Five years ago a store located in a National Park in California cut ties with me and all their vendors. They decided to be a completely green store and sell only 100% recycled or green goods. It was run by the National Parks (government). They were not motivated to make a profit, but rather SEND A MESSAGE.
There are so many shows, both reality and not, featuring special needs individuals and families. Speechless, Joan of Arcadia, The A Word, and the list goes on. The trend continues with, The Good Doctor, coming to ABC soon. I love hearing about these shows and am excited there is so much awareness generated regarding special needs.
What I want to know is this: What is the motivation for this trend? Are networks seeing that more people are tuning in to shows with autism? Are network executives sending a message that they are all about special needs? Is it advertiser driven? What? Why the trend of showcasing special needs? Look, I am on board. I just want to know why.
When you sit down and watch the Academy Awards, Isn’t there always one or two movies that you had never heard of? Next time you have movie night you check it out because it was nominated or won an award. After you watch the movie you realize the Academy sure wanted you to get some message, because that movie just robbed you of two hours and 20 bucks!
Our world has never been so politically driven and media fueled by those who hold power. I want everyone in the world to watch all the shows about special needs so they will know a little bit of our world and the rewards, ugliness, and fun we live in. But come on. I watched Speechless for five episodes just to support the cause. Well, four to support the cause, the fifth was because I have always had a little crush on Minnie. Sorry to break up with you Minnie, but we are done, unless you can get Dustin Hoffman to do a guest appearance as Rain Man.
Apparently, Speechless took it up a notch on the ratings for the last episode, and season two here we come! How? Did every family with a special needs connection tune in to save it? Maybe NBC executives could not stand the thought of being the only network that didn’t have a special needs show. Or are they sending a message?
Well here is a message from an over the top supporter of all things special needs. I often wonder how over the top I am. Are my friends sick of me posting and talking only about special needs? Do they tune me out because they know where the conversation is heading? I am skeptical about our voice as a special needs community as well. Are we too over the top? Is there such a thing?
Please, let us never be the store who takes away what the consumer wants in the name of awareness and our ideology. We have far too much talent, sensational stories, and pride, to force our message anywhere. The internet is teeming with our stories and more come out every day. They are awe inspiring, ridiculously funny, and tear gushing emotional. I am sure it is not easy to capture the awesome nature of special needs into television and movies. If it is not working, let’s back up and take another stab at it, and not force the issue.