Previously, I wrote about the extreme sexism and judgmental nature of the new sitcom Selfie. I’ve stayed with the show in the hopes that it will evolve into something more nuanced.
The good news is that it has – at least on the sexism and judgment fronts. Unfortunately, in the third episode it devolved into a show that makes fun of blind people.
In the second scene of the third episode titled “A Little Yelp From My Friends,” the characters are in one of those horridly annoying team-building staff meetings. Their boss asks everyone to look around the room and tell him what they see. A few characters share the obvious, like windows and doors.
Then it cuts to this man:
He says “Dark? Darkness? Endless night?”
There is no reason for this character to exist other than for the laugh at the expense of people who are blind. He’s not an active character in the show. He’s not even a passive character in the show. Someone in the writing room thought it would be funny to make a blind joke.
This character isn’t a person. He’s not even a character. He’s an object, a punching bag. He’s there so that the writers and the audience can laugh at someone who is not like them.
This joke is nothing more than “Let’s laugh at disabled people because we can!” If this had been a fat joke, TV show recappers would’ve been up in arms. It’s not ok to make fun of fat people anymore, but it’s acceptable to laugh with glee at blind people.
What’s even more disturbing to me than the joke itself are all of the people, like Sonia at the AV Club, who says:
The blind guy at the meeting saying “endless night”? I laughed. A lot. I don’t think it was right to laugh. But, I did.
If you know you shouldn’t laugh at something, then don’t laugh at it. That makes you a bully. It also makes you guilty of discrimination. You’re laughing at someone because they are blind. When you laugh at one person because they are blind, you are laughing at all of us.
For those of you who found this joke funny, I welcome your comments. Tell me how it’s funny that I fall down stairs because I can’t judge depth. Tell me how it’s funny that I have limited career options because I cannot drive. Tell me how it’s funny that I get debilitating migraines from lights and for that reason can never work a 9-5 job. Tell me how hilarious it is that I cannot enjoy the same independence that you enjoy.
Go ahead, tell me. I’m waiting.