Watch My Gimpy Life and learn about disability etiquette
Posted on March 5th, 2013 by Rachel
Here’s my intern Kelly Zatlin with another guest blog post.
And her first name is my favorite color, too
by Kelly Zatlin
Teal Sherer is an actor in Hollywood, and she’s trying to make an impact, just like everyone else. She has one thing most actors don’t, though: a wheelchair.
Some might think a wheelchair is a disadvantage in the world of showbiz, but Teal doesn’t let it stop her. She’s a great actor, volunteer, and dance teacher for children with disabilities, and she stars in a five-episode YouTube show called My Gimpy Life. The quirky sitcom documents and highlights the daily awkwardness an actor in a wheelchair goes through while rolling around Hollywood, meeting new people and going new places.
What I like about the show is how real it is. Despite some seemingly humorous exaggeration, I think it’s probably spot-on with what Teal deals with on a daily basis and how she is treated by others once they notice her hot wheels. I can’t claim to be an expert reviewer or anything, but I could see this turning into the next Parks and Recreation or The Office. It has that real-life, documentary feel, with the added eccentric humor and hilarious monotony of everyday life.
One of the aspects of the show that stands out to us here at Easter Seals is that of disability etiquette when it comes to interacting with a person who uses a wheelchair. While the show pokes fun at some of the ways others may act, it also drives across the point in a very effective and humorous way. Here’s an example: when it comes to disability etiquette, you shouldn’t make people with disabilities out to be a hero or a victim. While Teal is auditioning for a play in episode three, the directors unnecessarily applaud her after every single line. In addition to applauding her, one of the directors tells her how “inspirational” her performance was, patting her on the forehead as she leaves. That is a disability etiquette no-no if I ever saw one!
Overall, I think this show is quirky, real, and has a lot to say about disability etiquette, just in an unlikely way. The show may not be appropriate for children — Teal uses some strong language at times — but she and the producers do a great job of showing how life really is for someone who uses wheels instead of legs.
In addition to her role on My Gimpy Life, Teal was cast as the lead role in the Pulitzer Prize-winning play PROOF. She performed in the Emmy Award-winning movie Warm Springs. She also did a commercial for Liberty Mutual that was directed by Laurence Dunmore.
It isn’t Teal’s wheelchair that got her noticed and put her on the map; it was her talent and drive to be a great actor and volunteer in the community. She’s a successful actor who doesn’t define herself by her disability AND her name is my favorite color. I definitely hope to see more of Teal Sherer on screen in the future.