Debuting on Nickelodeon in 2003, "My Life as a Teenage Robot" follows the escapades of Jenny, a super-powered robot with a super sensitive teenage heart. Her primary function is protecting ... See full summary »
An alien from the planet Irk is sent to Earth, not realising that his leaders were fooling him and didn't think a planet was there. He manages to fit in with school children but one boy sees through his disguise.
Richard Steven Horvitz,
Rosearik Rikki Simons
"Pelswick" is one of those shows that breaks the mould of it's subject matter. Produced by Nelvana, the Canadian company behind the US versions of shows such as "CardCaptors" and "Medabots," it's about the life of Pelswick Eggert, a young boy who's paralysed.
But, you see, this is NOT one of those after-school special shows where he must overcome the trials and tribulations of living life in a wheelchair. The fact that Pelswick is in a wheelchair has NOTHING to do with the show. There have, to the best of my recollection been roughly TWO episodes where the plot has had anything to do with his disability. All the rest of the time, it's a simple (albeit ker-ay-zee) story about teen life.
"Pelswick" totally passes by the disability aspect, and instead tackles the other aspects of teen life in an always-amusing manner. Various episodes have dealt with normal things like crushes, as well as as boy bands, trading card phenoms (an obvious swipe at Pokemon), freedom of speech, and other, more bizarre things such as pyramid scams.
Pelswick is aided - or more normally hindered - by his guardian angel, Mr. Jimmy (voice of David Arquette). It's an utterly bizarre addition to the story, but Mr. Jimmy is one of the funniest characters in the show, up there with Pelswick's grandmother, "Gram-Gram," and the school's eccentric principal.
"Pelswick" is the brainchild of John Calahan. Calahan himself is a dark-minded quadruplegic, which only serves to make "Pelswick" more enjoyable, as he is not afraid to make jokes about disability. For example, in one episode, Pelswick is trying to expose a phony psychic. The psychic tries to impress the townsfolk by saying "I see... an accident!" when looking at Pelswick. When asked for confirmation, Pelswick rolls his eyes, indicates his wheelchair and says: "No! This thing's just an elaborate belt buckle!" Indeed, one entire episode (one of the rare ones where Pelswick's disability is the focus of the story) is dedicated to how it's okay for jokes to be made about "differently-abled people" if the jokes themselves are being MADE by "differently-abled people" - an obvious statement on Calahan's position.
I also recently saw an episode of another of Calahan's creations, the name of which escapes me, but it's about a collection of disabled people living together. It's a more mature story, for adults (one of the characters is just a HEAD), but in one scene, the character with the broken spine is under a car, attempting to repair it, and remarks, "This is harder than I thought! I have no idea what I'm doing... AND I'm completely paralysed!"
Aaaanyway. "Pelswick" is bizarre, whacked-out television, that I urge you to watch. It's funny, and it's original. John Calahan has my deepest respect, and I hope that more shows will follow in the footsteps of this one.
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