Tuesday, January 27, 2015

My Newest Obsession: Switched at Birth

Recently, I found myself stuck on a new TV series: Switched at Birth. Starring Vanessa Marano (as Bay) And Katie Leclerc (as Daphne), this show quickly became an obsession, despite my never having heard of them before.
This ABC Family series follows two teen girls, Bay Kennish and Daphne Vasquez, who were raised in two entirely different worlds. Bay grew up with her brother, mother and father in a rich area of Kansas called Mission Hills. She goes to a private school and is an amazing artist. Daphne grew up working class with a single mother. She went deaf at age three and goes to a deaf school. She is a wonderful chef and very smart.
Connecting the two girls is their birthday. Well, that, and the fact that they were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.
The show begins with the Kennish family discovering that Bay is not their biological daughter and then finding Daphne and her mother/Bay's biological mother. It then follows them through their day-to-day lives as they discover each other, as well themselves. It shows the struggles they face each and everyday.
I'm not the only one with this obsession. If you go online, you'll find that there are people just as, if not more, obsessed as I am. Although, I don't have to look too far outside my own bedroom to find other fans. My husband, after refusing to watch full episodes with me because he insisted he did not want to get stuck on a show, is hooked. While I was watching episode six, he began to take interest and was asking questions about everything. Rather than telling him about everything that happened in the first five episodes, we went back to episode number one. That night, we watched the fist ten episodes.
After hearing that her brother and I had a new show we liked, my sister in law began asking me about it. Upon hearing a brief explanation, she became interested, started watching, and is now stuck on Switched at Birth.
Now, for the big question, why is this show so addictive? I remember when I first began watching. I was fifteen. I was curious about Daphne and Emmett. I wanted to learn more about them. About what it is like to be deaf. I remember wanting to learn more sign language. I felt connected to Bay. She loved painting, just like I did. Her life was not at all what it looked like from the outside. Both Bay and Daphne were constant victims of stereotypes.
Now, at eighteen, I connect a little more to this show. I have a deeper understanding and I am able to connect to more of the characters.
When I first began watching this show three years ago, I felt the most connection with Bay and Daphne. I constantly found myself wondering what it would be like to be in their shoes, how I would react or of I could handle any of it at all. Now 18 and married, I ask myself those same questions, as well as some new ones. I now put myself not only in the shoes of Bay and Daphne, but also in those of John and Kathryn Kennish and Regina Vaasquez. I ask myself what it would be like to bring home a beautiful baby girl, raise her the best I can for 15 years, and then find out she's not biologically mine. I question how I would handle it. Would I do what Regina did when she initially found out about Bay, or would I immediately look for the other child and contact her family, like the Kennishes did?
Switched at Birth causes you not only to think about relationships and teen age drama, but also about the true meaning of family and how important it is to embrace and accept diversity. This show also sends the message that you shouldn't be too hard on anyone because you never know what silent battles they may be facing.
Over all, I believe this show is intriguing, well written, well casted and, most important, teaches valuable lessons to all those who are open to it.

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