TV Review: Switched at Birth (2011)

0b0737c5-8190-4354-8c19-273cf34b2b07

I actually used to watch this show when it first came out. I thought it was a very interesting premise and I really liked it in the beginning. I fell off during season 4 after the whole thing happened with Bay and Tank and I never caught back up. So, I decided to binge it on Netflix and I remember all of the feelings I felt while watching it, as I felt them again. However, going forward with the rest of the season and season 5, I really enjoyed the show as a whole. I was quite shocked. I mean, usually there are seasons that are not as good as others, and I can’t really say which season I preferred because they were all handled really well. I think Season 5 was probably one of my favorites though, we’ll see.
Watching the show again also put me back into learning American Sign Language, I’ve fallen off again because I flew through the classes online but the next level is too advanced lol, I needed a step between beginner and intermediate.
Anyways, on with the review!
Summary: Two teenage girls’ lives are turned upside down when they find out they were switched at birth.
Pros:
Cast and Characters. Being a TV series, we meet a lot of characters but there were the certain people who remained important regulars, which was the Kennish and Vazquez families with some friends mixed in. I’m going to try to hit all of them, I may not go into super detail or anything like that but I just wanted to put my thoughts on them as characters and of course the actors playing them.
  • Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe.He starts out as a regular but becomes a reoccurring character in the last season. He is Daphne’s best friend who is also deaf. In the beginning, he’s clearly in love with Daphne, who he’s been friends with since childhood. He and Bay work together later to find her father and they grow really close and eventually start dating and thus begins the iconic relationship of Bay and Emmett or “Bemmett” lol. Emmett is also a photographer and wants to be a director being that he loves old movies, especially old scary deaf movies lol. He has a tendency to be jealous and he’s kind of hotheaded and very use to giving his opinion in any situation. There are times when he tries different things for Bay, sometimes he even gets into trouble for trying to do things for her which is cute… sometimes. I like Emmett, I always liked Emmett but in later seasons, he flip-flopped a lot for me due to his attitude and how he treated Bay when he went off to college. Ugh lol. I like Sean Berdy, he’s so cute and whenever he got emotional, I really felt bad for him (unless he was being unreasonable) because his emotions played on his face, which is important since the Deaf Community uses their facial expressions are part of their language.
  • Lucas Grabeel as Toby Kennish. Sooo Toby is Daphne and Bay’s older brother. There were a lot of times where I think the show didn’t really know what to do with him since he would just be floating around in the background but I consistently liked Toby. In the first few seasons, he was really trying to be a musician, he had a band and everything. His big problem was gambling and even though their family was well off, he still managed to dig himself into debt because he was reckless with money, which made him a jerk at times. Once that was rectified until waaay later, he got his life together. He had like three major relationships and I don’t think I really liked any of them, Lily the most I guess, but I felt like he got trapped in the end lol. Regardless, he stepped up to the plate. He was smart when he put his mind to it. I’ve always liked Lucas Grabeel, I find him likable no matter what character he plays and I feel like Toby could easily be annoying and I could be over him, but I think it’s because of Lucas that that didn’t happen. Whenever he had to perform musically, I think that was some of his best stuff being a musical guy, it just seemed natural compared to some of the “soap opera” story lines they gave him.
  • Katie Leclerc as Daphne Paloma Vasquez (born Bay Madeline Kennish). She is the biological daughter of John and Kathryn. When we first meet her, we learn she’s deaf and became so when she got sick at the age of three from meningitis, I think. In the beginning, I liked Daphne because all of this was happening and she managed to remain quite calm about the whole thing while Bay seemed to spin out of control. However, once she finds out that Bay and Emmett are spending time together and even dating, she gets upset and basically tells Bay that she’s not going to let her date him without a fight since she now all of sudden likes him lol. From that moment on, I didn’t really like Daphne. She has a major temper (just like her dad), she’s athletic, intelligent and has a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Sometimes she does things with good intentions but she either handles it in a stupid way or gets involved with people who pretty much encourages her to do stupid stuff that has long term consequences. She feels this passionately, which is fine, but I needed her to get her life through most of the show because she was way to entitled about certain things. I’ll get more into her attitude and stuff later. Whenever she’s being nice or whatever, she’s fine and I think Katie Leclerc unfortunately had a character that acted like a child which she played very well. Soooo good job Katie lol. I have to say though that her relationship with Bay was very interesting and whenever they were getting along, that was some of my favorite stuff because Daphne would teach her sign language and they would have moments where they talked around hearing people through sign language and it was like they were sisters with a secret code.
  • Vanessa Marano as Bay Madeline Kennish(born Daphne Paloma Vasquez). She is the biological daughter of Regina and Angelo. She was raised in the wealthy neighborhood of Mission Hills by John and Kathryn Kennish. Bay is a very talented artist who has a particular love for Frida Kahlo. Bay can be very impulsive at times, and, at first, doesn’t take the news of the switch very easily. However, she gradually gets better in accepting that Regina and the Kennishes are both her family. In the beginning, Bay was the one who initiated finding out if she was biologically a Kennish because she doesn’t look or act like any of them and it started with an assignment they did in class. She was very spoiled and bratty in the beginning and I didn’t like her because I thought she was being unreasonable with everyone around her like it wasn’t her fault that they found out in the first place! The whole thing with Daphne and Liam, man that was so ridiculous but she ends up getting her life together and I really liked her throughout the rest of the show. She had her moments when she was ridiculous and bratty but it didn’t happen constantly like it did with Daphne. Bay actually makes some significant sacrifices that were noble but stupid. Her art was very important to her, she started out doing street art and still did it every now and then but she really got to do some cool stuff later when she became a tattoo artist in the last season. It was dope. Vanessa Morano managed to find the balance in Bay’s character where she was likable and unlikable at some times. I also loved her delivery, sometimes she said things with this monotone tone and it was hilarious.
  • Constance Marie as Regina Vasquez.Bay’s biological mother and Daphne’s legal mother. So, with Regina, I get why people don’t like her but I always liked her. In the beginning, she came off a little hard when it meant working with the Kennishes, especially since she raised Daphne, she was her daughter and she did not like the idea of sharing her or sharing the parenting (she had a point though since John and Kathryn did not include her when it came to parenting Bay soooo). Bay viewed her as the “cool mom” since Regina was so chill but at the same time, Regina was way stricter in ways than John and Kathryn. She was a recovering alcoholic so that becomes a problem later in the show. When everyone finds out that Regina knew about the switch for a long time, she was pretty much treated like a criminal by everyone for a while even though I get it and I think Kathryn got it too. When learn a lot about her and Angelo when they were young. Regina at some point also loses the ability to do sign language and to paint which seemed like she lost the connection to Bay and Daphne which Daphne was more of jerk about it than Daphne was (like girl, I know your mom can’t sign to you anymore and it’s hard to have to read lips all the time but it’s not like she just chose NOT to sign… ugh lol). Anyway, a lot of stuff happens to Regina throughout the show, some of it was brought upon because she makes stupid choices (like mother like daughters) but in the end, I was happy with her ending in the show. Constance Marie was great throughout the show; her acting was great especially when Angelo was on the show and they had to play off each other. I often teared up because of her because she was so strong so whenever she cried, it felt like she was crying for something so strong, which she usually was, I thought.
  • D. W. Moffett as John Kennish. He is Bay’s legal father and Daphne’s biological father and HE ANNOYED THE CRAP OUT OF ME THE ENTIRE SHOW! There were times when he was legit okay, but most of the time I was so irritated with him that anytime he did something nice, I was like “I don’t believe this is real” lol. His first thought in response to anything he didn’t like was to yell and throw tantrums. Anytime Regina did something he didn’t like, or she made a choice in parenting he didn’t agree with, or he found out something about her past, he was always so ready to take her to court to get fully custody of Daphne as well. Just… really dude? He does get a bit better in the last two seasons… ish but he was just so… angry. Sometimes it was warranted but other times it was like dude calm down! He used to play Pro Baseball so he’s famous for that and Daphne clearly gets his athletic genes since Toby and Bay both are artists lol, he really tries to be really involved with Daphne and her sports. In the later seasons, he had a heart attack because he’s extra which kind of helps him tone things down a bit but he has his opinions and it takes a while to make him change his mind. I do have to say though that anytime he took the time to talk and understand Regina, Angelo and even Bay were great moments. There’s a great scene in the last season or the fourth season where the Kennishes did this awesome thing for Bay after she didn’t get into the school of her dream. He and Kathryn really stepped it up! D.W. Moffett did his job because he made me dislike his character haha.
  • Lea Thompson as Kathryn Kennish. She is Bay’s legal mother and Daphne’s biological mother. I’ve always loved Lea Thompson since Back to the Future so when I saw she was the mom when I first started watching, I was so excited. Now Kathryn was interesting because I liked her overall as well but there were times where I thought she was being extra as well. I loved the scene between her and Regina when Regina tells her to stop trying to change Daphne to fit them but learn her language… such a great scene and after that Kathryn began to learn and she’s really good at it. I think she took the time to understand Regina first, they definitely butted heads though throughout the show but she was always a bit more willing. What’s funny about Kathryn was she had a voice but didn’t know how to use it because John’s voice was so overpowering. She became an author later and she was a cook (I really wanted to try her food man… hers and Angelo’s). She connected with Daphne and really tried to make stronger connections with Bay. I loved when she started standing up for herself more. Lea Thompson is always good, she is always good with emotional scenes, I didn’t know she could sing until this show which was great and I loved when she would fight back.
  • Gilles Marini as Angelo Sorrento.He Bay’s biological father and Daphne’s legal father and HE IS FINE! lol We hear about him a lot in the first season and I didn’t even realize how early he came into the show lol but as far as the others know, he’s this terrible person who left when Daphne went deaf but when he shows up, we learn that it was because he thought Regina cheated on him since Daphne didn’t look like him and they just argued all the time. However, he and Regina were so good together, so passionate that I really wanted it to last. He joins up with John and Kathryn kind of, to sue the hospital for damages and wins like 1 million dollars which he tries to use to help out his girls. Unfortunately, he bites off more than he can chew and blows through it too fast. He later gets into a fatal car accident and I cried for like four episodes straight. It hit way to close to home which I remember being sad when I first saw it but it was different this time around. Angelo really made an impact on everyone even if John and Kathryn (more so John as time went on) didn’t really like him. He connected with Daphne over cooking (as well as Kathryn), he also tried to learn sign language to connect with her better. He connected with Toby over music and he gave Bay a whole side of her family she didn’t even know about and of course he was in love with Regina. It was beautiful. As soon as he came into the picture, I liked him. Gilles Marini is very likable and he had such great chemistry with Constance Marie as well.
  • Marlee Matlin as Melody Bledsoe.She is Emmett’s mother and Regina’s friend who is also deaf. I don’t think she was ever a regular but she was around so much that she might as well have been. She is Regina’s best friend so she was around for that and of course when Bay and Emmett started dating, she was around because of that too. She was also the guidance counselor at Carlton (the deaf school) which allowed her to be involved in all of the kids’ lives. She got on my nerves a few times too though because she would react to things that I thought was ridiculous, like when Regina couldn’t sign anymore, she almost walked away from her in disgust. I was shocked and like “girl bye, if she’s supposed to be your best friend you wouldn’t treat her like that!” It also took her a long time to warm up to Bay but they ended up becoming pretty close in the end. She took in Travis, who had a bad/sad home situation which was kind of her and she also served as a mentor for a lot of the kids in the school. This is the first and only thing I’ve ever seen with Marlee Matlin but she was great and I loved it when she spoke because she normally didn’t and when she did, it was legit!
Supporting Characters.There were a lot of supporting characters but I’m not going to get into all of them but it’s important I highlight just a few. Ivonne Coll was Adriana Vasquez, Regina’s mother and she loved her telenovelas but always said that the real life had way more drama due to Angelo, but she just didn’t like him. Austin Butler as Wilke who was Toby’s best friend and dated Daphne for a bit, and I really liked him, I was sad when he left and never came back. Maiara Walsh as Simone Sinclairwho was Bay’s nemesis and dated both Toby and Wilke and pretty much a controlling and sometimes terrible person, she gets better when we see her later. Blair Redford as Ty Mendozawho knew Daphne and Regina from their old neighborhood and dated Bay in the first season and later after Emmett cheated on her with Simon (drama y’all). MOST IMPORTANTLY Ryan Lane as Travis Barneswho was Daphne’s deaf friend who had an attitude but was taken in by Melody, he became best friends with Emmett, he was in love with Daphne and I think they dated briefly but ends up with Bay. I loved Travis.
The family dynamic. The family dynamic in the show was very much up and down quite consistently. Someone was always arguing because of something someone else did. It was a lot of drama but when they weren’t dying in that drama, I really liked the Kennish-Vasquez family. One of my favorite moments was when Kathryn felt really ignored by everyone mostly John, that they staged a little musical moment to make her feel better, it was super sweet. Like everyone including Angelo and Adriana were involved. Stuff like that needed to happen way more often because when it did, I loved it.
Bay and Daphne’s sisterhood.One of the strongest things about the show was the dynamic between Bay and Daphne and boy was it rocky. They never had a perfect relationship until the last season and even then, it wasn’t perfect. At first, they did not like each other because Bay was super extra and then Daphne became super extra forever. They butted heads a lot and there were plenty of times when one was jealous of the other due to the ties to their parents. Whenever Bay, Regina and Angelo had something going on, Daphne would get really jealous and vice versa and Bay would do the same if Daphne connected with John, Toby and Kathryn which actually happened a lot more than Bay with Regina and Angelo. Very one sided at times. But when they understood each other and worked together and did things for each other, that’s when you could tell they really did love each other like sisters. An instance of this is when Bay took the fall for what Daphne did to allow her the chance to be Pre-Med. She did not have to do that. Anyway, I just really liked it when they were being nice to each other and really trying to be in each other’s presence.
Relevant Storylines. The show tackled a lot of different storylines. Of course, there was the stuff that was handled within the family, but the storyline with grief, particularly with Daphne was intense because she ended up committing some serious crimes. But the two big ones I thought were what happened with Tank and the stuff on the college campus similar to Black Lives Matter movements.
  • Tank-So Tank and Bay dated but she cheated and went back to Emmett. It was sad. Anyways, she went to a party on the college campus and got super drunk and wakes up the next morning in bed with Tank not sure what happened. She was partially naked. It turns out they slept together but she not only remembers it but doesn’t think she agreed to the union though Tank is sure she did. It turned into this big thing about consent and Tank basically got expelled. It was a hard situation because Bay didn’t remember and there has to come a point where the other person realizes someone is too drunk to give consent. Just wait. I felt bad for Tank because he was a good guy but at the same time… pay attention.
  • BLM- So it started with Mingo went to a dorm party dressed up as Lil’ Wayne and Iris, one of Daphne’s friends, said it was offensive which I get it. Not to mention, it’s happened so many times. Daphne took it upon herself to be a spokesperson about it which really showed her ignorance. She often did stuff like this. It lasted for a long time in the season, something I was really surprised about. I thought the show handled it in an interesting way.
Cons:
Tense Storylines. While I mentioned that the show handled some relevant storylines, I don’t think it really stuck the landing the show thought they were going do. In terms of the Tank situation, it was kind of weird because he was a good guy and someone that people liked and trusted. The later he ended up dating Marybeth who gave Bay grief about Tank so much when Bay was friends/dating him, so I thought that was a weird payoff. I also didn’t like how they handled the consequences of Daphne’s bad choices because of grief, she should have been punished for what she did. Grief can affect a lot of things but having her break the law and then Bay takes the fall, yeah sure she met that girl and did something nice for her and had something nice happen, but Daphne should have gotten in trouble for that. I don’t care. Plus, the whole thing with Emmett and being depressed, I don’t think they handled that well at all. Bay and Daphne returned home because his depression and then it was wrapped up pretty quickly. Very poorly handled.
Overreactions Everywhere! This show was like a soap opera a lot of times and it was really annoying when it was. Some things that happened, okay I get it you, you have every right to be upset, but why are you acting like that still?? For example, when Angelo was in the hospital for his accident, Daphne got all mad and told Regina it was her fault and she pretty much shut her out for a long time. Even when it seemed like they were past it, she still had an attitude. I get that you’re upset and that Regina and Angelo had an argument before but there is no reason for you to act like that and treat your mom like that. You’re grieving, okay, but so is your mom who probably feels worse than you. Mostly everything John did was an overreaction and like father like daughter, so did Daphne. I just couldn’t take some of the ignorance these characters had and they tried to make it seem like they were oh so smart… like nah, you’re stupid and you think you’re right but there’s no way you logically think that. *sighs* Such a conundrum.
Daphne’s Attitude Problems. In the beginning I wasn’t a big fan of Bay because she was being a brat, but then that switched to Daphne at some point in season 1. I think a lot of that happened when she noticed that Emmett was spending a lot of time with Bay, or that they were looking for Angelo and she just felt so entitled to what everyone was doing around her. It got worse as the show went on. She was rude for a long time Regina when they found out that Regina knew about the switch before, don’t get me wrong, she had every right to be upset, but she was so mean. Girl, that’s your mom! I also get that she was upset that Angelo was around after he left, but it has nothing to do with you that Bay wants to meet and spend time with her dad. Relax. Or how she told Bay that she was okay with her going to Carlton but then turned around and tried to get her kicked out with the other hearing kids in the pilot program. I totally get it, you want your school back to the way it was, but Bay really wanted to be there. She is also super spoiled, like girl, you may have grown up not having a lot but that does not warrant your attitude anymore because everyone literally does EVERYTHING for you. EVERYTHING. I know John and Kathryn felt like they missed out on a lot, but they pretty much did everything for Daphne, most of the time against Regina’s wishes, or without even asking Regina. Super rude and Daphne would get mad at her mom when she said something about it. Like girl, that’s your mom, she raised you, get a clue! She gets better in the last season but I spent most of the show really disliking her.
Stagnant Characters. There were a lot of times in the show where some characters were just stagnant in their roles. This happened a lot with Toby, where he was just there. They somehow managed to give him something to do by being a father or bringing up the gambling thing again but he just floated around in the background with boring storylines for a while. Also, Emmett had his issues going on in the last season but they didn’t really give that storyline they tried to give him a good chance and it wrapped up way to fast. I don’t know why he wasn’t a regular if they were going to do a plot like that but he was stagnant for a long time in the show. It was like after he and Bay broke up (both times) they weren’t sure what to do with him.
All the Dating. SO MANY RELATIONSHIPS. Kind of reminded me of Gossip Girl because everyone literally had so many options it was ridiculous. I mean shoot, where are my options? I mean Regina had a lot of options, Kathryn had this young guy who was into her, Melody had a crush on John at some point, Toby had like three girlfriends, one of them was his fiancée and I think he married Lily in the end.
  • Bay (in this order):Liam, Ty, Emmett, Alex, Noah, Ty (again) Tank, Emmett (again), Garrett, Travis.
  • Daphne (ooooh boy so many):Liam, Wilke (probably my fave), Jeff (an adult and her boss), Travis (yep Bay’s Travis), Jace, Jorge, Campbell, Noah (they didn’t date but he liked her), Mingo (who I also liked).
At some point I was like they both need to just be single for a while and get your lives together. I mean sheesh, a lot of their problems were because of their taste in boys. I mean I overall liked all of Bay’s boyfriends even Noah who decided he liked Daphne instead and Tank who ended up becoming a kind of villain. I’m still unsure how I feel about that plot. As for Daphne’s dudes, I liked Liam, Wilke, I don’t really count Travis since he liked her but she only dated him to prove a point, I don’t care what anyone says and Mingo. Everyone else… meh. It was just too much focus.
Overall, watching it a second time I realized I really liked this show. I went through it pretty quickly and I was a little surprised at how it ended mostly because I never saw the last season and I was pleasantly surprised at the wrap up. I had a good time with the show overall. I liked most of the characters and all of the actors did a good job with their characters, they played their parts well. I liked all of the relationships that were built with the two families and even some outside people. I liked it a lot when the Kennish/Vasquez family worked together or did things that brought them closer and it didn’t seem like they were at each other’s throats. I loved the relationship that grew between Bay and Daphne when they just were friends/sisters and not hating each other. I thought the show handled certain storylines really well. Now, on the other hand, the show was very melodramatic with all of the over reactions that everyone ALWAYS had, plus Daphne’s unlikable personality throughout the entire show really made me dislike watching the show at points because she was just terrible. A lot of characters were very stagnant at times where they show didn’t seem to know what to do with them and I don’t think they stuck every landing with some of the storylines that were “big” and intense. I also was annoyed with all of the relationships because they just were ANNOYING. But I think Switched at Birthwas a good show, dramatic and what not but I very much enjoyed it.
Rating: 3.89 out of 5 stars.
Did you ever watch Switched at Birth? If so, did you like it? Who was your favorite character? Who did you like the least?
Let me know! Thanks for reading and be sure to like and follow this blog for more reviews!
Advertisements