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to think that "The Undateables" is voyeuristic and wrong?

(215 Posts)
Bogeyface Tue 22-Jan-13 00:39:19

I have only watched part of one show as H put it on, I watched some of it and left the room in disgust. Am posting this as a trailer just reminded me.

Last week a young man with ASD was on there, and because he didnt understand how to behave or what to do when connecting with other people, his mum had texted him some tips. He memorised them and then did his best. It was horrible. He got it very wrong at times, and my heart went out to him because he was trying so hard. He was on a date with a young lady with learning issues and they were struggling to relate to each other.

Now dont get me wrong, I think that any programme that highlights the difficulties that anyone with (forgive me) "difficulities" faces is a good thing, but this wasnt presented like that. It was, to me at least, presented as "lets laugh at the thickos"

I have a son with cerebal palsy who I thought for years would never have an adult relationshp, so I accept that I may be very biased, but it just feels very wrong to me. Not the concept so much as the presentation.

PS DS is about to move in with his NT GF, who is wonderful and adores him but she doesnt take excuses and has taken him from a "I cant help it, I am disabled" teen into a "I am disabled, but thats your problem not mine" adult smile

TroublesomeEx Tue 22-Jan-13 08:35:14

I did see the one with the young man with ASD.

I thought the most shocking thing about that was his mother advising him to say that "a gentleman never tells" when the girl asked him how many girlfriends he'd had!

Surely that's a perfectly reasonable question and "a gentleman" can't hide behind doing whatever he wants so long as he keeps it a secret. Ahem.

But I digress. I don't like these sorts of programmes generally.

But I don't think there was any element of "lets laugh at the thickos".

CailinDana Tue 22-Jan-13 08:50:45

The idea that people with disabilities need to be "protected" from nasty producers is so incredibly patronising. They are grown adults, capable of making their own decisions (albeit sometimes with help from parents) and they were happy to participate in the show. Research has shown that it's this "oh poor them" attitude that is one of the most disabling things that people with learning disabilities in particular experience - the idea that they must be "protected" and prevented from making decisions that are "not in their best interest" (ie, decisions that make other people feel uncomfortable). If you don't like the show, don't watch it, but it's not "wrong" for people to want their stories told. There are plenty of programmes about people with hoarding problems, alcohol problems, problems with their weight etc, are those "wrong"? What in particular is "wrong" with learning about the problems people with disabilities encounter when dating?

Punkatheart Tue 22-Jan-13 08:59:01

How strange - I found it utterly wonderful. You have to stick with it, but it is handled very sensitively. I loved Steve....his face was wonderful and he was kind and loving.

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:06:23

adults looking for a person to share their life with isn't wrong and a little help goes a long way , I think the title is a bit iffy but the whole show is lovely and why shouldn't a grown person with ASD find a partner ,

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:08:10

and on the same programme a woman with dwarfisim hadn't had a partner or boyfriend for years because of perverts and feeling uncomfortable she wanted to find somebody in a safe way

YorkshireDeb Tue 22-Jan-13 09:13:45

I think this programme is brilliant. Try not to judge it on the title - I think it is designed to catch people's attention & as someone said, in the opening credits the 'un' falls off, which says to be that despite what people think, they are very much dateable. There have been some wonderful people featured on the programme & my heart melts when they meet someone who they have a real connection with. X

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 22-Jan-13 09:16:59

I liked it. It challenges me, and I admit it challenges my predjudices. I could never have imagined dating a man with tourettes, but now I can (well with DH's agreeement grin)

It also gives me hope for my ds with ASD as well as a better understanding of the kind of support he might need to achieve it and what to begin work on and aim for. I recognised the 'scripting' and was pleased that it seemed to be a success.

I think the 'gentleman never tells' comment was to enable him to avoid saying he's never had a girlfriend.

katykuns Tue 22-Jan-13 09:21:16

I hate the show, I think its portrayed very much like 'haha let's all laugh at the disabled people'. I also hate the title. I just think it could have been done far better and with more sensitivity.

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:28:14

e 'haha let's all laugh at the disabled people'. I also hate the title. I just think it could have been done far better and with more sensitivity.

^^ this is your own perception of the programme as a disabled person I have never felt it was ha ha laugh at the disabled people at all, I do agree with the title it is a bit iffy

bottleofbeer Tue 22-Jan-13 09:35:14

How patronising, it's like saying they were incapable of deciding to go on the programme. They've CHOSEN to be featured, they've chosen to have the cameras follow them around and it's never, ever felt like a 'freak show' to me.

If everybody involved has agreed to be in the show then I respect that and don't sit wringing my hands at how exploited they must be.

If some are so immature they watch it and laugh then that's their problem. Most of us watch it and root for them to find love. It's lovely and heartwarming when a date works out and I get the stupidest cheesy grin on my face. I think most of them agree to it (or maybe even put themselves forward) to help raise awareness and to say look - we're no different from you.

Chandon Tue 22-Jan-13 09:37:14

Watched it with DH.

It was at times painful to watch, but also helped us understand more about autism and how an autist's mind works. We felt nothing but sympathy for the participants, and I thought it was respectfully and sympathetically done. Most of it quite touching really.

Not much to laugh about, imo, if anyone finds it hilarious it says more about the viewer than the programme!

snowybrrr Tue 22-Jan-13 09:38:36

YANBU I feel exactly the same way although I have only seen the trailers

EarlyInTheMorning Tue 22-Jan-13 09:39:29

I have watched this program and has given me a lot of food for thought. Disability is not something I need to deal with on a day to day basis so this program has been extremely educational and an eye opener to understand what other families have to deal with in the personal relationships arena. Having said that, I do feel that the program has a too strong entertainment agenda and it does make me feel extremely uncomfortable. For me this is similar to entertainment shows like the x factor when sometimes a contestant clearly has learning difficulties and their auditions get broadcasted over and over again purely for our entertainment. It makes me feel ashamed.

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:40:20

there are some funny moments in it but it isn't laughing AT people it is laughing WITH people. sometimes disabled people will laugh at themselves and it is is ok to laugh along imo

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:42:28

It makes me feel ashamed.

why shame ? these people are adults who happen to have learning difficulties and only a portion of the people who have learning difficulties not all of the people featured . It is a documentary style series not an entertainment xfacotry type programme,

Catchingmockingbirds Tue 22-Jan-13 09:43:26

I agree with you OP, especially as since it's been on I've only ever heard it discussed as something to laugh at and those on the show have been mocked, not admired.

pleasestoptalking Tue 22-Jan-13 09:43:51

I don't think it's patronising at all. I certainly wasn't watching it sniggering up my sleeve so I didn't assume other people would be either.

I thought it was sensitively handled and agree with Ariel that it's about how important it is for most people to find a partner in life and about the experiences of trying to find that partner.

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:46:30

I have never seen anybody laughing or mocking anybody on the programme catch you must have some very uncaring friends and people you know,

My sister is a support worker she loves this programme she doesn't find it patronising or lets all laugh at the disabled she finds it refreshing and warm and caring and it shows disabled people in a 'normal way '

FantasticDay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:46:31

I really enjoy it. Shows disabled people as ordinary, sexual beings (which is rare in media representations) having all the same issues with dating as non-disabled people. (Yes, it was a bit toe-curling when the bloke brought up his ex on a first date, but that was nothing to do with disability. I've had a non-disabled person do something similar to me - and I've made similar hideous mistakes myself...). Also dealt with some particular issues from a disablist society - thinking of the stunning women with a PhD, and dwarfism, and guys seeing her as a sexual novelty. Challenges (my) prejudices - the man with Tourette's was just lovely, and I'd certainly have dated him.

Viviennemary Tue 22-Jan-13 09:50:42

I had mixed feelings about the whole idea of it but I watched most of the first series and thought it was quite sensitively done. I've haven't really watched the second series much but I think on the whole it is a good thing and I didn't find any of it in the least bit amusing. I don't agree with this calling people girls is patronising at all. My auntie called everyone younger than her a girl but she was 96.

Giddypants Tue 22-Jan-13 09:52:40

bogeyface my DS (4yo) has CP, I often worry about him as an adult, thank you for sharing about your DS it gives me hope that there is someone out there for him who understands him.

And I can't watch that vile programme, I fine it as let's poke fun at the disabled/under average intelligent! c4 should be ashamed

mrsjay Tue 22-Jan-13 09:54:14

giddy if you dont watch how can you say it is vile genuine question

McBalls Tue 22-Jan-13 09:57:32

I watched the last two episodes, hadn't seen it before.

I found it really touching and thought everyone in it came across very well.

There is an element (or possibility) of freak show in every single 'real life documentary' type programme. This one is no different to any other. Well, no the difference is that you would hope the issues of consent etc are even more robustly dealt with beforehand.

Makes my blood boil to think of some knuckle-dragging cunts laughing about these people on FB (as mentioned below) but those people are scummy and will not change by hiding those with SN away. Not that they'll change anyway but why the fuck should anyone be hidden away because of the reaction of idiots.

As for the reaction of OP, and others of the same view - I think you should take responsibility for your own feelings. I, and I'm sure many others, did not see the 'lets laugh at the thickos' angle. Every person will watch through the lens of their own feelings/experience, maybe think about why you felt the way you did before assuming the fault was with the programme.

bottleofbeer Tue 22-Jan-13 09:58:46

No, I mean it's patronising to say it's voyeuristic as though those involved couldn't make enough of an informed decision about appearing on it.

It's their choice and I respect that.

The autistic guy who got a right cob on about a date falling through who said "I'd rather have a hypoallergenic bichon frise anyway!" made me fall about laughing. I wasn't laughing at him I just thought it was so dry and witty.

AnnIonicIsoTronic Tue 22-Jan-13 10:01:28

The point is - surely - that after you've watched it for a while you tune out the disability and tune in to the personality.

When you think what you'd like to wake up next to for the rest of your life - i'd acclimatise to a malformed face far quicker than to an angry or spiteful face.

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