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Paralyzed, With Laughter



ROX Episodes

Title: Paralyzed, With Laughter
Type: production note
Date: July 24th, 2003

Exactly what's going on in the “Personal Hygiene Episode” (ROX #10) may not be readily evident to the casual viewer. Clearly, we're visiting our friend Mr. G in the hospital. We called him Camera Operator A at the time, and indeed he shoots this entire episode — from his hospital bed.

But why is he hospitalized? We never explain this, though Mr. G makes an attempt: “I crashed on my bicycle, and now I'm paralyzed from the chest down.” He's laughing while he says this, which might lead viewers to conclude that he's joking. That's an entirely reasonable conclusion, given that everyone seems to be having a jolly good time. Surely the mood would be a bit grim if our friend had really suffered such a traumatic injury.

And yet that's exactly what happened. Mr. G was riding his bicycle on a trail in the woods. He took a bad tumble and severed his spinal cord. He was paralyzed, with little hope of regaining control over the lower half of his body, and he'd been in the hospital for a week or two by the time we made this show.

The episode title was Mr. G's idea. In fact, I'm fairly certain that it was Mr. G's idea to make this show in the first place.

We were amazed at Mr. G's high spirits, and we thought he must be in denial. But in retrospect, and upon repeated viewings, I've come to realize that making this TV show was a part of the healing process. This was one way for Mr. G to re-assert his identity in the face of major trauma.

Because even after all that, Mr. G is still Mr. G. This episode shows that he's still the same good-humored, cantankerous, contrary guy that he was before the accident. This experience taught me something about the redemptive power of art.

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