Based on all the advertisements, I never expected Switched at Birth to be a great show. Not even a good show. But I figured it would be an Ok show. Alas, ABC Family has let me down because it is an awful show.
Like really bad. Here’s why: Everything is too in your face. I don’t mean graphic or gritty or real. I mean, they break things down and repeat them over and over again like I’m two years old.
In the first ten minutes of the first episode we’re given all these weird explanations for why the Kennish family thinks Bay is their daughter paired with hints that she’s not. Like:
-Her grandmother is Italian and that’s where she gets her lovely coloring
– She must be a mutant so that’s why her blood type doesn’t match up to her parents.
-She and her mom never agree on ANYTHING or like the same things, but it’s just because she’s a teenager
Um, ABC Family. I know what the title of this show is. Switched at Birth. So I already got it! Thanks! Plus I saw the promo photos. Bay looks nothing like her family! And Kathryn, Toby and Daphne have all been forced to dye their hair the same dull shade of blonde to remind me they’re related. I GOT IT!
To top things off, it’s awkward but not sad. I feel like I’d be way more upset about this. And I’d probably sue some people. Instead the families have an awkward lunch meeting with inappropriate questions and Bay showing us her sparkling personality.
Did I mention Bay is annoying? And bitchy? And annoying? And immature? And condescending? God, she’s so annoying and unlikeable! Which makes it hard for me to understand her troubles during this ordeal/discovery.
Daphne is likeable. She’s smart and sweet. But her mom, Regina, isn’t. She’s understandably defensive, but also annoying (like biological mother, like biological daughter, eh Bay?) Did I mention Bay’s parents are kind of prejudiced? And maybe even racist? And blame Regina for Daphne being deaf? And did a background check…
Daphne is deaf, in case ABC Family didn’t stress that enough. My favorite moment of “Daphne’s Deaf and It’s The WORST THING EVER BECAUSE SHE’LL NEVER BE NORMAL, even though she is” is when her biological father, John, drops her off at home late at night — you know, on the wrong side of the tracks — and she hugs him before walking off without her sweater. He calls to her, but she can’t hear. It hits him — she really is deaf. Then we hear every sound she’s never been able to hear. This includes:
– An ice cream truck
– A dog barking
-A train in the distance whizzing by on the tracks
As Joel McHale pointed out on The Soup, why was there an ice cream truck driving by at midnight? That’s creepy. Also when did her dad get super hearing? Was he bitten by the same werewolf as the kid on Teen Wolf?
Anyway, everything is so predictable. Bay is going to hook up with a kid from Daphne’s neighborhood. Bay’s old boyfriend is into Daphne. Bay gets arrested and she and Regina agree that piercings are no big deal, despite Kathryn’s protests. (Did I mention Kathryn is Lea Thompson? And Regina is Constance Marie? I love how women who had movie careers in the 80’s and TV careers in the 90’s are now jumping onto ABC Family shows for hope of a resurgence a la Molly Ringwald or Melissa Joan Hart) Toby is nice to Daphne, but he was once in High School Musical so not having him dance or sing made me angry.
Daphne wants to go to the prep school, but Regina doesn’t want her to be “the deaf kid,” which is understandable, but mom, one day she’s not going to have you as an interpreter. Come on.
Bay’s also an artist…or something. I just can’t keep up. Not because it’s difficult to follow, but because ABC Family has put so much effort into squeezing out all room for thinking or feeling in this show that I’m bored.
Is Switched at Birth as awful as The Secret Life?
Worse! Why? Because The Secret Life may be bad, but when it’s on your TV you can’t turn away. That show has likeable characters and it’s a guilty pleasure. There is no pleasure in Switched at Birth.
If you dare, Switched at Birth airs Mondays at 9 on ABC Family.