Friday, June 7, 2013

"Push Girls" and "My Gimpy Life"

I've been watching two "TV" shows about wheelchair users that have a lot in common: "Push Girls" and "My Gimpy Life". Both take a little effort to find, Both are worth the effort.

"Push Girls" and "My Gimpy Life" are about young women who are wheelchair users, who became disabled at some point due to accident or illness. The women in both are quite beautiful in the conventional sense. They all live and in various ways struggle to work in Hollywood ... the city and the industry. In both shows the women handle their disabilities with grace, humor, and assertiveness, while acknowledging how physical barriers and prejudices crop up every day. "My Gimpy Life" is fictional, while "Push Girls" is a reality show. Yet, they both feel realistic, and both attempt to portray the realities of living in a wheelchair honestly.

One major difference between these shows is how they are made.

"Push Girls" is a reality series on the Sundance Channel. "My Gimpy Life" is a web series posted to YouTube. Although it is on a cable channel with relatively low viewership, "Push Girls" is a fully professional television show. "My Gimpy Life" is more like semi-pro. The actors and crew are all professionals, and the quality is quite high, but like many web series, it is self-produced without a studio or company behind it, financed by donations fans and through project funding sites like Kickstarter. By necessity, "My Gimpy Life" is also shorter. Episodes last around 8 minutes, while episodes of "Push Girls" are a full half hour in conventional TV format.

By the way, "My Gimpy Life" contains un-bleeped profanity. "Push Girls" is relatively free of it, not surprising for a mainstream, general-audience show. However, the swearing on "My Gimpy Life" adds authenticity, and its nothing like, say, "The Sopranos" or "Deadwood." Both shows talk fairly frankly but appropriately about sex.

The biggest difference between these shows is that "Push Girls" is a more or less "serious" show, which shows all facets of these women's lives, the good, bad, and ordinary, where "My Gimpy Life" is reality-based, but firmly a comedy. If that makes "Push Girls" sound more profound, I don't mean it to. Both shows are profound in their own ways.

I haven't drawn any other big conclusions about these shows, except that I want more of both.

"Push Girls" on the Sundance Channel

"Push Girls" on Netflix

"My Gimpy Life" on YouTube

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