Monday, November 21, 2016

Let's Talk About Speechless 1x07 "T-H-A-THANKSGIVING"

Hey, guys, I'm back this week.  (Thanks, to Tara for guest posting last week!)  If you missed the announcement on my Facebook page on Halloween, I have spent this month fully dedicated to National Novel Writing Month.  Novel #13 is more involved - and longer - than any of my others have ever been.  I've reached the word count goal and hope to finish the story itself in December.

Looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with my family this week, and that being said, we need to talk a little about Speechless last week:

[Image is: a cartoon turkey looking startled]
Jimmy's brother, Billy, and his family are coming to town for Thanksgiving.  They have an array of annoying habits - a cousin who says one annoying catch phrase, Billy who brags about money constantly.  But under the umbrella of "annoying habits" is also the ableism by JJ's aunt and grandmother.  (His aunt cries and tells the family how "brave" they are, and talks to JJ like he can't hear.)  Grandma dances inappropriately for him, heedless of JJ's discomfort.

Maya decides to make a game out of the family's annoying quirks.  Each takes a family member (while Ray abstains, cooking with Kenneth in the kitchen to avoid family drama) and they are awarded points whenever their family member does the annoying thing they hate most.  It turns out that Billy (a dentist) is struggling financially, and the heavy-handed "lesson" of the episode is that "everyone struggles."

JJ was not really in the episode much, except to be danced for by Grandma.  He pretends he likes it this year, so that he can get more points in the family game.  But truth time?  All I could think of was a member of the disabled community who recently shared they were the unwilling recipient of a lap dance, and the whole thing got treated as a joke, even when they reported it.  I think this walks a dangerous line.

In the end, in order to recoup money he has lost, Billy trots JJ out for one of his commercials as honest to God inspiration porn.  So that Billy's audience can see that he is "real" and has a "real disabled nephew."

So, yeah, not the best episode for me.  But I am glad to be back!

What did you think of Speechless last week?  Let me know in the comments?


  1. My review of episode 7: Apparently they have the family believing JJ’s CP is a disease and the other family members can’t bother to google the condition? The relative crying constantly is funny to me because I experience this from people who think having CP is a fate worse than death. The stuff with Kenneth was the best part of the episode. Kenneth’s family issues were the best use of the family on Thanksgiving plot. As for the rest of it at least they got to the root of why the family all act the way they do. The Dentist is a complete (bleep) and does NOT deserve help! I am not a fan of the JJ being sick excuse because it makes life for my friends with disabilities, particularly invisible disability that much harder.People may continue thinking my friends are faking with this representation.