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A Deaf Person’s Opinion On Switched At Birth | Film Fridays

You ever have that show or movie
that is actually quite good at something, but, at the same time,
is also kind of just as bad? That, my friends, is Switched at Birth. (ELECTRONIC MUSIC) Hello and welcome back to the channel
and another episode of Film Fridays, where I talk about films or TV shows
about things that I can relate to, and how I feel about that movie or show,
if they got it right or whatever, etc, etc. So, a lot of these will be about deafness
and disability, but we have also branched out to other things. So far, I have talked about A Quiet Place, You
and Hush, and today we are talking about
Switched at Birth. This is a highly requested one because Switched at Birth was practically
a phenomenon in recent mainstream media when it comes to the deaf community
and disability and things like that. If you are somehow not aware
of what Switched at Birth is, Switched at Birth is a show
that was on ABC Family/Freeform, and it is about two girls who were,
as you guessed, switched at birth, and, as it turns out, one of the girls is deaf,
that would be Daphne, and the other girl who was switched,
and is hearing, is Bay. And, you know, they find out
they’ve been switched and now they just kind of go through life trying to get to know their real parents
and get to know each other, ’cause now they’re kinda sisters, in a way,
you know, not biologically,
but they kinda feel like that, I guess. And while Daphne’s deafness
plays a pretty big role in the show, it is not the entire show, which I like. It’s just your ordinary
drama/family-friendly show like Degrassi
and, you know, stuff like that. Now, because this is a TV show that had…
I want to guess five seasons, I’m not gonna be able to get to every
single thing that may have been good or may have been something
that kind of irked me a little bit, just because it’s five seasons and I actually stopped
watching this show for real at about right when Season 3 happened
because I just wasn’t into it, so there’s gonna be a lot of stuff,
because it’s been so long, that I might not remember exactly,
but, if you’ve seen the whole show and you have your own opinions, you can
continue the conversation in the comments. That’s what these are for. So, the woman who plays Daphne is named, and I might get her last name wrong,
Katie Leclerc? If I pronounce that wrong, I’m sorry and please feel free to write out how I would
actually pronounce that in the comments. There is a little bit of a controversy around
whether or not Katie is actually deaf or, say, hard of hearing
because she fakes an accent for her role, and I noticed this when I would be watching
her in a Hallmark movie that she’s been on, and her voice completely changes,
also in interviews. So, people were kind of upset that the main actress in the show plays
a deaf character but is not actually deaf. Here’s the thing with Katie. She is what you would maybe refer to
as hard of hearing because she does have Meniere’s disease,
which includes hearing loss, and that’s why she started learning ASL
at age of 17, because of that. She needed another, you know,
form of communication. I have friends who have actually
worked with her, I know a lot of people
who were on Switched at Birth, and they noticed that Katie would be
more hearing than she would be deaf. I don’t know how Meniere’s disease works. I don’t even know
if I’m pronouncing that correctly. So, when I look at the symptoms,
when I look at what is part of the disease, hearing loss is one of them, and, if that means she’s hard of hearing, OK,
I…I guess I’m Switzerland in this. I just… I can’t say, “No, she’s not hard of hearing,” if she has Meniere’s disease
and it affects her and her hearing. If you have Meniere’s disease, feel free
to talk about that whole thing down below and educate us all a little bit more, if you want. The one thing I did seem to have a little bit of
an issue with, though, is the fake deaf accent. You know, it would’ve been really nice
to have someone on one of the biggest mainstream shows with
a deaf character having an actual deaf accent because a lot of people who are oral deaf do get very concerned
or very self-conscious about their voices. Like, even me, listen. I grew up mainstreamed. I’ve been speaking English since I was, well, the age
that all kids start speaking a language, right? And it’s gotten worse and worse
over the years, many people have told me, and I’ve noticed. And, you know, like,
I get self-conscious about it especially now, you know, because I’m like,
“Oh, wow, I sound very strange in this.” So, to have that sort of actual representation
where somebody’s not giving a damn, that would’ve been nice, but alas, it is all fake. And there’s actually an explanation
that I read on Wiki last night. “My agent submitted me
for a nationwide casting call “for the roles of Emmett and Daphne. “I ended up getting a call back and that’s
when I was asked to try a deaf accent. “It’s something we discussed in depth. “We wanted to make sure my portrayal
was respectful and done correctly. “At the same time,
we felt that using a deaf accent “would be a really strong choice
for the character.” But I don’t know, faking it kind of seems weird. I mean, if you want to get
as realistic as possible, yes, a lot of mainstream deaf people
will have deaf accents, which is, you know, like,
if you read in the comments, people ask me why I sound like a man
or insert ableist term here. And that’s why a lot of deaf people don’t want
to use their voice, because that’s rude, but I know that there’s also
a lot of oral deaf people that don’t really have much of a deaf accent. My friend, Amanda McDonough, if I am
correct, doesn’t have much of a deaf accent. But, yeah, a lot of people were having issues
with that, and I could kind of see it. I just feel like, I mean, not all oral deaf people,
or deaf people who also use English, have much of a deaf accent, so you also
maybe could just…could’ve done without. This is a show that is made more
for hearing people than deaf people, despite the fact that the show
has a ton of deaf people in it. Two of the main things that pretty much
tell you this, actually three. One – it is made by hearing people
and was written by hearing people, if I recall correctly, so you have the hearing lens on
what deafness is like and stuff like that, right? Two – the SimCom, there is way too much
SimCom going on in here that’s just not realistic. In some cases, I can see why
that needs to be a thing. For example, Katie’s biological family
is just now learning ASL. Maybe OK, you want to SimCom,
or, again, I’ve said this before – if you have hearing people
in a group of deaf people, and, you know, the hearing people
don’t know ASL, so, for example, you have
Katie’s biological family in with… Why do I keep saying Katie? You have Daphne’s biological family
with, you know, her deaf friends and whatnot, so you might want to SimCom
to try to, you know, include everyone. But, when you have Regina
and Daphne together, two very fluent ASL-using people,
why is there SimCom? It makes no sense. I can’t remember
if Regina would use SimCom when she is around Marlee Matlin’s character. Someone let me know. It’s been a long time, but, yeah. Anyway, too much SimCom. It’s really difficult
to use two languages at once. They’re very different languages
and it makes things clunky. Also, a lot of the time, I remember
that the signing was not always in frame, and, if you’re going to try to include
an ASL-using deaf audience, why are you not having the signs
clearly on the screen? And someone will say,
“Well, the show’s probably captioned, right? “You turn on the captions.” Goes back to what I said before. English and ASL
are two completely different languages and not all ASL-using deaf people
are fluent in English, so… And while we’re still on the topic of language, one thing that really made me chuckle
is Bay… Bay is probably the one hearing person
on the show that is supposed to be really immersed
in ASL, the deaf community. Fluent, I don’t think so,
but, you know, knowledgeable. And I remember when she was trying to tell I
want to say maybe she was talking to Travis? I don’t remember. But she was trying to say that, I think it was Emmett was being cold,
as in being stand-offish. Now, I’m not really sure
what sign you would be using to describe someone being stand-offish
and giving you the silent treatment, but the actual sign that Bay used
was cold, as in temperature cold. And I was like… In a way, it’s something so small, but, at the same time,
something that should’ve been so simple, and I was just like, “Emmett’s chilly,
Emmett’s cold? Does he need a jacket?” But here’s the thing with Switched at Birth. With all the things that they get wrong, there
are some things that are really, really good. This show is an example of being
one of the more inclusive shows of recent mainstream media. Actual deaf people are casted
to play deaf characters. So, you had Nyle, Stephanie. Was Shoshannah in an episode?
I can’t remember. Marlee Matlin. There’s Ryan. There’s Sean. There’s so many deaf people,
so many deaf actors that were in this show. They didn’t pick up random people
off the street and be like,
“We’re gonna pretend you’re deaf.” Well, maybe they did for the extras,
but, you know. I don’t know off the top of my head right now if maybe they hired any hearing people
to play deaf characters that might’ve had a couple of lines in a role,
but, for the most part, every single deaf character that you saw was
actually deaf in real life, and that is fantastic. And then there are two scenes
that speak out to me in particular. One is when Daphne
was owning her own food truck because she wanted to go to school
for cooking. She wanted to be a chef, if I recall. At one point… She has a partner, and I think it was
her boyfriend, I don’t remember. But, at one point,
it’s known to some customers that she’s deaf because she’s signing or whatever
to somebody. You know, they get the idea of, “Well, we’re gonna rob her because
she’s not gonna be able to hear us. “We can get away with it.” And I believe she was at the food truck, still,
it was at night, and these people went and robbed her
and she was actually there. That is such a fear that I and, you know, other
deaf people, especially deaf woman, have. Being alone at night or whatever, even if it’s just with a friend,
people trying to take advantage. I think they injured her, too,
and, you know, that’s scary. I mean, there are times
when I do go out at night, but I try to move fast with what I’m doing,
because somebody could sneak up on me. I really felt that and I enjoyed that scene,
not in a… You know what I mean. You enjoy a scene because it’s very realistic
and you really relate, but it’s not, like… It’s not a happy scene by any means. And another one
that is more of a happy scene, and this was a really popular scene,
the whole deaf gang scene, where Marlee Matlin’s character
and her students are in class, and they’re just talking about how being deaf
in itself is not a bad thing. The only real issue
is the inaccessibility in the world, and people were talking about
what they loved about being deaf, you know, how there was a rich history, which…also
a complicated history, but, you know, there’s a family that they’ve obtained
through it and, you know, just things like that. It was a really, really great positive scene. There’s so many other good scenes
that happen, you know? It’s a complicated show. It’s a dramatic show. And is it the most perfect show in the world? No, but it was a very, very good
and big step in the right direction, and, in a way,
I wish that it wasn’t ever cancelled because it still gave us something
that we could look forward to, because we would see
representation of ourselves, whether it was mainstream deaf
or signing deaf, the in-between, you know? It was good to see that
and now we don’t really get that anymore, and that whole issue with Hollywood
is for another whole video. So, I’d like to know your thoughts
on Switched at Birth. What were things that you liked? What were things that you didn’t like? How you related
if you are also a deaf person watching it. Let’s discuss. If you would like to help me
translate this video, I’ll have a link to do so
down below in the description box. As always, I very much appreciate you
watching, and I will see you later. Bye.

98 Replies to “A Deaf Person’s Opinion On Switched At Birth | Film Fridays”

  • IMPORTANT THING I WANNA CLARIFY: When I use quotes around "hard of hearing", I'm doing it because I'm quoting what someone has said- I am not air quoting it as if saying it isn't real. Next time if I do use quotations, I will make sure to be more clear. My apologies for any confusion!

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  • I’m so afraid to watch this bc I love Switched at Birth 😂😂 it goes off the rails, but I can’t stop watching

  • I used to watch that show when I was younger before I found your beautiful channel I always wondered was that actress was really deaf I don't think you sound like a man love you Rikki

  • I started watching switched at birth when I was like 10. I knew nothing about deaf and disabled culture. I mean im hearing and I was in a small town.
    I hadnt watched it in years but since then I found your channel, Molly's channel, other disabled Youtubers. I try to be educated. Ive been watching Switched at Birth with my grandma, who doesn't know much about any cultures. I feel like I can explain some things to her and I've been planning on showing her your videos along with the show
    I'm not deaf so I can't talk about that aspect, but I love how they also involved mental health, addiction, race, etc.

  • I think they could’ve done without Daphne’s deaf accent, but I also think it would’ve gotten backlash for mainstreaming deaf characters too much if they had her with no accent or forced a deaf deaf (not HOH) person to speak for the mostly hearing audience. Idk though, bc I’m not Deaf and am biased bc I already like the show lol

  • I watched the first season of Switched at Birth and while i do appreciate the deaf representation, i wish there had been more people of color, especially deaf ones.

  • If somebody says they’re HoH, then you don’t need to do the air quotation marks. It invalidates not only Katie LeClerc, but also other HoH (like me) folk who already struggle with being stuck in the middle of the Deaf versus Hearing world’s. Keep that in mind the next time you use air quotes please.

  • I honestly enjoyed the show because in a way I really relate to daphne. I grew up mainstream. Technically I have been fully deaf for 3-4 years due to some random hearing loss. I was deaf in one ear and “acted” hearing? I don’t know. I could hear but it was more understanding vs. hearing. I don’t have a deaf accent so I can’t really complain about the accents or the signs because I was in love with the storyline. I loved that they touched the topic of Cochlear Implants. I had Cochlear Implants for 3-4 years now. And I love to debate them. They have really helped me, but relearning to hear and reading lips are definitely not easy. Not a bit. One of the toughest things I ever had to do. I still struggle to understand people and read lips. I still identify as deaf. I just loved how they took serious topics and go over it in some way. Sure it’s probably done bad but it Why I loved it so much.

  • Thank you so much! I've been excited for you to review this and I'm glad you liked at least some aspects of it. I loved Switched at Birth and I watched the whole thing with my mom 🙂 She's Deaf and loved it as well

  • This show was one of the reasons I decided I want become fluent in ASL. I’m hearing so i can speak on any of that stuff but it did make me aware of many issues that have pushed me to learn more about deaf culture:)

  • Watching SAB in order to learn more about the deaf culture is like watching Dora to understand Spanish. It is exposure but it isn't going to make it easier to learn how to communicate unless you take the time to learn the language,

  • I understand that not all ASL D/deaf users are/will be fluent in English- which is something you mentioned. How would you go about, for example, Netflix, having a caption option for "ASL" and "English"? Do you think that'd be confusing since ASL does use classifiers, different language structure, etc., or do you think that'd be beneficial for those who are learning or simply need captions that are in ASL?

  • I've just stopped one moment at the mention of Rikki "sounding like a man" because: 1- it's not true; 2- i beg people who think like this (and i'm guessing they are mostly u.s. people) to realize that not all women have high pitched voices like most u.s. actresses / people. That is actually a thing i noticed while watching american shows and idk if it is a deliberate choice of the actresses, a trait that is appreciated / enforced by Hollywood studios or a anthropological (?) thing; i remember reading an article, some years ago, saying that american women's and women who have been living in america for a long time's voices were higher pitched than the previous generations.
    Anyway, sorry for writing so much, all of this for saying that to my italian ear, Rikki's voice is one type of the various type of voices that women have. Period. (And i personal really like it).

  • As someone that is hard of hearing but identifies Deaf, it was a little hurtful when you commented about friends on the show saying she’s “more hearing than deaf” by observing her. I’ve had many people say that about me and accuse me of faking. In my opinion, identity is to each person (similar to LGTB+) and isn’t another person’s place to say yes or no if that’s how someone identifies themselves. She obviously has Menieres (I spelled it wrong) and of hearing loss is a symptom, let’s just accept her HOHness and not judge her based on her actions. This comment isn’t really at you, just in general. It just really really pains me and hurts my heart when this is said about other people because I know it too well. I love you and your videos, this isn’t directed at you or supposed to be rude, just my view.

  • I work on a multilingual work place. We have English, Spanish, and French. Sometimes it can hard to come up with a word in English that directly translates or is fully understood. Broken English or using the wrong term is okay as long as the meaning is conveyed/understood by both parties. Like calling a goose a “cobra chicken” or a trophy a “winner” . I’m not deaf, HoH, or knowledgeable on deaf culture or ASL so correct me if I am wrong but an English speaker learning ASL might take a word in English that has multiple meanings and apply it to ASL if they didn’t know the sign (or that there was two signs).

  • I have always said I wish I could turn off the “automatic” captions when it’s only sign. They get in the way

  • At least when two Deaf characters used ASL with each other they didn't SimCom.

    I loved so much about the show as a hearing person and while I already was someone with a Linguistics degree so I knew a fair amount about signed languages in the abstract and someone who was getting kinda immersed in disability activism online even if I am more-or-less abled, I still had a lot that this show helped me learn about Deaf Culture, about Cochlear Implant debates and what the Deaf community generally feels, about so much stuff that I'd actually begun to learn a bit a decade or so earlier catching up on all of ER and seasons 4-8 featuring Peter Benton's deaf son Reese. There's this aspect to all this that I've always been VERY interested in and while I knew Switched at Birth was not perfect, I learned a lot thanks to it and thanks to commentaries I was interested in like this video right here because I happened to be a big fan of the show. I created this channel: which wasn't great but I was trying to let Deaf fans of the show, who I knew existed, have more access to these interviews! And I didn't get that far with all that many videos but I got some. I would do it differently if I was starting over today but I've learned a lot in the process.

    I also started this fan channel:

    As well as made fanvideos on my own channel:

    And I used to have annotations on the videos that say [CC] on the channel, I couldn't figure out how to add closed captions in a way that properly differentiated between lyrics and voiceovers but YouTube's old annotations feature had great options for placement and color coding and stuff so I used it all. I might add in closed captioning again when I have time for all those vids if I can.

    One thing I did appreciate was how the vidding community would use signed voiceless voiceovers, like the text on screen at the start of this vid during the instrumental of the music:

    I know the entire fandom vidding community is hearing centric, but I can't help that I come from this internet subculture.

  • (Hearing interpreter here) AAARGH! The sim-com. Bay talking w a Deaf person and sim-coms thru it all. Didn't like portrayal of interpreting, or lack of……MAYBE get an interpreter for that situation, and MAYBE get a professional.jnterpreter vs asking some guy you know.

  • Oh gosh. I loved and hated parts of it. I stopped watching around season 4 and was so hard to watch because in new Zealand we can't access freeform and stuff for captions. However, I love the plot and my favourite character was Bay tbh. I felt the strongest scene that was educational for hearing community was when Daphne friend was in hospital and there was no interpter for her. The nurse almost gave her wrong medicine 😨 this showed all hearing people in world they need interpter on call all the time!!! Us Deaf needs access! The second scene was with marlee teaching about Deaf gain… This was great because it let hearing people NOT to feel sorry for us but to know we gained so much more Sign Language, Deaf friends around world, Deaf culture!

  • Wow, the deaf accent thing is really personal, eh? Spent a whole two minutes and 50 seconds (14% of the video) honed in on the issue

  • I don't know how I feel about these "representation, but for others"-stories. I read a book that was technically about asexuality, but it included so much explanation about it that we would have heard about a thousand times before. And then, it was also very focused on the sexual perspective of the narrator, which just wasn't relatable for me as a reader. I don't say that these types of representation aren't important for how the general public looks at us, the book was very good and well researched and the author had the best intentions, it's just that we get all excited about something about us that we mistake it for for us.

  • Constructive criticism: use the end card or intro card as backgrounds for your inserts. Red was harsh on the eyes and didn't tie the theme of channel.

    And you had a missed comedic opportunity to insert a flag or cartoonish map of Switzerland (outline of country with flag as background) in upper third of left or right of your head. Maybe national anthem with rising tone swelling before being interrupted abruptly.

    Or maybe KDrama or Japanese anime stylization of you feigning innocence.

    Instead of apologizing for mispronouncing, have an off-screen helper say it for you. See Knowing Better's video about Ireland being the appendix of Europe for example. He also had a similar video on colourblindness helping him with a difficult word

    And maybe put screenshot of Wikipedia quote or news article in lower third while reading the quote out loud. Or as an insert. Your choice.

  • I loved the show I had just started taking asl classes. It did actually have deaf history in it. It did a lot of things most shows weren't actually doing. However the last season and this doesn't have to do with deafness but down syndrome. Everything was so absolutely negative until the seen when bays brother meets a woman with down syndrome that cares for a man with a more disabling version of down syndrome. His wife was upset about what her baby couldnt do. And they never actually talked about what he could do or be when he grew up. They never actually had that discussion. We never got to meet her family and never got to understand why she thought it was so sad that her kid was diagnosed. It was just out side view 100% with no context till that moment. Then bays brother just decided to get a job to help kids with downs. It was all very head in the clouds. It wasn't fully thought out. I'm glad they did it because for some it is just that. But I wish it was a little less negative.

  • A scene that stood out to me is the one when Emmett gets arrested and the hearing cops attack him because he can't hear or see them(because of the blinding lights) when they are shouting orders. I'm not deaf.. but I couldn't imagine how anyone could go through something as scary as that.

  • In the beginnings of the show, somewhere between seasons 1-3, I read an article/interview about Katie. It stated that her hearing comes and goes. Her ears would ring and then loose hearing for different durations of time. (Not sure how true it is, it was something I read in a magazine when I was like 14/15.)

  • HoH person here. I mostly approve of the accent–it's complicated, but I think it serves her character well. We get to see at times in the show the discrimination she faces because of the accent, which I think adds an interesting layer of depth. I guess I see it as a character choice. They could have done without, but I think its a valid choice to make if it works well in the show? idk. Also, I obv. don't know what the situation is with the actress, but it may also be that she puts more work/effort/training into maintaining her voice because she is an actress, so being able to control her voice and the way she speaks is a big part of her job. again, idk if this is true for this actress in particular, but something to keep in mind in terms of deaf/hoh actors in general. in my opinion, having a deaf writer is WAY more important than the actress, because they are instrumental in making sure the show is accurate and all the characters are portrayed with nuance and depth. the sim-com got me too, ugh!

  • I watched all of Switch at Birth as it was on TV and it was actually what exposed me to ASL and peaked my interest because I had never thought about it before, keeping in mind that I had to be about 10 when it started. Because of SAB peaking my interest, I am not a Deaf Studies major in college and I dont think I would be had it not been for the show. I do think I'd like to rewatch it one day because I'm sure I could form more critical opinions now that I have a larger base of knowledge and opinions on things.

  • One scene that really stuck with me was in one of the later seasons, when they are in college (4 or 5??). One of daphne's deaf friends (blanking on the name) gets hit by a car and is in the hospital and daphne gets there and they brought up the issue of accessibility in hospitals, such as lack of interpreters and unwillingness of staff to accommodate.
    Another great one was in season 1 when emmett gets arrested and the episode highlights the issues surrounding interactions of police with deaf suspects.

  • I have Meniere’s disease and the hearing loss can range hugely. One of the symptoms is that in the earlier stages of the condition, we get something called Meniere’s episodes/attacks. During this whether you have extremely mild hearing loss or severe hearing loss, your hearing can suddenly go completely or become a lot more severe than normal for that particular person. It’s scary as you don’t know how deaf you are going to wake up as the change is sudden.
    So in medical terms someone with earlier stages of Meniere’s can swing from mild deafness to severe/profound and can last for hours (sometimes several days). On top of this you get extreme vertigo and some get drop attacks (no blackout… basically balance in your ears totally goes nuts). By the last stages, normally vertigo attacks are rare but the hearing loss is permanent and for each person that hearing loss level is different and this can take up to 15 years from when the condition starts to develop. Also this depends if someone tries out any treatments and if they work.
    I was diagnosed with Meniere’s in very early 2016 and had developed mild hearing loss by my first hearing test. (I was perfectly hearing for 26 years).
    By mid October 2017, I suddenly was moderately deaf (around 50Db) then in the October went to severe within a week following bilateral ear infections that kept coming back and my hearing didn’t recover. Medically I cannot hear under 85-90Db (traffic noise levels). I have been told that due to the hearing loss rate I may become profound at some point. Like Katie, when I learnt I was losing my hearing, I went to college to study BSL.
    From what I have been told it’s fairly rare for someone with Menieres to become severely deaf until they become elderly or if illness makes it worse as it’s normally caused by fluid in the ears (hydrops) over time damaging hair cells which is why there is vertigo and a lot of balance issues when walking is involved when there is more fluid in the inner ear of one side. Most people with Menieres also get it only in one ear.
    Getting to my point… Having Menieres doesn’t mean automatically you “only” have mild/moderate hearing loss. For some it can be severe to profound so it doesn’t make you more hearing than a person born deaf or that has become deaf due to a different condition. Feel free to ask me anything about it,

  • From my personal experience: Switched at Birth was an excellent gateway to Deaf community and ASL. Growing up i had only studied a single book filled with signs and i couldn’t put them into sentences. WatchingSAB not only taught me about the Deaf community (which everything i learned was later confirmed by my Deaf teacher as an adult) but helped me develop conversational sign. The Sim Com was situational. When there were two Deaf characters conversing it was always in ASL. You guys have to remember the only sim com being done was with people who are not fluent in ASl. As the seasons progress Bay develops in her grammar/syntax (even though it’s not the best). That’s just my opinion though.

  • I loved the show, but they had way too many run ins with the law. It became unrealistic to me that they would actually have so much police involvement and legal issues. The all-ASL episode was what struck me. I kept having to pause to read the subtitles every few seconds to follow everything and it got really tiring. I was like "wow, this is what its like for some people everyday."

  • As someone who like arts, I hate saying it but, the whole point of a TV show is to bring as many eyeballs as possible on the advertisements. Considering:
    – 70 % of the population is hearing;
    – of the 30 % of hard-of-hearing and deaf people, maybe half of them is poor;
    the producers of the show will want to target the hearing population. Knowing that, the SimCom is probably to make the show more accessible to the hearing audience, because hearing the dialog is easier than reading it.

    A quick comparison between movies and TV shows. If someone pays to see a movie in theatre, he or she will sit there and read the subtitles while a character speaks in ASL.The moviegoer will not change room/movie because there is some reading required. On the other hand, watching TV is free, so it is a lot easier to change the channel is a show asks some efforts to understand it. SimCom becomes necessary to retain as many viewers as possible.

    Yeah, I am a bit cynical.

  • Her name is pronounced, she said herself once in a video promoting the last season, katie leh-claire.
    And I watched the entire thing. I do feel the same about the deaf accent. It /fades/ as the series goes on, which can be interpreted as her learning how to speak better, but she's not FOCUSED on trying to sound normal. And during the times that she does use it, it's not that consistent. It's unnecessary to have Daphne played by someone faking it.
    It also feels unnecessary to use simcom when it's regina and daphne. They do put captions on screen, as they did for the one episode that was purely ASL (not PSE) and only put music cues and sound at the very start and the very end. They could pretty much do that for the entire time they have ASL-knowing characters on screen, but they don't. They're inconsistent with that. Regina does use Simcom when she's around marlie matlin, but later on in the show regina's actress hurt her hands so she cannot sign anymore, and in the show they just had regina suffer the same injury so daphne's mother can no longer sign or interpret for her. Also there's a huge gap in between seasons 4 and 5, and that gap is super obvious with the hearing actors not being as smooth with their signing anymore. Daphne's boyfriend that she ends up with at the end of the show, he BARELY uses sign language. He speaks most of the time and at the most signs every 5th or 10th word he says. What.
    Sometimes the english captions themselves cover up the signing, lol. I remember especially in that "deaf gain" scene marlie matlin's signing was not always clear even though she was the one speaking. And when emmett's parents are fighting and signing furiously, the camera was more focused on their faces and cut out their hands while captions were beside their heads.
    A similar scene to the food truck robbery plays out in a later season. Regina is at her store alone at night, supposed to be closed, and Daphne goes in there looking for her. Regina thinks it's a thief and verbally says that she's armed, but Daphne doesn't hear it and just keeps going toward the back, wondering where her mom is. Regina opens the door and nearly shoots her own daughter on sight. Because Daphne can't hear her warning her the whole time. That's some nice writing.
    It's a nice show if you want something that has drama and romance. Not really that much for accurate deaf life, but a step in the right direction. It's something.

  • I have Ménière’s disease and I know the disease varies wildly from person to person. I personally am more affected by the hearing loss part of it than the vertigo, but that still is a major part of the disease and hearing loss is not commonly the most prominent symptom. Ménière’s disease rarely causes complete deafness, but it can and does happen. For most people affected, hearing loss occurs only in one ear, and rarely does it happen in both (like me!). Vertigo is the most common symptom and also the most severe. Hope this gave a bit more information on the subject! Feel free to ask more questions about it!

  • I stopped after the 3rd season as well. Maybe I should go back and rewatch the whole 4th season. I just felt that some characters looked too old for their roles. Katie is one perfect example. She just doesn't look like a high schooler and one more character who is also deaf in real life…what's his name…the guy who dates the hearing girl who used to work at the carnival? Anyway, he looks way older than high school age…..

  • Nice! Love hearing your perspective on this. I watched the final season a month or so ago, after having stopped watching a while back. I also noticed the excessive SimCom and out-of-frame signing, which was a bit annoying. Looking forward to hearing more of your commentary!

  • I do have to say that even though the deaf accent was faked, I enjoy deaf accents as a general. I know that this may sound weird but to me it is the same as having a british accent. It's just different and I like that. I personally hate that some people are don't like to talk because of their accent because it is just another unique thing about those people. I also was aroud deaf people when I was younger and I found that this show did help me pick up some extra signs here and there. I just have a positive memory of this show because I watched deaf people get so excited about seeing some rep and that just makes me happy.

  • A lot of my friends and I started to become interested in ASL after watching the show. I think I might not have been as interested in learning about Deaf culture if I hadn’t watched the show.

  • Meniere's disease is caused by fluid retention in the ears. It causes really bad vertigo and progressive hearing loss.

  • Ménière’s disease usually causes low frequency (reverse slope) hearing loss, which usually means people with Ménière’s don’t necessarily get the “accent” as much if at all. They also tend to respond really well to hearing aids since we just need more volume. (I have a video about it if you wanna check it out)

  • Hey! I don’t know if you also do book reviews but one of my absolute favorite book series, Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan, has an ASL speaking deaf character in it as well as LGBT+ representation. If you are able to I would love to know your thoughts on it and even if you don’t want to talk about it it’s still a really great fantasy series that incorporates minority representation and Norse Mythology. There are probably a few things that aren’t completely accurate but it is fantasy so a lot of things can be explained away with magic. I love your videos and you have taught me so much about ASL and the deaf community and I hope things are going well for you!

  • I never watched this while it was airing (growing up in Australia, don't always get all the US dramas). But I just started watching it on Stan and then this video pops up, it's all convenient timing haha. I'm only a few episodes into s1, and even though I am hearing, the signing out of screen is annoying. I do like the point they make early on that deaf people work twice as hard and the world needs to work on accommodating their needs instead of assimilating them and forcing them to be like the rest of the world. It kind of annoys me that Emmett was the stereotypical friendzoned guy, I feel like they could have done his character better because when he first gets together with Bay it seems like he's chasing Other Daphne.

  • I found the sign for (being) standoffish. Here's a page that shows it:

  • Switched at Birth mostly Sean Berdy is what got me wanting to sign so i took all the classes and have certificate in ASL. I feel like at least for me it helped me think "Hey i want to try that" and it worked. As a show itself it got boring but as far as showing that there was a Deaf community i think it did it well. I would say its a good starting point to learn about the Deaf Community because most of the things i learned was from my ASL classes. But i am hearing and these were my thoughts on it.

  • One storyline that really hit me was somewhere in season 4 (I think?) where Nathalie and Travis get hit by a car, so they get rushed to the hospital, but there were no interpreters or other form of communication. Daphne found out and she was really mad, and it really was a moment of "holy shit, this happens…"

  • I’d like to know your opinion of an episode of ‘House’ (season 5 episode 22) that involves a deaf patient. I don’t like the outcome of the mother calling the shots giving her son a cochlear implant despite him refusing.

  • I watched the whole series and the one thing that bothered me the most, as someone with profound hearing loss myself (I'm late-deafened), is the way Daphne could lipread without hardly ever having to ask people to repeat themselves or missing anything or mishearing something or getting totally exhausted from struggling to understand people all the time.. totally unrealistic! I found that really disappointing because it makes people think that lipreading is easy, when in fact it is a very challenging and ineffective way to communicate. What I did like about the show was that they showed some of the diversity of different experiences of people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing. I also loved the "Uprising" episode in season 2 that was almost all ASL with very little sound. I thought it was by far the best episode of all the seasons and gave hearing viewers a glimpse into life without sound.

  • One I thought was good but hard to keep up with was the one the deaf took over the school as a sit down boycot so they wouldn't loose the school.

  • While I don’t think switched at birth gave an accurate look into the deaf community it is a good window of representation and exposed me to the language, and now I’m studying to become an interpreter in college!

  • I remember there was cast interview and on asked why Regi a doesn't sign much in later seasons and the answer was that the actress playing her was struggling with ASL and why her character had a hand injury. So that is probably why there was so much Simcom between Regina and Daphane. And the actors to pick up signing best were the actresses who played Bay, Daphne and the boy who played the Brother.

  • I want to share that SaB got me drawn into my interest with ASL and the current goal I have. I was born deaf and regained my hearing at 8 months old. There is always a chance that the scar tissue from my childhood could damage my ears to the point of being hoh or deaf again. This show really helped me in realising what path I wanted to take with my life, not just as a prep for what may happen to me but to also be all I can be as a hearing person in the Deaf community! I know it seems silly, but SaB really opened my eyes to a world I have now embraced fully as a career path.

  • Your voice sounds so familiar. 🤔 a character from a movie or tv show I think, it’s on the tip of my tongue.

  • I am deaf and watched the whole seasons. What really hit me in the show is the alternative universe where both Daphne and Bay were never switched. Daphne got cochlear implant and had a complete different personality that I didn’t like very much. I was so glad to see that both actually got switched for all the right reasons. I liked Daphne the best in the main universe than the alt. Personally, I don’t support CI and couldn’t imagine what kind of person I would have become if my mom decided to get me CI. Pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked the alt me either! 😂

  • I loved Switched at Birth for the most part. However, something I remembered not liking was the lack of DeafBlind and DeafDisabled rep. There was a character at one point who was eventually going to go blind and deaf but he still had some hearing and vision, and he was being rejected for being oral by the signing deaf students that went to Daphne’s school. And I felt offended on his behalf because I’ve felt that rejection too. And then he disappeared off the show and we never saw him again and that upset me because as far as I remember he was the one Deaf-Low vision character on the entire show. I felt his experiences could have been explored more in-depth. I also wanted to see any other disabilities in conjunction with being deaf.

  • As someone who isn't ASL fluent and can hear well enough with headphones, I started to get annoyed with the simcom, not because it makes no sense, but because I would get lazy about reading the captions while everyone was simcom-ing, and then boom! Emmett scene. Wait, pause, skip back, remember to read 😛 (For those who haven't watched, Emmett is a non-verbal deaf character, and very close to both "sisters.")

  • I stopped watching around the same time you did, part of it was because that type of show isn't necessarily my thing, part of it was just annoyed with some of the things they got wrong heh. One of the biggest things that bothered me was when the ASL was totally different from the on-screen captions. Like, not one or a few words different — entire sentences being different.

  • I have Ménière’s disease, but I am in the last stages of the disease. I am Deaf in one ear and going deaf in the other. I have had this disease for years and don’t have a deaf accent, and I had speech therapy.

  • I think they probably used sim-com (is that how it's spelt?) because they believe that too many subtitles would frustrate their audience or something like that. That's my only explanation but I'm not sure if it holds water since there were many scenes at the deaf school.

  • I'm curious if you have thoughts on the representation in The Dragon Prince. Personally I thought they framed the Deaf character well but the animation is hard to read.

  • So glad you made a film Fridays playlist. Makes it super easy to know what shows and movies you have done. 🙂

  • Hi Rikki! First I have heard of this show. May give it a go.
    Do you remember the Deaf couple in that movie about the guy who was a sports' agent? The "show me the money" one? Well, that Deaf guy was in some of the ASL learning videos when I took ASL in college! 🙂 He's a hunk, btw.

  • As far as being scared to travel alone, I can relate. I have an app that I use called noonlight. Formally known as safetrec. You hold down the bottom on your phone and you don’t release your hold on it until you are either safe or attacked. If you are safe you put in your 4 digit code. If you aren’t safe then you release the button and emergency services will have your exact location. And if you are moving they can still track you.

  • Bay using the wrong word for "cold" is a good depiction of the mistakes you make when learning a new language. Coming from her, I wouldn't take issue with it. But I see what you mean and, if it had been a deaf character, I would agree it was definitely an oversight.

  • I love this review… thank you! I am hearing but having been heavily involved in the Deaf Community here in Australia and learning AUSLAN, I see a lot of your points about “Switched At Birth”. I especially felt disappointed when I noticed that the ASL was not in frame, it made me feel a little frustrated as it felt disrespectful to the ASL that was being used in the scenes. Thank you so much for reviewing it and I look forward to seeing more of your reviews. 😊😊

  • it got canceled because you stopped watching! =(((((( well not you persay but viewership in general dropped =( SAB was one of my all time favorite shows. And I'm hearing, and I'm a dude who likes action movies, BUT I also LOVE ASL and LOVE my deaf/hh friends as well as my ASL fluent hearing friends. So any chance I can see something on TV or video with ASL and deaf/HH I will watch it.

  • I have Ménière’s disease and yes hearing loss is a symptom. But it’s almost always only with low tones. Plus our hearing can fluctuate on a day to day basis, I’ve had days where my ear is so full of fluid I can barely hear anything

  • If I remember correctly, Marlee Matlin had a huge hand in either writing or producing it. The show is really flawed, but sometimes had some brilliant moments that I don't think typically abled people ever think about (Emmett & the police, the hospital scene, school challenges, etc)

  • I can't believe I found this video! Im like truly, I'll go ahead and say obsessed with this show lol…I could seriously go on and on talking forever about it cuz the cast, characters, and signing etc, I really hold close to my heart ❤️
    The only thing that I really have trouble getting down pat is the names of locations/places in the show (I.e, where Tÿ lives, where Daphne was geocaching, the name of the car wash…stuff like that)

    And Katie's surname is pronounced La-CLAIR ❤️
    Btw…are you deaf? shyly …do you have a favorite scene?
    Then I will tell you mine 😊

  • I don't get the sim-com complaint at all. When Daphne is alone with Emmett it's completely ASL, and so on with other deaf actors/characters. Of course the mother would use sim-com. It's how she would have learned. I'm pleasantly surprised with the realism in that aspect. Most hearing I've ever met learn signed English more than ASL.

  • I have no clue what sim com means bur if you're referring to why Daphne and Regina verbally talked english while signing it was to save money on subtitles.

  • Wait hold on, wasn’t Katie already fluent in ASL before she was diagnosed with Meniere’s? She learned ASL at 17 and was diagnosed at 20. She learned ASL because her sister taught it and because “it had no homework on paper” that was quoted from her lol. Idk if ASL has homework, I didn’t take it since my school sadly doesn’t offer it.

  • Ménière’s disease is a disease that symptoms come and go. It also includes virtigo and Deafness. So she is Deaf, some of the time. My 11 year old son is oral Deaf and he is starting to get a “Deaf voice, or accent”. I think when Bey signed cold it accurately depicted how a hearing person would sign when she couldn’t remember the real sign. Just sayin. I’m hard of hearing and while I love ASL I am far from fluent.

  • SAB to me was such a great intro to Deafness for me. I’m from a small town where you rarely meet POC, let alone disabled people but I got enough basic ASL that when I later ran into a Deaf man at a store (working there) I had a few basic signs I could use before we moved to typing and lip reading when we got to more complicated questions about what I was buying. It’s like … it’s not a gym look into real Deafness but it gave me, a heating person, an introduction so I didn’t do some of the more stupid ignorant mistakes a person could make (like how to approach a Deaf person)

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