So, I’ve been watching this show. Not Rescue Me. It’s a show I at first rolled my eyes about when it was advertised last summer because it seemed like a silly, gimmicky premise. And for the few commercials I saw, it was. But that’s because it was bad advertising.
The show is Switched at Birth. The silly gimmick: two girls are switched at birth and later come to realize it and the two families try to get to know each other. This show came out/was developed around the same time a lot of similar real-life stories were running in papers and online, so I chalked it up to just something trying to ride the coat-tails of hot topics. But then there is the actual content of the show and what I personally never saw in commercials advertising it back before it premiered: one of the two girls is Deaf. Another main character who is in every episode is also Deaf. At least 50% of the show, sometimes more, is about the Deaf world, the obstacles a Deaf person who is suddenly having to interact with a lot of hearing people has to overcome, and the general difficulties (but possibilities) of Deaf and hearing people living together and understanding one another. Sure, there is plenty of drama involving biological families, what it means to grow up in a different life than you were born into, who people really are, nature versus nurture, and all that good stuff. That’s really well done, actually. But what I never saw in the previews, and what is the most interesting and well done aspect of the show, is the learning process involved on both sides of a hearing and Deaf relationship (whether that relationship be friends, family or significant others).
Another cool thing that I love is that all the Deaf characters are played by Deaf actors and actresses*. Katie Leclerc, who plays Daphne, is hard of hearing, and Sean Berdy, who plays Emmett, is profoundly deaf. As an added bonus, Emmett’s mother is played by Marlee Matlin, who is an amazing actress (and also profoundly deaf).
I’ll probably talk more on this later. For now, the show is available to watch (well, most of the episodes are, anyway) on Hulu. You should check it out sometime.
*Someone reblogged this and mentioned that Katie Leclerc doesn’t identify as Deaf. I admittedly haven’t done much background research on her so I hadn’t seen this bit of information myself before, but it’s cool to find out.