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#1 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 06 2011 - 04:28 PM

Did anybody watch this? Usually I can't stand ABC Family shows, but I thought this one was better than average. The premise is typically preposterous, but the family member casting is good and I have a family drama gap in my TV viewing schedule since "Parenthood" wrapped for the season. The setup would really allow them to explore cultural lines, race lines, and especially socioeconomic lines. I thought Vanessa Marano was particularly strong, as the hearing daughter who should have grown up as a lower middle class -- possibly Deaf -- Puerto Rican girl. The pilot spent a lot of time exploring how Daphne related to the Kennishes, but I was more fascinated with how Bay related to Regina. Because Daphne defines herself by her relationship to the Deaf World, being switched at birth isn't really the root of her Otherness. By contrast, Bay didn't have anything so obvious to pin her Otherness on. It's almost like being adopted, but without the certainty of knowing you were adopted.

#2 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 08 2011 - 07:30 AM

It's sappy but my oldest son loves it.. and I admit, it is better then I thought. Very basic concept, but well played. One thing: there are quite a few shows now with KC as a setting. It's nice. But I really dislike it when they make up fictional areas and when it's obviously not here. I mean, something like United States of Tara at least manages to slip in lingo, restaurants, locations, which helps make it familiar. Having her father play for the Royals is a nice touch, but positioning him at 3rd base in the 80s made me laugh out loud.. But it's that the settings just don't make sense. I think you could change some of the basic elements around like any city, but I've never understood why they won't use real suburb and area names. Shows set in NY, LA, even Vegas, Miami have no problems mentioning areas.. a show in Miami will throw off "they went to Kendall" "Hialeah" or a show in NY "The Bronx" etc... But KC we get totally fictional areas. Would it be so hard to say "Raymore" "Raytown" "Olathe" "Mission" "Prairie Village" ? I mean, USOT did it. It's just a gripe of someone who lives here, I suppose.. others won't care at all ;)

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#3 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 08 2011 - 05:34 PM

To be honest, I didn't even notice that it was supposed to be set in Kansas City. I caught the Royals reference, but thought the family moved to Anywhere USA after he retired. Of the shows I watch not set in NY or LA, I think "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and "Shameless" (US version) do the best job of representing the cities they're set in. Both plug in plenty of local references, and both build time into their shooting schedule to film exteriors in the cities where they're set. I'm just happy there aren't California palm trees everywhere.

#4 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted June 13 2011 - 05:12 PM

I like that this show is as much about the parents as it is about the kids. There are few things as personal as raising a child, and now both families have a mirror held up to their faces in a most harsh and unforgiving fashion. The Kennishes aren't bad people, but they're used to having the means and the leverage to get their way. Regina cannot be bought off. They all resent each other, but they all would die before hurting those girls. What an impossible situation. I like how each episode is built around the separate storylines, but there's a two-ships-passing-in-the-night scene between Daphne and Bay where they can have a "This isn't just me, right?" moment. I loved the breakfast scene, taking in this family from Daphne's point of view. The story's told in expressions. When I took ASL, expressions saved my life. I'm left handed and the rest of the class (and the teacher) was right handed. That meant I had to flip everything around in my head, and I really struggled with it. But even when I wasn't quite there with the signs, I could usually decipher the gist from the speaker's facial expressions. Facial expressions and body language are so much more important when you're Deaf. My favorite scene, though, was in the kitchen when Kathryn unloads about Regina to Bay, and Bay jerks back like she's been slapped. The whole show is a laboratory in the nature/nurture argument, and what that scene drove home to Kathryn is that it's not just nurture. Bay sees things in Regina that she identifies with, just as Daphne does with John and Kathryn. From the moment they met one another, the idea of neatly defined sides went out the window. Both girls have a foot in each camp, and they have more invested in a positive outcome than anybody.

#5 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 11 2011 - 05:39 AM

I am on the border of completely despising Bay.   The show is supposed to be about two girls struggling, but wow..


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#6 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 11 2011 - 07:12 AM

I agree that Bay's done some pretty unlikable things, but she's also gotten the shittier end of the stick so far. Her parents are all over Daphne, while her birth mother has shown virtually no interest in her. Everybody loves Daphne, and the scene in episode four where she's watching the photographer snap the family photos without her in them heartbreakingly encapsulated that. I thought she turned a corner in episode 5, definitely in her treatment of Daphne. It also helped that Kathryn stopped being so focused on micromanaging Daphne's future that she had time to see that her daughter just had her heart completely broken by a young man who used the company of others to hide in. Part of what I like about this show so far is that, while all of the characters are flawed, I can understand and sympathize with what's driving those flaws. The cast is a lot better than shows like this normally get, too. Vanessa Marano is terrific in a difficult role.

#7 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 18 2011 - 05:03 PM

I have really come to enjoy this show.   Some good shots of the KC downtown tonight, which at least helped.. so they are at least trying to mix in some local stock footage.


All of the storylines really worked tonight.   The last two episodes have been very good, and the reveal at the end of the episode was something I figured was coming, but not at all like that.

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#8 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 18 2011 - 05:30 PM

I love Bay and Emmett. It's natural and sincere and even innocent in a way that none of the other pairings with either girl have been so far. I love watching them bridge the language divide, and I love Emmett seeing something in her that he swore he'd never find in a hearing girl. And I love that Bay is open to him in a way she isn't to anybody else. The kiss at the end was lovely. [SPOILER=Warning: Discussion about the shocking reveal at the end of the 7/18 episode!]I too figured Regina knew something about their situation that she wasn't letting on, but I wasn't quite prepared for what was revealed in that guitar case. It's one of those moments where you hope that the writers have a really good game plan for the follow through, because I honestly don't know how you get to a place where everybody, characters and audience alike, doesn't hate Regina's guts. They've painted themselves into quite a corner, and I hope their way out isn't cheap. At the same time, if they had to go down that road, I was glad to see all those private investigator photos and documentation about Bay in there. She's been so distant toward Bay since the beginning of the series, I was beginning to think she didn't have any emotional investment toward the child she carried in her womb for nine months. Now I know the distance wasn't a matter of disinterest, it was shame. And truth be told, I can easily see how a newly sober low-income alcoholic single mother with a criminal driving record, spotty recent employment history and recent run-in with social services would take one look at the Kennishes and think a) Bay's probably better off with them than she'd be in my mess of a life, and b) they have more money than God. If I go public with this, they're going to get to keep Bay and take Daphne away from me. I've spent three years raising this girl as my daughter and I'm not going to be deprived of everything. Still, it takes cojones the size of watermelons to move onto the estate of people you're keeping that big of a secret from.[/SPOILER]

#9 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 19 2011 - 05:54 AM

My gut feeling is that


(about the reveal spoiler above, I will unspoil after the second airing this week)

When she had meningitis as a young girl, she discovered that it could not be her biological daughter.. or more to that fact, she figured out to brown headed parents had almost zero chance of a blonde haired green eyed kid.  She hired someone to find her daughter.. and then couldn't go through with it.

I think depending on how deftly it's handled, she could say "I knew the problem, but by the time I knew it, who was I to tear two families apart?" 

I'm very interested in how they craft the story from here.  And you're right on the Bay/Emmet relationship - very well done.

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#10 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 25 2011 - 02:21 PM

I loved this weeks.   I thought it went a lot more bold then I expected, I figured they would have a real come-to-jesus type moment, but they played it pretty straight.   Lots of balls up in the air, I'm interested in how it all settles down


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#11 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 27 2011 - 08:25 AM

What I loved about Monday's episode is that while Regina is obviously in the wrong here, you could understand where every single character was coming from. The hospital's mistake had put Regina pretty much in an impossible situation. She didn't find out about the switch until after Daphne was Deaf, a crucially important fact, and I think she was right to fear that John and Kathryn would try to get custody of both girls. Certainly John wants to do that now. And given what he knows and the vantage point he's seeing things from, I can't really blame him. His family is under threat, and he's circling the wagons. Of the three parents, only Kathryn seems to have enough perspective to pull the impact of the girls first. Daphne has gotten the technicolor view of the Kennishes so far without the bumps and truths that come from 12 1/2 years of actually being a family together. She blames Regina for robbing her of this fairy tale existence. I don't think life with the Kennishes would have been as good as she imagines, especially with all of the toxic fallout from this mess that would have occured starting at age three, but I think her feelings as still justified. But I felt the sorriest for Bay. The woman who carried her inside her womb for nine months and gave birth to her had a choice to make and she didn't choose her. Bay's fancy art studio and all the rest pales in the face of the simple fact that at the end of the day, Regina didn't want her enough. That being said, the scene where Regina went to chuck the guitar case in the dumpster was the first time it really rang true to me that Regina does love Bay to the core of her bones. Heartbreakingly, Bay to her is mostly that collection of photos and documents. And she knew that depending on the fallout, the stuff in that guitar case might be all she gets to have of Bay. My heart broke a little for Bay when Daphne texted Emmett for a ride as she was trying to tell him about axe girl. I loved that when Bay confronted Daphne, she was signing the whole time, somewhat subconsciously, and Daphne definitely picked up on it. Even though both Bay and Emmett have studiously denied that there's anything going on between them, she has to know otherwise. She uses Emmett basically as a doormat, so she's going to have to ask herself if she's going to ruin something really good for him out of jealosy. Even though it would mean losing a party of Bay that had been hers, Kathryn so wanted Bay to find what she was looking for with Regina, and I loved her for it. After the whole family chased Regina out, I was expecting a stereotypical relapse to the bottle. The scene we got instead with Toby was so much better. Even though they barely know each other, just having one person in her corner is so crucial. Loved Toby for the gesture, loved Regina for the gratitude.

#12 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted July 27 2011 - 08:49 AM

Yeah, I thought the scene with her and Toby was very good.  She accepted Toby for his problem before, and helped him confront it.   He knew it  and was willing to go through with it.  Here he was saying "we're both flawed, but we're trying".  I thought that was a great moment.


I think looking forward to the future


It's obvious from the previews for the next few weeks that Regina is really hurt and she can't lose her kid.. and both kids.. so she'll fight for them.   I think that's an expected response.  She's wounded now.


Regina's problem and situation was a real one.  Her husband/boyfriend left her furiously thinking she cheated.  Her child, the only one she knew, was struggling in the hospital.   She was 100% emotionally invested in Daphne.  Daphne was her, it was all she knew, and she knew the situation was messed up.  The Kennishes had money and power - she was a recovering alcoholic.  Her revealing the truth probably would have meant losing her kid - and it was something she wasn't prepared for.  Her other fear, that they beat around was: what life is ahead for Bay if I reveal it now?   Bay may think: my mother didn't care enough to fight for me.   Regina may have said: Bay is in a good home.  If this is revealed now, her world will change for the worse.  She will either be rejected by the family she's with, and then I will have to fight to get her, or she will come to me and.. I just don't know her, and she will resent me for taking her away from a life of money and resources... Annie in reverse.


I also agree on the Emmit/Bay relationship.  It has been really, really well played.  And the two have a great natural chemistry that is really hard in young kids to get on the screen without it seeming forced.   The way that has come together on the show has been very good.

I am really impressed with how this whole thing has come together actually.


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#13 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted July 28 2011 - 03:45 AM

Agreed on all points, especially your view on where Regina was coming from.

#14 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 01 2011 - 06:57 AM

ABC Family orders 22 additional episodes of Switched at Birth, to give series a 32 episode full season order. Frankly, this is unprecedented, even by network standards. The second half of season one will pick up early in 2012, and presumably will run right through the summer. It'll be interesting to see if they market it as one giant season, or if they'll bank the back ten episodes for season 2.

#15 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted August 01 2011 - 08:09 AM

Yeah, it's great too, because this show is really under-appreciated for how good it is.   Good news.


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#16 of 80 OFFLINE   Brandy S

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Posted August 01 2011 - 07:21 PM

I honestly expected this show to get worse as it went along, but it's become better with every episode. It seems more real than most shows out there. Reality is hard to achieve with a scripted series, especially about the subjects that this show deals with and it does wonderfully. I really thought it was going to get ridiculous after the reveal of what truly happened, but they handled it as well as I could expect. Glad they are keeping it going. It's not a show I see lasting a long time, but a few seasons will be good enough.

#17 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted August 02 2011 - 02:16 AM

I thought the moment where Emmit showed her her "real gift" was one of the more "romantic" moments I've seen.. I thought that was great.   What was obvious was how jealous she was of Daphne's gift and what it said about their friendship in comparison to her "scarf"


The dinner table speech was also very, very good.


I have really enjoyed the writing on this series so far.


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#18 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 02 2011 - 03:17 AM

I really liked the billboard moment too, but I think the moment that got me the most was when Regina showed up and said, "I've never missed a single one of Daphne's birthdays, and I'm never going to miss another one of Bay's." And then John's about to kick her to the curb, and Bay quietly says, "I want her to stay." And John backs down immediately, and just says, "Okay." What a complex interplay there. Regina's making a promise to Bay, saying she wasn't there when Bay needed her to be, but she'll always be there in the future. And Bay, despite hating Regina for what she's done, needs Regina in a deep and vulnerable place. She'll risk more emotional pain in the short run to get a relationship with her birth mom in the long run. That happens a lot with adopted kids who reconnect, and I've always found it so, so brave. And John can't stand the sight of Regina, can't stand what she did to him and views her continued presence on his property as a constant insult. But when a few words from Bay make it clear that Bay needs her to be there, he's able to set that all aside and swallow his pride and his rage. It's rare, especially on teen dramas, to see parents really parent and be selfless and put their children first. All three of these parents would walk through fire for these girls. It was interesting to see that Emmett's mom Melody is prejudiced against the hearing. So many shows use Marlee Matlin as a deaf prop, it's really great to see her play a more fully developed character. I liked that Bay got the gist of Emmett and Melody's argument, even though she completely missed all of the particulars. The ending was brutal. Both Daphne and Bay have basically been reduced to having Emmett as the one person they can rely on. After forcing Daphne to dump Liam, I don't think she'll have the heart to steal Daphne's oldest and best friend. At the same time, it's ultimately Emmett's decision. I would guess the show is leaning toward Emmett staying with Bay, only because Wilke is waiting in the wings as a love interest for Daphne and there's nobody waiting in the wings for Bay. And there's so much more dramatic territory for a Bay and Emmett relationship. They didn't need the will they/won't they because just being together when one person is hearing and one person is Deaf is hard enough.

#19 of 80 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted August 09 2011 - 01:33 PM

This show just keeps topping itself.   Yes, the deal with the absent father is a trainwreck,but it makes sense and is decent drama.


But the relationship between Bay and Emmet is maybe one of the best on TV.   It is authentic, real, and it does something that a lot of teen dramas don't: it really presents the heartsick concerns and fears of teen boys and girls without turning it into over-the-top sex heavy fests or making it go nowhere.  Their relationship is complex because the CHARACTERS are complex.   They have real fully realized scripts that give them enough of a backstory that we understand their decisions are difficult.


That writing paid off in spades in a scene where Emmet was torn between what he heard and what he felt; and in the moment where he told Bay that it was hard for him but there was something about her that he loved.. "I Just Want You"


Home Run.   One of the best emotional payoffs of any show this year.


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#20 of 80 ONLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted August 09 2011 - 02:36 PM

This show just keeps topping itself.

Agreed 100 percent. It's going to be tough to make it to January.

  Yes, the deal with the absent father is a trainwreck,but it makes sense and is decent drama.

I thought they played Angelo perfectly, so that we're not sure who this guy is. Is he just trying to leach his portion of the settlement, or is he coming from the same place of anger as John? Regardless of whether he's genuine, is the affidavit from the shift nurse forged or coerced? Will Regina get sucked back into his vortex, or will she honor her promise to Daphne and protect her from him? Does he genuinely want to get to know Bay, or is she merely a means to a end? They certainly dropped plenty of hints that this guy is one shady S.O.B., but each revealing piece had possible non-shady explanations. The writers left themselves plenty of room for the shady overtones to be a misdirect or straight to the bullseye. After the episode we didn't really know any more about him than we did at the beginning of the episode. And unlike Regina -- who seemed pretty straight forward -- you know this guy is a ticking time bomb just waiting to rain emotional debris down on this entire family. He's already broken Daphne's heart. Will he break Bay's heart too?

But the relationship between Bay and Emmet is maybe one of the best on TV.   It is authentic, real, and it does something that a lot of teen dramas don't: it really presents the heartsick concerns and fears of teen boys and girls without turning it into over-the-top sex heavy fests or making it go nowhere.  Their relationship is complex because the CHARACTERS are complex.

They haven't explored the sexual angle yet because they haven't had to; the characters are interesting enough in and of themselves. And the genius of the pairing is it comes with built-in, realistic obstacles that allow them to avoid the typical soap opera tropes. The most powerful scene to me of what they're up against came when Wilke ran through the car wash and he and Toby are talking at the same time and Bay's trying and failing to keep up the translation. Emmett's getting, as he said, probably 30 percent of the content -- and in a very "I guess you had to be there" sort of way. Whenever they're in the hearing or Deaf worlds, one of them has to spend the entire time interpreting rather than participating. There's that shot from Emmett's point of view and Bay, Wilke and Toby are just a wall of silent indecipherable commotion. And so he stalks off and Bay picks up on it immediately. And he launches into this frustrated rapid-fire torrent of signing full of justifications that Bay couldn't possibly keep up with. And all the points are true and legit, but Bay lets him finish and then cuts to the heart of it: "Daphne told you she likes you, didn't she?" That's what makes them great, to me. Despite the language divide, they have similar interests and passions, and they're built the same way. They each might not know what the other is saying, but they always know what the other is meaning.

  They have real fully realized scripts that give them enough of a backstory that we understand their decisions are difficult.


That writing paid off in spades in a scene where Emmet was torn between what he heard and what he felt; and in the moment where he told Bay that it was hard for him but there was something about her that he loved.. "I Just Want You"


Home Run.   One of the best emotional payoffs of any show this year.

Also agreed 100 percent. The show could only pull that trigger once, and that was exactly the right time to do it. I also liked the larger point that he was making: we don't pick the people we love because they're easy or convenient. We take on the whole package, in spite of (and sometimes because of) the challenges that come along with that. I liked the scene at the end, too, where Daphne basically declared war on Bay's life. The two girls have basically flip-flopped from the pilot, with Bay as the gracious one and Daphne as the selfish one. Bay has faced adversity and grown from it. Daphne's seen her whole world go to shit. And Bay understands that. She can't like seeing Daphne basically say she's going after her boyfriend, but she understands where it's coming from. And thanks to Emmett's gesture, she's confident he won't betray her. I also don't think Bay was wrong earlier in the episode when she said, "You decided you liked him off a T-shirt! And the only reason you really realized it is because your life's falling apart and you're looking for someone to cling to." Bay knows what that's like, because she was in that place for most of the season. She also knows that even if Daphne succeeds in breaking her and Emmett up, it won't pave the way for Daphne and Emmett -- and Daphne will feel a whole lot worse than she does now. The problem with either girl going scorched earth is that they're going to be in each other's lives for the rest of their lives. They can't run from the consequences. Was the scene between John and Kathryn designed to set Kathryn up to go into business with Regina when the show picks back up? We know Kathryn has been a homemaker her entire marriage, but did she go to college before that? If she has an accounting degree or something practical like that, I could see her handling the business side of the salon and ensuring they're not putting themselves on the hook without any assurances. It'd also give the show a new permutation on how these characters relate to each other.




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