Friday, July 20, 2012

Review: 'Push Girls' pushes boundries...

...but with self-respect.

Still airs every Monday at 10 pm with encore on Tuesday at 1 am and each episode is followed by a repeat of the week before

This new reality series on the Sundance Channel follows four friends as they deal with the trial and troubles of life in LA.

You aren't going to see tables being tossed or wonton sex on this reality show. I love this show and that is saying something because I rarely watch so-called 'reality' shows. But this is truly a reality show. Showing real life, warts and all.

Of course, they'd never do a reality show about a plain jane housewife like me. All four of these girls are beautiful. One of them has the ho-hum job of a graphic designer. The other three include a dancer and two models.

My favorite one is the dancer. Auti Angel is the eldest in the group and kind of plays the mother or eldest sister role. She supports the others and is there to (lovingly) smack them with reality when needed. She also seems to be the most street smart and experienced. She has a real zest for life and for getting what she wants out of it. But who am I kidding, they all do.


One boundary that this show pushes is that one of the main people is gay. Not scandalizing or flaming or crazy, just gay. Because believe it or not, gay people are normal, too! Apparently this show was really her coming out moment. She is originally from a small town so she was a little worried about repercussions against her family, but as she says in an interview," the end of the day, I have to be me..."(here)

The biggest boundary they push to the breaking point is this: all four of the women are in wheelchairs! Auti, Tiphany (lesbian and model) and Mia (graphic designer) are paraplegic and Angela (other model) is a quadriplegic with limited arm and finger use. All of them except for Mia were car accident victims. Mia was a victim of a health condition. I say "was victims" because it is clear they are not victims anymore.

Left to right: Mia, Auti, Angela and Tiphany

I admit, it did bug me that in the first two episodes they had to completely rehash all of their stories of how they became paralyzed. The second time they went through them, I wondered "why do we have to go through these again?" But I guess that was for people who haven't seen the series from the beginning because you can definitely say that these women don't dwell on their pasts.

'Push Girls' is an unprecedented look into the life of this community which is so often misunderstood and misrepresented. They talk frankly about their troubles, their thoughts and their feelings. They discuss a number of different issues specific to their unique challenges. For example, one episode features a very balanced and enlightening conversation on the use of stem cells. But they also discuss mundane subjects. Relationships and jobs are prominent themes.

They are very inspirational. I don't use a wheelchair and I come away from their show every week feeling like I can take over the world. Seeing these women follow their dreams and live their lives despite everything that life has thrown at them makes you believe anything is possible. I cannot imagine how encouraging it must be for someone who is in a wheelchair to see such an honest and frank look into these women's lives. 

These women are very brave in stepping out of the box and pushing against the norm to let their stories be heard. They put a human face on an experience that many of us can only imagine. They serve as an encouragement for people who are just now finding themselves unable to walk. They inspire us all to be better people and to follow our dreams.

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