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Switched at Birth Review: A Path Divided

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Bay and Daphne were once again at the center of conflict in "Tight Rope Walker."

Bay's concern about Regina manifested in her belief that her birth mom had returned to drinking and Daphne was torn between her loyalty to Carlton and her commitment to her mother and the school play, as Melody discovered new plans ahead for Carlton.

Keep Carlton Deaf

I realize I'm coming at this from a hearing perspective, but that's all I have. I can hear and I totally disagree with Melody. The cold hard facts of life are that we all have to coexist. While she's busy bitching about the hearing program, the one thing she's missing is the opportunity for the deaf to make the rules the hearing students must follow.

Sure, the hearing kids will be there, just like they will be there, for the rest of everyone's lives. Unless the deaf and hearing start isolating themselves on islands like lepers, living together is the option.

Bringing hearing students into a school primarily for deaf students is a unique opportunity to integrate the hearing students into the lives of the deaf instead of the other way around, which seems to be Melody's issue with the world in general. She's a very angry person, and hasn't come to terms with her ... I believe she calls it a gift.

For someone who is so happy with who she is, Melody does not seem to be empowering her students to live in a hearing world. I can understand wanting to protect deaf students and give them a refuge until they have to deal with the hearing world, but don't use it as some sort of utopian excuse. The mixed messages are mind-rattling.

I didn't understand why the fight was about the deaf becoming second class citizens in their own home. It was an artificial argument contrived because of the belief that bringing on more hearing students and their money would change the focus of the school. Instead, they should have been embracing the change, the opportunity to initiate more hearing children to the lives of the deaf and fighting to maintain control over the curriculum to make the most out of the experience for everyone.

It was all about choice. Melody chose to look at the change negatively instead of seeing the positive, even given what she knew about a family that learned to adapt to with the inclusion of a deaf child late in the game and how much it brought to their lives. I have to wonder if their inability to accept a more diverse student body (ironic, I know) is part of what drove the school board's decision to shut down Carlton.

Regina also made a choice - to drink. She can frequent any establishment she wants, but she has proven again and again she cannot drink without dragging herself and her family down a very dark path. Bay saw first hand what an alcoholic can become when Regina lashed into her. It was so ugly, but Bay never gave up on her. Whether or not Regina's word is golden is a tough call. Keeping it a secret between themselves gives Regina a lot of wiggle room to fall down. I've heard the plea she made to Bay from an alcoholic, and it didn't last.

Deleting her message to her sponsor proved Regina wasn't ready to call it quits just yet.

Other bits 'n bobs:

  • Just when I thought Emmett was going to be antagonistic toward Travis, he asked Melody if they could invite him into their home.
  • Not enough Natalie!
  • Toby is starting to annoy me. Enough about his love life already. The kid needs to be thinking about his future!
  • I kind of missed John this week. His John-isms were starting to be a lot of fun in the last few weeks. Did I just say that??
  • Zane turned out to be a really nice guy. I wonder where he will stand with things if Regina continues to drink.
  • It's too bad Bay couldn't turn to Angelo for help with Regina. They were just making headway and then ... blammo. Not a peep since "Dressing for the Charade."

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
  • 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (26 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter and on Google+.

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I just wonder how the Deaf Community feel about the characters speaking and signing at the same time. I know it's a must for a TV show. I know a bit of ASL and it seems like speaking two languages at once...ASL and English syntax are not the same...Are they using Signed English when communicating with hearing people? Since I have trouble understanding the all signed scenes, I'm sure they are accurate true, real ASL....facial expressions etc show this also...I am thrilled for the Deaf community for this show and perhaps they want to only give praises but again, the speaking/signing together doesn't work with true ASL...

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This season is so angry. For some reason, being able to hear is bad and I am bad for hearing? Is this really how deaf people feel about us? The first season I could hardly wait for the next episode to come out, I was so interested to learn about the deaf community. Now I am just uncomfortable. This is a national show, shouldn't they be trying to build bridges, not blow them up?

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I being a Deaf person in the Deaf community, Switched at birth has been the most realistic show I have ever seen with the hearing and the Deaf angles. And about life in general.
It is true many Deaf people are angry, (Re: Melody and Travis) but their charactors show what they have experienced. It is true about mainstreaming experience, and how it is important for Deaf people to grow up with other Deaf people. I didn't have that opportunity while I was growing up either. There are so many angles that this show has taken and I have enjoyed the many multi levels of Deafness and hearing. Hopefully soon they will have an angle about cochlear implants. It was brought up in the begining with Daphanie, I hope they can bring in someone who had a very good sucess on Cochlear implant, and someone who had a bad experience with it, and some inbetween... The only complaint I have is the carpool tunnel and Regina's inability to sign because of it. There are people who have carpool tunnel and still sign, with a brace, and with excerises and etc but to totally stop signing, was very highly unrealsitic and extreme from my point of view. I have had trigger finger for a while, and I excerise my hand, and that situation disappeared.

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I've heard or read that 90% (probably more) of hearing adults don't sign to their deaf children, and if that is the case, I doubt that Travis's parents would send his brother to Carlton when he's old enough because they have no interest in his life to begin with. For all we know, a lot of the students have parents like Travis and Carlton is the only place they can feel wanted, so bringing more "hearies" in will deter that experience. To the student populace, the school board is doing this more for the money (quantity), rather than the culture/family feel (quality) and THAT is what I think they're disagreeing with.

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The pilot program has started out as allowing hearing people who are CODAs, have deaf siblings/relatives to enroll (which Bay and Noah would most benefit). However, the impression I've gotten is that Carlton is in such dire financial need that the idea of opening the school to more hearing people would be more of a promotional technique/publicity stunt rather than expressing the advantages of acclimating to a deaf environment and immersing the students into the culture. Going from a small group of 7 students to 50 is a huge leap. And discounting Bay, we've only seen two of the other six hearing students: Teo (who we learned little about except his non-chalant skepticism about being an outsider) and Noah (who is in denial of his own situation, implies that he didn't go to Carlton willingly and made his role in the school worse after Bay's party when he lashed out). I think this is where the lack of character development failed on the part of the writers.

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Following up on what I sad in my first comment - I found a review on the AV Club site (I don't think I can put a link to it in my comment) but one commenter explained in detail how the whole situation with the school makes sense if looked at from a funding standpoint and what they should have been going for. It's unfortunate we have Melody making it seem like it's a Deaf vs. Hearing thing when it shouldn't be that way at all. Kicking the hearing students out isn't going to solve the problem of there not being enough money to keep the school open - and it's not actually the hearing students' fault (at least not directly) at all since the pilot program was an attempt to bring more money in.

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I really don't want to comment on Melody because she is getting on my last nerves with her problem with hearing people. No one choose to be deaf nor to hear so she should really let up on the hearing program. She is a teacher and should care for all her students not just the deaf ones. It broke my heart when Regina deleted that message to her sponsor. Bay was wrong for going to Zane but Regina was even more wrong for going off on Bay like that when she was only doing it cause she cares. I feel a lot more problems are going to ensue before this is all over. I too miss Angelo. Noah and Daphne do have great chemistry but since he's already with Bay I'm hoping they don't go their with this story.

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It's television so it doesn't have to be real, but the storyline that bringing in hearing kids would mean more money for the school, made no sense. I believe public schools get more money when kids have special needs -- like being deaf. If Carlton closes and the kids wind up in various schools, that would mean MORE dollars would have to be spent in those schools to insure deaf kids an "equal" education. Melody seems to present a particular aspect of deaf culture. Having set it up as a question of economics, it's clear why kids at Carlton would object to having hearing kids at the school, but it would be more interesting to deal with other issues chipping away at deaf culture -- which is really about being united by a language (ASL) that's now somewhat threatened by stuff like cochear implants or to show Melody's argument as being "about" something other than her personal anger.

Blu

Daphne was a better voice for their cause than Melody. On some level I actually understand Melody's point...there is one deaf school in our area. No one even knows about it until that moment when it somehow affects them...be it a relative or a friend with hearing loss. It's their only space. However, Melody just flat out hates hearing people which makes her position in the school all the more frustrating because she's toxic. Expanding the hearing program would have been unfortunate but it didn't have to be bad. The hearing kids attending seem to be those with relatives who are deaf or are in danger of losing their hearing themselves. It wouldn't have been a matter of bringing in random hearing kids with no interest or reason for attending a deaf school. And it would have been up to them to assimilate. I'm tired of Toby too. Bay overstepped in how she dealt with Regina and Regina is just a mess right now. Didn't miss John. Do miss Angelo and I like Zane. Love that Travis finally has a place to stay.

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The Melody speach was ....nah can't talk about it. She seems like such an angry person inside, she has some issues and she is dragging the kids down with her. Is it better now with no school? I'm loving all the air time for Noah, also the actor fits well and has tones of chemistry with both girls. With all of the Bay and Noah have nothing in common but Daphne and him do, it is obvious were they are going with the storyline. I'm not thrilled about it because that means they'll have Bay back with Emmett who I find boring and insipid. That said I can get on board the Daphne/Noah train if it means keeping Noah around.

Switched at Birth Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

Bay: Ohhh. How Downton Abbey of you.
Noah: Huh?
Bay: Never mind.

Parenting almost makes the campaign look easy, huh?

John
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