Hi everyone! I’m Tonia’s sister, Tara. She was so kind as to allow me to review last week’s episode of Speechless, “"D-a-t-e-Date?"
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Overall, I have really been enjoying this series. And this episode was no exception.
This week, JJ meets an injured gymnast. He immediately notices and disapproves of her red parking placard, signifying her temporary disability. Kenneth urges JJ to give the girl a chance as he is simultaneously implored by a teacher to show his fellow disabled student around. At this point in the show, I’ll admit, I was cringing. (And JJ was too!) The whole “disabled people only date/marry other disabled people” trope is super tired. That said, the storyline played out fairly well. JJ ends up getting to know Gymnast Girl while confronting his own insecurities, and the episode ended with him asking her to watch a movie with him. She accepts genuinely.
I was super happy to see JJ with a personal storyline this week, instead of a storyline that focused solely on accessibility like we’ve seen in the past. However, I will say that the therapy scene tread on some thin ice as far as inspiration porn.
We see Gymnast Girl stand for the first time, after being encouraged and inspired by JJ.
Do disabled people draw strength from each other? Absolutely. The scene does have merit. However, as Gymnast Girl is essentially an injured able-bodied person, having her draw inspiration from JJ - a permanently disabled character - just feels a little gross.
Dylan gets in trouble at school for destroying a participation trophy. I enjoyed seeing Jimmy guide her through appropriate coping strategies. (I would love to see JJ and Jimmy bond at some point - have we seen this yet?)
What did you think of last week’s episode? Sound off in the comments!
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