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Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jun 6, 2011.
Season 1 returns after it's break starting January 3 at 8PM.
It would be so easy for this show to go cheap and really just play up the fake drama. But this show avoids the claptrap and is surprisingly smartly written. There were several moments tonight where they staggered in the drama and whether you think the concept is over the top or not, they played it dead on straight and didn't shortcut any of the complications.
Bay is desperate to connect with the father she has never known. Daphne feels rejected by him; as though her disability caused him to leave, and for that, she can never forgive him. That storyline - as well as the follow up to the complexity of the relationship of the two girls really made an impact this week. The writers on this show have turned this into first run programming for me, and this week, the winter return definitely has me admiring how great of a kick off this show is.
Best moment of the show for me: Emmit, asking Bay to respect him for who he is; and then, as they nestle up on the ground, looking at the stars, he asks her to enjoy the peace. And she points out to him it's hard to when drunks are across the way cackling like Hyenas. It's a subtle moment played very well, that in a few minutes both of them get to understand that nothing is ever easy for anyone; and the actors really live up to it.
ABC Fam's best program (IMHO), and one of my top10 of the year.
So much of that comes from the well-executed premise. There's so much inherent drama in throwing all of these people together, the show doesn't need to manufacture drama. Everything that happened in tonight's premiere felt inevitable in the best sort of way; not predictable, but inevitable.
Everything that happens with anyone ripples with everyone else, and the show is incredibly well attuned to capturing the ripples. Of course Daphne would be heartbroken that Emmett can't be there for her right when she needs him most. Of course things would be toxic between Regina and Angelo, and Bay's fantasy of what their life would have been gets corrupted. Of course Angelo would drag Regina back to that place of dependency that she's successfully avoided for all of these years. Of course the two sets of parents can't help but feel wounded when one of the girls reaches out in the other direction. By this point, there's so much scar tissue inherent in the situation, that everything everybody does rubs someone else the wrong way. That would bore me if it were cruel people being intentionally vindictive. In fact, they're very good people trying to cause the least damage possible while seeking out that which makes them a little bit more whole.
I actually think it was more elemental than that; I think Daphne feels rejected by him because he did reject her, and for that she can't forgive him. Being Deaf, being ginger and blue eyed, all of that stuff is just details. Any child in her position would feel the same.
Yes, me too. It didn't have the same intensity as the last couple episodes of season 1.0. Nor should it. The best shows don't try to go at 11 all of the time, they ramp up and gear down. This is the beginning of the ramping up, and it captured where everybody is right now. Like you, I love the complexity of how the two girls relate to each other. Daphne interprets for them, even though she resents Bay moving in on her best friend, because she cares about Emmett. Bay resents Daphne having to be there in the middle, but puts up with it because she cares about Emmett. And Emmett asks for it from time to time because the consequences of misunderstanding are greater than the thorns it causes these two young women he cares about.
At the same time, Daphne interpreting for them gives her a window into what's transpiring between Bay and Emmett. She had a simplistic vision of Bay and Emmett's relationship, which was based on her understanding of Bay as a selfish person who only takes. And there by the tents, she saw a brave girl trying desperately to bridge the gap with an alien world, something she can understand better than anyone. And unlike her, Bay doesn't have to make the effort. It's not forced upon her. She's doing it for Emmett. None of that means she's suddenly on the Bay/Emmett ship or hates them being together any less. But it does make her have to respect Bay a little bit more.
And then, even as it drives a wedge between Bay and Daphne, it's immersing Bay in Daphne's language and world and bringing them closer in that way. Of the Kennishes, she's far and away the best signer. That scene with Bay telling Daphne about her "family reunion" with Regina and Angelo at the jazz club wouldn't have been possible before Bay started learning to sign for Emmett. Sure, Daphne could have read Bay's lips and gotten the gist of it. But she would have gotten the nuance, the emotion, the feeling of it. This whole thing is tearing Daphne up inside, and Bay was able to muddle through signing and speaking fluently enough that Daphne knew that the whole thing is tearing Bay up inside too.
I loved that scene, because it wasn't about Bay putting herself in Emmett's shoes, it was Emmett putting himself in Bay's shoes, and in the process revealing just how different his interaction with the world is and marveling at how she has to grapple with it.
I also like that Bay stood her ground during the fight, instead of getting all awkward and guilty like most hearing people do around the Deaf. That was her once upon a time, but she has enough invested now that pity doesn't factor in and she can say, basically, "How the hell was I supposed to know?" And then when she tells him she doesn't know what the rules are and doesn't know how to learn, he signs "Stick around, I guess." It's the antithesis of most teen dramas, the very mature acknowledgment that there are going to be plenty more fights and blow ups like that down the road. But they'll learn from each one, and in so doing, each one will bring them closer.
Mine too. I can count on one finger the number of shows operating on this caliber right now. That it's on ABC Family makes it all the more remarkable. I'm amazed none of the suits made them dummy it down before season 1.0 was such an unqualified success. And I'm happy their uncharacteristic faith in the intelligence of their audience was rewarded.
ETA: I'm also loving Regina finally stepping up with Bay, and reciprocating whatever Bay throws her way. The moment where she told Daphne "I'm her mother too" was huge, the first time she's really admitted that out loud. And I liked that John trusted her to chaperone. That's a huge moment for him.
Great news for Switched at Birth:
The CW is Jealous of those figures
Excellent news!:tu: This show deserves the success more than any other on basic cable.
Another episode with some really great moments. But I have to touch on the Bay/Emmit relationship, and it's impact on the families.
I'll write more tomorrow, but that scene with the mother/son fight over what he was doing with his future.. that was SO well done.
If the show has a jump the shark moment, it will be the beat at the end of this episode where Emmett is arrested and hauled away. The scene itself was exquisitely well done, capturing how he couldn't understand the cops, and how they didn't bother to understand what was going on with him. But the show better have a hell of an explanation. You don't get that kind of treatment for jaywalking. I doubt you'd really get that kind of treatment for vandalism on the level of Axe Girl. My biggest issue is that it validates Melody's hostility toward Bay right when she was being forced to reluctantly bury the hatchet. Of course she's going to blame Bay for Emmett's arrest. It's just a little to convenient, a little too artificial in a way this show usually isn't.
Loved the rest of the episode. Everything about the Regina-Bay-Emmett-Melody tangle rang achingly true. Like usual, the position of everyone involved was completely understandable from their perspective. At the same time, there is tension inherent in the situation that supercharges things to a nearly unbearable level. Lots of mothers disapprove of the people their children date. But usually that's the only thing that needs to be grappled with. The bonds between everyone around that Monopoly table are incredibly fragile right now. Bay and Regina's relationship is far and away the most fragile on the show, for obvious reasons. Bay and Emmett are crazy about each other, but they're both wading into language and culture that's very new to them; Bay's never dated a Deaf guy, and Emmett's never dated a hearing girl. Melody's protective instincts toward Emmett and the negative direction he's been on scholastically get tangled up with her prejudices toward the hearing world. Regina's in a tough spot between the best friend that's been there for her when no one else was and the daughter she should have been there for but wasn't. If Regina and Bay were a normal mother and daughter, and if there wasn't this huge language divide in the way, everyone could sit down and just talk it out. At the very least, Regina could referee without feeling like she's betraying anyone, and Bay could confront Melody and say, essentially, "what's your problem?" and defend herself.
I loved the scene at the beginning where we come in midstream amongst Emmett's planking photo project. With all of the drama swirling around, it was nice to get a scene that showcases why these kids are with each other in spite of everything. They're like two peas in a pod, and they have a lot of fun together. Mostly innocent fun, too, which is refreshing on a teen-centered drama. Their relationship has substance; it's not purely sexual. Incidentally, the photo campaign is why I thought Melody's dismissal of Bay's art as "big" was so particularly cruel. She has a kid who's an artist. She wouldn't dismiss his creative pursuits in such a way, and I bet she wouldn't like others doing so either. If she didn't have her blinders on, she could have taken a look at the painting and maybe gotten an idea of what Emmett sees in Bay.
There are times to appease your parents and there are times where you have to strike out on your own. With Daphne that's a particularly perilous balance to strike, because she doesn't have the sense of entitlement that comes from 16 years of being raised by the man. She doesn't take his love for granted, even though she should and would undoubtedly be safe in doing so. I could completely understand where John was coming from; she made a commitment to the other girls on her team, and she needs to stick to it. But I thought she laid out a solid argument for why she's jumping ship: Her home life's inherently shaky due to the switched at birth situation, which is in turn exacerbated by Angelo's sudden presence. Her best friend who she's discovered feelings for is dating Bay and is giving her pretty much the cold shoulder. There's so many unhappy factors in her life right now that she can't change. Basketball is the one area of her life she can. That was actually a real growth moment for her character, saying no to John and risking his disapproval.
While I agree that Melody/Emmett fight was well done and pitch perfect from both a writing and acting standpoint, my favorite scene was the car ride back from Emmett and Melody's. Regina had just stood up for Bay in a big way, but Bay wasn't there to see it. All she sees is Regina justifying Melody's behavior. All kids feel defensive when a parent sides against them in an argument, but it's especially acute with Bay and Daphne because they're either dealing with a biological parent who didn't raise them or a non-biological parent who raised them under false pretenses. When Regina defends Bay, Bay doesn't see mom being unfair. She sees Regina siding with the person she has a stronger relationship with. And that person isn't her. God, how that must hurt, especially knowing that Regina knew you were out there for years and years and didn't come for her. Their relationship is one of my very favorites on the show, because it's a scab that's never going to entirely heal. Everything they say to each other is like a land mine. Just about everything they do makes it hurt worse, but they keep at it because the alternative is intolerable.
I thought the reason the cops were there was pretty well played out.. it's going to be the Fake IDs. He just got hung out to dry by Daphne's new "friend" who stiffed the bar earlier (when she said she'd go back and pay) who was also the one who said her fake ID was "terrible"
How does that link up to Emmett, though? He wasn't involved in the making of the fake IDs, he wasn't at the bar. You'd think if it was the IDs, they'd be knocking down Toby's door.
She met Emmett earlier, at the concert last week. And, she knows who really makes the IDs. But hers was terrible, and she ran out on a bill. So, if pressed to give someone up, give up that kid rather then someone you really know.
That'd be interesting, since it pits Daphne's new (questionable) friend against her old, life-long friend. I'm afraid it's going to be connected with Bay's street art, though.
So it was the billboard. How long in show time has there between "Paradise Lost" and tonight's episode? Because of the break, it feels like months went by, but it's probably not all that long.
Loved Daphne confronting Angelo, and Angelo reaffirming her false belief because it was easier than admitting the truth.
Really loved Emmett admitting that he really hates hearing people sometimes to Bay. Instead of getting defensive or feeling hurt, she accepted that and said, if you're going to hate, then let's hate together. Because she knows that even if he can hate hearing people, he loves her. When we're at a disadvantage, we like to be brought into the fold. It's much harder to accept that, in a particular area, you're always going to be at a disadvantage, there's always going to be a bit of a chasm. That was a really mature moment for Bay, understanding that she can never go to that place with Emmett like Daphne can, but she can universalize those feelings, and remind him that feeling alienated is a human thing, not just a Deaf thing. Most of us try to highlight the things we're proud of about ourselves, and cloak the things we don't like. What Bay did in that scene was see a part of herself she doesn't like in Emmett, and shine a light on it so he can see it. That's incredibly brave, and uncharacteristically vulnerable for Bay who hates being vulnerable. I wish Melody would get a glimpse of that side of her.
And she gave up her street art for Emmett.
My favorite scene in the whole episode was the scene in Bay's studio. Daphne comes in, and Bay's still furious at her. But when Daphne starts taking about visiting Angelo, almost against her will she puts down her brush and starts listening. And then something really neat happens. We see that Bay, as much as she's trying to fool herself, has just as many doubts about Angelo as Daphne does. And Daphne sees something that Bay probably would have given everything not to let her see: that Bay values and internalizes her opinion. One of the things I love about the show is that, just as Emmett and Daphne share a bond that Bay will never be able to understand, Bay and Daphne share a bond that nobody else on the planet will ever be able to understand.
And of course, Angelo's probably going to break Regina's heart again over the salon, having probably gotten the money through sketchy means.
It's funny how I thought the arrest being used as a wedge to keep Melody against Bay would be a jump the shark moment, but once I saw it executed, it completely worked for me. I loved that we saw the arrest from Emmett's view point at the end of the last episode and the cop's viewpoint at the beginning of this episode.
Big complaint: ABC Family's pop-up ads during the show are irritating enough normally, but when the cover the subtitles during the ASL scenes they're downright infuriating.
I thought they played it just perfect though; a fine and community service. But I found the entire way it was handled to be incredibly well done; yes he got caught and was being punished - but it wasn't over the top, it wasn't turned into some brutal thing. It was just the catalyst - and it reminded us that for all their differences, he and Bay have a real, natural kind of connection that can't be easily replicated.
Pulling off onscreen chemistry is difficult for actors, no matter their age or their skill; it can come off as false and fake way too easy. But the performances here make you buy into Emmit & Bay on a very basic level; they are the artistically inclined dreamers of the show; when Bay is hurt, she retreats to her painting and Art and Music. When Emmit is hurt, he retreats to his room to his bass filled music and to his art. The two share a great connection that allows their moments to ring as incredibly real. I like how you picked up the moment of Bay hearing "the truth" and realizing that while it wasn't her truth, the two of them could battle it out together - they both had reasons to be mad at the world.
Bay's admission to Daphne of "I don't know" when pressed on why it was important for Daphne to give a second chance to Angelo ended in a great moment that let Daphne inside Bay's head: "It's because you hit the Bio-dad lottery". She's not talking monetarily, she's talking about the kind of person her father is. Bay had, at the beginning of the show used this claim as an act of rebellion that revealed the truth. Her parents "didn't understand her", but she always knew that they loved her; really loved her. And for all the pressure she felt from her father, she knew he loved her completely - she was able to feel mad because she was secure that no matter what, he'd always care for her.
With Angelo, her feet aren't as firm. He's a guy who ran off with a questionable past. And she's trying to figure out who she is: is she just the sum of her genetic parts, where there is a lot of Angelo in her? Or is she the daughter raised by a family who loved her and instilled their ideas? I thought that moment was so good because it was Bay's real admission that despite Daphne's thought that "she's had it easy" and took her friend/etc. that Bay is also dealing with her own very real struggles with who she is in this whole thing.
Daphne realizing that she had switched teams basically to be used; and rather then rail at the system, she took the high road: I will be better then everyone else. When she had the confrontation with Bay and Bay gave her the "bio-dad" spiel, she realized just then what a powerful resource she had at her disposal, and how she should be grateful for somethings that had gone her way - her scene between Daphne & Dad was fantastic; "I want you to coach me"..
Really great stuff last night.
It's funny, if you made a couple paragraph summary of certain episodes, it would sound like the most outrageous soap opera. But as executed, it comes off completely natural and believable.
I loved Daphne and Bay working together to try and raise the money for Emmett's fine so he wouldn't have to sell his bike. I loved Daphne coming to accept that Emmett's dating Bay, and I loved Bay accepting the bond Daphne and Emmett share. I loved her expression when Daphne was telling her about her and Emmett's first ride on I-435. I think, jealousy aside, she's really touched by what Emmett and Daphne share, and the way they helped each other survive and thrive over the years.
That said, when I saw Daphne and Emmett kiss in a promo, I was so pissed. Happiest I've been in a long time to find a beat was a dream sequence.
I also liked Daphne calling Wilke. Just because she can't have Emmett doesn't mean she can't move forward with her life. Wilke's got many of the typical deficiencies of a rich spoiled teenage boy, but he does like her, and she likes him. This time, she didn't wait until it was too late.
I don't trust Simone at all, but it was nice that Toby got a storyline that didn't tie into one of the girls. He's the most underutilized character save for Adrianna, who seems to appear when needed for advice or criticism and then disappear into thin air.
I still don't like Melody's double standard with Bay and Daphne, but I really liked that Bay and Melody had a conversation of substance. For someone like Bay that's never really wanted for anything, it needed to be stated that at the end of the day finite funds only go so far. It wasn't Melody being mean, or trying to punish Emmett even more. She knew how important Ripley was to him, and she didn't want him to have to lose it. But choosing between paying the mortgage and utilities or covering Emmett's fine, she's going to go with the thing that keeps a roof over their head. I strongly dislike her for how she's treated Bay, but she didn't deserve that.
My favorite moment was Kathryn's choice for a lawyer winning over John. He steamrolls her on so much, it was nice to see him be the one who changes his mind. The young lawyer's argument got to the heart of why they're pursuing this in the first place: it's not about the money, which they have plenty of, it's about making the hospital accountable for its mistake. Even if they lose the case, the hospital's going to be in the headlines for what transpired for weeks, even months. That's probably worth more to them than any settlement.
Everything surrounding Angelo is beyond dramatic. It's like he stepped out of a movie from the 1930s or something. In a way, it would have been a lot more satisfying if the warrant had been for tax evasion or something really mundane like that. I did like that Adrianna was the one who reported him, not because of what he did but because of the type of person Regina is around him. She sort of floats in the background and disappears for a while, so it was nice to see her play a proactive role in events.
What we're seeing play out with Emmett's family seems to happen a lot with divorced parents. Emmett's dad feels like he's in a competition for Emmett's affection, so he gives Emmett whatever he wants and becomes the really permissive one so Emmett will love him and spurn Melody. Melody, previously the custodian parent, was stuck being the responsible one. Emmett's dad's actions are about what gratifies himself, while Melody's actions are about what will ultimately benefit Emmett, at least as she sees it. It was interesting that Bay, while hating Melody and being warmly embraced by Emmett's dad and his girlfriend, approves of Melody a lot more than she approves of Emmett's dad and especially Emmett's dad's girlfriend. She didn't say/sign anything at the time, but as soon as Emmett made her defensive about Angelo, she went right to that place. And Emmett was smart enough to recognize where it was coming from and let her go rather than come to blows about it.
The interesting thing about the Sarah Lazar storyline is that the scene at the car wash was used to cast the role and was originally much longer;
Spoiler: Warning: Spoiler!
The sides for the scene made it clear that John had impregnated her during an affair that ended some time ago, and she was there for him to sign away parental rights to the baby.
Whether the scene was purposefully planted to guide fans down the wrong trail, they decided to go a different direction or they decided to push the revelation back later in the season, I don't know. But given my expectations for what would happen, I was very surprised how different it turned out.
I don't like how John ignored Bay's demand that Angelo not be deported, but instantly acceded to Daphne's request. I know she's the new shiny (biological) daughter, but Angelo's Bay's birth father. Bay's opinion on that particular subject matter should hold more weight with him.
I obviously didn't like Regina sleeping with Angelo, but I also completely believed it. Old habits die hard. Hate as deep as her hate for Angelo had to be fueled by something powerful.
I also liked the sex discussion. Bay is a girl early in the first season you would have assumed would have had sex already. Emmett, because of his torch for Daphne, is someone you would have assumed the other thing. As we got to know Bay better and understand how guarded she is, it made a lot of sense that she's still a virgin, and the Ty storyline really showcased that. She's more Type A personality than she seems at first glance. Emmett not being a virgin is kind of wonderful because it highlights just how much we don't know about him outside of his friendship with Daphne and the bubble world he and Bay have created with each other.
I think what really paid off is how .... human they have made Emmit. He's not an idealic "perfect" kid. He has things about him that you admire, and the normal, typical 17 year old boy issues Of course the overly permissive dad is going to be appealing to him. But Emmit is also really trying to figure out where things go forward from here. Is he always going to be somewhat of an underachiever who lives the more artistic lifestyle? Or does he want something else, what his mom wants for him? That's going to be a real challenge going forward.
I agree on Angelo's crime being a bit too "by the book", then again, I'm not sure we know everything there is to know about that - but I do like it that it was the grandmother who turned him in; she viewed him as the manipulator, and that the story they heard about the crime was probably just the sugar-coated tip of the iceberg.
Wow, that was one of my very favorite episodes of the entire series so far. The race angle was a shoe I've been waiting to drop for a long time now, and it couldn't have happened in a more heartbreaking way. A stranger's racist toward you, it might piss you off but it's not going to rock your world. But when you're own grandmother is racist toward you, that's just horrible. It's a fascinating situation, in that it reveals how much of a social construct race really is. Until she saw herself reflected in her grandmother's prejudice, Bay never really felt Hispanic. Until Monica gave her the cold shoulder, Daphne never really felt white. Those kind of racial identities are formed over a lifetime, by experiences communal and exclusionary. These two girls are caught in the crossroads between nature and nurture, and both sides have had an impact. More importantly, these girls that sometimes felt like a square peg in a round hole have had an impact on the people raising them. John, Kathryn, Regina and Adrianna are all better, more empathetic people for it. I've never loved John more than the bedroom scene where he announced he was buying his mother-in-law out because no one treats his daughter that way. "She is my mother." "Yeah, and Bay is our daughter. And if your mother does not have the decency to give our daughter some consideration, then I don't feel like I have to give her any."
I liked that as the grandmother was pushing her away, it helped bridge some of the gap between Regina and Bay. I particularly liked that Regina didn't rely on race to explain handling racism; by using Daphne's deafness as her example, she universalized the experience of being judged for reasons that have nothing to do with who you are as a person.
Even though it was a little too on the nose, I liked that the racism story was mirrored by Daphne being rejected by her Hispanic friend from East Riverside. Instead of being a girl from the neighborhood, Daphne is now seen by Monica as just another spoiled rich girl. I think it's that experience that led Daphne to give the heirloom back to her grandmother. It wasn't a martyr moment for Daphne on behalf of Bay, it was a statement that I don't see myself as this person. I'm the girl from East Riverside, and I've seen the way people like you judge us. And I'm not going to be a party to it.
I'll miss Adrianna, even though she was barely in the show as it was. I hope she'll still be recurring.
Meredith Baxter did a really good job with a really unlikable role. And it gives me no small amount of pleasure to see Alex P. Keaton's mom have it out with Marty McFly's mom.
I think what was good was that while the grandmother was racist, she also had a lot of inner struggle about accepting her new grandchild, and she voiced a lot of the things that you know someone, somewhere in one of these families had to be feeling. What was good was that it was a unifying factor in helping both families address the things about themselves that they didn't like, that they came to see some of those struggles in the way they look at the world - they had just committed to change.
I think what was also pointed in this wasn't that it was just about race - it was also about money and standards; Daphne had long been accepted in her community, but now that she had 'moved on up', the people she had left behind don't relate to her - just because of a change in her zip code. She had now changed stratospheres on them, and they didn't see her as fitting it with them, associating negative traits with her they associated with all rich people.
In the end, these stereotypes by all sides were done in a way that wasn't overly overt or full of pressure, but they came off with some reality to them, simple moments that added up. I think what was re-affirmed here was that the only people who really understand the struggle of a complete change of identity is Bay & Daphne. And they slowly grasp that they are the only two people who can really relate to each other about what it is like to completely change who you are.
Great episode tonight.
what episode was this?