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Thread: "Speechless:" Prime Time TV Show ~ Teen with CP and His Family

  1. #51
    Distinguished Community Member Earth Mother 2 Angels's Avatar
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    ((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~

    Here is my assessment of Episode 6, DATE.

    EPISODE 6 ~ DATE

    There are so many things I didn’t like about this episode, I don’t know where to begin.

    Let’s start with Drunk Mothers. Last week, we had drunk teens. This week, we have Mothers of special needs children gathering as a support group getting smashed on Sangria punch. They are not addressing their concerns or uniting to fight against the system. They are getting drunk.

    Then we have Drunk Mom humiliating Ray in front of his friends. Not long ago, Dad was humiliating Ray by confiscating furniture outside of the home of one of the girls in Ray’s school. Junk collecting. How many ways can Ray’s parents mess up his adolescence?

    Next subplot is Ray taking a photo of his nipple, followed by Ray bragging to his friends that he’s been sexting with a girl. Complete disrespect for the “girl” purportedly involved in this scam. But, Ray becomes a hero around school, including a teacher, who gives him a thumbs up, for his “conquest.”

    Dylan, the daughter in this family, is distraught and angry. Dad, who we now know has a job as a lost and found airline agent, helps her by laying on the ground underneath the flight path of the airplanes, screaming. Why is she frustrated? Why is she angry? Who knows? And who cares? Because screaming at airplanes cured her. Wow! Saved a ton of money on therapy there.

    JJ’s storyline focuses on a cute gymnast with broken ankles, a temporary disability for her, and he’s smitten, but resistant in being attracted to her. She is focused on her caloric intake, until she’s convinced by JJ and Kenneth that she doesn’t have to worry about that, since she’s disabled right now. Yuck.

    I did appreciate the scenes in which JJ encouraged the girl to stand up and bear weight, and when she thanked him for coming to her home for a study session and accepted JJ’s invitation to watch the movie, “Rocky.”

    References to “Inspiration P**n” were rampant in this episode, including JJ’s relationship with the gymnast. Overdone. And, insulting to people, who truly are inspired by the courage of people with disabilities. I still don’t get what is wrong with that. My sons have inspired countless people, and to me, that is a wonderful thing. Everyone I’ve met on the BT forums has inspired me with their courage to just get up and live life everyday.

    What is wrong with inspiration? We should gain that from every person we meet. I feel that this show is making a mockery of inspiration. As in, when Ray is given ice cream for no other reason than that he has a disability.

    The episode ends in the principal’s office, where Mom insists that Ray tell the truth, but then, she relents. Ray gets to keep his lie and cred among his peers as a lecherous teen, while Mom abandons the principles of truth and decency. This storyline is so misogynistic, it is repulsive.

    In the final scene, Ray is on the ground with Dad, screaming as airplanes fly overhead.

    What did we learn from this episode?

    1. Objectifying females is acceptable.
    2. Ignoring the core issues of your children’s anger by teaching them to scream is good parenting
    3. Getting drunk is an escape from reality and really funny.
    4. Lying to keep one’s place in the social ladder is perfectly fine.
    5. Teachers and Principals of schools are completely daft, pandering, and incompetent.
    6. Parents of children with disabilities are kooky, quirky, and messed up.

    My Score: 2

    And that is being generous.

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

  2. #52
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    Ok finally found episode 6. My review
    Episode 6: The gym girl is kinda "eh" at the beginning of the episode. She’s the stereotype of a blonde B*tch and the “I hate my disability” trope at first but luckily we see she is a nice girl. The PT scene was kinda like a date too which is kinda clever. As to the drinking support group...let’s just say there is a reason my family stopped going to support groups early on. The sexting is not something I approve of at all, especially since the mom went along with it which is incredibly stupid and horrible parenting, but it is what teens go through these days. The line JJ said about girls seeing him like a teddy bear was interesting because I think some disabled guys do indeed have those types of insecurities. I was glad to see the girl accept the movie date. Kenneth was also really cool in this episode. The sister getting mad was really out of left field writing wise. However screaming at a plane while very dumb is better than medicating a kid as soon as they experience an emotion because kids are so over medicated these days. If I had written the episode myself the changes I would make are have the screaming scene be more like what I experienced in acting class where one learns to express as a constructive form of releasing tension,while getting to the core of ones reasons for the emotion etc and have the mom not act so obsessed with popularity again because the whole sexting plot is telling people once again it is more important to be popular. I would omit the entire sexting plot. I am sick of this shows obsession with the kids being popular. This episode was immature aside from JJ's plot. At least we saw what the Dad does for work. While watching episode 6 I happen to see a trailer for the sitcom with Patricia Heaton, called "The Middle" and the trailer for that seemed more well thought out then most of "Speechless" as a series.

    Rose, I agree with your list and I completely agree about the inspiration p*rn! IT IS PERFECTLY OKAY TO BE INSPIRED BY A DISABLED PERSON!!! I'm inspired by disabled people everyday who do whatever they have to do despite physical issues and conditions that could kill them if not managed exactly right. As long as the inspiration is not in a patronizing and condensing way where you are pretending to give a compliment but are talking down to the disabled person. Furthermore if the show is concerned about addressing inspiration p*rn than why the hell are they objectifying woman and even Ray in the exact same episode! It makes no sense! Indeed very insulting. Inspiration p*rn honestly seems like a way for some disability rights activists to make the able bodied and even disabled people who are inspired by each other feel terrible for experiencing a very natural emotion and that's almost like emotional blackmail in my humble opinion.
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 11-18-2016 at 08:51 PM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  3. #53
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    I'm going to attempt to address each of your comments individually.

    Drunk Moms

    When my boys were younger, most of the moms in my sons' schools were single parents, and their children were very involved physically and developmentally. We didn't have time to meet at our homes, as we rarely had child care for our disabled kids. Our communication was typically via phone and meeting after school to pick up our kids, or at school functions. Occasionally, we might slip away for a lunch. But we had no formal group meetings.

    I absolutely understand the need to let our hair down, to laugh and vent. A glass of wine, sure. But getting smashed, no.

    This episode is stereotyping moms of special needs kids by implying that we have to get drunk to have fun or to escape the "burden" of having special needs kids.

    Far too many negative stereotypes are being reinforced in this show, and this is one of them. Maya is controlling (the list of things she didn't allow, which Dad wrote on the wall), the "popularity" garbage, her constant whining about everything, and her brash remarks. She comes across as bitter and insistent that the world see her plight as the mom of a child with a disabling condition. It always seems to be more about her, than it is about her child.

    I am, honestly, beginning to resent her character. She has a loving, participating husband, two children, who are able to care for themselves, and JJ, who is able to communicate and experience life with his family and friends, and Kenneth, who is basically JJ's full time caregiver now.

    I can't even count the number of times my sons have been hospitalized throughout their lives. It has to be in the 100s between them. Michael had intractable seizures for 22 years. We spent most of their lives in hospitals, therapy, doctor's offices, getting tests, x-rays, blood work. How many times have I called the paramedics and accompanied one of my son's in the ambulance, while he was being Ambu-bagged? I don't know. Far too many.

    For most of those years, until my boys were adults, I was alone, trying to work outside of the home, and I had absolutely no help with their care. I lifted them in and out of their chairs, beds, bathtub, off the floor.

    So, when I watch "Speechless," I wonder why Maya doesn't appreciate all of her blessings. She has no softness, no warmth. She doesn't reflect me or any of the other moms of special needs children I've known in real life and through the internet.

    I have been tough as nails, when that was what the situation required, but my love for my children has always been evident. I do not get a sense of love from Maya. No tenderness. It may be good for laughs, but it isn't an accurate portrayal of moms of special needs children.

    This is long, so I guess I'll start another post to address the rest of my thoughts about your observations.

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

  4. #54
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    To continue my response to your post about Episode 6 ~

    Sexting

    I know that boys will be boys ~ that's always been true. I also know that sexting is all the rage these days. In my dreams, I envision boys in the next generation learning to respect women and treat them equally, not as objects. Unfortunately, in 2016, we're going backwards. What hope is there, when the Kardashians constantly flood Instagram with their selfies, and a former Congressman sexts photos of his nether region for the world to see?

    Popularity

    Another old tale ~ kids want to be popular. So much peer pressure. In this series, the mom seems to place an emphasis on popularity, rather than encourage her kids to just be themselves. Why isn't she teaching them to be true to themselves rather than trying to be someone they aren't?

    Screaming at Planes

    I guess we should give Dad credit, as he did try to talk to Ray and Dylan, and he added the screaming, when talking wasn't enough. I completely agree with you that today's youth are over medicated.

    Inspiration P

    What I find offensive in this series is the cartoonish manner in which patronizing and condescension are portrayed. The school principal is particularly ridiculous, as are the teachers. And the tour of the school by JJ for the girl was pitiful.

    There are so many other ways that this show could be written, and it's disappointing to see the route it is taking. I'm just thinking of what the audience is getting from this show, and I wonder if they don't realize that these characters are over the top.

    The House

    I'm adding this one, because I don't understand the point of this family living in a run down home. Can they not afford paint, a rake, clippers, and spend a little time fixing it up?

    When I became a "stay at home" Mom, after I lost my last professional position, I painted every square inch of our home by myself, while my boys were at school. I worked in the yards (still do).

    So, I can't find one plausible reason why this family can't do that to improve their home. And, if they are renting, then they should get their landlords to do it, or at least pay for the materials/tools for them to do it. In an upscale neighborhood such as theirs, I strongly suspect there would be a homeowner's association, and they wouldn't be able to get away with the exterior of the home being disheveled.

    Okay. Rant over!

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

  5. #55
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    Rose,
    Thank you for your posts and insights. In regards to the teachers, what is shown here in the show is pretty much my grade school IEP experience in a nutshell. The teachers were patronizing up the wall so I had a lot of issues with school systems and teachers for many years to the point of resentment. It’s why when I find a good teacher I really appreciate them!!! Though my teachers were not nearly as inept as on the show. I have also met special needs moms who are like the mom in the show where it is all about them and they think they can get away with mistreating others because they think people will take pity on them for having a disabled kid. Meeting a parent like this was very rare though so yes I agree the mom has no warmth,hardly acts like a mom and has an obsession with image. I completely agree that this show is way too cartoonish,especially their house. I have watched many,many sitcoms and none of them had this much cartoony behavior. It’s annoying. I have to wonder if they think because they have the serious element of disability that they have to force the gags because they think people will be scared off by the disability stuff? I think older viewers will realize these are exaggerations but viewers who are the age of JJ's two siblings may not.
    I am just as sickened by the objectifying of woman in our culture as you are which is why I think if disabled people want to talk about sex in their writing or other media they should do so in a classy way since turning the disabled into sex objects will not be doing us any favors. We are already seen as objects because of our disabilities.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  6. #56
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    Here’s a review of episode 7. http://toniasays.blogspot.com/2016/1...-1x07-t-h.html I have not seen it yet. I did find one funny clip from episode 7 with Kenneth though https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KBzUBD-348
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  7. #57
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    ((((((Hugs to All)))))) ~

    My review of Episode 7:

    EPISODE 7: THANKSGIVING

    I want to like this show, really, I do. But this episode did not help in that regard.

    My biggest complaint: exploiting JJ’s disability.

    1. Lying to Dad’s brother/family that JJ is sick, as a means of getting out of spending Thanksgiving Day with them. Mom said this was one of the benefits of being a special needs family.

    2. JJ rolling up to the front of the line at the store, while Mom tells her sister-in-law to just watch as they get to the door.

    3. Customer in line complaining to JJ that he’s been sitting here (waiting in line) for 36 hours. JJ replies, “I’ve been sitting here for 16 years.”

    I’ve spent countless holidays in ER or ICU with one of my children, and plenty of them at home caring for my boys, because they were ill. I never lied to get out of an invitation, using my boys as an excuse. And calling that a benefit of being a special needs family? Ugh!

    My only sibling once told me that I was lucky, because I have two disabled children, and “You get all of the attention.” 1. My sibling was the one, who got all of the attention, due to poor life choices and needing to be rescued. 2. I did everything for my children on my own (until I met Jim), without any familial help. My parents never once graced my sons’ hospital rooms. They kept telling me to “let them go, so you can get on with your life.”

    Using one’s disabling condition to garner favors or special consideration strikes me as pandering to others’ emotional responses and unleveling the playing field. In other words, persons with disabilities strive for equality, and accommodations must be made for them to achieve that civil right. But getting to the front of the line to buy a flat screen TV by using the disabling condition to gain sympathy/pity is fraudulent.

    Could this be categorized as Reverse Inspirational P**n?

    Then, JJ uses GUILT to persuade the man to give up his place in line.

    I don’t find this humorous. I find it insulting. Poor pitiful me. Have pity on me and let me go ahead of you in line. Let’s lie to the family that JJ is sick! Aren’t you grateful on THANKSGIVING that he is NOT sick? It’s sick to pretend that he is!

    What kind of image is being conveyed to viewers about disability and families with a member who has a disabling condition?

    We’re con artists? We want sympathy and pity, and people to understand that we “have problems?” (Quoting Maya as she spoke to her in-laws.) We expect people to give us free stuff? For no other reason than a disability? We’re all grifters? Gadzooks!

    Dad auctions off the TV and gives the money to his brother, the braggart, who is broke. Touching. No. Plot point. Dad broke the TV, while watching his brother, the Dentist, in his ridiculous commercial. Need new TV. Brother reveals he’s broke. Buy TV. Auction it, and give the dough to brother, who gambled away his fortune and now performs unnecessary dental procedures (again, fraud) to recoup his losses. Dad is now the “bigger person” between them. Blech!

    Ray continues to be awkward, filled with angst and constantly “screwing up” as he did, when he revealed the game to the in-laws. And Dylan is 13 going on 30.

    As usual, I’m going to gripe about their home and living conditions. They can afford a new TV but not paint? Or clippers to trim that jungle in their front yard?

    What does Maya do all day now, since JJ has Kenneth as his full time aide, and Dylan and Ray are at school and self sufficient? How about if she got just a part time job to help meet their financial needs, so they can buy paint and yard clippers? Along with many other moms of special needs children, I worked full time to support them as a single mom, and took care of them, and advocated for them and attended all of their therapy and IEP meetings. I sure didn’t have a big strapping man as a full time aide for my sons. (Until I met Jim. )

    What does Maya do with her free time?

    This is a sit com. A comedy. I am not laughing.

    My Rating: 2

    Love & Light,

    Rose

    PS: You can watch this episode and all previous episodes for free on the ABC website:

    http://abc.go.com/shows/speechless
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

  8. #58
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    My initial 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 female 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 either because it makes life for my friends with disabilities, particularly invisible disability that much harder..I know people with invisible disabilities who get accused of faking their serious medical needs. This episode does not help!

    Rose, Thanks! I had to wait for the episode to not need a password for viewing. I really want to see what Maya does too! However I will point out that your boys and I were very lucky to have parents that are involved but many parents are much less involved these days. "Reverse IP" sounds spot on!

    2. I did everything for my children on my own (until I met Jim), without any familial help. My parents never once graced my sons’ hospital rooms. They kept telling me to “let them go, so you can get on with your life.”
    I'm so sorry they thought your precious sons should just be given up on! That's the worst thing for a mother to hear!
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 11-27-2016 at 07:04 PM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  9. #59
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    Finally getting to review this. My review of episode 8: This one has a cute plot. I like that they address JJ wanting to date and that it had continuity with a previous episode. The bonding between JJ and Ray at the end of the episode where Ray goes to great lengths to help JJ to the point of missing his trip without being overbearing was great! That kind of character development is what this show needs. The nighttime scene and hospital scene were very well done. It showed non verbal people can date! I also liked Kenneth and the scene where the mom watches TV with JJ. The spoiler alert joke actually worked. I do have some issues though. The “typical” line bugged me. Why are the family encouraging JJ to date at like only 15 years old? And why did the girl’s rejection of JJ happen OFF screen? I wanted to see her reaction and why she rejected him! The plot with the sister was pointless.
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 12-09-2016 at 11:59 AM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  10. #60
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    I agree with all of your observations on Episode 8.

    I will add that I don't understand why Dad has to be such a buffoon.

    And, I'm going to say it again: why do they live in a hovel? Never in a million years would that neighborhood allow a home that disheveled. The roof is dangerous. The overgrown yard is not just an eyesore, but would light up like a torch in the case of a fire. What if they needed paramedics? How would they access the home?

    What is the point of this? It's not amusing. It's nonsense. I can't believe that the family can't work together to trim the trees/grass/plants and slap some paint on the interior walls. That could even make a funny and quirky episode.

    This episode was a bit better, but I'm still not feeling this show, the way I was hoping it would affect me and represent families with a child, who has a disabling condition.

    My Rating: 5

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Mom to Jon, 48, (seizure disorder; Gtube; trache; colostomy; osteoporosis; hypothyroid; enlarged prostate; lymphedema, assorted mysteries) and Michael, 32, (intractable seizures; Gtube), who were born with an undiagnosed progressive neuromuscular disease and courageous spirits. Our Angel Michael received his wings in 2003 and now resides in Heaven. Our Angel Jon lives at home with me and Jim, the world's most wonderful dad.

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