Ah, Speechless. I love this show so much. I’ve said before how it does my heart a lot of good to see any kind of media (television or otherwise) that not only features a character with a visible disability, but one that also actually stars an actor with said disability (Micah Fowler)! The show has really blossomed into something special over the past season and a half, and I really hope it continues to bring the laughs, its wonderful perspective, and the amazing dynamic of the DiMeo family.
However, after last night’s (stellar) episode, Speechless is going on a break, so we won’t get any new episodes until February 28th! Therefore, I thought I would sit down today and talk about a few things that I would hope to see from ABC and the DiMeo family going forward. Sure, we all love the brilliant way this show pokes fun at some of the silly things people think about people with disabilities (PWD) in the real world, we love the snark that seems to be inherent in everyone in the DiMeo household except dad Jimmy (John Ross Bowie), and we can’t seem to get enough of the antics that this family gets themselves into.
That being said, I feel like there’s been something lacking since the second season began. I would love to see Speechless and the DiMeo family get back to “teaching people a lesson” with the comedy that it displays. In Season 1, the show was very adamant about how JJ isn’t some fragile and withdrawn person, and how he is perfectly capable of clapping back at those who do the incredibly insensitive and stupid things that some people are wont to do.
Now THAT was quality comedy!
Also, remember when JJ gave that woman “the finger” in S1:E1? That was BRILLIANT! The issue I see, however, is that in recent episodes, I feel like the show has shied away from moves like this. Now, as a PWD myself, I feel like these are the more poignant scenes, and that they really go a long way towards normalizing PWDs and disability itself. It’s scenes and interactions like this that really showcase the humanity behind all of us who have visible disabilities. We aren’t going to take offenses and/or insults sitting down (pun intended), and we’re just as capable as the rest of the world of making those who would commit these infractions look like the fools they are.
It’s not just JJ with the awesome shenanigans, though. I would love to see mom Maya (Minnie Driver) get back to some of her old ways of dealing with those who would cross her family, or prevent JJ from progressing in society. Take the way Maya used to go after Dr. Miller, the kids’ school principal. Sure, the two have developed a better relationship over the past year, but I would relish the opportunity to sit and watch Maya scare the bejeezus out of someone like she used to.
Let’s not forget the other members of the DiMeo family, JJ’s siblings Dylan (Kylan Kenedy) and Ray (Mason Cook). I know that the family has to grow and mature at some point, but I miss the snarky badassery that was season one Dylan. She wasn’t really taking any guff from anyone, and she wasn’t afraid to dish out her own brand of justice (whether deserved or no). I would love to see Dylan get back to that loudmouthed character she once was, and watch her dish out some hijinks on her brothers or some unsuspecting character who really needs it. Then, there’s Ray’s story… This seems to have gone a bit off kilter for me, in that the show feels like it jumps from “Ray’s TOTALLY smitten by his GIRLFRIEND” (emphasized for a reason), to something completely random like him driving the family van without a license. I mean, I know this is a sitcom, but it’s beginning to feel a bit disconnected. Can we revisit geeky Ray, please? For me, a good part of his comedy really comes from how he’s so different from the rest of the family, and I feel like Speechless should get back to that.
Now, we did get a good amount of this in last night’s episode, and I know I’ve said a lot here, and it may sound like I’m griping. Trust me, I’m not. This is probably my favorite show on TV these days, and it would take a lot to push me away from it. So, if anyone tells you that Speechless isn’t funny, doesn’t have heart, or that they just don’t get it? You tell them that I said:
Speechless returns to television on Wednesday, February 28 at 8:30pm Eastern Time on ABC.