Posted By Sandra Alland

Cast Offs is a six-episode Channel 4 series about six disabled people marooned on an island together for three months. It's a faux reality show; we also follow the six people before they leave for the island, in interviews and going about their daily lives.

Cast Offs is a groundbreaking mockumentary for a very basic reason -- all the characters are played by people who are disabled. No Al Pacino pretending to be blind or Daniel Day Lewis with his left foot here. I think this is awesome, and it's extra-awesome because the actors are good.

But what I really dig about the show is that the writing is superb. Most of the characters are pretty unlikeable much of the time, which goes a long way towards fighting stereotypes of saintly disabled and Deaf people. The people are complex, and allowed to be selfish, petty and bigoted at times. There are plenty of crip politics throughout -- and the question is raised as to whether having a disability actually means you have anything in common with other disabled people (the age-old "community" dilemma) -- but often the characters are dealing with things that have very little to do with disability. Parenthood, commitment, sex and death are very present themes.

It's great to finally see disabled stories told from a disabled perspective. Jack Thorne, Tony Roche and Alex Bulmer (she is someone I knew in Toronto, how cool is that!) have created a show that's wonderfully dirty with a difference. It's one of the best television series I've seen in years, also because it's got a terrifically biting sense of humour. (So much so that Channel 4 actually puts an official warning of "Dark adult humour". lol). Check it out here.

xo


 
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