JJ isn’t the only one with an alarmed look.
In my last post, I wrote about how much I appreciate Speechless, the new sitcom on ABC about a family that includes a boy with Cerebral Palsy who uses a power wheelchair and a speech device. I said that I like the show and am glad that it’s on, despite some flaws, including that JJ is strangely mute. As I said, I don’t know of people with C.P who can’t vocalize at all.
This flaw stuck out so much in last week’s episode that it was nearly fatal. If JJ’s not speaking continues to be used this way, it will ruin the show.
I actually liked the episode. I thought it was pretty good, pretty funny. JJ and his attendant take off for a day, and it’s hysterical that they keep getting special treatment and free stuff (yes, this happens!). It’s funny to see the attendant taking advantage of and having fun with this and how this eventually pisses JJ off. Meanwhile, the rest of the family goes off and does things – paintballing, ice skating – that JJ can’t do and, amusingly, end up guilt-ridden about this. All this was a rather smart send-up of how the non-disabled react to and feel about the disabled.
But there was one scene that almost derailed the whole thing. In the scene, JJ and the attendant are getting into the van. For whatever reason, the attendant puts JJ’s communication board into his backpack and then puts the backpack on the ground outside the van. The attendant then proceeds to start the van, and all we see is JJ in the back looking alarmed and angry, knowing that his communication board is being left behind.
Why doesn’t he yell, if he can’t actually say anything? Why doesn’t he scream? Why doesn’t he cry?
No wonder he looks alarmed and pissed. Not only has his mode of communication been taken from him; he is rendered completely mute, with the show’s title taken all too literally.
I did love the subsequent scene, with JJ expressing his rage, letting his attendant have it, quite literally. But then, to make up, the attendant lets JJ drive the van. Really? Come on!
It can be said that this also sends the show off the rails, but it’s easier to see this as just the usual, over-the-top sitcom schtick. And it’s pretty funny to see, in the episode’s closing, how the over-protective mother reacts when JJ tells her that he drove the van.