Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A moment for reflection

So, I'm taking this off the whole "kinky sex relationship time" for this entry on how completely ridiculous and stupid the latest episode of Switched at Birth was.

For those of you not up to date with the show at all, the entire premise is that there's two teenage girls. One of them is Deaf, the other one is hearing. That's the main difference, although the show's on ABC family so they also like to play up the fact that one of them is super rich and the other one is not so much. Oh, also one of them is white and the other one is Latina. Sometimes that's like...apparently important for some reason. They were born in the same hospital, some sleep-deprived nurse took them from the nursery and sent them home with the wrong families. Now the families have figured it out (because of some high school biology lab where the hearing girl was testing her blood type, of all contrivances), and deal with the aftermath. Bam. Show premise.

Fast forward to now (second season), and Bay (the hearing girl) decides she wants to go to Daphne's (the Deaf girl) school. The school for the Deaf. Which, for those of you who are unfamiliar with that concept - a school for the Deaf is just what it sounds like (haha pun not intended but now that's it there...). An entire school for students who are Deaf. Typically residential in nature, meaning the kids live at the school as well as attend classes. American Sign Language (ASL) is the primary means of communication.

Bay started learning ASL when the whole switch was discovered and she met Daphne. She also dated a Deaf guy named Emmett for awhile (don't ask me how that worked, they both liked art so I guess it didn't matter that they couldn't really communicate). I haven't really been keeping track of time in the show, so I don't know exactly how long Bay's been learning ASL, but her signing is....pretty terrible. Which sounds harsh of me to say, but I wouldn't be so critical if a large portion of every episode wasn't set aside for people to compliment Bay on how "great" her signing is, and for Bay to rub her own chub about how good she is at signing. Just...if all I knew how to effectively say in another language was "Hi, how are you?" and maybe like a handful of other words, I wouldn't be running around all, "omg I'm sooo totally fluent!"

So, initially, the idea that Bay wants to go to the Deaf school is laughable. But wait! She's not just signing up out of the blue. It turns out the Deaf school has this "pilot program" for hearing students. Which...if that exists in the real world this is the first time I have heard about it. The pilot program apparently consists of Bay and this other hearing guy named Teo - that's it. Two fucking hearing kids. So I'd say the program is an awesome success.

When Bay's trying to talk her parents into letting her go to the Deaf school, Daphne brings up the point that the program is for CODAs (Children of Deaf Adults), hearing people related to Deaf people, etc. In other words, people who may possibly have had exposure to ASL before. In other other words, people who are not Bay or Teo. As far as I've seen from Teo, he doesn't even have enough wherewithal to just fucking wave when he's trying to say hello to somebody, he's so dependent on his speech to communicate.

I was one minute into this latest episode and Bay was all, "I love signing, and I'm good at it." And I was all, "are you freaking serious?"

She starts at the Deaf school and it's a fucking travesty. Which...who saw that coming?

There's a scene where Teo and Bay are trying to find "Intro to ASL" class. Which, maybe I'm being harsher on this scene than I need to be, because it could be that the "intro" is actually about introducing students to the finer intricacies of Sign Language. Like, how to set up sentences without English grammar structure, or how to character switch when telling an ASL story. I mean, if the idea is that they're hearing people who have exposure to Sign Language already, there's still a lot of fine-tuning to sign in "pure ASL." But it sounds like, "hey, let's go learn to sign words like 'cat,' and 'house,' and 'school.'"

Then the very next scene Teo and Bay are sitting in English class and the teacher's just up in front of the class signing a mile a minute. There's no voice interpreter for the two hearing kids, their "intro to ASL" class has clearly not helped. Which...just kind of seems like poor planning on the Deaf school's part. "Oh, let's put the hearing students in 'intro to ASL' and then immediately after in the regular Lit class with no support."

Oh man, and then Bay goes to sit down at lunch with Emmett and his group of friends and is all, "waaah why didn't you tell me my signing was so bad?" And Emmett is like, "it's not that bad, babe. I understand your signing." And I'm all, "Jesus Christ Emmett will you please give up your boner for Bay and fucking move on already?"

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