I had my reservations about ABC Family’s new series Switched At Birth, but the series has proven to be very entertaining and informative.
I’ll admit, when I first saw the previews for ABC Family’s newest television show, I was skeptical. The synopsis is both a little cheesy and fit for a Lifetime movie. A science experiment in Bay’s class leads to the discovery that she was actually switched at birth with another infant. Bay is the girl who grew up wealthy, attends the best private school around, and is angry for no apparent reason other than that it fits her dark artistic side. Her counterpart, Daphne, grew up on the wrong side of the tracks with a single mother who’s Puerto Rican and a hairdresser. Oh, and Daphne is also deaf.
Given the portrayal of today’s youth on Secret Life of the American Teenager, I worried the butchering they would give to deaf culture. Also, the last thing television needs is another sex-crazed drama where teenagers run their lives without parents and act like twenty-five year olds. Yet given the somewhat ridiculous synopsis, the show is intriguing, compelling, and filled with entertaining drama. Have you checked it out yet?
If you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown of reasons why you should tune in.
1. The characters point-of-views are understandable.
Two families are forced to come together as one, creating lots of upsetting issues. The daughters struggle with seeing how their lives could have turned out had they not been switched. The parents have a hard time realizing they aren’t necessarily the “parent” of the switched child. Through many confrontations, the parents work through establishing boundaries, their guilt of not realizing they didn’t have their biological child, and the years lost with their daughter. Bay and Daphne are trying to mesh two different identities into one, all while dealing with the typical high school and boy drama.
There’s a lot of yelling, judgment, and hurt feelings, but even when you’re infuriated, aghast, or saddened by certain outcomes, you can see why characters act the way they do.
2. Katie Leclerc
Her incredible portrayal of Daphne has easily made her the breakout star of the show. She steals every scene she’s in. Whether it’s her stellar confidence, quiet tears, or her willingness to put her newfound family before her own happiness, you’ll find yourself rooting for her.
3. It introduces and educates viewers on deaf culture.
There’s no mocking or misconceptions here. The show introduces what it’s like to be deaf from the struggle to reading lips to people making fun of the deaf to showing that deaf people can do the same things as those that hear. We watch Daphne’s biological parents struggle with seeing her deafness as a handicap while she shows them that she’s just as capable as they are.
4. The show makes you read.
Not many shows are willing to have lapses in sound where the viewer is forced to follow a conversation through subtitles on the screen. Switched At Birth does this continually throughout every episode, especially with Daphne’s best friend, Emmett, another scene stealer. Emmett turns people’s misconceptions about the deaf back around on them. He’s the only character who is completely deaf and has no communication except signing, and he brings an attitude and flair to the show that would be missing without him.
5. There are plenty of romantic entanglements.
Bay’s parents are happily married, but that just leaves plenty of room for everyone else’s relationship drama. There’s the triangle between Liam, Daphne, and Bay, as well as Daphne’s reaction to Bay and Ty. Not to mention that Emmett is completely in love with Daphne, who couldn’t be more oblivious. And then there’s Daphne’s mother, Regina, getting a little action from a man on Bay’s side of town. There really is something for everyone.
With five episodes having aired as of this week, the first season of this show is half over, but there’s still plenty of time to catch up. Trust me, this show is worth your time. So check it out and come back here and let me know what you think about it.