J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

Switched at Birth

I’m not a huge fan of the original programming on ABC Family, in fact I was upset when Fox sold them because they had just started showing remastered episodes of Hawaii 5-0. But since I’m not really the audience for most of their shows, this is not a big deal. However, since I started writing for this blog, I have been seeking out more family-friendly television to watch and comment on. My search bore fruit this month when ABC Family premiered Switched at Birth.

The premise is simple enough. Two teenage girls discover they were, in fact, switched at birth and proceed to get acquainted with their birth families and since that premise is clearly spelled out in the title, the show wastes no time getting the action started.

In the first scene, one daughter, Bay, gets her blood tested as part of an experiment in science class. This is where she learns that her blood type, AB, is very rare. So rare, in fact, that it is impossible that she is the natural child of the parents that raised her. This prompts Bay to get a DNA test and confront the hospital about the mix up Bay’s family then contacts her birth mother and they all meet along with the other daughter, Daphne who is revealed to be hearing impaired. All of this happens in the first five minutes.

What follows for the rest of the show is pretty much what you would expect. The parents are emotional and concerned about their new family members. Bay’s big brother is equal parts sensitive and aloof and the girls at the center of it all are made to react as different as possible.

Daphne seems to be smarter than everyone else, as if she always knew that there was something odd about her and after finding out she was right, she seems unphased by the whole thing. Bay, on the other hand, immediately acts out. She gets a nose ring, tries to start smoking and even breaks up with her African-American boyfriend when she realizes that dating a black guy isn’t near rebellious enough.
I wanted to like this show and hoped that it would be something I could watch with my kids. Unfortunately, it’s too heavy-handed even for them. The cacophony of sounds Bay’s dad hears and realizes he has been taking for granted. The clueless and awkward way, Bay’s brother learns about living life as a deaf person. Daphne’s “accidental” run in with Bay’s ex- boyfriend. Even Bay’s brush with the law and her Banksy-esque guerillas art all seems to hyper-realistic to be believable. Obviously, I can;t imagine what it’s like to have something like this happen, but I do know that kids and teens, left to their own devices, will always do what is best for them. Whether they’re deaf, hearing, redhead, brunette, Puerto Rican or Caucasian, teenagers are dumb and finding out they were raised by the wrong parents wouldn’t make them any smarter

If I can say one good thing about the show, I enjoyed seeing Lucas Grabeel in a more appropriate role than that High School Musical crap I was forced to sit through.

Hear more from the King of TV on The Paul Goebel Show podcast and at his website, www.TheKingofTV.com. You can also follow Paul on Twitter @PaulGoebelShow.

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