Late yesterday afternoon I came across something very interesting indeed on the bbc Iplayer. I had never heard of Jerk before, but, scanning the program pictures for something to watch, it appeared to involve a guy with cerebral palsy. Naturally I decided to give it a try, but what I saw has me in two minds.
The Guardian calls Jerk a dark comedy, but I’m not sure that does it justice. It stars Tim Renkow as a guy who seems to think his (mildish) cp is a license to be a complete dick. An american living in London, he uses a rolator, walks around barefoot and doesn’t get out of bed until his mum skypes him. Of course, any program involving a character with a disability is to be welcomed, but the comedy seems to derive from the idea that his cp lets him get away with being a total wanker. To me, renkow seems to be saying ”Look at me, look what a slovenly tosser I am, but I have cerebral palsy so that makes it ok.” I know we spastics need more representation in the media, but is this really the type of representation we need? I’m not sure I like being represented in this way, by some slobbish yank who thinks the fact he has cp means he can be a complete dick. I only watched the first two episodes and plan to get the rest watched in due course, but so far, I must say seeing someone use his disability like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. After all, he’s giving all the tricks away.