This week on Push Girls, Angela celebrates her ten years of wheelchair life, a mini-wheelchair parade takes over the Melrose shopping district, Chelsie is blessed with her first pair of high heel shoes since her injury, and Mia reunites with her alcoholic mother. Who said wheelchair living wasn’t fun? No one (except for maybe Mia’s mom). But still, the girls push harder than ever this episode to prove they’re fearless, independent and full of mixed messages.
Let’s start with the awkward introduction of Mia’s mother Rita. Did anyone else cringe when she said, “You mean you’re not walking yet?” within the first ten seconds of walking through Mia’s front door. How about when she said, “I just wish she died because I didn’t know what her life was gonna be like.” Say what?! What mother wishes death upon her child? Or says other ignorant things like: “I didn’t realize people in wheelchairs could function” or “I’m less worried she’s gonna have a horrible life and that makes me feel good.”
It's no wonder Mia has escaped her mother for three years. She’s like a child with no filter to her thoughts, saying whatever may surface to her tiny, little mind. Sundance producers must have thought they hit the jackpot when she showed up on set, especially since Mia has no problem throwing her under the bus on national TV by calling out her alcoholism. To which Rita scoffs, “That’s ridiculous. You need to get over that.”
And even though I think Rita is a bit of a loose cannon, I kind of have to agree with her. Mia, some times you just have to let things go. Maybe the reason why your mom thinks that wheelchair people can’t have a happy, fulfilling life is because you appear unhappy and bored. You were sad when you had a boyfriend, and then sadder when he dumped you. You’ve been called emotionless by your wheelchair sorority sisters. And Sundance has cast you on a reality show. Just something to think about.
The other big story line this week in Push Girls is Angela’s Life Celebration. And before the house party to celebrate her ten years of paralyzed living starts, everyone is out running errands. Auti and Tiphany go to the bakery to get Angela’s cake, which in any other reality show would be considered boring. But since Auti and Tiphany refuse help from the guy behind the counter, carrying the cake from the shop to the car becomes a bit. Can two women in wheelchairs carry a large cake through a parking lot without destroying it? The answer is yes, but not without some close calls thanks to a curb and the awkwardness of entering a car from a pushchair. What wild entertainment. Thanks Sundance! The best part of the whole skit is when Tiphany tells Auti, “Next time, I think we should do a smaller cake!” How about next time Tiphany, you just accept the help from the guy behind the counter. After all, accepting help doesn’t make you less independent; it makes you practical.
The other errand before the big bash is blessing young Chelsie with her first pair of high heel shoes since her injury. “The first pair of high heel shoes after being injured is so important because it totally brings back your sex appeal. And totally makes you feel like a woman again,” Tiphany tells the camera. Mind you this is thirty seconds after she tells us how sometimes her ankles can get all twisted and fall underneath her footplate without her knowledge. This one time “I didn’t realize my foot was grazing the cement,” she tells the story. “And my toes got shaved and were bleeding.” I know women are prone to take pain in order to feel sexy, but are high heels necessary in wheelchairs? With all due respect, isn’t the purpose of high heels to make the leg look slender and leaner? Without standing up, it seems a high heel shoe would just make your knees sit higher, raising the potential for more twisted ankles. Not to mention the pointy shoes potential to crush toes and cause pressure sores. Chelsie, if you want to be sexy—just be you. The deal breaker of any relationship will never be because you wear flats. And in my experience, feeling like a woman has nothing to do with high heels but more to do with being comfortable in your own skin, no matter which way it folds or bends.
Which brings me to Angela and her womanly decision not to go to Vietnam with her pseudo-ex-husband, who she claims to still love and respect. Is she nuts? She’s worried that the Vietnamese will think she’s cursed because of her wheelchair? Isn’t breaking stereotypes the reason why she’s on this reality show? What makes her think she can’t have the same effect on people in Vietnam? And then she turned down, as she said, “the perfect life in Vietnam” for what here exactly? An unbalanced checkbook (which can now be done online by the way) and a stack of bills? In nearly every scene of this show, Angela gives us mixed messages, which becomes kind of annoying. Is she together with her husband? Or is she divorced? Is she making the most of her disability? Or is she complaining about it? It seems one minute Angela wants us to invest in her tenacity and ambitiousness; and then the next she want us to feel sorry and imagine her helplessness. Wonder what kind of mood she’ll be in next week?