I’ve been excited to watch Speechless since I first saw the trailer of it months ago. I love Minnie Driver, I love a good comedy, and the fact that they would be raising awareness about life with a special needs child seemed like a win-win for me.
I just finished watching the pilot episode on Hulu, though you can also watch the pilot episode here. I wouldn’t say it’s my new favorite show and rave to all my friends about it, but I’m definitely willing to keep watching and am intrigued with where they will take this show in future episodes. There were things I liked, and things I didn’t in the pilot episode, so I guess it depends on how the show plays out in the next few episodes that will determine if I keep watching or not.
Things I liked:
- JJ the character with cerebral palsy. I LOVE that they hired someone with the disability, rather than someone to pretend to have it. He’s a great actor and I think a welcome addition to the acting world. He is very expressive and able to get across a lot of his thoughts and emotions without needing someone to translate his communication board.
- Ok, really I liked everyone cast in this show. Seriously, they’re all good.
- Random bits of comedy. Like the cops who know to not mess with Maya (Minnie Driver’s character). She’s feisty. But you can see how feisty when even the cops don’t want to mess with her when she races past them going well over the speed limit.
- The sibling relationships. You could see the fierce love they had for each other. The protective spirit and camaraderie. But also the jealousy of the special needs sibling getting more of the attention. So real, folks. So real.
- I LOVED the convo Minnie Driver’s character had with her younger son, Ray, when he was feeling like she didn’t care as much about him as JJ. Her words were so true of any special needs parent juggling taking care of special needs kiddos as well as their neurotypical ones. “Yes, JJ gets a lot of my attention. And maybe it’s because he needs me and you act so much like you don’t. I love you. If you don’t feel that every minute, then I’m not doing my job properly. For that I am truly, truly-” (insert comedic distraction, because this is a comedy after all and getting a little way too serious). 😉
Things I didn’t like:
- A few crude things that I personally didn’t think were necessary or add much to the show.
- Minnie Driver’s slightly over the topness. It’s one thing to be a fierce, assertive mama bear fighting for what your child needs, and another to act like you have every right to do whatever you want to do and to demand whatever you want from the school principal and teachers (and apparently cops). Sometimes it was indeed funny, but sometimes it just seemed inappropriate and made me feel a tad bit uncomfortable.
- How over the top the people in the school were to have JJ in the school. The principal was just weird, as was his new teacher and every single classmate. Have they never interacted with a person with a disability before? Why would JJ be met with a standing ovation on the first day of school?
All in all, I’m intrigued to see where they take the show. I’m hoping they can maintain a delicate balance of comedy and accurately representing life with a disability, and continue to grow these interesting characters.
Speechless will air on ABC Wednesday nights starting September 21st.
Update: I’ve been watching every episode since it aired, and I love the show. I still think things are a little over the top, but it is a fun show that does shine light on what being a special needs family is like.
Have you watched it? What were your thoughts? Or if you haven’t seen it, are you interested in watching it? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!