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Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Jun 6, 2011.
^ 1x16 - Las Dos Fridas (last Tuesday's episode)
Las Dos Fridas was the episode (#16) which was last week. Tonight's is Protect Me From What I Want.
BTW, all the episode titles are taken from paintings.
Las Dos Fridas: (1939)
1985, Jenny Holzer.
I can't remember a show that so nailed the inner fears of a high school kid. Maybe Freaks & Geeks. But the moment at the end was so well crafted that I didn't see it coming at all, in any way.. and when it did, it was rang so true that I was just completely floored at how well done it was.
In the beginning, Emmit learned that Bay's crush on Ty was serious.. and he seemed hurt; his interactions with her were taken aback. And through the whole episode, the feeling was: is he jealous that he doesn't mean as much? I had thought up until the last five minutes, I'd post how about that feeling of "I am the first and only"; but when he confessed that things between his divorced parents were really bad, and he was in fear that things between he & Bay could also "fall apart" "do people fall out of love? Will we just fall out of love?" Total gut check. Emmet is a kid struggling to come to terms with where he is now that his parents are apart - and apparently a feuding duo. They both vie for his affection, but what he gets out of it is that love may not last, and knowing that Bay had been in love with someone else, and now isn't, he's worried about how nothing in his life seems permanent.. he's looking for that life preserver.
I thought it was surprisingly well done, and so well delivered by the two actors. This show week after week has delivered more surprises and more solid drama then so many other shows on TV, but when it really works, it really works. Some great moments this week, good references. I did like the Crossroads reference (though I wish they had used 17th & Washington instead of 17th & Baltimore, which would have been the home to the real Crossroads Gallery & Theater). But it was all good. This show seems to improve it's scripting and has been amazingly solid through the whole run.
This show just hits it out of the park, week after week. My vote for best show on the air right now.
For me, it was "My So-Called Life", which I discovered on Netflix not too long ago. Your comparison's got me really ready to check out "Freaks & Geeks". But yeah, that moment was wonderful. Vanessa Marano and Sean Berdy have oodles of chemistry, and they both do vulnerable so well. What made the scene particularly wonderful is that it was Bay realizing something about Emmett rather than vice-versa. Both girls have so much baggage it's almost impossible for any given moment not to be about them, even though it's not their fault. But Bay was able to set that aside and realize that Emmett's really struggling in a non-Bay related way. And the show's earned them being able to have these deeper, more substantive conversations plausibly.
One thing that it gets SO right is that when you're a teenager, everything feels like life and death. Most cynical adults would yearn to love as passionately and immediately and uncompromisingly as Bay and Emmett. The lucky ones looks back on their own teenage years with fond nostalgia.
Absolutely. This show has a great way of unveiling moments where none of the facts change, but our understanding of them does.
The gut check moment for me wasn't him asking the question, it was him watching the family coalesce for his photos. Since were watching through his eyes, all the bickering and arguing and confusion that were watching falls into the background and what we see is a group of seven people bonded by love. Not a string of love, or a wheel of love with spokes coming from a central point. Just a mass of love. These people love each other, and would do anything for each other.
Even Bay and Daphne, I think, love each other almost through osmosis. They were shaped by the same forces. The scene in the Buckner library captured that. Bay and Daphne are two very different people, but there are certain lines they both know shouldn't be crossed. Daphne was shaped by Vasquez nuture and Kennish nature. Bay was shaped by the opposite. But Regina and John and Kathryn are all fundamentally decent people. Even when they've made decisions I disagree with to my core, they were coming from a selfless place.
Emmett looks through that viewfinder at all of these people weaving in and out of each other's lives, all linked in some way, and he feels such longing. I have two wonderful parents, but as an only child I often longed for that large sense of family I could just get lost in. Bay and Daphne might have taken on a lot of crap with discovering the switch, but what they've gotten out of it is a network that will mean they will always have family and never feel alone. For someone who feels as lonely as Emmett does, that's got to seem like the Garden of Eden. It's so easy to make a dramatic show about bad people doing bad things to one another. It's so much harder but so much richer to make a dramatic show about good people trying to be good to each other.
Even John's story line with Toby was well done. And I'm glad Adrianna's back.
You mentioned a few plot points that came and went quickly but really worked. The talk between John & Toby was very well done.. he sees so much of himself in Toby, he admires Toby's athletic talent, and he feels at odds because Toby doesn't want to do it.. doesn't want to use what John feels is one of those "one of a kind" talents.. but he's willing to try and back him in his music. When he went to Toby later and said "we're going to go and see you" I thought that was a great beat.
You nailed it. I thought about this as I've slogged through Gossip Girl this year. The occasionally fun stories of backstabbing and scheming, it's so much harder - but more rewarding, to tell a story where a moment is a lot more real and heartwarming, frankly. Her understanding of his situation, when she finally got it, meant a lot to the both of them. It was a great bit of writing.
Which comes to the other moment I thought was really well done: when Bay told Daphne about her run-in with Simone "she's not someone you want as an enemy.. but she's also not someone you really want as a friend". As she told the story of Simone using a fragile classmates interest in a boy to humiliate her, you could just see that type of character being who Simone is. She plays all the sides, and eventually, Bay had to step in for her concern for Daphne and say: this is not the way you want to go.
Me too. John's the hardest parent to sympathize with, partially because he's the most headstrong and used to getting his own way. But even though he has strong preconceptions about the way things she be, he really does try to bridge the gap with all of his children. He might not approve of Toby's music, but he's going to support it.
... and, just as importantly, the type of character Bay isn't. It was something Bay had tried to tell Daphne earlier, but now Daphne was ready to listen. One thing I really liked about that scene is that was only ostensibly about Simone. Daphne had built up a lot of misconceptions about Bay as a result of some unfortunate exchanges they've had over the run of the show. So when Bay was outlining what caused her falling out with Simone, Daphne was learning about Simone but also about Bay. Bay is often entitled and self-absorbed, but she is NOT ruthless like Simone. It sucks Daphne lost another friend, but it's great the two girls can be there for each other like that.
I loved that Bay went to Melody to tell her about Emmett's issues. I absolutely loved it. It was the most selfless thing she's done since the show began. She went to the woman she knows hates her, a woman she doesn't much like herself, and tells her things that she knows Emmett will hate her for sharing. She knew ratting him out to Melody would drive a wedge in their relationship, she knew she'd get the cold shoulder for it. But Emmett's future was more important than keeping him on her good side. Indeed, Emmett's future was more important to her than their relationship. That's love. And to Melody's credit, she recognized how brave and selfless and mature it was for Bay to do it. That finally broke the ice in a way that nothing else could. It was an earned moment that spoke well of both of them.
I loved the basically silent blow up between Emmett's parents at the art show. It demonstrated how disruptive and embarrassing a public argument can be even when you can't hear it. And all of that stuff had been bubbling up for a while.
I loved the revelation about sculpture with the wings being made out of bay leaves. It's so hard for this show to find ways to show what Regina and Bay mean to each other, given the walls that certain revelations have created. That was perfect, through their shared medium of art, and and Vanessa Marano just absolutely brought it to that scene. That survived undercurrent of unexpectedly discovered love. I can't think of another 19-year-old actress with the experience much less ability to bring such a subtle and complicated emotion across. "Parenthood" has had a lot of cathartic moments lately that felt overdone and unearned. This scene was played just right; Bay was on the verge of breaking into tears and hugging Regina most of the way through, but she held it in. Which was exactly right for her character in this situation.
It was nice to see Kathryn stand up for herself with John; even though her decision was foolish and will probably tank the lawsuit, it was the morally correct one. Just because the hospital's mistake shattered her family doesn't mean their lawsuit should shatter someone else's. She had to know giving that money would probably kill their lawsuit, but she made the decision to do it anyway. I sort of applaud that.
Adam, you mirror a lot of my thoughts. Bay's moment of saying: you're dad's with this person because they are fun and wild (and he's having some sort of midlife crisis) is cool, but it's not really good parenting.. and she knows that Emmet is someone who has real potential, he's not stupid - he's just really struggling to figure out what is going on with his life. I find the difference between the situations to be subtle but really well played. Bay & Daphne are the ones thrown into a wild soap opera situation, but their families have worked together cohesively, fighting at times, to try and do the right thing. While their situation is unusual, their support system has made sure that both girls have the feeling of protection and a safety net.
But Emmet is in a much more traditional problem, parents who divorce and fight. And for Emmet, that safety net that Bay & Daphne has is really at risk. He exposed a lot of that last week "will we fall out of love?" Still is one of the more haunting, strong moments in a series this year. But this week, Emmet has fallen hard into the "fake it to make it". The situation is bad, and even Emmet knows it is bad. But he wants things to be normal, he wants to accept his new life, to move on and to be happy with it. So, when he tells Daphne "But I'm Happy!" and she says "I don't know, you always look so miserable lately" it cut right to the situation.. Emmet IS miserable, but he WANTS to be happy, and he's willing to to try and fake it.. other people can be happy this way, my dad is happy this way, why can't I be happy this way?
But no matter how much you fake it, it just can't turn around and be real for Emmet. And he is hurt mostly in the small reveals that he's desperate for his mom & dad to get back together, or at least get along. I think this entire plot has been played with big themes and gestures and really subtle moments that give you insight into someone without actually bluntly telling you. Very well played, and the contrast has been great.
Bay's concern may screw up her relationship for a while, but it was the risk she knew she had to take.. because no matter how much it may hurt Emmet now, she wants better things for him. And you're right, the scene between the two was the moment where I think she earned a lot of respect from Melody. Melody knew how easy it would have been for Bay to go along with "wild and free" lifestyle that Emmet was having, that part of it had to appeal to the inner artist of Bay. But it was a big sign to say: I'm willing to sacrifice something I value, his faith in me, because I care about his outcome a great deal.. and when she told Melody "it's because I care for him", I think it dawned on Melody that this wasn't a situation where Bay was stepping in to grab something from Daphne, as she had intoned before, but a relationship that was built on a lot of commonalities, and that Bay was being both brave and showing a real big gesture of concern for her son. Great scene.
The last scene I wanted to mention was the "Occupy Buckner" moment No, it wasn't that, but it was a moment where Daphne felt as though: how is it that X can have so much and Y can have so little? And how is it that an outside sponsorship group like this would come to a high end prep school and throw them scoreboards and more funding and small, public schools struggled? I have to say, part of this worked because here in Kansas City over the last six months we've had a real fight over this.. all of the public high schools in KC, MO are now uncredited, and it's ranked as one of the bottom five school districts in America. It's bad enough that the city had to take over the schools and is now offering to bus kids up to 40 minutes to outside schools to make sure their diploma has meaning. At the same time, a few local private schools have absolutely boomed and their level of national attention is big... as well as funding. So, that contrast re-presented on the show may be a coincidence (and I'm sure it is) but the timing could not have been better. I enjoyed that storyline a great deal. Daphne had been burned by Simone, but the outcome wasn't that Simone had made her life miserable and she'd deal, the outcome was that she had options.. and that she wanted to commit to those. I have a gut feeling this is going to end up in a fairly contrived storyline (at some point the two schools will play each other) but I'll deal.
Really enjoyed it last night. And you're right, the fight in the art gallery was some classic material.
Longer thoughts later but it's amazing how much they pack into an hour with this show.
I was so glad they explored a Deaf kid who doesn't have this idyllic home life with parents that have dedicated themselves to bridging the language divide. Among Deaf children with hearing parents, there are at least as many parents like Travis's as there are parents like Regina. Most fall somewhere in between, but much closer to John than to Regina. Having pidgin, homemade signs within the household is not uncommon, either. It's something I can't fathom; I'm terrible with languages and barely scraped by ASL in college, but if I had a Deaf kid there's no way I wouldn't be working my ass off so as to be able to communicate with him or her.
It was nice too, because it reflected on John's handling of Daphne's Deafness, or lack there of. He's involved with Carlton, he's very involved with Daphne, but her incredibly strong -- some would say implausibly strong -- oral skills have allowed him to basically pretend that she's not Deaf. He hasn't grappled with it in the way Kathryn has. He certainly hasn't grappled with it in the way Bay has; of the Kennishes, she's the only one in the trenches daily with it staring her in the face.
Speaking of Bay, while I really enjoyed the show playing out a storyline with Bay and Emmett that had nothing to do with the Deaf World, I thought they missed an opportunity a little bit with paralleling the Bay-Emmett relationship and the Daphne-Wilke relationship. Like John, Wilke's been allowed to basically ignore Daphne's Deafness. I was really hoping we'd get a conversation between Bay and Daphne where Daphne picked Bay's brain trying to get a clue into how things look from the hearing side of the equation. Because Emmett's non-verbal, Bay never had the option of ignoring his Deafness. She's really dedicated herself to picking up ASL on an insanely accelerated schedule. If I were Daphne, I wouldn't be able to help making the unfavorable comparison of Wilke to Bay.
Simone continues to be a grade-A selfish, domineering psychobitch. At the same time, I liked that neither Bay nor Daphne slagged her in front of Toby. He deserved to come to his own conclusions.
Hope Kathryn and the lawyer don't shack up.
Man those final seconds were a knife twist to the gut. I don't like it, because I honestly don't see how you salvage a relationship after someone has cheated. But unlike most shows that go to that place, I can absolutely believe in this circumstances. It was so unfair for Emmett's parents to put her in the middle of their custody battle. She manages to avert a catastrophe, and this is the reward she gets. But even though she knew it might end the relationship, she did it anyway. That's a HUGE growth moment for her character. It just that, even though the show was absolutely playing fair, I hate to see the Emmett-Bay relationship I loved destroyed like that. If Bay forgives Emmett, it still won't be the same because I won't respect Bay any more. If they're to have any future together, they have to break up over this. Otherwise, Bay's just validating his infidelity.
I really liked the build-up to the basketball game and the impact on the Deaf community. It rang true to me, and it gave the show another avenue for John to confront Daphne's Deafness.
Always nice to see Shelley Long, even though she didn't have much to do here.
Next week's going to be brutal, now that we know all of these secrets that the characters won't know until everything explodes and end on a cliffhanger ending in the winter finale.
The final moments went from a fantastic, great moment on the basketball court, which managed to make something that I thought would be really "blah" into something pretty cool (her turning off the hearing aids and us hearing the world as she does) to something that was just a punch in the gut.. of course Emmet feels betrayed - his world is falling apart, and he doesn't feel as though anyone is there for him. He was hurt by Bay because he thought she meddled when he asked her not to. As he moves past it, he'll realize what a bad position she was put in, and I think he's going to regret what happened. Kids do stupid things out of anger, spite and loneliness. As much as Simone is a true "bitchy" character, we also got to see that she has some personal regret about the kind of person she is, and maybe some of what Ty is telling her is sinking in.
When Daphne explained why her doing well was so important, and how she viewed herself, for John it was so different from his experience. I waited for part of him to see her as a Clemente, Robinson, etc. type character: her journey wasn't just one for herself, she felt the pressure of her community to do well, to represent them well. I thought that was a great moment.
My one caveat: I realize this is TV and I called this happening for a while, and that's OK it went well.. but I wish this show would get geography better.. Mission Hills (Kansas), and Carlton (most likely also Kansas) would not be playing in Springfield (Missouri) a state tournament
But I can put that nitpick aside.. the girl who plays Daphne probably won't get recognized for any awards, but her performance as well as the performance of the actress who plays Bay, has been sensational throughout the entire run.
I was really dreading tonight's episode, because I find it really uncomfortable to watch one person be totally oblivious while the person they trust lies to their face. But I should have known better; this show has so much going on at any given moment, that that was a very small part of the episode. If anything, I liked that Bay got this one more perfect memory before everything went to hell.
I really enjoyed Daphne's storyline, with feeling the ghosts of the life she could have had all around her. Especially when the alternative life is this idyllic fairytale existence. It resonated well with Wilke's dilemma, about the costs of keeping even well-intended secrets.
I thought Melody's advice was extremely self-serving. I know she just got her son back and doesn't want to drive another wedge between them so soon. But Bay basically saved her family by manning up in an incredibly brave and conscientious way by talking to Cameron rather than stabbing him in the back and getting him to put Emmett first. Instead of a long, drawn out custody battle she got her son back. If she were in Bay's shoes, wouldn't she want to know? After everything Bay has done, doesn't she deserve to know?
The great thing about the zombie film forcing Simone and Emmett into the same space again is that it really played up the duology of the betrayal. Bay and Daphne are the focal points of the show, so naturally I viewed the affair through the prism of Emmett cheating on Bay. I didn't really think about the fact that Simone cheated on Toby, too. Much like Bay and Daphne going though this experience together makes it a little bit easier, hopefully having a sibling who's feeling more or less exactly the same thing you are will make it easier too.
I'm still not 100 percent convinced that John is telling the truth about Sarah Lazar.
More thoughts later, but the thing I'm most left with is: what a frustrating way to go into a six month hiatus.
Switched at Birth will return for the remainder of its first season (!) September 3rd at 8/7c.
Returned tonight. Haven't even seen it. I disliked the spring finale for an otherwise exceptional show.. just saw it on my DVR. I'm ready for more.
I agree with you about the way they left things in the spring finale. Given what they had to work with from the decisions made in the previous couple of episodes, I thought they did a really good job with tonight's episode. Things were getting really soap opera-y, and the Season 1c premiere did a nice job of bringing them down to earth. The opening moments set up the biggest soap opera trick in the book -- only for it to be a dream. Angelo has been transformed from a man of international intrigue to a pretty everyday illegal immigrant. His immigration trial, in particular, did a nice job of stripping away all of the exotic flavor surrounding the character and boiling it down to the basics: this is a man illegally present in the United States as a result of overstaying his visa. He has settled his legal disputes with his country of origin, but the warrant still put him on ICE's radar. And once on the radar, the court has to consider the fact that he is in fact in the United States illegally. Does the hardship imposed on a daughter he's just met justify setting aside the normal procedure of deportation?
I also liked that Bay didn't really have a storyline this episode. It was about her having convinced herself that she'd moved on, and realizing she hadn't. A lesser show would have thrown her back into Emmett's arms. To this show's credit, it didn't. Bay comes to the conclusion that she'll never love another guy like she loves Emmett. That nobody else will be such a perfect fit for her. But that just makes her more angry at Emmett, because his infidelity didn't just ruin their one relationship, it sabotaged most of the future ones coming down the pike; the next successful applicant for her heart doesn't just have to be a good guy, he has to live up to the Emmett standard. And that's not fair. She doesn't take him back, because her self-worth matters more to her than her fear of being alone. I still think having Emmett cheat was a mistake, because I never think someone should go back to the person that cheated on them. But I'm glad they're treating it like the serious thing it is. If they get back together, I hope it's not this season. Which is shame, because Bay and Emmett still have off-the-charts charisma.
I liked the workplace storyline at the restaurant, because it's something real that Deaf people grapple with--especially in an industrial kitchen where lack of communication can be dangerous. I don't like the direction that the ads hint it appears to be going, though.
I loved how the Angelo/Regina marriage was handled. The big ceremony full of pomp and circumstance from the beginning was so wrong, and Regina going back to the man who abandoned her would have been so wrong. But that's not what happened. She married Angelo for the reason Katherine said to Daphne: I'm your mother, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for you. Outside the immigration building, a heartbroken Bay tells Regina that she's not mad at her because she knows that Regina did everything she could. Regina knows that's not true, there's one more thing she could do. And it means shredding a relationship that's one of the most solid in her life, that really has the potential to go some place. It means hurting the daughter she's raised all of her life. It's the first time Regina weighs her options as a mom and puts Bay first, before herself and before Daphne. That's a HUGE, positive moment for Regina, even though the fall out is going to be incredibly messy. She was Bay's mom in a way she really hasn't been up until now. That doesn't mean that she suddenly loves Bay more than Daphne or anything, only that -- of her two daughters -- Bay needs her more than Daphne does on this particular issue. And she no longer sees her responsibilities toward Bay as less than her responsibilities toward Daphne. It's not a sexy, scandalous marriage. It's a green card marriage so Bay has a chance to get to know her father.**
**Although in real life, he never would have been released from detention for the marriage, and while marriage is one factor immigration courts consider, it's not a magic wand that ends deportation like TV makes it out to be. This is far from the only show that's done this, that's why I let it slide in my review.
One note though, Adam.. while you're right it's not the biggest factor and can be undone, in the case where there is a child with the person who is a US Citizen, then there is an element here that normally makes this work out. I really did like the moment between Bay & Emmett as he pled for forgiveness.. I liked everything about that.
I also like Daphne trying to win her own way in the kitchen.
Good start to the (c) part of the season
Looks like you're right. They did a good job tonight filling in the blanks a bit between the hearing and the wedding.
Tonight's episode wasn't the best the show's ever done, but it's the kind of episode the show does best: the biggest strength of "Switched at Birth" is the way it weaves between all the strands of this amorphous tangle of familial relationships. Everybody means something different to everybody else, but everybody does mean something. We got a lot of good Toby stuff tonight, and in particular a lot of good Bay-Toby stuff. After all of the times Toby's been the girls' shoulder to cry on, it was nice to see Bay step up and be his sister when he needed one. His perspective is often overlooked. I loved that scene between Bay and her (biological) abuela, where she unleashes at Adrianna in that characteristically Bay fashion, and Adrianna takes it, accepts it, but stands firm: Angelo is bad news. This may make you happy now, but it's only going to lead to more heartbreak for everybody involved. She's probably right, she might be wrong, but it was nice to see her treat Bay like an adult, and tell her the truth rather than what she wanted to hear like everybody else seems to.
I really don't like where the storyline with the chef is headed, but I loved that scene in the supply closet. God, Daphne needed that pep talk and it was so nice seeing it come from the person who's terrorized her.
My favorite scene of the whole episode, though, was the quick bit at A.A. where Regina runs into Simone. It explains so much about her character, and some of the self-destructive decisions she makes. And she's far from the first spoiled rich kid with a serious substance abuse problem being kept under wraps.
I have to say, what this show does with ancillary characters reminds me of "The Good Wife". It's one of the few shows on the air where secondary and beyond characters are made fully 3 dimensional and are not merely props for our main cast to sound off on. In this case, we realize that what is happening to Simone is an emotionally trying event.. she's being absolutely "slut shamed" at school, cyber bullied, and we recognize that there are real issues in her life she's trying to get ahold on. That one small bump in AA kept her background storyline going, and it may have a pretty darn good cut off.
I also agree on the scene in the supply closet.. Daphne has been trying hard TO be perfect that when Emmett pointed it out she was legitimately hurt; her decision to behave as she had came from a very selfless place but it was tearing her up and eventually, it had to come out. I thought that sequence was very, very good. I also liked the honesty of the scene "I'll pay for the plates" "they are 49 cent plates". Too many shows would have played it like "you're going to work this off, do you know how much you cost us blah blah blah" but Switched At Birth played it straight: this is a mid level restaurant. They aren't throwing out fine china.
I agree also on the scene between Adrianna who says: I don't believe he's changed, he's not that kind of person. I also thought that was a very good sequence. Good episode tonight... like you said, not the best, but I thought it had some good storylines in. I also liked the "I'm about to get passed" storyline about a baseball record being undone.. kind of another part in the humbling of that character.. time moves on.. his wife is now an author. He's a dad and a business man. Lots of changes for him.