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‘Speechless’ Continues to Have Honest, Hard Conversations about Disability

‘Speechless’ Continues to Have Honest, Hard Conversations about Disability

Speechless has a gift for tackling the hardships of families with children with disabilities, with humor and understanding. This week’s episode circles around J.J. getting caught cheating and the school Career Fair. Both are funny in the beginning, but teach hard lessons in the end.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and seeing when J.J was accused of cheating. I thought Maya handled the situation gracefully. She was, of course, the loving mother who thought her child could do no wrong. But, when she found out truth, Kenneth was feeding him answers and J.J was letting him, she put a stop to the whole school letting J.J. slide because of his disability. Maya wants J.J to be treated like everyone else. Not only does this act show how great of a parent Maya is, but also how important it is for kids with disability to be given a chance to show what they can do. So often I see kids with disabilities given a crutch to lean on. Their true potential never shines through, because they are labeled and put in a box. The show also pointed out how challenging it can be for the teachers of these students. A serious subject brought to light with humor by Speechless.

The other side of the episode focused on career day at the school. Ray was concerned about making as much money as possible, while Dylan could care less, and Jimmy was showing us all how great it is to work in airport luggage claims, the highlight being after a certain number of days, the suitcases are yours. Hilarious because all the kids couldn’t get enough of Jimmy, while Ray was busy trying on jewelry while getting trapped in a pyramid scheme. After this episode, Jimmy is definitely my favorite. His genius, albeit sketchy, jewelry party ends up getting Ray out of his $500 hole and showcasing some of Jimmy’s talents. Ray can’t take a hint. This boy will never learn.

This is when the two stories, seemingly unrelated at first, come together in beautiful harmony. While Maya’s speech to J.J was affirming, J.J was still stressed, wonder if he is dumb or smart. This got me very emotional. Ray confided in his dad and said he wanted to make a lot of money so J.J could have options. Is there a plan for J.J.? Of course, this is a Maya and Jimmy conversation. The two of them as parents are a dynamic team that works to the fullest. They both knew it was coming, just not so soon. The show quickly turned all too real very quickly. I thought it was a necessary conversation if you want to have a show about disabilities.

I love how Dylan wanted in on the conversation as well. She is such a great little sister. This episode was one I wished was an hour long instead of thirty minutes. While the family conversed on a deep, emotional subject, you can’t help but wonder what J.J thinks of all this. I love how the intensity of the topic is broken up by Kenneth gloating over the A he got on the history test. Love this guy’s comedic timing. Sadly, the episode ended way before it should have. I want more!

Stay tuned for the continuation of a great discussion, while also getting some laughs in I’m sure. Catch an all new episode of Speechless next week, only on ABC.

Cat CombsCatalina Combs is an aspiring film critic from California. She loves reading, writing, film, baking, music, drawing, traveling, Disney, and playing soccer. Her life usually revolves around all of these and her family. The oldest of six, Catalina tries to set a good example for her siblings. She graduated from Santa Clara University in 2010 with a BA in English Creative Writing and is pursuing an MA in Film. I also blog on WordPress and contribute to the website Examiner.com. Twitter- @tiggercraze | Facebook- Cat Combs | Instagram: @tiggercraze

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  • I am really loving this show, and learning a lot from it. I cannot decide on my favorite character, but I probably identify with Ray most.

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