Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hey Hollywood, You Got Some Splainin To Do!

There are very few shows I watch on a regular basis. I simply don't have the time or energy to get involved in TV shows so I choose wisely. Being a guy and being a guy who loves zombies and the whole zombie genre, of course one of these shows is The Walking Dead on AMC. From episode one, this show captured my interest. Another show is one my wife and I have watched together since it first aired on TV; Grey's Anatomy. I know, not exactly the manliest of shows but it's a little drama that the wife and I like to curl up on our big couch and watch together.

Believe it or not, both of these shows have something in common. Both have a main character who, through traumatic circumstances in the show's story line, have become amputees. Now, I realize that non-amputee actors playing amputees is not new (Gary Sinise as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump), however I do have a small bone to pick with the two shows that only my amputee friends will understand.

Let's tackle the Walking Dead and Herschel. First, the show has wildly strayed from the comic, so I will explain the injury and how Herschel lost his leg. Avid Walking Dead viewers and readers will note the difference but here goes. In the comic, Herschel does NOT lose his leg. Dale loses his leg after the group inhabits the prison and he is amongst some of the group who goes into the prison parking lot to siphon gas from parked/abandoned cars in order to keep the generators running. While on this "mission", he is bitten on the Achilles/calf by a walker (zombie) lying under a car. Subsequently, to save his life and keep the infection from spreading through his body, Rick hacks off his leg with a hatchet. In the show, Herschel loses his leg under similar circumstances except the bite occurred while on a search and destroy/clearing mission inside the prison to rid the area of walkers.

Herschel can haz leg
So, now that we have the stories cleared up, let's chat about post amputation and little intricacies Hollywood has botched. Post amputation, Herschel had to heal up and was shown for the rest of the season on crutches found in the prison infirmary. No issues there! However, in the first episode of Season 4, as you can see in the picture, Herschel has a prosthetic leg. As an amputee, you can immediately see the prosthetic poking out from the boot. In the comic, after Dale lost his leg, they were able to find him a prosthetic leg as well. Here's the problem... In a post Zombie Apocalypse world, they have been able to go out and find a prosthetic which magically fits Herschel just right.... For the non-amputees, let me explain.. Bullshit! Now I know the whole show is bullshit, but if Hollywood or the Walking Dead consulted anyone on this, they would have been informed that you cannot simply find a prosthesis and put it on as an amputee. Doesn't work that way. Just sayin'!

With Grey's Anatomy, Arizona, one of the doctors, loses her leg from injuries sustained in a plane crash. Angered that her wife cut her leg off, she spent the entire season pissing and moaning about the amputation, even though it saved her life, and eventually cheated on her wife with another lady.... Ok, folks, I know that losing a limb is traumatic. I have friends dealing with their loses in all kinds of ways and for some it's tougher than others, but what I don't understand with this instance is the whole new amputee to mobile amputee portrayal.

Arizona being casted for her limb.
Any amputee can tell you that the gate of a below knee amputee and that of an above knee amputee are very different. It's difficult for an above knee amputee to walk and move without a noticeable limp. In the show, after learning to walk on her prosthetic, Arizona goes from barely walking and coping to walking in high heels, without a limp and absolutely no visual queues she is an amputee in what seems like 2-3 episodes. It's a miracle! Here is an article from O&P about how the prosthetic magic happened:

The issue is that any women amputees will tell you that high heels with a prosthetic is not something you just pop up and start walking on!

So, what have we learned from this little post? We've learned that, much like watching a military movie with a service member or like watching a movie with FBI shenanigans in it with my wife (my wife spent some time in the FBI and is almost unbearable to watch FBI movies with), you can't watch shows and movies with amputees in them without us finding flaws and throwing up the bullshit flag.....