As I mentioned recently, I am working on a short video montage of clips from TV shows and films that feature disabled characters and disability themes. Today I'm frustrated because I'm looking for a particular scene that I was certain I'd seen on YouTube, which would mean I could download it and edit it into my project. Now I can't find it again. The scene is from the AMC television show "Breaking Bad", where Walter, Jr., the main character's teenaged son, who has cerebral palsy, has an exchange with his Uncle Hank. Hank is recovering from a shootout (he's a DEA agent), and has kind of given up, feeling useless because of physical injuries that may be permanent. Walter, Jr. basically throws his own disabilities back at Hank, suggesting that if Hank is so useless that he needs to be in a hospital forever, then maybe he, Walter, Jr. should be in a hospital, too.
I like the scene for three reasons. First, I like it because Walter, Jr.'s disability is always noticeable but rarely important to the story. Second, the scene is a reversal of a disability drama cliché … usually it's a non-disabled character telling a disabled character to "snap out of it" and "stop feeling sorry for yourself". Here, it's the other way around. Third, I like that Walter, Jr.'s argument works precisely because his Uncle Hank respects Walter, Jr. so much for his independence and way of dealing with his disability.
As an aside, the character of Walter Jr. is played by actor RJ Mitte, who does have cerebral palsy. In an interview, he says that Walter, Jr.'s impairments are a bit more severe than the actor's own, so that Mitte has to sort of go back to a time when he, himself, used to be more significantly impaired … walking with a bit more difficulty, and speaking with slightly more of an impediment.
If I can't find a way to include this scene in my collection, I'll be sad.
Disability life, ideas, identity, culture, commentary, and politics.