I’m bored. Just in case that hasn’t been established by this point. I’ve decided to replace my Tinder time with something a little bit more entertaining. (I mean, seriously fellas, I’m not breaking quarantine for you. Stop insisting.) This means
I’m probably gonna be posting a lot of reviews in the next few weeks. I wanted to do a blog post counting down the best shows featuring physical disabilities. However, I fell in love with this one.
The show is called The Healing Powers of Dude and the logline goes a little something like this:
Noah, an 11-year-old boy with social anxiety disorder, has to start middle school, he turns to a mutt named Dude, a sarcastic emotional support dog who might need Noah as much as Noah needs him.
That being said, let’s talk about the real star of the show. And that’s just Diva talk for “Where was she when I was 11!?” The real star of the show is Amara, the first friend Noah meets in school, (in other words, SHE HAS A RECURRING ROLE!!!) played by Sophie Jaewon Kim who has Congenital muscular dystrophy, Ullrich type.
I just want to applaud Netflix for the show in general. I mean the fact that they’re showing a new level of diversity in a respectable and delightful manner that is going to resonate with the pre-teeners is probably one of the most important factors of the show. Netflix is exposing its younger audience to a world of conscientious empathy. That being said, in no way do they emit a sense of pity or condescension towards Noah or Amara. Noah is painted as this badass kid who wants to face the world, while Amara is an in-your-face, I-don’t-say-sorry, talk-back-to-the-teacher type of chick.
I just hope Netflix knows how much of an impact they’re making by releasing this show. I mean, I would’ve been so much more confident if I had seen someone like me on my TV when I was 11, and then had this subconscious Amara voice in my head. She’s a voice of reason in the show. She has a huge crush on Noah, (but, of course, he’s crushing on the popular girl, smh). Most importantly though, the third friend in the group (AKA the comic relief, Simon), is head over heels over Amara. I found this to be the most tender thing about the show. Crushes are the most normal pre-teen thing and showing the public that Amara can have a crush and be crushed on without commentary is beyond beautiful. No joke, I think I cried halfway through when Amara broke Simon’s, 11-year-old heart. I mean, I definitely yelled at my TV screen that she’s gonna regret it in the future because you know Simon’s gonna have a six-pack when he hits puberty (that’s what heartbreak does). But hey, that’s television.
I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, exposing ourselves to the media and exposing the media to us is going to be the way that we can break the boundaries that are left for the disabled community. I feel like right now there are still question marks hovering over stranger’s heads when they meet me. They ask themselves, “How do I talk to her? Does she talk? How do I not end up putting my foot in my mouth?” So, I’m glad that Netflix is starting with the youth so that they can grow up seeing those questions answered for them. TV can be an ice breaker, once a young person watches the show, it breaks the impact of exposure to a wheelchair-bound person, so whenever they’re interacting with one in real life, they have something to reference. Which is progress, if you ask me.