Can't stand up? Stand out
My Twitter feed and news alerts have been full of Sundance Channel's new "Push Girls."
Just to let you know, I did catch that one episode of The Bachelor when they came up to Madawaska, Maine—but, for the most part, reality TV is not my thing.
"Push Girls" is a reality TV show about a group of women in LA who are all in manual wheelchairs.
I don't get the Sundance Channel, but I caught a sneak peek of the first episode on Hulu.com, which will host the episode until the premiere June 4.
(I'd stop reading now if you're hoping to avoid spoilers.)
The episode starts out with Tiphany, who was injured when the vehicle she was in was hit by a car going 130 miles an hour. She's been a wheelchair for the past 10 years and says she's more fit and active now than she was when she could walk. There's a perception, she said, that paraplegics just sit at home and play video games. She's fighting that stereotype.
She spends a lot of the episode talking about flirting, dating and sex. Kind of like a lot of reality TV shows, from what I can tell from commercials. Again, not something I'm super interested in watching, but I think it should help shatter that stereotype she was talking about.
The next girl featured, Mia, already has a boyfriend, who she's been dating for a year and a half. A blood vessel ruptured in her spinal cord when she was 15, making her story a bit different from the others, she said.
The third, Angela, was the one that was most interesting to me. She moved to LA to be a lingerie model and was in a car accident on her way to a fitting for her wedding dress. She was the only "Push Girl" who is quadriplegic, and she needs 24-hour care that her insurance doesn't pay for. She's married but separated.
She was very frank about her accident—they all were—saying she needed to get her head reattached afterward. It's hard to see this woman and think she went through that, though.
She's in the process of trying to get back into modeling. She spent part of the episode calling modeling agencies. (One said they were handicap accessible, except they had stairs.) She goes to a photo shoot with a clearly nervous photographer where she has a leg spasm that could lead to a stroke if not dealt with. She deals with it and gets on with the shoot. "I don't like hearing that something's impossible," she says. "If I can't stand up, I sure as hell am going to stand out."
Finally, we get an introduction to Auti, a 42-year-old married hip-hop dancer with quite an attitude who's thinking about having a baby.
LA is very image oriented, the girls say. We see two of them working out at a gym, and all of them are always in full hair-and-makeup mode.
The potential plotlines are off and running. I see lots of drama ensuing amidst their romantic relationships and Auti's baby plans.
The real gems, I think, will come from how honest and frank these "girls" are about the obstacles in their daily lives because of their wheelchairs. If the rest of the season is like this episode, I think they'll show the world that, despite their wheelchairs, they really are just like everyone else—if we were beautiful TV stars on a show formatted to emphasize and create drama in our personal lives.
Push Girls premieres today, June 4, at 10 p.m. Check out the schedule at http://www.sundancechannel.com/push-girls/schedule/