I’ve been searching, but I just can’t seem to find any good casual representations of physically disabled and chronically ill people. What I mean by that is: non-tragic characters who are still defined by their illness, like we are defined by it: We’re coping, we’re dealing with doctors and friends who often don’t understand, we’re getting treatment, but will never stop being ill, etc. But even though we go through all that we can genuinely enjoy our lives and they are still worth living, and you never see that in a movie that’s not a drama.
All we seem to get is that one token side character in a wheelchair, who is able to perform on par with abled people and never seems to have bad days or a bad attitude, and never jokes about their struggles in the casual way that so many of us do… We may get a joke or episode about someone unfairly underestimating this character and being proved wrong, but that’s about it.
I’m looking for characters that are like “whoops there we go again” when a flare happens or a symptom starts acting up; characters who deal with chronic pain and brush off injuries because they’re dealing with much worse on a daily basis; characters who get a backlash from excessive activity (or their illness is just acting up) and need to lie down for a day, so they’re making jokes in the background and chipping in in conversations.
Where is my story about reasonably adjusted chronically ill people? Where is the lighthearted comedy about someone trying to get their doctor to listen to them? Where is the Jaws theme after a character says “well I haven’t had to deal with [X symptom] for a while so I think we’re good for [activity]”? Where is the episode where someone forgot their pain meds and tries to get up from their bed and move through their apartment in the least terrible way? Where is the search for the missing wheelchair that /some asshat/ “moved out of the way”, but presented like a murder mystery? Let me laugh about someone telling more and more ridiculous stories to prying strangers about how they lost their leg. Like, there is so much potential here????
Where are we?