So, in Speechless and Born, I raved about the way the shows were handled in a realistic way to the new generation of crips to have role models in Micah Fowler and the kids of Leaps n Boundz respectively. But, do you remember Life Goes On with Chris Burke, who is mentally disabled. I watched a few episodes here and there, but really didn’t keep up with the show. I need to get on Kodi and rectify that missing gem of my life. I do remember thinking this kid’s pretty cool, though, playing his part.
Also, a little before that show, the beautifully talented Marlee Matlin, who has become the most known deaf actress, starred in Children of a Lesser God. I recently saw that for the first time, because in ’86, I was too young to see it, but I do remember the press it garnered. She’d get the Best Actress Academy for her role as Sarah.
However, she’d gone onto other projects, and I’d lost track of her until ’11 when she was in the drama TV show, ABC Family’s/Freeform’s, Switched at Birth. Switched was interesting, because most of the cast was deaf while still being able to speak some, mostly for when expressing their exasperation trying to navigate a hearing world. The show revolved around two girls switched at birth: one hearing, other deaf. When the families learn of this oversight, they have to learn how to co-habitat, because the daughters now, essentially have two families. Mrs. Matlin played Melody, the mother of Daphne’s (Katie Leclerc, who’s deaf) best friend, Emmett (Sean Berdy, who’s also deaf). She’s also the kids’ guidance counselor at school. It was Mrs. Matlin's Melody, who was the moral compass, the most grounded that brought light where others’ eyes were shaded.
The show had a strong following with its subtitled ASL that was just as fascinating to watch than reading but was cancelled going into into the 5th season. In Joey’s and my opinion, the show might’ve gotten repetitive as Bay’s (the hearing daughter) story arch never grew up, always digging herself in deeper despite having potential as an artist. In other words, the audience grew up where it seemed she didn’t. I’m sure there were more politics that brought the show down, but to us, some key characters didn’t grow with the audience. Sad. I heard there was talk of the show getting shopped to other stations, but unfortunately it didn’t materialize.
Still, Netflix Switched, it’ll have you laughing, it’ll have you crying, it’ll have you thinking about the world of silent words. And, I’ll bone up on my Life Goes On.
Be good to each other.