"The West Wing” series is about so many things that its extended depictions of disability take their natural place as just one of many interlocking story lines. President Josiah Bartlett’s “hidden” Multiple Sclerosis echoes the real President Roosevelt’s imperfectly obscured Polio. Although the later years of the show aren’t as good as the first few, the disability depiction improves, showing the President’s progressing disability both as a legitimate personal crisis, and a manageable one that only occasionally interferes with his conduct of “the job”.
It’s such a bonus to that we get another disability depiction, in the recurring character Joey Lucas, the political pollster who is deaf, played by Marlee Matlin. Her introductory scene, in which a drunk Josh Lyman struggles to understand that she is deaf, and the guy with her is her Sign Language Interpreter, is one of the funniest scenes in the entire series.
Disability life, ideas, identity, culture, commentary, and politics.