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Switched at Birth Season 2


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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 07 2013 - 02:46 PM

Premiere was tonight.


I thought tonight had  lot of great moments, a few soapy ones, but I loved the moment in the classroom where we had a long confrontation about the realities of being deaf, and how you can't let go of your chances.   Enjoyed the episode, and Emmet/Bay have one of the best "ahhhh" romances on TV :)


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#2 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 14 2013 - 01:15 PM

Very solid start to the season so far. When they introduced the pilot program in the season premiere, I thought it reeked of plot device. I work with schools for the Deaf every day, and all of them require a certain benchmark of profound hearing loss in order to qualify for admission. But I read an interview with Vanessa Marano, where she explained that Carlton isn't doing this because it wants to, it's doing this because it needs a new revenue stream to keep its existing Deaf centered programs afloat. I wish that had been made more clear in the season premiere, because it allows me to suspend my disbelief a little bit easier. I was also very happy that Bay's first days at Carlton were as excruciating as they were, even though it made for cringeworthy television as an audience member that really roots for the character. It wouldn't have been believable any other way. Bay signs well for someone who's only been signing for a year, and hasn't been in a full immersion environment. But she doesn't sign anywhere near like the Deaf characters do, nor does she sign everything she's saying when she's signing. She hits the key ideas, but there's none of the syntax or structure that you'd see with a fluent signer. Emmett and her have a shorthand together that smooths over the gaps, and Daphne and Travis are used to doing a lot of the heavy lifting. But Carlton isn't the hearing world, where Deaf people expect to have to make the bulk of the effort. She's on the Deaf world's home turf, and under those terms she's going to be the one that has to do the heavy lifting. All of that was captured beautifully, and I'm excited to see how it evolves. The other stories all worked well for me, too, I just don't have much to say about them.

#3 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 14 2013 - 01:31 PM

What's kind of funny is that Kansas School for the Deaf, here in KC in Olathe has tried something like this as a pilot program, for hearing student who have a solid understanding of sign to spend a semester in their program.   I think it's mostly been done though for people who are family members, etc. not for just anyone.


I thought this episode worked very well on almost all fronts.   I really appreciate how they are handling Travis' storyline which ranks as one of the most sad but real storylines on TV this year, a student with a disability who has full expectations of being disowned by his family come his birthday.   We want to think this doesn't happen but it happens way too often.


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#4 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 21 2013 - 01:28 PM

What's kind of funny is that Kansas School for the Deaf, here in KC in Olathe has tried something like this as a pilot program, for hearing student who have a solid understanding of sign to spend a semester in their program.   I think it's mostly been done though for people who are family members, etc. not for just anyone.

That's really interesting. My perspective is really limited to New York, so I'm glad to know there's a real life basis to the pilot program. It ups my sense of verisimilitude greatly. I think the pilot program on the show is also limited to family members or people with a vested interest. Bay was allowed in because of her family relationship with Daphne, Noah was allowed in because of his medical condition, etc. Speaking of Noah, I really liked that they introduced a character with Meniere's disease. We have a few members on this forum that suffer from it, and for some people it can be absolutely debilitating. Katie Leclerc, who plays Daphne, suffers from it. That's why she was already a conversant signer when she was cast for the show. Normally, I hate when shows set up love triangles. But I liked that both Bay and Daphne sparked to different facets of this guy. I also liked that Bay didn't cave and get back together with Emmett. She's lied a lot over the course of the series, but she has a great way of being honest when it's really hard to be honest. She could have strung him along, but she didn't. That's hard, but it's the nicer thing to do in the long run. And, man, Toby's a great person. I wasn't sure where they were taking that storyline at first, but I loved where it ended up. As screwy as his family situation is, he really values family. He spoke up for Bay because she has a perspective that needs to be considered. The only storyline I didn't care for was John starting to get all political. Kathryn's the reason he decided to run. She had to talk him into it. If sticking to your guns and running the kind of substantial campaign she wants to run means they lose the election, then they lose the election. Win or lose, his family's going to be there for him on the other side. If you've got to choose between strengthening your marriage or winning an election, you choose your marriage. It's probably the hyper-competitive side of him that allowed him to excel at baseball coming out, but it's a pretty ugly side of him. Do politics in Kansas/Missouri really amount to "men are talking" like the show made it seem? I hope not.

#5 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 21 2013 - 02:31 PM

Originally Posted by Adam Lenhardt 


The only storyline I didn't care for was John starting to get all political. Kathryn's the reason he decided to run. She had to talk him into it. If sticking to your guns and running the kind of substantial campaign she wants to run means they lose the election, then they lose the election. Win or lose, his family's going to be there for him on the other side. If you've got to choose between strengthening your marriage or winning an election, you choose your marriage. It's probably the hyper-competitive side of him that allowed him to excel at baseball coming out, but it's a pretty ugly side of him. Do politics in Kansas/Missouri really amount to "men are talking" like the show made it seem? I hope not.


Without going into politics, you have no idea how much I laughed because of how serious that was.   All I could hear in my head was 980KMBZ talk radio and laughed my head off because - since they are our only real political news station in town - it sounds exactly like that.   And, chosing "Darla" (the name of one of the big hosts here in KC who is slightly to the right of atilla the hun) was such an inside joke that several of us KC locals commented in facebook how dead on it was.


As to the rest of the story it worked for me on almost every level, and you're right, Bay's interaction with Emmet was fantastic.


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#6 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted January 28 2013 - 02:29 PM

Tonight's episode was my least favorite kind of episode on this show. The sort of over-the-top soap opera elements came to the top and drowned out the genuine drama. I didn't believe the dinner scene with Angelo's baby momma at all; when INS showed up I thought, well of course that's why they had baby momma over for dinner. Because this show's as good as it is, there was still a lot of stuff I liked -- Daphne's conversation with Travis's mother, Angelo's rebuke of Bay's smackdown, the tension over what Bay would do with his gift and where that ultimately ended up, John getting on back on Kathryn's side -- but it sort of got lost in the soap operatic shuffle. The show's at its best when it goes small rather than big. It's really great at those small, personal moments. The concept's so inherently melodramatic that every time the show goes big, it just feels over the top.

#7 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted January 28 2013 - 02:40 PM

I tend to agree.   But in some ways, I thought the "big"moments were one that played with the storyline.   The calling of INS was an obvious conclusion to having Kathryn make the statements she did while he husband runs in a seriously red state.   I have no idea where the situation with Travis and his family truly is.. but I like that we are seeing a bit behind the scenes and realize it's very complicated.


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#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 04 2013 - 01:31 PM

Absolutely LOVED the Bay/Kathryn storyline tonight. I love all of the nonbiological parent/child storylines, but this one especially stood out. Lea Thompson doesn't get enough credit for what she brings to this show; she embodies warmth, enthusiasm, sincerity. Kathryn's not cool, she doesn't try to be, but what she accomplished with the drama club is cool. The end result is that Bay is reminded of what she admires about the woman who raised her, and reminded not to take what Kathryn does for her for granted. I also liked that Natalie has chosen to bury the hatchet for real. I also liked the storyline with John's father rattling Toby. The Kennishes have created a soft, safe, supportive environment for their children. That's a very good thing in a lot of ways, but it does mean that they haven't bumped up against a lot of adversity. Bay's gotten her share from the whole switched at birth thing, and ultimately thrived from it. Toby was devastated by Simone, but he hasn't had any real major setbacks in life. Toby can tell his father whatever he wants, but he was spooked by his grandfather. He's never had anyone tell him he wasn't special before. His grandfather is a hard man, and that's not what you're supposed to hear from your grandfather. The problem is that he's caught in the middle of a war his father's been waging against his grandfather for a long, long time. Disappointed that Regina's off the wagon. I can see why they went there right now, with her depressed and feeling out of options, but it's still disappointing. I'd love just once to have a recovered alcoholic character who doesn't once fall off the wagon.

#9 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted February 05 2013 - 06:10 AM

I thought the entire storyline was fantastic.   While I also regretted the move to have Regina "fall off the wagon", I don't know if we can assume that is what happens next.   I'm wondering if she doesn't snap to reality and regret this happened.  If she does fall off the wagon they've setup the grounds for it also.


The storyline with John's father I think was very effective and very "Kansan".  :) 

The taco truck robbery storyline was surprisingly good considering I thought this had plenty of room to go way overboard.


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#10 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 11 2013 - 01:25 PM

Really enjoyed this hour, even though Regina drinking seemed to have no consequences. My favorite beat was Daphne telling Emmett that Travis a "pretty angry guy," and Emmett letting her off the hook with him. Being Deaf is a big part of all their identities, but it's not the only thing. Travis has big, deep problems. She doesn't have to be his Nurse Nightingale, because she's going to spent a lot of nights carrying him home from fights if she goes down that road. I also liked that Bay's new love interest was allowed to be that ugly at the party. They showed why it happened, but it was still a very unattractive -- and deeply honest -- moment. And then at other times, man: Emmett's just really cool. I don't think Bay should forgive him his trespasses, but that kid knows how to carry himself. If he were a hearing actor, he'd have the potential to be a huge star, because he really is like a Deaf James Dean. I also liked that Angelo couldn't sign away the baby because this was his second chance to be a father. That felt right to me. And even if he does fall short, that baby's going to have a whole big family around it in its corner. I also liked that Bay and Natalie have become friends. It reminds me of my younger days, when boys would wail the shit out of each other and then walk out of the room tight as thieves. And the Deaf thing just doesn't faze Bay at all. She has many faults, but prejudice isn't one of them. She's one of the least prejudiced characters I've come across on TV. I was glad they delved into the duality of being Deaf, both the empowering aspects of that identity and the victimizing aspects of that identity. There are lots of rosy outcomes for Deaf people, but there are even more unrosy outcomes. I like that show isn't shying away from that. I would like to get more Bay/Melody scenes, mainly because Bay confounds Melody's assumptions.

#11 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted February 12 2013 - 12:40 AM

Last nights ep was one where every beat seemed to fit.   There was a lot of real movement for almost every character on every front.   Your examples are great, but think about the storylines you didn't bring up that I thought also went very well.


The robber in the truck comes to light, and we get the real feeling of the world, as a police officer at the station asks the question: "what were two deaf kids doing out alone at night in a truck?"   Regina leaps in to defend Daphne, but Daphne while infuriated recognizes this is going to be an attitude the world has and just tells her: we have to press on.   I thought this was a very well done, and to the point storyline that capped off with John selling the truck.   When John did, he was confronted by Regina and later Kathryn, but they finally came to his viewpoint and agreed to sell it.  They made the decision for Daphne.  And while it may come from a different place Daphne is going to feel that over-sheltering later when this comes up.   That's one of the good things about this show.


Toby and Nikki hit a road block.  Nikki gives Toby a valentines gift, a cuff with a cross on it.   For Nikki, religion is a powerful force in her life that she attributes with saving her from bad situations in the past.   For Toby, it's just not important.   While he "respects" that she has religion, he acknowledges he doesn't personally believe, and that isn't enough for Nikki who recognizes this could get awkward later.   It's just not enough when something so important to her isn't important at all to him.


Natalie - Bay and Natalie have finally gone from enemies to somewhat friends.   Here is the kind of thing that could almost only happen on Switched at Birth: Natalie, during giving roses comes out of the closet to Bay and it is a complete non-story.  Every other show would have turned this into a production, but instead Switched she just says "but the girl I'm interested isn't interested in me" and they move into a "valentines sucks" storyline.   This will sound silly, but there are a ton of shows that would have taken this "in" and driven it long yardage.  I'm sure it will come up again at some point, but by doing it this way it's allowed to happen much more organically and not feel forced.


As to story moments you touched on:  I thought Noah having moments of full hearing loss, which is reportedly not uncommon with his situation and reacting as he does was very realistic.  He panicked.  He's concerned about what his world will be like after full hearing loss and he's desperate to preserve his hearing as long as possible.  While the loud music won't have anything to do with his hearing loss, panic doesn't let him see it that way.


Great episode this week.


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#12 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted February 19 2013 - 08:04 AM

I know there will be a lot of people unhappy with the spiral into alcohol, but I was surprised how well I think it's being played. Instead of immediately moving to binge drinking she's working hard to resist. She's justifying to herself "I can drink 'a little' " and all the other more realistic tale-tale signs. It also gives her a chance at recovery. I also appreciated layout of the play. This is a show that really makes you rethink how we interpret emotion and meaning. The way Daphne changed her body language to more effectively deliver the dialog in ASL really did have an impact; her eyes and performance sold it and it really drew you in. I also like that the campaign has decided to swing for the fences. Allowing Bay to play a role in the campaign was fitting, and very Kansas politics, as sad a shape as they are. As a non-spoiler spoiler, the setup behind the March 4 episode, which will be broadcast in all ASL strikes me as some truly unique television. And the setup to it, a commemoration of what happened Gallaudet 25 years ago March has everything you could ask for. I am very, very hopeful that episode hits the home run the subject matter deserves.

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#13 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 19 2013 - 10:49 AM

I know there will be a lot of people unhappy with the spiral into alcohol, but I was surprised how well I think it's being played. Instead of immediately moving to binge drinking she's working hard to resist. She's justifying to herself "I can drink 'a little' " and all the other more realistic tale-tale signs. It also gives her a chance at recovery.

I wouldn't say that she's working hard to resist, but I'm glad her downward spiral is happening in fits and starts; she had the first drink because she was feeling hopeless, and that opened the door a crack. Once she got the new job, she was feeling good enough that she wasn't driven to drink anymore, but she made the mistake of returning to a social scene that's alcohol-driven. She was on such a high at that point, that she figures, What can one drink hurt? except of course that it's never just one drink. And so she drags herself home and crashes, and blows her second day at the new job. She gets fired, which plunges her self-esteem back into the toilet, and turns to alcohol to dull the shame and embarrassment. And then compounds her mistake by deciding to work in a place where she'll be surrounded by alcohol all night every night. The interesting thing to me was the final beat with Bay catching Regina's walk of shame. Clearly, she's put two and two together. She knows the right thing to do would be to speak up, but can she be that brave, knowing that it will tear the family apart? And Regina's in full-on self-justification mode, so she's going to make that decision a lot harder for Bay, not easier.

I also appreciated layout of the play. This is a show that really makes you rethink how we interpret emotion and meaning. The way Daphne changed her body language to more effectively deliver the dialog in ASL really did have an impact; her eyes and performance sold it and it really drew you in.

I'm a little surprised that it needed to be pointed out to Daphne, since ASL is driven much more by facial expression and body language than spoken languages are. It's part of what makes signing so beautiful.

I also like that the campaign has decided to swing for the fences. Allowing Bay to play a role in the campaign was fitting, and very Kansas politics, as sad a shape as they are.

I really loved John's sit down chat with Bay. This is the candidate I wanted to see from the beginning, like you said someone who "has decided to swing for the fences." He'd rather lose with Bay's billboards than win with the party hack's boring traditional ones. That was wonderful. I found the casting of Lea Thompson's daughter as the daughter of John's primary opponent distracting. Not so much because of the resemblance -- they don't look so much alike that it's destracting -- as the voice; when she talks, she sounds just like Lea Thompson did when she was younger. Also, she looks nothing like her onscreen mom. That said, she was cute.

As a non-spoiler spoiler, the setup behind the March 4 episode, which will be broadcast in all ASL strikes me as some truly unique television. And the setup to it, a commemoration of what happened Gallaudet 25 years ago March has everything you could ask for. I am very, very hopeful that episode hits the home run the subject matter deserves.

I know an all-ASL episode has been in the planning for a long time, almost since the start of the show. I didn't realize the story would tie into the Deaf President Now student strikes. That's very cool.

#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted February 25 2013 - 01:44 PM

An all-around great hour of television tonight. I liked every storyline, and the handling of every storyline. The two Regina/Bay scenes were heartbreaking and felt achingly true, especially with that final beat in the Vasquez kitchen. You just know it's going to a bad place. I also really liked Toby's storyline. It surprised me, in a good way. He wasn't really torn between two girls. He was choosing what kind of man he wanted to be.

#15 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted February 25 2013 - 02:44 PM

It amazes me how many times my heartstrings were really pulled tonight.   So many fantastic moments; from Travis struggling to figure it out and us finding that when he focuses on his work he's exceptional at it - and that his passion works for other kids.   The scenes between Regina and Bay were absolutely heartbreaking and yet it all rang very true and real.


But the moment that got me the way it was supposed to was the fight in the drama class over whether or not they should protest for the school "you just don't get it" "I guess I don't".   This is a real divide; it's hard for either side to really grasp the issues of the other.  They both have extremely valid viewpoints, but in that fight was brutal and tough because it wasn't a trumped up debate between good and evil, it was a real debate over real issues where there is no "good guy" or "bad guy" there are people who are trying to do the best they can with the situation they have.


It was Emmet realizing that Travis had been in a difficult situation, and knowing he needed help and letting him come and stay with them.   When he was given the speech "there are moments you make me crazy, and moments where I love you more then I can say" was a beautiful, heartfelt touch that you just don't see in television done that well.


But with all of that, the moment I think about often with regards to this is the scene of Daphne arguing for funding to Carlton.   Her argument "you found funds for a new football field" are 100% true.   Those things do happen; they happen often around here.  Hell, I came from a Kansas community that put in broadcast booths for 8 man football when the highest courses they could teach were Algebra II.  Her passioned defense of why their education was important was delivered so well that even if you knew it was coming her delivery sold it.  Sold every bit of it... which made her crushing announcement at the end a devastating blow.


I had expected them to go ahead with integration, but closing the school.. argh.   I have to say, for us here in Kansas City, it's too close to home.  We just went through a big round of school closings, including closing the middle school near to us so our kids now have to bus, and closing one of the few full autism treatment ready schools in our district.   So when they said "the budget is tight, we have to cut" argh.   It will sound over the top, but as someone living in the metro damn way to trot out an issue that has been a fight in our city for months and not getting better.


I am absolutely up for next week's episode.   But this to me was one of the best episodes so far in the second season.


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#16 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 03 2013 - 12:00 PM

TVLine: Switched at Birth Creator Talks Groundbreaking All-American Sign Language Episode

#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 04 2013 - 01:36 PM

I was worried it would feel forced or contrived, but it didn't at all. By telling every scene from the focal point of a Deaf character, they could keep it ASL only even when there was spoken dialog in play. Particularly effective was the scene where Daphne tries to sneak into the main house to talk with Bay about Regina's relapse, setting off the fire alarm, and the total confusion that ensues until things settle down enough for someone to think to clue Daphne into what's going on. I also wondered how the experiment would affect pacing. The answer, for me, was not at all. The hour flew by. And by moving the Deaf facet of the show from the background to the foreground, it really allowed some exploration of the other facets of the show in a new light. In particular, how we define out identities, and what characteristics are more important. Bay rightly said to Daphne, you're my family, you should have stuck up for me in there. But this is a line-in-the-sand moment for Daphne, and at this moment more than any other -- amidst a crisis and at a moment when her ties with her mother are feeling particularly frayed -- she's feeling like she has to put her Deaf ties before her family ties. If she compromises her Deafness at this moment, how can her cause prevail? On the other hand, regardless of whether they succeed in keeping Carlton open or not, Bay's going to be a part of Daphne's life for more or less the rest of her life. Bay has embraced her culture and her community and, after a serious selfish patch early on, Daphne herself. Bay's in Daphne's corner, so doesn't Bay deserve to have Daphne in hers? I'd say yes, but I can't say Daphne's wrong for going the other way. (Oh and how, great was that opening beat with Bay making the dean's list for the first time?) I also liked the shout outs from across the country. Rochester and DC are the two big communities, because they've got the two major centers for Deaf higher education (and the federal government is a major Deaf employer) but there's communities scattered across the country, and I really liked the idea of social media quickly nationalizing this small school protest. I generally hated living in Rochester, but it's a great city to be Deaf. There are lots of open captioned showtimes for movies, lots of Deaf social groups and events, and a hearing community that's used to having a large Deaf community in its midst. My job puts me into regular contact with the Rochester School for the Deaf, a state-supported private school operating since 1876. It serves pre-kindergarten up to age 21 if the student hasn't graduated before then and its tuition-free status is enshrined in state law. The idea of a Carlton situation there is pretty much unthinkable.

#18 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted March 04 2013 - 01:52 PM

Beautiful. I will expand later, but one of the most thoughtful discussions of historical events and current realities of education funding

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#19 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Lenhardt

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Posted March 11 2013 - 02:01 PM

A lot of good stuff in the finale. Toby getting engaged and Lana running off with the baby were a bit too soap opera-y for my tastes, but I really liked all of the other storylines. I was hoping we'd get a farewell scene between Bay and Regina, and I'd have liked one more Bay/Daphne scene, but otherwise I thought the episode was really strong. I particularly liked that the Deaf students didn't get an unqualified victory, having ended up pretty much where they feared they'd be three episodes ago, and now realizing how much worse it could have been. Carlton won't be "theirs" anymore, but at least they'll be together and have a Deaf learning environment. EDIT: The second half of the second season premieres June 10. Very happy to have this show to look forward to during the summer doldrums.

#20 of 39 OFFLINE   mattCR

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Posted June 10 2013 - 03:25 PM

Season 2 continues tonight with the summer premiere!


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