***In Lexington, ABC Family can be found on channel 34 (analog), 257 (digital), 311 (DirecTV), and 982 (HD).***
ABC Family’s freshman drama Switched at Birth ends its summer run with “The Homecoming.” Bay (Vanessa Marano) is no longer looking for her biological father, Angelo (Gilles Marini, Brothers & Sisters), but he finds her. This creates no shortage of drama when Bay is the only one in the family who wants Angelo around. Angelo attempts to explain why he left Regina (Constance Marie) a dozen years before the series began, and also makes efforts to reconnect. Meanwhile, Daphne (Katie Leclerc) tells Emmett (Sean Berdy) about her feelings for him, and even though Emmett ops to stay with Bay, Daphne isn’t ready to give up.
Perhaps because of the leap of faith required to accept the premise of the show, Switched at Birth doesn’t seem to force unnecessary drama down the viewers’ throats like other ABC Family dramas do. Until now. Daphne has never shown any interest in Emmett beyond friendship. Bay is right when she accuses Daphne of clinging to something comfortable and familiar when her life is in turmoil. With no one else to turn to, Daphne chooses Emmett. But she doesn’t truly love Emmett. If she did, she would step back and let him be happy with Bay, which he most clearly is. Drama series do need drama to keep them going, but regarding Bay and Daphne’s constant guy switching in the first season, this needs to stop. Especially when a dear, old friend is involved.
Angelo appears to be a good guy, at first impression. His inability to trust Regina after learning that Daphne isn’t his is a justifiable reason to leave. Yet, one can’t help but wish Angelo had stuck around long enough to figure out what was really going on. Casting Marini in Switched at Birth is brilliant, as he makes Angelo immediately sympathetic, and it’s easy to imagine that the character had the best of intentions with the nuanced actor in the role. Plus, he looks the part. Having little to work with in “The Homecoming,” Marini is just getting started, but already brings the same wonderfulness he did to Brothers & Sisters, even after that series began slipping horribly in quality.
How long it will take Regina and Daphne to forgive Angelo is certainly up in the air, but it will happen. It has to. Now that Angelo knows that Regina never cheated on him, he is determined to stay and be a part of his daughters’ lives. He will succeed, because there is plenty of story to be had if he does, but almost none if they turn him away. To keep a drama going, story needs to be there. Expect Angelo to be around Switched at Birth quite a bit in season two.
A sweet subplot of “The Homecoming” involves Toby (Lucas Grabeel) and Wilke (Austin Butler) trying to convince Emmett to play a gig with their band. When Toby realizes Emmett is breaking Bay’s heart, he stops caring about the gig and talks seriously about his sister. But the best part of the whole situation is how quickly Toby and Wilke begin treating Emmett like they would any other guy. An obstacle portrayed in the show is the hearing community’s strange behavior towards the deaf, something Emmett is well acquainted with. And of course, when the boys first meet Emmett, they are guilty of the same. But only weeks later, while perhaps taking slight advantage of the hook of a deaf drummer to land the gig, they are communicating perfectly normal towards Emmett. Lesson learned?
Switched at Birth has been renewed for a second season, and will return soon (probably winter) to ABC Family.
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Article first published as TV Review: Switched at Birth – “The Homecoming” on Blogcritics.