So this show came out in 2011 but I just started watching it on Netflix and and I have some thoughts on season 1 and the early part of season 2. Spoilers below! One other note: please don't post spoilers for the second half of season 2 or later!

(So, just for people who've never seen the show: Bay (dark haired) and Daphne (strawberry blonde) were switched at birth, and now their families are reunited and they live right next door. Daphne is deaf from meningitis contracted as a child, meaning none of her family members, bio or non-bio, are also deaf, although many of them learn ASL.)

I don't know a lot about deaf issues or deaf culture, since I am not deaf and don't have any close friends or family who are deaf. So I wondered, do other people think the show does a good job portraying these issues? I feel like I have learned a lot just from watching it, but of course I can't comment on the accuracy of the show.

One issue that seasons 1 and 2 raises in particular is whether hearing students should be allowed at the deaf high school where Daphne (one of the switched girls) goes. The school starts a pilot program for students with deaf family members and Bay, the other switched girl, starts going. Drama ensues when she befriends a hearing classmate who has a medical condition that is gradually causing him to become hard of hearing and might eventually make him deaf. The characters argue about whether or not hearing people have any place at a deaf school, and characters like the boy who is hard of hearing but not deaf (yet) present thorny questions.


Then the school board decides to close the school due to lack of funding, and the students stage a sit-in. Hell yeah, nonviolent political action! They highlight this in a silent, captioned episode that I thought was really well done.

Daphne leads the occupation, and Bay makes a big poster with the slogan "Take Back Carlton." But when Bay and the other boy join the sit-in, they end up fighting with some of the deaf kids on whether or not they should be allowed to stay. She gets really mad at Daphne for not standing up for her, and Daphne gets frustrated that Bay doesn't get it.


Finally the police drag them out and a reporter starts yelling questions at them. Bay, the only one who can hear the questions, just answers without thinking—and the next thing you know, she becomes the whole story and totally derails it. Daphne is furious, while Bay wants a cookie for being such a good ally.

This just seems like 'being an ally' 101! Stop trying to make it all about you, Bay! I am not sure the pilot program makes a ton of sense, but even if they keep it the school shouldn't be more than like, 10% hearing students, right? It gets complicated when you start to ask how hard of hearing students have to be to qualify, though.


My feeling is that Bay made a mistake when she talked to the reporter, she should apologize, and Daphne should forgive her. It was a spontaneous decision, not a deliberate one. At the same time, Bay should recognize the gravity of her error and the importance of not speaking for deaf people when she isn't one herself.

I know it's just a tv show but it really made me think about issues I've never had to think about before. Opinions? Insight? Corrections if I've made any mistakes?