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

  1. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth Mother 2 Angels View Post
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Patronizing is one of my biggest pet peeves, so I did relate to how JJ felt, when his teammates allowed him to win on the football field. In hockey, with other disabled athletes, JJ felt that he was equal. I think it would have been appropriate for JJ to have lessons, before he is thrown into a game with experienced players. But then, there would be no "drama" or crisis.

    Progressive disclosure in this show provided us with the reveal that JJ has had "20 surgeries." Is that a lot for a 15-16 year old with CP? I honestly don't know.

    So, Dad was trying to protect JJ from injury, and Mom wanted JJ to have the chance to be in the sport, despite the risk of injury. This is where the issue of being "different" came into the picture. I didn't get the idea that "different" meant "bad," but that "different" meant that JJ has had many issues with 20 surgeries, and Dad was afraid of something happening to his son.

    The concept of different but equal arose in the conflict between Ray and Dylan about their need for personal space. Ray thought that he was different, until his sister explained that she needs personal space too. I can imagine that it would be especially difficult for a girl to sleep in the same room with her two brothers. And that's an issue that their parents should be addressing. All three kids are hitting puberty. Time for separate rooms, if possible. Evidently, they can't afford more than this 2 bedroom home.

    If I were in their situation, I would give up my bedroom so that the boys could have a room and the girl could have a room. Hubby and I would sleep on a sofa bed in the living room. Buying a sofa bed is quite a bit less expensive than renting/buying a larger home with more bedrooms.

    The Mom/Kenneth plot was inappropriate for early prime time TV (but I'm old school). Why is Kenneth taking a shower in their home? Doesn't he have his own place, where he can shower? Mom walks in on him and sees Kenneth naked. Lurid and unnecessary for a family show. Later, she praises him for his "endowment" (my word, but it is implied). Just wrong wrong wrong. White woman complimenting black man on his prowess. Just wrong wrong wrong.

    Who is paying Kenneth for his services? And what do those services include? Have we been told this? Because JJ's family can't afford to pay him.

    And how many families with a special needs child have a "Kenneth?" I sure didn't. I'd like to know what program they went through to get Kenneth.

    Then we have the family competing to get Kenneth away from JJ, and this couple just oozes all over Kenneth. Again white woman admiring black man's "big strong muscular arms." Just wrong wrong wrong.

    To keep Kenneth, Maya feigns interest in his stories about his private life. Disgusting pandering. She blatantly admits that she's a person bereft of compassion or concern for others. I'm wearying of this Mom character with every new episode. She doesn't have a sincere bone in her body, and everything she says is snarky. She's controlling and unbending in many ways.

    So, we have sexual context, in that Maya didn't just turn around and run out of the bathroom, but stayed and talked to naked Kenneth and purposely looked down as she stood before him.

    We have stereotyping of sexual context and African American men.

    We have patronizing of JJ, pandering by mom to keep Kenneth, and Dad, the buffoon, with his pep talk speech at the end. And the two non-disabled children, with their never ending angst.

    Disappointing to say the least.

    My Score: 2 (and I'm really being generous)

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Hi Rose, To answer your surgery question, as a person with CP I have had 2 surgeries, both on my tendons. Many people I know have had more surgeries. I do not know if there is a general number that people with CP have for surgeries but I think 16 is a bit more on the severe CP side. What do you mean by "progressive discloser"? I have never heard the term. As for Kenneth in the bathroom, jokes like that are rampant in anime etc so I think it is very immature but I guess I am used to seeing gags like that. As to Kenneth's physical attractiveness my african american friends saw no racism/stereotyping in it so I'm surprised you did. I am constantly flirted with by other races and I flirt back with other races so while I found the joke poorly written and do not see anything wrong with saying people have a nice physical appearance in everyday language. As to the "different" remark I made, it seems this show is putting "same"ness and fitting in so much in the forefront that it is getting annoying in my opinion. I totally get that the dad was scared though.
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 12-16-2016 at 03:37 PM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  2. #72
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Progressive disclosure is a storytelling technique, where the reader/viewer learns things gradually about the characters or background situations. In Episode 9, we learn from Dad that JJ has had 20 surgeries, a fact about him we didn't know previously. Or it can be used where the details of something are gradually revealed, like in a mystery to create suspense. Soap operas often use this device.

    There is no point in Kenneth showering at JJ's house, other than for Maya to walk in on him. That makes the joke baseless.

    She should have turned around and walked out, talked to him through the door, but not stood there in front of him while he was completely naked. He made no effort to cover himself with the shower curtain or a towel. She quickly glanced down to eye his private parts. In my opinion, this is inappropriate for a family show, with children watching, at 8:30 p.m.

    There is a long-standing stereotype that African American men are well endowed. Later in the episode, Maya remarked to Kenneth that he was fine in that department. I don't remember the exact line she used, but she was essentially giving him a compliment on his "package." She wasn't complimenting him on his general appearance.

    There's nothing wrong with people flirting with each other regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or anything else. However, Maya is a married woman, and Kenneth is her son's caregiver. This is inappropriate behavior in my opinion. There should be no flirting, no looking at private parts, and no compliments on them.

    I agree with you that the fitting in and being different is forced and overbearing.

    I guess I just really do not like this show. I'm trying to find some glimmer of positivity in it, but it's lacking in too many ways.

    But, that's just me. If it has good ratings, it will be renewed, regardless of how I feel about it.

    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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  4. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth Mother 2 Angels View Post
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    ((((((funnylegs4)))))) ~

    Progressive disclosure is a storytelling technique, where the reader/viewer learns things gradually about the characters or background situations. In Episode 9, we learn from Dad that JJ has had 20 surgeries, a fact about him we didn't know previously. Or it can be used where the details of something are gradually revealed, like in a mystery to create suspense. Soap operas often use this device.

    There is no point in Kenneth showering at JJ's house, other than for Maya to walk in on him. That makes the joke baseless.

    She should have turned around and walked out, talked to him through the door, but not stood there in front of him while he was completely naked. He made no effort to cover himself with the shower curtain or a towel. She quickly glanced down to eye his private parts. In my opinion, this is inappropriate for a family show, with children watching, at 8:30 p.m.

    There is a long-standing stereotype that African American men are well endowed. Later in the episode, Maya remarked to Kenneth that he was fine in that department. I don't remember the exact line she used, but she was essentially giving him a compliment on his "package." She wasn't complimenting him on his general appearance.

    There's nothing wrong with people flirting with each other regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or anything else. However, Maya is a married woman, and Kenneth is her son's caregiver. This is inappropriate behavior in my opinion. There should be no flirting, no looking at private parts, and no compliments on them.

    I agree with you that the fitting in and being different is forced and overbearing.

    I guess I just really do not like this show. I'm trying to find some glimmer of positivity in it, but it's lacking in too many ways.

    But, that's just me. If it has good ratings, it will be renewed, regardless of how I feel about it.

    Love & Light,

    Rose
    Thanks for the clarification Rose! Oh I see! I am familiar with this stereotype from a book called "The Mis Measure Of Man" by Stephan Gould which is an excellent book on racism if you are interested. I guess I didn't see racism in that line because they mention JJ's parts working in other episodes so I figured the writers just thought sex jokes are fair game. I didn't notice her looking at his parts on a first watch, but yes it is inappropriate for married woman to be flirting and looking at someone nude with parts exposed. If you have seen Japanese anime however "Speechless" is preschool compared to what they produce in that department for TV. I agree the joke is baseless and immature.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  5. #74

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    I watch the show-like it.

    The actor who play's JJ has CP (which I love) so many movies/tv use non-disabled actors to play us. While actors w disabilities have a harder time finding jobs.

    Not only does the Actor have CP-he's from my home state, goes to my old peds hospital and has cp very similar to mine. We can walk/talk but it's very impaired.

    So above all else; I feel a kinship w this actor-hope he makes it and all his dreams come true. That's the main reason I want the show to succeed!

    Overall I like the show-watch it-doesn't tick me off like some stuff relating to disability. (Like Zach Arner-Josh Blue. Good for them but I dislike their work)

    I do have some problems w it though;

    The main thing the aide, Kenneth, being at their house all the time! Whose paying Kenneth when he's w JJ outside school hours? It's a part of the show the family doesn't have money. So while Helen Keller's family and Gaby's Family (A movie from 1987 about a girl in Mexico's life w cp, good movie) where both wealthy and hired full time help to care for their kids-and then they ended up going to school w them. I really don't think that's the case. I think Kenneth is a district employee.

    Well school district's are not obligated to care for kids needs at home. So why is he always there? As my mom reminded me a lot of families also get in home respite hours, respite agencies do hire thee same people who are employed as a para-pro by a district. I can totally understand why, in marny situations, that is ideal.

    But it still really bothers me-don't know why.
    i
    I think they do a better job w the family dynamics, then protraying school life

    I love how the family is-and mainly the sibs! Love the brother, and they in the pilot addressed his angst of feeling JJ was the center of the home-not fair. Very real for me-hit home. I love how advoccting and loving the parents are. Lot's of good stuff.

    But my dad always worked more than full time, and then kept up w caring for his home. Mom, did spend more time caring for me (still does), doing extra stuff at my elementary school, went to IEPs and did all my medical stuff. So yes, I did require more. BUT when she was at home she also cared for my two younger sibs; and was always trying to have some life-beyond little kids. Had friends, boweled, vollyball. Than when I started middle school she started prerecs for PT school. She graduated w her masters, the same month I graduated HS and sis middle. When she was commuting to PT school and doing an excellent job raising three kids; she had less time for friends than when she was just home caring for us. I noticed the number of people she'd do stuff w decreased. But her closest friends she still saw when she could.|

    My mai point; although my parents did do the extra stuff for me-they also kept their lives going.(and their home maintained) Where as the show it seems like parents are defining themselves as only special needs parents..Which I donn't love..

    School: I had a 1:1 parapro-I do not feel that what's being depicted is at all like my school memories. I don't feel that's necessarily a negative thing. But for example, I would had never signed up for say Home-ec and than think para will do it. I was extremely self-concise (and frankly) embarrassed by having a 1:1. I used to come home crying cause of such. Now my disability, I am able to do basic self care. At the time, and even this many years later, I didn't/don't see the need for one for my safety, or mobility, I could get my own self on/off bus at school. Everyone is different, not against the use of para-pro's for students who have high need! So don't relate to JJ at school. BUT I do not want to trash the show for that reason; every experience is different! And no-my para never was inside our home, thank gawd. I'd rather had died then attended a party w that person. But again, by high school-I could transfer and use the bathroom w/o help, also level of disability so impacts these things.

    I think they should have made JJ 12 and in Middle School. He acts immature for a junior, in my opinion. Think wonder years, they covered the struggle of adolescence so so so perfectly, w characters starting in 7th grade. That would have given the show more longevity. And having JJ be the middle-and the brother in high school could have also given more possibilities for story lines; like Life Goes On.

    On subject; so miss Life Goes On, so so wish it was on Hulu or Netflix!!!!!!!
    Last edited by jul97; 12-23-2016 at 09:41 PM.

  6. #75

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    IBTW I love this discussion; I am a fan-but every other thing I read, it's all praise.. Umm good to read other perspectives.

  7. #76

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    deleted cannot find a delete post button-maybe cause past sleepy
    Last edited by jul97; 12-23-2016 at 02:41 AM.

  8. #77

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earth Mother 2 Angels View Post
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    1. JJ is a burden to his family.

    2. JJ's mother is overwrought, aggressive, snarky, intimidating, and stressed out. Possibly unstable.

    3. Dad is apparently unemployed, and he likes to collect junk.

    4. The other 2 children are struggling to compete for their parents' attention, while trying not to blame JJ for needing more care than they do.

    5. It's okay to tie your son in his w/c to a goal post and lie that the opposing team are the perpetrators.

    6. A family outing, without JJ, at a place, where even if JJ wanted to go, he couldn't, is fine.

    7. Taking your kids to a paintballing place, letting them pretend to kill people, is also fine.

    8. A question: Are all families with special needs kids like this? Quirky? Odd? Obnoxious? Scavengers? Calling themselves "Idiots?"

    If we hope to change how we are regarded in society, these are the things we should be thinking about. How does "Speechless" inform people, who have no idea what having a disability entails? What are those people thinking now about us/our families?

    "Speechless" isn't doing us any favors. That's my take-away right now.
    I kidna disagree-having a child w challenges does impact family, it isn't wrong to want to take a break. Primarily moms of kids w disabilities do advocate and that gets stressful (as you know) I feel Mya's character is great. I also feel it's proven there's some truth in sterotypes. There's a "special neesds mom" sterotype-but moms need to advocate like they're in a impossible position. I am not explaining myself well on this-sorry.

    TV families are often kinda of out there. If Malcolm in The Middle can do such with all Typical kids, why does the portrayal of a family w one kiddo w CP, why does that have a higher standard than say Malcolm did?? I like Mya lots more than Jane kaczmarek's character.v

    "The other 2 children are struggling to compete for their parents' attention, while trying not to blame JJ for needing more care than they do. " To me this is the
    most real part of the show! I thank them for talking about sib issues!

    I was in rehab for weeks at a time, during that time I didn't want to go to this amusement park-brother and sister did. To me it was perfect for them to go w/o me, great, go when I am away.

    All parents try and do one on one w each kid-so I don't feel it's an issue. either on the show or in real life

    Mom took each one of us to PT school w her for a day here and there. It was take your child to work day so she took my sis that day. Then they went to this famous mall. I say no fair when I went we didn't goto the mall, we went from your school to my medical appointment. She just laughs-like that's family, truth. No way to do absolutely equal for each kid. And frequently families any given day, one's hear-one's there; not un common to do something fun but only two or three to do something. Just this Fall mom and I ended up back where we lived till I was 21. Me and her went to her family reunion, it just didn't work for brother/sister to go. (we're grown)

    I LOVE paintball-and, never played, just LOVE how into my little brother was at one point. That's what makes life great-I see nothing wrong w paintball as a family-fun

    while it seems like I like the show more; I read your thoughts and enjoyed em, you're so remarkable as a mom!
    Last edited by jul97; 12-23-2016 at 02:37 AM.

  9. #78
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    My review of the Christmas episode(I forget the ep number,its ep 10 right?): So I finally watched the Christmas episode. I liked that they squeezed in a Hanukah joke. Ray as a singer was an interesting creative choice. I would never have pictured him as a singer. JJ joining choir just to be around a hot teacher was hilarious because of him being non verbal to begin with and because I know guys with CP who would do stuff like that. And the forgetting of where the parked car is is a great running gag because that has happened in my family so many times! I just knew by the end of the episode, the van would not actually be stolen, but the scene where the people donated money was wonderful. i like seeing basic human kindness like that in media. I also like the shot of JJ driving his wheelchair when they find the old van. It was a really well done camera shot. I also liked how the motorized wheelchair battery died when the dad got to the school as a dead battery is always one of my fears with my new scooter. My only beef with this episode is how JJ took the solo away from Ray. I like that they depicted JJ as capable of doing something mean to his brother because it shows JJ is imperfect as a character, and that his disability is not his only flaw. However I did not like that we did not see why JJ did this to Ray. JJ’s reasoning for his actions is never really explained so I was left asking “Does JJ resent Ray’s plan? Why is he being mean here?” Maybe I missed something. Correct me if I did. And I know that Kenneth is JJ’s voice but the whole set up seems to make JJ out to have a sense of entitlement, not giving Kenneth much credit for the actual singing. All in all though, this was a good episode and I liked it the way I liked the Halloween episode. Your thoughts everybody??

    Jul97! YOU’RE BACK!! I missed you so much! I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the show. I love Micah's(JJ"s) acting. His body language and expressions are wonderful. As you may have guessed from reading my earlier posts, I completely agree that it is okay for Maya and the siblings to need a break and for the siblings to feel some resentment at JJ being the center of attention at times. That is natural and real. You are completely right about no parent being able to do everything equally. Its just not physically possible. I just wish they would use these plot elements more! They could go much further with the sibling dynamic in a good way than they are currently doing now in my humble opinion. If they added more sibling stuff it would give the show some unexpected depth. Ray seems to have felt this type of resentment in the Christmas episode and it worked well plot wise. I’m so glad that the plot resonates with you. One correction in regards to Kenneth, Kenneth was hired as a private aid by Maya. As far as I could tell from the episodes, his primary duties are to help JJ at school but he is also a home aid and is paid to accompany JJ on any social outings. I have a non verbal friend who has an aid that does many of the same things Kenneth does who is hired privately. Just like you,I also had a 1 on 1 aid for school only as part of an IEP growing up and it was one of the most annoying experiences of my life. The main reason it was so annoying was that I had NO NEED for one whatsoever but the school required I have one because they were afraid of legal issues on their end. I too would die if my aids in grade school came home with me ugh! LOL. Having JJ be 12 instead would certainly have been interesting. I have seen "Gaby" when it aired on TCM and liked it very much! Off topic from the show but I have to say it: You’re mother is a PT?? AWESOME! I think when I first registered for this forum you may have seen me go on angry rants against physical therapists. I am so sorry if anything I said ever offended you or hurt you. I had some bad experiences with PTs in grade school and I held some grudges to say the least. Now that I am older I have had some great PTs and I also had the pleasure of meeting physical therapy students in the process of doing outreach with my films. I even met a PT who had very,very,very mild CP themselves and I got to really listen to them and their perspectives. I saw that the majority of PTs truly want to help and do the best for their patients and that I should have shown much more respect to my PTs when I was young. I also should have initiated conversations with them to improve the situation for both involved, but I was too young and naive to fully understand how much effort they put into their schooling and work and understand how to talk to them. I’m so sorry. My bad!
    Last edited by funnylegs4; 12-23-2016 at 07:13 PM.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/cripsnotcreeps.php

  10. #79

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    FuunyLegs!! Hey, thanks so much for such a warm reception!

    No apologies needed, you didn't insult me in the least! A lot odf adults who were born w disabilities run the gamete in opinions about childhood therapies. I've so heard that before-I don't take it personally in the least. Same as people usually have both at least one negative memory of a teacher; yet at the same time it's a common profession, so most also know people and are friendly w those who teach

    When I was in elementary school I HATED pt!! Then I was 11 had my first surgery and my opinion on PTs did a complete 180-just how my life played out. 4th grade, I did have this 'pt' who was really wicked.. Throughout my life I've know probably 30 PTs; cause I had a lot of therapy, then through my mom. Anyways, only one do I remember being just awful. So now I am thinking at 9 how do I even know if she really was a PT? Or just some other profession the school hired-playing fudgy w the law cause for whatever reason they couldn't get a PT that year. That was before I'd ask so where did you graduate? Do you have you a bachelor's or a masters? When you're 9 you don't think something seems off-lets try to figure out...

    Really don't worry about it-no apologies needed.

    Nice to hear someone else had a common experience as I as having a para but feeling like they didn't neeed one. Often I talk to cpers who had no issues w having one. I so feel I am the lone wolf-so again nice to hear I am not the only one out there!

    Great to re-connect~Happy Holidays!!

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  12. #80

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    FuunyLegs!! Hey, thanks so much for such a warm reception!

    No apologies needed, you didn't insult me in the least! A lot odf adults who were born w disabilities run the gamete in opinions about childhood therapies. I've so heard that before-I don't take it personally in the least. Same as people usually have both at least one negative memory of a teacher; yet at the same time it's a common profession, so most also know people and are friendly w those who teach

    When I was in elementary school I HATED pt!! Then I was 11 had my first surgery and my opinion on PTs did a complete 180-just how my life played out. 4th grade, I did have this 'pt' who was really wicked.. Throughout my life I've know probably 30 PTs; cause I had a lot of therapy, then through my mom. Anyways, only one do I remember being just awful. So now I am thinking at 9 how do I even know if she really was a PT? Or just some other profession the school hired-playing fudgy w the law cause for whatever reason they couldn't get a PT that year. That was before I'd ask so where did you graduate? Do you have you a bachelor's or a masters? When you're 9 you don't think something seems off-lets try to figure out...

    Really don't worry about it-no apologies needed.

    Nice to hear someone else had a common experience as I as having a para but feeling like they didn't neeed one. Often I talk to cpers who had no issues w having one. I so feel I am the lone wolf-so again nice to hear I am not the only one out there!

    Great to re-connect~Happy Holidays!!

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