The Value of “Growing Up Fisher”

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I’ve been getting home about 9pm on Tuesday nights from work, due to some architectural deadlines the past 8 weeks.  I walk in the door and flip on the TV for some decompression time.  I’ve been pulled in by a cute family show on NBC that is new to their network lineup – “Growing Up Fisher”. 

J.K. Simmons

JK Simmons – Father & Attorney “Mel Fisher” on NBC’s new show

“It’s not every family that’s brought closer together by divorce, but then again, the Fishers are anything but typical. Take Mel Fisher (J.K. Simmons, “The Closer,” “Law & Order”), for example. He’s chopping down trees, showing his daughter how to drive, and playing football with his son… except that Mel’s blind.”

I think what draws me to this show about a father who is raising a family and a partner in his law firm is twofold.  First I like that they are taking someone with a different skill and ability set, and making them mainstream (and by the way, the show IS based on a true story).  Did you know that 25% of the U.S. is or has been at some point in their lives (by definition) “disabled”?  I appreciate that EVERYONE is just trying to do the best they can with the cards they were dealt, and that NBC is sharing that message head-on in mainstream T.V. time.

Secondly, I like the honesty with which they are addressing the reality that in his professional life he’s been “misleading” the firm’s clients for 20 years by pretending (with the help of everyone around him at his firm and at times in his family) that he can see.  It’s honest.  It’s the truth.  We ALL want to be PERCEIVED as NORMAL.  It’s human nature.  We want to FIT IN.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and there are things we can do as professionals to ensure that is more of a possibility tomorrow than it is today.


Peyton – “Elvis” Fisher’s Guide Dog

Finally, I think I also like that the family themselves admit that, for lack of any other experiential reality, they didn’t know they weren’t “normal” in any way.  I think that is a powerful point for the show to make.  We are all NORMAL, with our individuality, our strengths, our differences, our challenges.  And we all deserve equality in our daily lives. 

For us here at EtMM and ADM Architecture, this inclusiveness and equality is about housing and urban planning design.  Cities should be available to all.  Your HOME should accommodate you at ALL phases of your life.  Your community should be INCLUSIVE in it’s design and layout.  You should be able to live in YOUR HOME and your community for as long as you want to, and it is personally safe for you to do so.

This is why we’ve made so many recent changes to our website and service offerings.  We are PASSIONATE about this message, and we want to help those cities, towns, and counties that are showing an interest in being “Boomer Friendly” or “Multi-Generational” or “Inclusive” or whatever term they are using to show that they have equality and our new 1/3 of life longevity forecast in mind, and are PLANNING AHEAD for it.  Does your town or county have an “Area Agency on Aging” or a “Long Term Care Alliance” or another organization with a similar structure & mission?  It should if it’s thinking about the future…

10,000 people have been turning 65 years old EVERY DAY since January 2011, and will continue to do so for the next 17 years.  Being “normal” is on the decline.  Being DISABLED in some way will be the NEW NORMAL for a growing majority.  Care-givingGrowth Chart as an industry is not growing to accommodate this “Silver Tsunami” as it’s being called.  The vector graph of the aging is diverging exponentially to those trained and able to care for them.  The result?  YOU will be the caregiver.  Are YOU ready?  is your HOME ready?  Is your NEIGHBORHOOD ready?  Is your CITY ready? 

Let them know about what we do… we can help.  We can design accessible homes and neighborhoods for builders.  We can facilitate conversations with your local lawmakers.  We can consult with your planning and building departments on zoning codes and fee structures that can facilitate and engage builders to consider adaptable housing design elements and Universal Design homes.  Together, we can all make INCLUSIVE LIVING ENVIRONMENTS… But we need to START NOW!

2 thoughts on “The Value of “Growing Up Fisher”
  • “Growing up Fisher” is a good start toward mainstreaming people with physical challenges. There are few, if any, perfectly able people: We all have challenges, be they visual, auditory, mobility, strength, flexibility, frailty or merely being a toddler who can’t navigate the stairs. Some people can’t swim, others can’t play the violin. We’re all normal — and the world should accept — and accommodate — our wonderful particularities.

  • Bruce Rosenthal says:

    All good points. Unfortunately, NBC has cancelled the program.

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