Sunday, August 3, 2014

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood - Daniel's New Friend/Same and Different

Daniel Tiger has a show about disabilities - wanna review it?



Daniel's New Friend:
I may be a bit biased but I think Chrissie is a fabulous character.  As someone who used crutches and wore braces as a little girl, I would have loved to see her on TV when I was growing up.  I love how Chrissie asks for help when she needs it (and doesn't just expect people to do for her.)  I also think it's really good that she's just as assertive about when she doesn't need help. I like that she goes to school, and makes a point to tell them she does.  I like that she tells Daniel, and Miss Elena and Prince Wednesday about different ways she adapts while playing running games.  And I really, really appreciate that the other characters asked and waited for permission before they touched her braces.  My favorite part of this episode?  Definitely when Chrissie was like, "Daniel, can I show you something?  This is how you hold reins," because it had nothing to do with her disability, and it showed she's clearly knowledgeable about other things!  

Same and Different:
What I liked about this one was that Chrissie was not the token "different character feeling different."  She remains very well-adjusted.  As such, I really liked that Daniel was featured as the one who realized a way he was different and felt marginalized.  I loved when Chrissie identified with him, though, and said, "I use these crutches to walk and wear these braces.  I'm different, and people see it," because it is so true.  But it isn't necessarily a negative thing.  The other thing I loved about this was the taped piece at the end about the twin boys (one of whom uses a walker) because that was SO me and my sister growing up.  I'm so glad Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood actually sought out and found a child with a disability to feature, because it's so important.  (Oh!  Also!  Chrissie's crutches and braces are super accurately portrayed, and the way she uses them is so spot on.  It's clear the Daniel Tiger team did their research and I love it!)


If you have kids in your life between the ages of 2 and 8 and want to introduce them to people with disabilities, I think this is a great way to start that conversation.  Likewise, if you have a kid in this age range that is disabled, this is a great way to show them they are not alone!  

13 comments:

  1. I happened upon this episode while watching TV with my toddler age family member today. Very cute episode. You are totally right about the accuracy of the crutch movements. Nice to be able to show my family member a character like me as they are too young for the content in my current films.

    My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic also does a good job depicting disability especially in the episodes "Flight to The Finish" and "Trade Ya".

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    1. Yesss, so true! This initial request for a review of this episode came from the mom of a child we used to babysit for when she was really young. I like being able to show little kids appropriate depictions of disability too <3

      I have heard of the MLP episodes. I don't often review shows that feature animals with disabilities because we are dehumanized on such a regular basis anyway. So I try to stick with reviewing media that features people with disabilities for the most part :)

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    2. Thanks! I get what your saying but I think kids shows with animals depicting disability are perfectly fine for children as they often like and relate to shows with animated animals, Daniel Tiger is an animal himself. I think its also important for kids to realize that animals are often effected by disability as many kids who have pets will experience a disabled pet at some point. Plus cartoon animals with disability tend to better represent disability than shows with disabled humans i.e "Finding Dory" is VASTLY better than "Me Before You" and I would much rather have people in my life thinking of "Finding Dory" when they think of disability instead of "Me Before You". Personally I find disabled humans being misrepresented in an animalistic objectifying way in live action films,TV etc to be more harmful than a disabled animal portrayed accurately. I don't think most children look at a character like say Scootaloo from My Little Pony and automatically get the thought of "disabled people are animals/objects" because most kids I have encountered are aware that My Little Pony is its own universe and doesn't directly reflect humans in a literal sense,whereas if they see a disabled teen being treated like a 1 year old or objectified on live action TV they may take it more seriously. That being said, we need major improvements in media representations in general! The dehumanizing angers me just as much as it does you since I find every life is valuable and precious and must be protected. Just my opinion! Did you at least watch those MLP episodes just for the sake of watching at least? If I find more shows with human characters I'll recommend them. :)

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    3. I'd go with Finding Nemo over Finding Dory, myself. But Me Before You is SO TERRIBLE, I agree! And I think I just watched the MLP scenes not the entire episode. Not a huge Ponies fan, though had it come out when I was 4, I would have dug it. I was a big fan then :)

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    4. Yeah I'm probably bias in the MLP department since I'm a proud female brony. :) Finding Nemo is one of my top fave Disney movies behind Lilo & Stitch :) Nemo was so well done!

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    5. YAY! Lilo & Stitch is my all time favorite movie!!! Here's a neat Lilo & Stitch related tumblr page you might like http://saveliloandstitch.tumblr.com

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  2. Tonia, I think it is incredibly ableist for you to assume a disabled animal on a cartoon show is the same as the dehumanizations of the disabled community as a whole. The dehumanization of disabled is rampant so I understand your anger but I think you need to re direct your anger towards certain people in the medical profession and govt instead of going after an innocent kids cartoon with disabled animals by not reviewing it. I think you are also disrespecting basic intelligence with such a remark.

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  3. I'm not angry about this at all. I was just sharing a personal preference and explaining why I don't often review particular shows.

    I'm not equating disabled animal cartoons with the very real ableism we experience. That is not ableist whatsoever. I think it's great that cartoons feature disabled characters, even animals.

    All I was communicating was a preference to review mostly media that features human disabled characters.

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    1. Ah, thank you for clarifying. I think I misunderstood. My bad!

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  4. Hey since you like Lilo & Stitch have you considered reviewing this episode of the L&S TV series called 'RETRO" ?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlCmMnYDjgA
    Crutch depiction seems accurate. :) Sorry for crappy youtube version.

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  5. I agree with your review. I like that they adapted their play and asked about the disability. It was also cool they addressed racial difference in an innocent sweet way since most kids shows try to avoid that or overstate it. The only thing is I wish they just had more scenes that showed being same and different like many of the scenes you mentioned instead of singing about it every 2 seconds. I know its a kid show but even for my 3 year old cousin the lesson was a bit too obvious and in your face. Singing at the beginning and then doing a little reprise at the end would have been better for story telling structure.

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    1. I didn't mind the singing. Neither did the 1 year old (at the time) I watched it with. Mr. Rogers' shows have a lot of singing. It's kind of a hallmark of the show :)

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