Watching "Growing Up Fisher"
by Joe Strechay
Spoiler alert: this post provides details and description from the premiere episode of "Growing Up Fisher."
Last night, I watched the premiere of the new network situational comedy television show, "Growing Up Fisher." I was pretty excited to watch this show for a few reasons:
- To see the portrayal of a father who is blind as a main character
- To check out how they depict the dog guide and its work
- The show has some really funny and talented people associated with it
I really enjoyed the show; it provided a background to the father, his career, blindness, and the family dynamic. The show has him using a chainsaw to cut down a tree, and the show alludes to him cutting down other trees after the initial. There is nothing impossible or implausible about the father cutting down the trees, as I know many persons who are blind or visually impaired who use a chainsaw with ease. In fact, I have written on this blog about a blind student who used a chainsaw well. I know numerous persons without sight who are amazing with wood working, farming, and electrical work.
The show has the father with a career as a lawyer, and there are many lawyers who are blind or visually impaired around the United States. You can search the AFB CareerConnect mentor database and see many mentors in that field. The show describes a dog guide well. The show mentions a Seeing Eye dog, which is a dog guide brand, like Nike for sneakers. The father explains that the dog simply guides a person.
The show does have the father showing his daughter how to parallel park, as an example to the daughter that she can do anything. This is a common theme in the show. The father will say, "I am blind and did this." He used, "I went to law school blind," for example, when telling his son he was going to cut down a tree.
The father relied on his son for description purposes at times; he also chose not to openly tell people he was blind, without lying. He just chose to not tell people. This changes once he starts using his dog guide. The show kind of ignores the fact that most dog guide organizations require a two-week to month of training at the dog guide school specific to using and bonding with the dog guide. (You can read some firsthand accounts of getting a new dog guide on the AFB Blog and VisionAware blog. )
Yes, some of us people who are blind bump our shins into coffee tables on occasion. I don't use my cane in my own house, and it does happen. I will look for some feedback from others about his use of the cane. I didn't notice any mention of a white cane. The show referenced the father using the son as his human guide most often. I will be curious to find out if he used a cane during the episode prior to getting a dog guide. I have known parents who are blind who have used their children or significant others as guides.
Overall, I really enjoyed the television show and the portrayal. I, as a married man who his blind or visually impaired, found the show entertaining, as my wife and I hope to have children in the future like many couples. I also look forward to my wife's thoughts on the show, as a spouse of a man who is blind. The comical, but realistic portrayal really hit home for me. The events may be exaggerated at times, as most persons who are blind have a variety of strengths and weakness, just like all people. We all have things that we can do well. I didn't see much that the father couldn't do, but I am sure that will come in time, as this was just the premiere of a thirty-minute show. I look forward to seeing what the next episode highlights.
Did any of you catch it? What did you think?
- Arts and Leisure
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by broad579711 on 2/25/2014 at 10:42 PM
I had mixed feelings about the show. I think it's great that a blind father is being portrayed and that he's a lawyer. I was not at all impressed with the relationship between the blind father and his kids though. while I know some blind parents who are very dependent on their kids, this seems to me to be truly dysfunctional. I'm not a parent, so maybe I'm missing something here, but I think it's pretty darn impportant for the parent to play that role and for the kid to be a kid. Yes, kids can certainly help their paretns from time to time, but this seemed to go way beyond that. I also didn't appreciate the comment the blind dad made to his daughter in an effort to motivate her; it's great that he's a lawyer and it certainly took work to get there, but he made it sound way too extraordinary. Is that the image we want? Of course, I wouldn't want a blind character with no flaws though; so this may just be a situation where I simply don't like the character I've met.
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by Joe S on 2/26/2014 at 7:36 AM
I think you brought up great points, and I would choose to agree with the fact that it is a comedy and television show. Overall, I love the fact that he is successful. I agree, it does make it sound like lawyer is an extreme reach. But, prior to a lot of improvements in technology, lawyer probably had a lot more road blocks, such as access to readings and materials. I know tons of lawyers who are blind, and I have heard some crazy stories from their law school days.
I agree that the relationships are a bit unusual, but I think no person is perfect, and I know persons who seemed similar. I am not going to judge on what is right or wrong. I would say this exagerates for comedy. Thank you for sharing! This was a great comment and it made me think about it more.
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by melshot87 on 2/28/2014 at 3:06 PM
I watched the show and I too had mixed feelings about it. I think it's great that it's based on a true story and that it shows the struggles and joys of a man who just happens to be blind and is raising a family; all the while with a challenging career and going through a divorce! I'm hoping as the show progresses it will go into more why the divorce is happening (that never was mentioned) and will focus less on "Wow! he can do this AND he's blind?" I know the point they are trying to make,"you can do anything if you set your mind to it." But, they need to tone it down just a little I think. I think as the characters develop more they will stop doing this and it will all come naturally, at least that's my hope. And no, he never used a cane in the episode before he got his guide dog. A big no no!
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by Joe S on 3/2/2014 at 10:40 PM
It is interesting that they chose lawyer as his career, as I studied the media and aspects during my undergraduate. I wrote an AccessWorld article about the portrayals in the media. Often, break through characters are given careers that create legitimacy such as police officer, judge, teacher, and lawyer. This is a bit more than that, as he is a main character. This goes for persons of different race, sexuality, and disability.
It isn't a perfect portrayal, but I am all about the awareness being created from this show. I look forward to the next episoe. Thank you so much for sharing your feedback!
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by Audrey Demmitt on 3/3/2014 at 6:11 PM
Overall, I think this show will increase awareness and educate the public about the challenges of living with a visual impairment. As a guide dog user, it bothered me a bit that the producers and Guide Dog Foundation did not portray the use of guide dogs more accurately. For instance, guide dogs don't just appear one day in your living room. And there are rules about guide dogs getting on furniture and eating people food. In this first episode, the father lets Elvis get on the bed and feeds him potato chips. Also I noticed that in one scene the dog is on his right side and in another scene he is on his left side. Maybe I am just being picky...but I think if they are going to educate the public about guide dogs, why not do a better job of being accurate? These dogs and their handlers train very hard to be a good working team and the show seemed to trivialize the use of guide dogs. THey deserve more respect and appreciation for their skills and training. And it sure would help guide dog users everywhere if the public could get a clear understanding of their roles and the importance of their work.
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by Joe S on 3/9/2014 at 9:29 AM
I agree with you. I also thought the use of the cane with the dog to hit cars was a bit unnecessary, though a comical spin to the plot. I agree with you about the feeding of the dog guide, and most do not want the dog to loose any of the expansive training through many of the behaviors demonstrated. Though, we all have known persons who treat their dog guide in this manner, but those often end up with dog guides who lose skills. Thank you for sharing your comments!
Re: Watching "Growing Up Fisher"Posted by sitac on 5/16/2014 at 10:09 PM
Great family show. Looks like NBC will be canceling it unless the save the show campaign gets more support.
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