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Timmy's 15 minutes of fame

South Park's Timmy is probably the most genuine crip hero on television -- if not to say the only one. In the current issue of New Mobility, Seattle Times movie critic Jeff Shannon, who's also a quad, deconstructs the Timmy phenomenon.

Shannon writes,

With his jagged teeth and can-do spirit, Timmy appears at first glance to uphold the condescending disability stereotypes that are gradually fading from mainstream entertainment. But like everything else in South Park, he's actually challenging preconceptions, toppling taboos, and weaving his uniqueness into the fabric of the show. ...

Timmy, who is occasionally described as "retarded," and whose parents both use wheelchairs, made a cameo appearance in the fourth season premiere episode--"Tooth Fairy Tats 2000" (originally broadcast April 5, 2000)--but it was two weeks later, in "Timmy 2000," when he became an overnight sensation. As front-man for The Lords of the Underworld, in a plot condemning the over-prescription of Ritalin for children with Attention Deficit Disorder, Timmy dazzles a concert audience, prompting complaints from resentful bandmates ("Timmy gets all the chicks!") and leading concert host Phil Collins, target of much South Park derision, who assumes a condescending, overprotective role on Timmy's alleged behalf.

But when the animated Collins says, "I don't think you should laugh at people with disabilities," he's expressing all the hesitant discretion and politically correct politeness that would potentially isolate Timmy from the cultural mainstream in the real world. Without telling its viewers what to think, South Park challenges their own fears and foibles regarding disability, and Timmy emerges triumphant.

Read the whole article on the New Mobility site, and learn about Timmy as star in "Helen Keller: The Musical," the "physically challenged" Thanksgiving turkey named Gobbles, the "Cripple Fight" episode and "crip competition."

Visit the unofficial Timmy fan website


Didn't vote in the Ouch! poll, but if I had, it would only have given Timmmy one more vote. He's the only tv character that looks or moves anything like my son does; and "Timmy 2000" is our all-time favorite SP episode.

I love Timmy so much - hilarious! Cripple Fight is my all-time favorite South Park.

I went to a seminar at my college once about disabilities, and the speakers showed the episode, talking about how "awful" Timmy was. As a wheelchair user, I stuck up loudly for Timmy and explained why I thought he was awesome. I think I changed some minds that day.

"Jimmy", the handi-capable kid, is also hilarious. He really represents to me of the kind of person people want to see as an ideal crip - making the most of his disability in the sappiest way possible.


My online persona is based on Timmy as I am also a crip named Tim.

I thought long and hard about whether to use "TIMMAY!" or "TIMMARGH!" and eventually chose the latter so people wouldn't think my name was "Tim May" ...

I'll get my coat ...

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