By Susan Siniawsky
You always have a soft spot in your heart for your first…whatever that first happens to be. The Guild was the first web series I watched. I will always be grateful to Felicia Day for challenging me to look outside the tv box to find the wealth of scripted series on the internet. She was also one of the first women to direct her own career path by being the creator and star of her own web series. Every time I watch a show by a female creator, which is quite frequently, I feel like singing Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves, but I’ll leave the singing to Annie and Aretha.
Why am I talking about The Guild in a review about My Gimpy Life? The reason is Teal Sherer, creator and star of the series. Teal was featured as in Seasons 3 and 4 of The Guild as “Venom”, but many remember her as “the girl in the wheelchair”. Written by Gabe Uhr, directed by Sean Becker, and based loosely on Teal’s life, My Gimpy Life is a funny and thought-provoking look at her attempts to make it as an actress in Hollywood. Stumbling blocks along her path to stardom include a bumbling manager (Gary Anthony Williams), who not only has an inaccessible office up a flight of stairs, but also sends her on auditions for parts like “running girl”. When Teal finally does get her big break with a part in a national commercial, her euphoria is short lived when the avant-garde director ‘s “commentary on contemporary Japanese pop culture” is not what the client had in mind and the ad is scrapped.
A bit of each episode of the first season of My Gimpy Life serves to illustrate a point we may not have considered because we are not disabled. That’s an issue right there, not “handicapped”, but disabled. Asking overly personal questions? How rude! And that nice big bathroom stall, you know the one? Don’t use it just because it’s roomier, someone might actually need it. All are lessons learned without making a big deal about it.
It would have been simple to make the wheelchair the focal point of this situation comedy, but there is so much more to enjoy in this show, starting with the supporting cast. Brent Bradshaw is featured as Teal’s wannabe stand-up comedian roommate, Brent, whose daily routine is “disliking some videos on YouTube, followed by a nap”. Felicia Day appears as Teal’s best friend who has a penchant for sci-fi porn. Teale (with an “e”) Sperling is wonderful as Teal’s crazy professional nemesis and sometime new best friend – if drinks are involved. Fans of The Guild will recognize many familiar faces in the party scenes.
Answering the question in many a dirty mind, yes, she may be in a wheelchair, but all of Teal’s parts but her legs are in working order. Meeting on a blind date, Brian (Daryl Crittenden) seems to be the perfect match for her. He is caring and attentive, but after a night of partying, Teal is dismayed when she discovers that Brian has a bit of a fetish.
Dispirited, but not broken, Teal’s future begins looking up when she is recognized for a viral video made from the aborted commercial. The video leads to her being offered the lead in a television series. The show ends with a beautiful shot of Teal overlooking Hollywood. I hope this portends more seasons of Teal’s adventures to come. Visit the show’s website for more info and to donate for future seasons.