We’ve recommended a lot of online web series in this column through the years, but not all of them have been fully accessible to people with disabilities. For example, audio description of what’s happening on the screen is important for blind or low vision people, while captions are important for the d/Deaf or hard of hearing. Yet neither of those things are often found on independent web series (ie, series which aren’t made by big companies like Netflix or Hulu). While a lot of the things we’ve recced here do have captions, a lot more of them don’t have any. Many online creators either don’t think they’re necessary, don’t know how to add them, or just don’t think about them at all, leaving their fans to subtitle things for them or even put together their own collection of transcripts for other fans. Today’s web crush focuses specifically on captions for web series. Captioned Web TV spotlights web series and YouTubers who feature closed captions on all their videos.
Category Archives: Disability Studies
Everything is going to be OK Is Okay With Things Being Not OK, And That’s Okay
It doesn’t take much for me to be intrigued by any piece of media. If a book has a nice cover, I’m probably going to want to at least read the description on the back of it. If a movie has a good soundtrack, I may be convinced to watch it. And if a game has interesting graphics or some gameplay gimmick that stands out, I’ll be more inclined to try it on my own time. The latter is where I found myself a couple days ago. One of the streamers I watch more regularly plays a lot of weird games from all corners of the internet, and in this particular video he happened to be playing one simply titled Everything is going to be OK. With a title like that, accompanied by distorted graphics that look like they could come from a horror story, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that no, everything was not going to be okay. Yet though I expected a creepypasta-esque game in which there’s a cult and everything is terrible forever, the game itself had none of the horror trappings that I had grown so used to from staples like “Ben drowned” or even the Silent Hill series. Upon downloading and playing the early access version of the game myself–I stopped watching the stream so I wouldn’t completely ruin the experience–I found I was completely wrong altogether. Everything is going to be OK isn’t a horror game. It’s more like slice-of-life, and its message is ultimately positive.
TW for cartoon gore and discussions of depression and anxiety beneath the cut. Continue reading
In Brightest Day: Interrogating Disability and Privilege in Always Human
Back at the start of 2016, I spotlighted a little webcomic called Always Human as my web crush of the week because it featured a lovely queer romance and some fantastic art and music. Since then, it’s become one of my favorite web crushes (next to The Adventure Zone and They Call Us Bruce) not only because of the relationship between Austen and Sunati, but also because of the way that diversity of all sorts is seamlessly blended into the story. Always Human is set in a future version of our Australia, and while future Australia of course has various technological advances, it’s also filled with racial diversity, different sexual orientations and gender identities, and both polyamorous and monogamous relationships. I’m always excited to read more of Austen and Sunati’s slice-of-life adventures, but perhaps my favorite thing about the series is author Ari’s depiction of disability in a fantastical world.
Spoilers for Always Human below, as well as a trigger warning for discussions of ableism and fatphobia.
In Brightest Day: Newt Scamander and Autism
After Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out, a good number or people looked at how Newt talked and acted and started to believe that he was autistic. It’s something that many people seem to be discussing and enjoying as a headcanon, and that’s great. But if Newt is really autistic in the movie, is he good representation, and how would this expansion of the Harry Potter world deal with an autistic character?
Spoilers for Fantastic Beasts below.
Dear Evan Hansen: A Tasteless Exercise in Forgiving White Male Mediocrity
I love me some musical theater. So while I had heard from a friend that Dear Evan Hansen had a deeply unpleasant storyline, when my mom offered to buy me and my brother, who was visiting from my hometown, tickets, I figured I’d give the show the chance to prove itself. I headed into the theater last Saturday night knowing none of the music and with only my friend’s brief synopsis of the plot to go on. What followed was two and a half hours of the most disgustingly tasteless story I have had the misfortune to experience in a theater. I spent the entire first act feeling like I was actually going to be sick to my stomach, and found no real solace in the second act, which was frustratingly absent any repercussions for the title character’s reprehensible behavior.
Spoilers for the show and a trigger warning for discussion of ableism and suicide after the jump.
In Brightest Day: Yang and the Treatment of Disability in RWBY Season 4
The newest season of RWBY was, in my opinion, one of the better seasons: the animation was beautiful and the characters continued to grow in impactful ways. There were unsurprisingly a few missteps, but one of these missteps almost ruined the entire season for me—and while it didn’t, it certainly took me out of a couple episodes. Before this season, RWBY didn’t offer too much in the ways of characters with physical disabilities, but the characters they did show were pretty badass. Torchwick’s right hand woman, Neo, managed to be intimidating, skilled, and infuriating (in a good, villain-y way) all without use of her voice, and Cinder’s companion, Mercury, used his prosthetic legs as naturally and dangerously as any trained warrior would. Their disabilities didn’t define either one or hold either of them back, it was just a part of who they were. Which is why I was disappointed and frustrated that in RWBY Season 4, the characters now learning how to live with their new physical disabilities weren’t given the same sort of narrative support—a problem most heinously shown through the character Yang.
In Brightest Day: Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children and Cloud’s Incomplete Battle with Depression
I wrote a review for Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children a while back. In it, I went over some of its problems—it panders, has too many characters for its running time, and breaks its suspension of disbelief more than once. I also briefly touched on Cloud’s depression, which I plan to talk about in more detail today. Advent Children has a lot of things wrong with it, and as a whole, the movie simply does not work. Cloud’s character arc is one of those things. The movie doesn’t know how to handle mental health issues, and that makes Advent Children more than a little painful to watch at times. Cloud suffers from depression, but his depression never contributes to his character arc in a way that matters. Advent Children uses it to set up his internal conflict, but it never resolves his issues. Instead, Cloud’s depression is little more than a gimmick, and the way the movie handles it really drags on the story.
In Brightest Day: Captain Rex and PTSD
The Star Wars universe is no stranger to dark subject matter in both its live-action and animated narratives. Throughout the movies and shows (and I assume the canonical comics and books that I still have not read), the series takes us to some really gruesome places.
One recurring character in both The Clone Wars and Rebels is Rex. A war veteran, Rex is a capable and valuable member of the Rebellion and probably the most well-developed clone in the Star Wars universe. One of the problems with having a story filled with so many characters, though, is that the narrative doesn’t always have time to fully delve into their issues. At the very least, though, Star Wars tries, and while the story occasionally rushes through certain character arcs, its results are not horrible. This is most definitely the case with a recent Rebels episode “The Last Battle”, where we finally get to see more from Rex and his PTSD from fighting in the Clone Wars.
Fanfiction Fridays: counting seconds through the night by cafecliche
There are a lot of things I could have done over the winter holidays, but instead of doing any of those things, I re-watched Yuri!!! on Ice and then started watching the dubbed version just to see if it was any good. (Verdict so far: not bad, but I still prefer the sub.) One thing that really struck me in these re-watches was Yuuri’s anxiety. On my first run-through, I thought that he just had performance anxiety—it wasn’t until I’d watched it again that I realized he actually had an anxiety disorder. Yuuri describes himself as a dime-a-dozen skater despite making it to the Grand Prix Finals, he doesn’t understand how five time gold medallist Viktor Nikiforov could be interested in him despite his being able to skate Viktor’s free program flawlessly, and he can’t see that his friends and family support him and believe in him despite there being ample evidence of it.
Yuri!!! on Ice’s depiction of anxiety and mental illness was done just subtly enough to feel natural without beating the viewer over the head with Yuuri’s concerns. Most importantly, Viktor and Yuuri’s relationship showed something that’s rarely seen in a fictional romantic relationship: Yuuri’s anxiety doesn’t just up and disappear now that he has a significant other, and in fact, some of the things Viktor tries to help Yuuri end up not helping at all. Today’s fanfic expands on some of those themes in a sweet, yet realistic, story.
Spoilers for all of Yuri!!! on Ice after the jump!
Goldenhand is a Lukewarm Return to the Old Kingdom Series
It’s been a long time since the main trilogy of the Old Kingdom series ended—the original three books, Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, were published in 1995, 2001, and 2003 respectively and we’ve only had the occasional short story to tide us over since. But in 2014, author Garth Nix returned to his universe with a prequel installment, Clariel, and ever since then, he’s been making noises about finally giving us a sequel to Abhorsen and following up on the lives of our favorite zombie-killing necromancer ladies. Well, the sequel is finally here, and it’s great. Well, it’s good. Well, it’s… I liked it, at any rate.
Minor spoilers for Goldenhand after the jump.