Created By: CaveCatApril 28, 2013 Last Edited By: CaveCatDecember 8, 2013
Troped

The Handicapped And The Helper

A disabled character receives help from a kind and helpful mentor.

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Trope
Do We Have This One Needs A Better Name

You have a character who is inflicted with a disability. They can be blind, deaf, mute, or lack the ability to walk. This character is what's known as the Handicapped. That's where the Helper comes in, a kind and helpful mentor who helps the Handicapped overcome his disability. Sometimes, the Helper will have the same disability as that of the Handicapped.

Compare: The Caretaker, Handy Helper, Cloudcuckoolanders Minder.

See also Translator Buddy for The Unintelligible.


Examples:

Anime And Manga
  • In Code Geass there was Nunnally, the blind and paralyzed exiled princess, cared for by her brother Lelouch. In Season 2 she returns to the rest of her family, and Lelouch, who is still exiled, is replaced by the definitely unloving and uncaring Miss Romeyer.

Comic Books
  • When Daredevil was rendered blind, he met another blind man named Stick who was able to teach him how to fight even without traditional sight.

Film

Live-Action TV
  • In an episode of Quantum Leap, Sam leapt into a happy-go-lucky vietnam vet who had lost his legs. Sam was there to convince another vet, who had been rendered almost completely immobile, not to kill himself.
  • The two characters in Little Britain, where a cunning person of challenged intellect (Matt Lucas) repeatedly and shamelessly exploits Andy, his gormless and over-helpful carer (David Walliams).
    • This is actually a subversion (since the Once A Skit gag is that Andy gets out of his wheelchair while Lou's distracted and a few also imply he's quite eloquent when he isn't speaking monosyllablically). He's also shown as manipulative and abusive, not cunning (for example, when Lou gets a girlfriend, Andy turns him against her with a Wounded Gazelle Gambit).

Web Comics
  • Inverted in a storyline at Something Positive. Dalia was in a car accident years prior and can walk, with assistance, but spends most of her time in a wheelchair. For the storyline, she uses the wheelchair as a walker while Monette sits in it, and the two spend time shopping at the mall. Monette is quite distressed to learn that half of being disabled is putting up with being treated like a complete idiot by everyone you meet... if they bother to notice you at all.
  • Deconstructed in Sexy Losers, where a character of questionable morals starts taking care of a beautiful blind girl because she cannot see what exactly he is up to when he is "taking care of her".
  • Goblins has a double-example in the form of Pan, the blind ogre, and Yala, a kobold who is mute and has had her legs amputated. Each acts as the Helper to the other's Handicapped in a different way; Pan permits Yala to ride on his head, and in return Yala acts as Pan's eyes, directing him in what direction she wants him to walk and warning him of danger by touching his head.

Real Life
  • Helen Keller, a deaf, blind, and mute child and her teacher, Ann Sullivan who teaches her the alphabet, sign language, and braille overcoming her handicap. Helen later went on to be the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor of art's degree. A film was made about her story, and her birthday is also an official holiday in the US.
  • Anyone working in nursing or social care will know the phenomena ofPyjama-Induced Paralysis, where a disabled person will either sink into lethargy expecting the nurse to do everything for them, or else deliberately exploit the situation to work it to maximum advantage. A new, inexperienced, or over-caring carer, might well allow themself to be exploited this way and the situation spirals up into a mutual co-dependency in which the ill person never gets better or learns to be self-reliant despite their disability. The characters in Little Britain are a classic case of this syndrome.

Community Feedback Replies: 51
  • April 28, 2013
    DunDun
    I feel like "a Helen Keller" is not going to go over very well down the road, so that might need to be reworded--even just "the assisted" is better.

    For a name, Helen Keller Helper? Keller Helper? The name right now doesn't really mean anything other than "these two people, one of which is Hellen Keller".
  • April 28, 2013
    StarSword
    Handicapped And Helper? (Yay, posting bug is fixed!)
  • April 28, 2013
    lexicon
    Are there any fictional examples or is this just something that happened it reality?
  • April 29, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    When Daredevil was rendered blind, he met another blind man named Stick who was able to teach him how to fight even without traditional sight.
  • April 29, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of Quantum Leap Sam leapt into a happy-go-lucky vietnam vet who had lost his legs. Sam was there to convince another vet, who had been rendered almost completely immobile, not to kill himself.
  • April 29, 2013
    Protar
    Definitely needs a better name. I've never heard of that story, so methinks there's a bit of Opinion Myopia going on here. Even if it's fairly well known never assume that everyone knows what the reference is.
  • April 29, 2013
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Helen Keller is certainly well known, but trope namers should still be avoided, and there's no "deserves to be" about it. Trope names shouldn't be treated as trophies. They should reflect the trope that they're describing.

    Also, needs a real description. Offering up a couple of real world names doesn't make the trope very clear. Realize that not everyone necessarily knows who Helen Keller is. So more information about her and her teacher, and why that situation is so special may be required.

    Also, looking through Disability Tropes, I found Handy Helper, which is either this or very closely related.
  • April 29, 2013
    DracMonster
    Yeah I think this is Handy Helper + The Caretaker.
  • April 29, 2013
    CaveCat
    I fixed it. And sorry that it took so long for me to respond to your replies, I had some problems trying to log into my account after an incident involving changing my password.
  • April 29, 2013
    StarSword
    ^NP. Wiki had a rather serious glitch yesterday.

    As far as this being Handy Helper + The Caretaker, this could still be usable if we make this a duo trope.
  • April 29, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^You've got a point.
  • April 29, 2013
    lexicon
    "Helen Keller and her teacher, Ann Sullivan, natch." is a Zero Context Example. We need to know how one is handicapped and how one is the helper.
  • April 30, 2013
    xanderiskander
    proposed rewrite of the Helen Keller example:

    • Helen Keller, a deaf, blind, and mute child and her teacher, Ann Sullivan who teaches her the alphabet, sign language, and braille overcoming her handicap. Helen later went on to be the first deaf and blind person to earn a bachelor of art's degree. A film was made about her story, and her birthday is also an official holiday in the US.
  • April 30, 2013
    1810072342
  • April 30, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^^Will do, thanks.
  • April 30, 2013
    KZN02
  • May 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In Murder By Death two characters are an expy of Miss Marple and her nurse - but it's Miss Marple who pushes the nurse around in a wheelchair.
  • May 4, 2013
    jatay3
    Simon Tam and River.
  • May 4, 2013
    jatay3
    I think this is just The Caretaker though.
  • May 4, 2013
    lexicon
    The thing that makes this different from The Caretaker and Handy Helper is that they are about physically assisting someone who needs it but this is about being a "helpful teacher." The interesting thing about all four examples is that the teacher is also disabled. Ann Sullivan was blind from an untreated trachoma. She graduated from Perkins School for the Blind and that is how she could so throughly understand and help Helen Keller.
  • May 5, 2013
    Megaptera
    I don't think it's specifically about teaching. The description doesn't say that, and the examples that have been accepted aren't all that way either. As it stands, it's no different from Handy Helper.
  • May 9, 2013
    AgProv
    Live Action Television

    The two characters in Little Britain, where a cunning person of challenged intellect (Matt Lucas) repeatedly and shamelessly exploits Andy, his gormless and over-helpful carer (David Walliams).

    Real Life Anyone working in nursing or social care will know the phenomena ofPyjama-Induced Paralysis, where a disabled person will either sink into lethargy expecting the nurse to do everything for them, or else deliberately exploit the situation to work it to maximum advantage. A new, inexperienced, or over-caring carer, might well allow themself to be exploited this way and the situation spirals up into a mutual co-dependency in which the ill person never gets better or learns to be self-reliant despite their disability. The characters in Little Britain are a classic case of this syndrome. Averted in Frasier, where Marty Crane is not above faking a little helplessness to get more out of Daphne Moon. However, Daphne is too experienced and too good at her job to fall for this very often and is seen bullying Martin to do his physiotherapy exercises, take Eddie for walks, and generally be self-reliant. Even so, she lingers on as part of the Crane household long after the initial need for her is over...
  • May 10, 2013
    surgoshan
    • Inverted in a storyline at Something Positive. Dalia was in a car accident years prior and can walk, with assistance, but spends most of her time in a wheelchair. For the storyline, she uses the wheelchair as a walker while Monette sits in it, and the two spend time shopping at the mall. Monette is quite distressed to learn that half of being disabled is putting up with being treated like a complete idiot by everyone you meett... if they bother to notice you at all.
  • May 11, 2013
    DunDun
    If it is intended to be a teacher-student duo, why not Disabled Student's Teacher? Or Tutor Of The Disabled?
  • May 20, 2013
    Alvin
    I think this qualifies: Live-Action TV: In Monk, Adrian Monk has severe OCD, and his first 'assistant', Sharona Fleming, was originally hired as his nurse when he was in a bad state.
  • May 21, 2013
    hawaiianflower
    Literature:
  • May 22, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ A Christmas Carol came out in 1843, so under our Handling Spoilers Statute of Limitations it doesn't need to be spoilered.
  • May 22, 2013
    NateTheGreat
    Okay, we're getting Definition Drift here. We're getting some examples of "anyone who helps a handicapped person."
  • May 22, 2013
    lexicon
    That does fit the title. If this is meant to be a person who teaches the handicaped one then the OP should expand on that.
  • May 26, 2013
    CaptEquinox
    People who help handicapped or disabled people are often called assistants or facilitators. Communication assistance for deaf, deaf-blind or autistic people, readers/guides for blind people etc.

    Handicapped might not be the best word. There are lots of people who are fine being the way they are, but still need some assistance.
  • June 4, 2013
    Koveras
    • Deconstructed in Sexy Losers, where a character of questionable morals starts taking care of a beautiful blind girl because she cannot see what exactly he is up to when he is "taking care of her".
  • June 4, 2013
    jatay3
    Simon Illyan and Alys Vorpatril in Vorkosigan Saga
  • June 15, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Live Action TV
    • The corpulent Nero Wolfe is a brilliant detective, but his body mass limits his mobility. Fortunately, his protege Archie Goodwin functions as Wolfe's eyes, ears and legs, enabling Wolfe to garner sufficient clues to solve the mystery.
  • June 18, 2013
    Himbeergeist
  • June 25, 2013
    lexicon
    Names and a title is very much a Zero Context Example. In order for it to belong on the page it should say who is what and how we know.
  • June 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    In an episode of The Incredible Hulk David Banner gets paralyzed from the chest down. He has to learn how to use a wheelchair and is mentored by another wheelchair-bound man. In the end of course he Hulks Out and the Hulk's Healing Factor kicks in overdrive so that Banner is no longer paralyzed.
  • August 1, 2013
    lexicon
    Don't just keep bumping this to the top. All the examples need context. Expand on your decription and specifiy if you mean anyone who helps a handicaped person or someone who who teaches a person to get past his disability.
  • August 2, 2013
    CaveCat
    ^I mean both. If it'll make you happy, I'll delete the examples that are Zero Context Examples.
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Don't delete, just give it a note and ask someone to add context.
  • August 27, 2013
    SharleeD
    Literature:

    The Nero Wolfe example really ought to be under Literature, as Wolfe and Goodwin had been famous mystery-novel characters for years before their first TV adaptation.

    • In Faded Steel Heat, Ty Weider is a Cantard War veteran who lost a leg in battle. He had a personal aide who pushes his wheelchair and otherwise assists him, but unfortunately his helper saw something he shouldn't and was murdered by one of the novel's conspirators.
      • Garrett, the series protagonist, plays the Archie Goodwin role to the Dead Man's Nero Wolfe.
  • September 27, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    In mythology, the crippled god Hephaestus had three cyclops to help him in his forge. In some versions, he also has bronze automatons as well.
  • October 17, 2013
    Astaroth
    • Goblins has a double-example in the form of Pan, the blind ogre, and Yala, a kobold who is mute and has had her legs amputated. Each acts as the Helper to the other's Handicapped in a different way; Pan permits Yala to ride on his head, and in return Yala acts as Pan's eyes, directing him in what direction she wants him to walk and warning him of danger by touching his head.
  • October 17, 2013
    Bisected8
    The Little Britain sketches are actually a subversion (since the Once A Skit gag is that Andy gets out of his wheelchair while Lou's distracted and a few also imply he's quite eloquent when he isn't speaking monosyllablically). He's also shown as manipulative and abusive, not cunning (for example, when Lou gets a girlfriend, Andy turns him against her with a Wounded Gazelle Gambit).
  • October 18, 2013
    DAN004
    IIRC, in The Bible Moses is mute and his brother Aaron is his loyal helper.
  • October 18, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^IIRC not "mute" but uncomfortable speaking in public, and perhaps a stutterer.
  • October 19, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But still counts right? :P
  • October 19, 2013
    CaveCat
    Is there anyone out there kind enough to give this more hats?
  • October 24, 2013
    aurora369
    In Code Geass there was Nunnally, the blind and paralyzed exiled princess, cared for by her brother Lelouch. In Season 2 she returns to the rest of her family, and Lelouch, who is still exiled, is replaced by the definitely unloving and uncaring Miss Romeyer.
  • November 16, 2013
    ZuTheSkunk
    I find the current title misleading, because it made me think that it's about a single person who's both handicapped AND a helper.

    Can I suggest changing it to The Handicapped And The Helper?

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