The Meandering Social Worker

wandering : wondering : learning

Another bearded lady?

Tonight on the UK news five young people sharing a house in Brighton were interviewed and shown to be delighted at becoming American TV stars since the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) picked up their docu-series, “The Specials”.

The original programmes were recorded over a four year period and have won a Webby Award but British TV companies declined to air it. In releasing the news of the showing the Futon Clinic states, “The groundbreaking docu-series shares the funny, honest story of five housemates with intellectual disabilities living the classic student lifestyle in England.”

“The Webby Award-winning series was originally produced as short form,10-minute webisodes in England. OWN will televise fresh, newly adapted episodes following housemates as they continue to support each other through major changes in their lives — everything from breakups, to a parents’ divorce and finally an engagement. The series truly highlights that we are all more alike than different.”
Extracts are available on YouTube.
The five housemates have been shown on UK news tonight delighted they are now American TV stars.

Am I alone in feeling decidedly uncomfortable at a predominantly entertainment network developing this series?  Will it encourage voyerism, like the circus acts of old.  Or does it offer a real possibility of developing understanding and inclusion? Is this a case of old inbred values and prejudice on my part? Or is it just the title that makes me cringe?  I will be reflecting some more about this but in the meantime, I would love to hear what others have to say.


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