promotional poster, posted here by s. e. smith. In that poster, Sue the cheerleading coach sprays spray paint across the Glee club – hitting most of the singers in the chest or abdomen, but spraying Artie, who uses a wheelchair, across the eyes.

Here’s the latest:

glee poster with singers jumping for joy against a red background. Artie, instead of jumping, is falling out of his wheelchair.

Look at those singers! They’re so happy! They’re jumping for joy! They’re smiling! Life is good! Well, except for Puck, who chooses to stand with his arms crossed, looking cool. That’s his version of happy. And, oh, except for Artie. Who can’t jump, because, LOL, he’s totally confined to a wheelchair, y’see. So he’s falling out of his chair. Looking terrified. What fun!

Worst of all? Fox loved this branding so much – they made three versions.

Glee website header with same images, slightly rearranged

Glee casting call with same images, slightly rearranged

19 Comments

  1. They could so easily have maintained the aesthetic of these posters with Artie in a position expressing joy, too.

  2. The fact this show won any sort of award is proof to me that US culture not only hates PWD but actively seeks our harm.

  3. It seems to me a good equivalent for jumping for joy would be having Artie do a wheelie or something. Not *throwing him out of his chair*. JFC.

  4. At this point, there is no possible way to maintain any belief that Fox or Ryan Murphy are acting in ignorance but good faith. None.

  5. also, I just don’t even understand the physics of this.

  6. @AWV: I think he’s supposed to be a supercrip. Maybe he can fly (or at least hover, he is disabled).

  7. Yet again another promo that does nothing to bring in new viewers. (Whether they care about Artie or not.)

    Aren’t promos supposed to make you look forward to your returning show AND make the uninitiated curious?

    I think the one where they assaulted the students would make me more curious than this one, if I hadn’t already given it a shot with Hulu. (No pilot available, what gives?) Of course, I came in quite biased, because I’ve seen nothing positive about it.

    I could give the show a break – if I’d watched it on my own – if it wasn’t being praised to the high heavens for diversity. Gag me. I still say Malcolm in the Middle did a better job – not only was Stevie a PWD, he was a PWDOC! Where are their awards?

  8. Although I remain non-negative in my feelings towards Glee–and even its treatment of Artie!–I want to take this opportunity to point everyone to an occasion of Disability Win! Of a mild sort, at least. I just took my younger siblings to see “How To Train Your Dragon” and two of the characters wind up with a physical disability. Solution? Adaptive equipment, accessibility, and life goes on. It was a really, really tiny part of the movie, but it was done really well (and is a pretty good show in and of itself”. It didn’t even have to be in the movie, and it was, and it was such a….yeah, not very coherent right not, but it was great. So yeah. The world is not always full of fail. 🙂

  9. I had a dream about 50 things (as usual) and after the bad guy from a specific Lifetime movie stopped chasing me, I ran into the folks from Glee at the beach! They acted kind of like a student/political group when I asked why I should join/watch the show.

    But on the walls of the tiki hut were more promos of just Artie, and it made the falling out look nice. So I had to take pics to show you guys. Yes. You have invaded my dreams.

  10. I don’t get this promo at all. Why does Artie look scared? On the show he is usually confident and pleased with himself; here he looks confused and in danger. What the hell?

  11. hsofia – so the promo’s a fail even for established fans?

    I think Fox is confused about what to do with a successful scripted show. 😛

  12. I love Glee’s music, but the message it sends is clearly messed up. I do, however, wish a PWD would win the casting call and show the producers of the show how they don’t need to put actors in crip drag. PWDs can act and sing.

    Its funny though, among my TAB friends, Artie is universally the (or one of the) favorite(s). (The other is Kurt.) You’d think the producers would catch on and not mistreat his character on posters!

    KJ

  13. This ad gives me the chills. It’s so blatant I think the average person can’t even see it. Sad.

  14. Who/what are TAB friends? Google fails me, and Urban Dictionary is blocked at work.

  15. Emma – they’re definitely a “who”. She means friends who are Temporarily Able-Bodied, no disabilities.

  16. Ignorance fought! Thanks, Kaitlyn.

  17. @Kaitlyn – totally. It just doesn’t make any sense from a character point of view. All I can think looking at this ad is that whoever made it thought it would be funny to have the dude in the wheelchair falling out of it. FAIL.

  18. [SPOILERS for Glee, episode 1×19, “Dream On.]

    [Moderator note: PLEASE mark your spoilers clearly, commenters. Many readers, including moderators, live in places where TV shows do not play at the same time as they do in the US. Avoiding centring the experiences of the people of a single nation is part of our comment policy. ~L]

    Now Artie can dance in his dream? It has NOTHING to do with the character and everything to do with the producers wanting to justify overlooking a PWD actor and hiring an able-bodied one. The casting director told me he cast Kevin McHale because “you people” (an actual quote) didn’t submit anyone. I said: “Do you think agents are bragging about how many disabled actors they have? You have to do casting calls all over the country to find good disabled actors, just like you had to do in the 50’s/60’s to find good Black actors.” They’re lazy.