ABC Speechless made headlines back in 2016 when the sitcom premiered. Anticipation among the cerebral palsy community especially seemed quite palpable. Anyone needing reminding about the excitement can just read the live CP Twitter chat #CPChatNow recap covering Wednesday, September 21st, 2016, the show’s premiere night!
After two seasons inserted at the Wednesday, 8:30pm ET timeslot, the current third season sees ABC Speechless move spots to 8:30pm ET Fridays. Said change marks a fitting occasion to revisit the series. While named Speechless, there remains much to say relating to the show.
Switching nights lands Speechless amidst ABC’s new TGIF lineup. Likely I need not to decipher the acronym for you. During some point you probably exclaimed the letters, expressing the sentiment “Thank God It’s Friday!”
Yet I would guess the news regarding ABC Speechless’ schedule switch caused an opposite reaction, your mind thinking, “ONNF (Oh no, not Friday)!” Like TVSeriesFinale.com questions apart their rating tracker page, “(ABC Speechless) continued to slip down in the Nielsen ratings, but instead of being cancelled, it was renewed for a third season and moved to Friday nights. Is that the death knell for this family sitcom, or will being part of the Alphabet Network’s TGIF lineup reinvigorate it?”
The abovementioned inquiry helped motivate today’s post. Although I failed to mention Speechless here since season one, episode 20 “R-U-N—RUNAWAY,” I continue to watch. Multiple reasoning fuels my fandom.
Ice Cream Sundae
Similar to an ice cream sundae, ABC Speechless offers a lot to enjoy. The fact a sitcom revolving around a special needs family airs on a top four network provides the basis, the proverbial ice cream. Such mainstream representation feels rare. A notion a recent New York Times article “Heard the One About the Disabled Muslim Comic From Jersey?” supports.
Discussing a potential sitcom (Can-Can) starring actor Maysoon Zayid, reporter Cara Buckley shares astounding data. “People with disabilities make up nearly 20 percent of the population yet account for about 2 percent of onscreen characters, some 95 of which are played by able-bodied stars.”
These numbers makes clear the entertainment industry could use more JJ Dimeos, forefront characters with disabilities played by actual disabled actors. Micah Fowler, who brings JJ to life, certainly shows he possesses the ability to handle the starring role. Through supporting ABC Speechless I feel I am supporting actors with disabilities. Plus I am hopefully encouraging networks to pick up similar projects.
Sauce and Toppings
Maintaining the ice cream sundae analogy, the above simply gives you ice cream. Chocolate sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, peanuts, and etcetera transform the creamy treat into a sundae. Speechless’ willingness to address real disability related issues supplies the viewing experience its sundae bite.
Personally I crave the various subjects covered, even if I struggle to directly relate sometimes. To cite an example, without ever needing a one-on-one aide I lack the personal connection to story arcs examining the relationship between a one-on-one aide and an individual. However, those stories still benefit me, better equipping me to converse alongside aides and my CP peers alike. Pretty essential to my advocacy efforts!
Admittedly, I know people lacking the interest to advocate. Therefore un-relatable themes led them to stop watching. Understandable! Others meanwhile critique Speechless, pinpointing missed opportunities. I think that constructive criticism proves healthy. Actually I myself decided to start reviewing via Youtube new episodes. Each video review I end asking viewers to express their opinions. A fitting approach to end today too, I believe.
Keep the Dialogue Going
Currently into the third season, how do you feel about ABC Speechless? Did the show live up to the initial excitement and hook you? Or, perhaps you felt unable to relate and stopped watching. Share your feedback in the “Comments” section.
Again, I feel the series remains important to support. Speechless offers a forefront character with cerebral palsy, portrayed by an actor with CP. Networks must know these shows can succeed! Additionally Speechless’ willingness to address real disability related issues won me over.
Nonetheless I am a single perspective. Leave your input below via a comment. Also consider visiting my Youtube channel and leaving your insights on my weekly episode video reviews.
Where to Watch ABC Speechless
As already established, new Speechless episodes air Fridays at 8:30pm ET on ABC. You can watch new episodes for free a week subsequent their airdate thanks to the ABC website. Furthermore you will find the entire ABC Speechless episode archives available to purchase through your favorite streaming platforms including the following.
Until next time, remember. Don’t blend in. Blend out!
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