TV Show Review: Switched At Birth
Switched At Birth Is A New Show To Me
When the character, Bay Kennish, from the show, Switched At Birth, feels like an alien in her own family, she has no idea that she actually is in the wrong family! When she discovers that she is in the "wrong" family, and was switched at birth, her feeling of alienation makes much more sense.
The slightly eccentric, artistic teenager finds out that her family actually took home the wrong baby at the hospital and that explains why she's different than the rest of her brood.
Switched at Birth, produced on the channel ABC Spark in Canada is new to me. Like many shows, I discovered it late. Canada only recently began airing this channel, which airs as ABC Family in the USA. The program will be going into its second season in January of 2013.
Impressively, the show has received numerous honours in its first season, including winning an award for Television Critics Association for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming, and being nominated for four Teen Choice Awards.
The show has some big names associated with it, as well. The character of Kathryn Kennish is played by Lea Thompson, who is perhaps best known for her role as Lorraine in Back to the Future, but whose face is familiar to most of us.
Regina Vasquez, played by Constance Marie, is best known for her role as Angie Lopez in the show, George Lopez. And perhaps the most familiar face of all, Marlee Matlin, who is an Academy Awarding Winning Actress who also happens to be deaf. She recently appeared in the public eye as the runner-up in the show, Celebrity Apprentice.
Confused Family Relationships
Although the premise might sound a bit goofy and far-fetched, it is anything but goofy in its execution. Neither is the series overly earnest, like a Hallmark movie. As unrealistic the premise might sound on paper, the show itself is very gritty and real.
The series deals with real social issues that affect teens and families. First of all, the issue of confused family relationships occurs frequently in our society with divorce and the subsequent stepfamilies that are created afterwards. Children are often torn between loving their parents and stepparents, and being forced to figure out who their "real mother or father" is.
And the issues of identity that Bay and Daphne are dealing with are issues that all teens have to deal with: figuring out who they are, and how they can separate from their family to become their own person. The unusual family circumstances only serve to accentuate and intensify these common adolescent concerns.
Deaf Culture: Being a Minority
The other thing that is real is the issue of deaf culture and all of the issues that come along with this. The thing is, many of the issues that deaf children deal with are issues that any child or person in a minority deal with.
The show demonstrates how people make assumptions about those who cannot hear. Some examples from the episodes are that when they first meet some of the non-hearing characters, they talk loudly and slowly.
Deciding how much to integrate and how to preserve your culture is an issue that affects minorities of all types, not just the deaf community. Daphne must decide if she is going to go to a regular hearing school, or remain in the more cloistered deaf school that she has become accustomed to.
Great Dialogue And Realistic Characters
I love the dialogue in this television series. I find that the conversations between the characters are realistic and well-written. Each individual character is portrayed with depth and understanding. There is humour but it is not done for the sake of a cheap laugh, but rather flows out of the honest rendering of the characters.
The teen characters are not done as caricatures, and seem very real to life. The mom and dad on both sides are real, in the way they make frequent mistakes and are lost as to what to do next. The situations they find themselves in also reflect real life, including depression, criminal activity, addictions and rebellion. But easy answers are not offered. Instead we see the real grappling that real life entails.
How Do You Like This Show?
I Recommend "Switched At Birth"
I would recommend this television show, and give it a five out of five. It is one of the best shows I have seen on t.v. for a long time. Although it might be considered a "teen show," I think it appeals to people of all ages. The acting is excellent and the dialogue is realistic. I cannot wait to see what happens next season. And I highly recommend this show to the readers.
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