People Living With Disabilities Review Characters With Disabilities

Published on May 10, 2018
"...when they cast someone who actually has a disability, almost always we get a more dynamic story."
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Special Thanks:
Pamela Rae Schuller
Eman Rimawi
Glee / Fox Wonder / Lionsgate Breaking Bad / AMC What's Eating Gilbert Grape / Paramount Pictures Game Of Thrones / HBO


  • I felt that way too about Artie. I’ve spent too long wishing I didn’t have my disorders...instead of working on how to just live with it.

  • 8:42 - _"We want to be inspired. Inspired by our own gifts, and our own talents, and our own stories and struggles..."_

  • Wonder was, in all honesty, a terrible movie. The book was so much better. In the book the movies based off of, it says to imagine auggie as different as you’d like, and to give a mental image as the story takes place. This movie ruined the entire idea of that and designed the movie characters all wrong. But besides that, this video was great.

  • Awesome vids, please make this a regular thing, Buzzfeed! Do Deaf people review deaf characters on films and shows (like Switched at Birth).because so many complaints about how Deaf characters are treated in tv.

  • that dude is really hot

  • What was Pamela’s disability? She’s really annoying.

  • Disability porn thanks

  • Don't agree with their assessment of Arnie Grape. Leonardo DiCaprio did an amazing job with the character. And also, they never specify what disability Arnie has, so how do they know what his expected life span should be? None of these people are qualified to speak on mental disabilities. I don't think they even watched the movie and understood the plot. SMH. Next time Buzzfeed, include medical professionals and people with mental disabilities to speak on the subject.

  • If I was disabled I wouldn't want to get a part just because I was disabled. I'd hope to get the part because I was good enough. My friend who is physically disabled agrees. She's doesn't make her disability the only thing that makes her her and doesn't get offended by actors playing disabled characters.

  • Basically: give people with disabilities space in the media/arts industry and let them tell their own stories instead of having people who don't even do their research write it.

  • Calling Becky from Glee a band-aid is kind of offensive too isn't it?

  • I've thought it would be really good for movies if casting would be blind. Like... have the bones, have the necessary bits of the story and then cast blind from there. If the story takes place in modern-day America and is about coworkers that hate each other but end up falling in love - it doesn't matter the ethnicity, gender, or disabilities. Disabled fat black man falls in love with a standard Hollywood white guy and the story doesn't have to be about being gay, having disability, or comedy because someone is overweight in it - it can still be exactly the same as any silly feel good hot white guy hot white girl fall in love romance. I would love to see shows portrayed like that. And if it does matter cast accordingly as well (don't cast white people in place of every other ethnicity Hollywood COUGH COUGH). There will be a lot of stories about hot white people, but how much more interesting would it be to have an appropriate diversity of people cast as long as the story is being respected. Movies would be so much better

  • If Peter Linkage was of normal height,it would be so unfair to all adult men surpassing George Clooney & Pitt by far!

  • oh my god i love this video

  • When he said "Forrest Gump" and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" my heart actually broke. I always knew representation mattered. But boy did that actually hit me right in the chest.

  • "I'm here, and I'm hard to kill." GIrl marry me!

  • they just made wonder sound aweful…..he didn't get an award just because he was disabled...

  • You could’ve let them watch the cast of American Horror Story: Freak Show - Behind the scenes where the actors actually DO have the disabilities that they portray

  • melt comfortable wind return ridiculous stir Democrat perception victim.

  • What about Toph?

  • If you're looking for disability being well represented, both by the presenters and the subject matter, check out British chat show "The Last Leg"!


  • Buzzfeed must relate because you know, they’re disabled too

  • Yeah I agree with what they were saying about Wonder. I have a sister with SMA and we are so close that it's almost like we are the same person. I know what she's thinking and feeling in a certain situation, so I know that she is uncomfortable when she's being given attention because of her disability. So when we watched that movie, I kinda got uncomfortable when he got that award because I kinda felt like they were giving it to him because they felt bad for him. People give my sister gifts all the time and I can feel how uncomfortable she is because she knows why they are giving it to her. She wants to be seen as a person, not a person with a disability. She wants people to remember her because of her personality, not the huge wheelchair she's sitting in. I feel all kinds of secondhand embarassment when people do things for her because they feel bad for her.

  • I dont get why people have a problem with an able-bodied actor playing a disabled one. I mean, its called acting. There, its hard enough to find an actor who can nail the part and if you will be looking only at disabled actor your choice will be very limited. Also with Artie, he was there for five seasons and he literally had this one episode when he had a short-lived issue about his diasbality, the whole story made sense for the character, that was normally super happy and ok. People should stop being so negative about all this :).

  • not everyone, black ppl and asian people hardly see themselves in movies!

  • where are the people of color?

  • I have a crush on Peter Dinklage too 😊 Also I would have been interested in hearing their opinion on AHS season 4. The characters were very interesting & had lots of different storylines, but at the same time, it was set in a 1950s circus freakshow. So that would've been a really interesting one for them to discuss imo.

  • Tracy Beaker returns / the dumping ground Frank was awesome. The only time I remember his cerebral palsy being a big topic was when his best friend was complaining about how hard his life was and Frank was like "I have to talk REALLY slowly and people still struggle to understand me. You think you're the only one with problems?" But that's a CBBC program in the UK so of course they haven't seen it. Lola was good too in the original Tracy Beaker. Also there's Sasha in the Dumping Ground who has dwarfism and refers to others as "shortie" which I love (she's played by Annabelle Davis, Warwick Davis's daughter). However I don't have any major disabilities so I wouldn't know. However I know that watching the Tracy Beaker programs growing up made me see that people with disabilies are just people like you and me. Nobody is "normal", there is statistically not a normal person so having a disability shouldn't be a problem.

  • Their feelings are valid about the Artie episode, because it is their own feelings. So many comments, "well you should see it.." Guys, relax. Their feelings are valid. Maybe some day they'll look back on it and think different, or maybe they did finish the episode and not dislike it as a whole, and that's fine. Let people feel things, damn.

  • Completely off topic, but my uncle was in a wheelchair, and I always thought it was neat that he would let me play in it, and his car and truck was so cool since it had been modified so he could drive it.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar. He did a fantastic job and deserves to be recognized for his talent not how it hurt your feelings and is offensive boohoohoo crap.

  • if you are disabled you do wish you weren't. I wish I didn't have to use a cane anymore.

  • I disagree that only people with disabilities should be portraying people with disabilities. Actors aren't actually anyone that they play - they are playing a role, pretending. No one would be pissed off that a firefighter wasn't played by a real firefighter. Pretending is the whole point of acting, and the only stipulation is whether or not they acted well. Also, films and television are a form of art. Art isn't supposed to be politically correct, or 'validating', or 'inclusive'... it's not supposed to be anything except an expression of the artists creative vision. The idea that art should be policed, is ridiculous.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio was not even a well known actor when that film was made . I personally don't see anything wrong with that movie . It's based off a book.

  • as somebody who looks fucked up in a swimsuit (my leg is literally a birthmark from my ankle to my high thigh, as well as many others in varying sizes all over) I laughed out loud in ready player one like OMG so bad

  • Getting out of bed does not make me inspirational

  • This is great and enlightening and reveals popular stereotypes. Can you do mental health next? Oh boy oh boy oh boy. There is a tremendous need. It's all this "a memoir of madness" stuff. And people look at movies with mentally ill people in them and call it a "heartwarming struggle towards the light". At the same time, "whack job" is one of the favorite expressions in our culture."Oh come on. He's just a whack job" (total dismissal).

  • ''I'm here and I'm hard to kill'' That's my sentence of the year!

  • "I'm here and I'm hard to kill" < life motto!

  • In casting actor with disability for Artie's role. A lot of comments go into how a disabled actor can't do what an able-bodied actor can. What about the other way around. All the things an abled body can't do while a wheelchair user can! Of course the team can choose who they want and how they want it, it's their show. Just thinking it may give a different level of artistic possibilities. After all, the show is about celebrating variety of talents right!?

  • I don't get why they didn't like What's Eating Gilbert Grape. Leo did an amazing job. I know kids like that, so he didn't do a poor job. It was realistic. It is also a movie about a family's struggle, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Lots of families struggle for different reasons. Why should we hide that some families with kids who are disabled struggle? It is the truth. Much better to get it out in the open then pretend it doesn't happen.

  • #allrepresentationmatters!!!

  • The way Glee handled Artie, bisexuality and Asian characters sucked sooo bad. I'm glad that show is over

  • Why isn’t Dare Devil in this? Or any blind/deaf reviewers???

  • I like wonder but my main gripe with it that the character wasn’t deaf like they said in the movie overall the person who played him did really well

  • I always thought Dinklage was hot even in Elf

  • peter, goddamn why does he do it to us

  • Good stuff.

  • What an inspiration. "We want to be inspired too".. What a slap in the face. Wake up humanity!

  • I loveeeeee this! Its refreshing to hear such insight, thank God for the internet because this can definitely be addressed all over the world! We want to see more of this!

  • Could y'all make a similar video of: Deaf people Review Characters that are "Deaf" In TV and Movies?

  • They didn't bring up Jamie Brewers AHS roles which I think are so great! especially from "coven"

  • I didn’t see that part in glee

  • What about Reggie in Call The Midwife? Those episodes get me in tears every time. He's such a great character!

  • The crush is real!

  • As a person with many disabilities, I feel like the majority of what they say in this video is petty and purposefully negative. Nothing annoys me more than people nit picking the hell out of things. By the time it got to the discussion of Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, I was just plain annoyed.

  • Look. Just because you are disabled, doesn’t mean you can be the police on “properly portrayed disabled people.” It’s sad, that you have to go through what you go through, but please, don’t get mad at directors and actors for trying. It’s like saying just because I’m white I can criticize the movies with white females and say “well this isn’t how I live, I’m offended by the character.” That isn’t right.

  • No bran?

  • Where's Sean Murphy from The Good Doctor?

  • Wish they added Ivar the Boneless from Vikings probably one of the more badass characters on the show (After Ragnar and Bjorn)

  • Wow that guy is a savage 😂

  • what about Dustin from Stranger Things?

  • "I'm here, and I'm hard to kill." That is hands down one of the most badass things anyone has ever said.

  • I can see why people would find Leonardo DiCaprio's acting offensive but I don't agree that the movie is supposed to make the audience feel sorry for the family because of Arnie's disability. The story is about Gilbert and his struggle to take care of his family while trying to live his own life. The relationship between Arnie and Gilbert is a big part of the story but it isn't all there is to the movie. Also, you can't forget that the Arnie wasn't the only character in the movie with a disability. The mother is morbidly obese and is a shut in.

  • QQ

  • It's also worthwhile noting that using "name actors" can be a really good in for people who otherwise aren't exposed to media featuring disabled people, and the choice of actor very rarely impacts a character's narrative (the writer and director do) .

  • Would have been great for you guys to touch on what successful movies featuring disabilities exist from the 90s onward so your audience have some inspiration about what they can look up and watch.

  • If you don't have people on the panel with cognitive diabilities, don't review those characters. In Particular, don't review characters with cognitive disabilities that severely affect them. How do you know that your panel doesn't also have misconceptions about cognitive and intellectual disabilities?

    • Disability is such a broad spectrum that even if they were to add people with cognitive disabilities to the panel, people would still complain. I think the point of this is to say that as a whole, the disabled community is represented poorly in society.

  • I can't believe no one thought to bring up Simon Birch, who tf??

  • That guy has really gross hands

  • I am curious what people with disabilities think of the woman from Kingsman. She was an amputee with leg blades and about as over the top as any other character in the movie.

  • Super cool! It is super interesting of hearing their poin of view since I have a compleatly different one

  • I love the disability content please keep it coming, most aren’t talking about disability.

  • If anyone wants a story of a disabled person doing amazing things, there's a movie called an Uphill Climb. It won a mid America Emmy award. It's about a man with cerebral palsy. It goes through the steps of his day to day life while also documenting the insane things he's accomplished including climbing to base camp of Mt. Everest.

    • The man's name is Kyle Packer and he's my dad.

  • Am I am the only one that is relieved they liked Tyrion? He is one of my favorite all time characters and I would have been really disappointed if I found out I was missing something horrible about his portrayal.

  • I can’t believe they didn’t do my left foot!

  • I mean yeah but leo did a fantastic job at that role. I dont think any abled human could portray a condition like that so consistently and naturally. offensive or not, that took serious talent on his part.

  • With biomechanics everything is possible

  • Is it bad to say i think these guys are biased

    • Well, able-bodied people tend to be biased as well, so it balances out.

  • This video was so wonderful. Could you guys please do a similar one for Trans people and for Autistics, or people with mental disorders, please? I would love to see more people like me weighing in on the perceptions that Hollywood and such seem to have on persons like me and how people like me react to it.

  • the girl in black is amazing

  • I expected to see American Horror Story on here! There's a lot of disabled characters there that I really loved, especially Nan in Coven and the disabled characters in Freak Show (the ones played by disabled actors). It would have been easy (and lazy writing) to make their disabilities the 'horror' part of the show but it didn't seem that way to me. I can only watch it as an able-bodied person though so it would've been nice to get a different perspective.

  • Yo that guy Christopher was my substitute teacher he is an amazing guy man love that guy

  • Judging by title this is the most pointless video..

  • I think this was a bit unfair, especially in the case of Glee. I think the best actor should play a role, regardless of if the actor himself is disabled or not. That's like saying you can't have a war drama without real soldiers as actors, or a gay character without the actor having to be gay too, and so on. It feels weird to me to say "I don't want people to pity us, I don't want to get a prize just for being what I am" but then also expecting every disabled role to only be given to disabled actors? Specifically in case of Archie, the actor portrayed him really well, and his character arc was much more than "his disability". Glee was a positive show - everyone had some problems they had to grow from and overcome. Archie not only learnt to love himself with his wheelchair, he encountered many other typical teen problems too that he eventually got over, just like any other character in the show.

  • it is easy to justify casting non-disabled actors in disabled roles when there are no famous actors who have the disability the filmmakers are portraying but it sucks because people like me - autistic psychotic people - never get to see ourselves on screen in a realistic light. we project onto caricature characters like harley quinn or deadpool because there are /so few/ neurodivergent characters who are portrayed well that we have to settle with literal cartoons for solidarity until we make friends online who share experiences. and that's just my own experience as someone whose disabilities are easy to hide and pretend dont exist. stop using us as inspiration porn. at least Peter Dinklage can demand it, but i want every disabled actor to have that power.

  • This is nice...but they all seem so bitter. I guess no one remembers Corky from Life Goes On either. But yeah this all seemed a little like lets give angry people a platform. I have worked in special education, and worked with people who are physically and developmentally challenged, and none of them seem this jaded/angered by television shows. I have a 14 year old who loves the Good Doctor and says its not real but the doctor is incredible (and cute)

  • Stop pushing diversity, you don't need to see someone like yourself in media to be happy about your disability. Just be yourself.

  • Where is Matt Murdoch/Daredevil?

  • do a mental health one!!!! review stuff like mental illness portrayed in american horror story (violet and tate), to the bone, 13rw, etc

  • The dude with fucked up arms is the best thing ever

  • This is a video worth watching! Not something I often see from Buzzfeed. Well done this time & thanks participants for bringing wisdom and light to a topic I didn't have a lot of information on

  • I have asperger's, tourette's, and gender identity disorder. (Those are just the prominent ones)

  • Have we done invisible disabilities? Like Crohns.... Cept watching a character run to the bathroom every 30 minutes prolly isn't all that interesting lol.

  • Wonder? The book was better.

  • Fake and gay

  • Where is nemo

  • You can dance in a wheelchair when you get drunk

  • I don't see the problem with Leo's acting. He was portraying a character with a mental disability, not a physical one.