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Weekly Angst : 9/11/12

Weekly Angst

by Nick Wilkinson

Week of 9/11/12

Welcome one, welcome all!

Welcome to my weekly dose of teen angst.

I, your fearless leader, have traveled the teenage wasteland and brought back news from the front.
Switched at Birth premiers Season 3!

Wait, what? Not sure what Switched at Birth is all about you say?
Well believe it or not your little prepubescent princesses are eating this shit up and I’m here to give you the rundown so you can stay involved, stay proactive and stay in the game when it comes to everything your die hard tween is watching.

The Wikipedia entry for Switched at Birth will tell you this…

“Switched at Birth is an American television series that premiered on ABC Family on June 6, 2011 at 9:00 ET/PT. The one-hour scripted drama revolves around two teenagers who were switched at birth and grew up in very different environments. The series’ debut was the highest rated show debut for ABC Family to date.”

I’m giving you this information, so that when you know someone is watching this show… tons of people are watching this show and mostly likely your precious little gremlin is watching too. SaB (Switched at Birth) had the highest debut of any show on ABC Family, its been nominated for 5 Teen Choice Awards, its won an American Scene Award, a Gracie Award and a TCA Award.

Clearly people are watching, OK, we’ve been over that, and don’t need to bring up the “Who watches this crap!” comments.


OK, so what is SaB about?

SaB is the story of two teenage girls who find out they had been switched with each other at the hospital when they where born.
Both girls, despite upbringing differences are both equally well adjusted and tormented just the same.

Bay – an introverted artist type who uses “art” as a way to express herself and also try and convince parents watching that its not vandalism in most cases, played by the shamefully hot Vanessa Marano (calm down, she’s like 21 in real life…She played the jail bait on Showtime’s Dexter as well) is the emotional one of the group, she tests the limits and usually blazes the trail when it comes to adult type relationships. However, in true ABC Family fashion, this is all OK because she is also the one who “takes it all the heart” and somehow that makes it OK in our eyes.


Katie Leclerc’s career started on the brief but memorable Veronica Mars. The hearing impaired Leclerc could be the Marlon Brando of deaf acting for all I know but your not going to see much of that hear, its all “deaf accent” and signing for her character – Daphne.

Daphne is the emotionally centered, disabled girl with the heart of gold in this tale that’s as ripe as the writing. Daphne is a helper and a athlete who seems to not be all that shocked that she does not look either like her off the boat Italian father nor her Hispanic mother. I understand suspense of belief and all that, but this 22 year old soulless ginger didn’t question that fact that Vasquez was her last name until the the age of 16? Come on!?


Like most ABC Family shows these kids usually drive around in cool cars with fashionable clothing and an endless supply of never usually seen nor discussed income. ABC Family, unlike say, THE CW, usually does include parents into the equation and tries to make them at least passable characters. Nostalgia nerds will like that fact that Back 2 The Future star, Leah Thompson is on TV again but if we are being honest I’d bet the Delorean is holding up better these days. The supporting cast from here on out is sufficient and vaguely recognizable. In true tween fashion mostly the parents are portrayed as bumbling, clueless Nazi types who just “don’t understand”. We’ve all been there and we all had to figure it out for ourselves so no real points off there.

As demonstrated in the two previous YOUTUBE clips, the tragic flaw with SaB is also what makes the show slightly intriguing. The use of deaf characters in mainstream TV has been pretty limited and I think its great that these characters are portrayed, even if vastly over exaggerated, as typical teens but guys, we are filming for TV here… a 10 minute dramatic conversation loses that effect when the clip is background noise and two actors signing to each other… I get it, that’s how it happens, but it makes it boring. Making Daphne an excellent lip reader was a great way to avoid this some of the time but I don’t care how hard they sign at each other sometimes, often I might say, the drama falls flat because of the signage.
Why your kids watch?

Your kids are going to watch because Bay is sexy and sassy and Daphne has a heart of gold. They will watch because sexuality is dramatized and yet oddly enough trivialized as well. They will watch because the show is brilliantly formulaic, if someone has “finally got together” rest assured they will be breaking up soon! There are classic steps to these types of shows and this one knows what its doing for sure. The kids are pretty, the parents are rich and dumb, and it talks about things that kids that have those sort of problems have while still adding enough angst to allow tweens to relate.
Why you should watch?

Hate me if you want, but if the deaf accent during times of emotional crisis don’t keep you coming back then the over serialized drama, the amazingly liberal views of the parents, and the smiles on your tweens faces when its time to watch will surely keep you begging for more! While not greatly acted, there are moments that you can use to share and teach your tween, moments that might open up dialog between parents and their kids and for that, ABC Family has maintained a high level of responsibility with its commercials and public service announcements.

Will it last? Going into its 3rd season its safe to say SaB is a hit, how long it will stay that way is up to the writers and viewers I guess. Fresh ideas and writing will only take the actors so far but if your up for an adventure in pre-teen puberty, and don’t mind feeling a little ashamed while trying not to look to close at 20 year olds playing teens, give it a shot!

Special Teen Mom Finale Special

I’m going to do a very special edition of Weekly Angst here in honor of the hit TV show TEEN MOM.

I’m not talking about 16 & Pregnant, I’m not talking about Teen Mom 2, or Teen Mom 3, I’m talking about Teen Mom, the ground breaking reality TV show!


From the people that brought you: A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila…

Noticeably missing from the finale is MTV’s own first lady of underage pregnancy Amber Portwood. Portwood at the time of filming had started her 5 year prison term, a term she accepted in order to avoid court ordered rehab instead.

Teen Mom is a show about teenage girls who got pregnant at 16 years old and how they are living with the choices they have made. It’s a reality show that follows these families around, the staff do no interfere or get involved, except maybe to give them thousands of dollars a year and encourage them not to find meaningful education or employment, that way when their reality show bubble craps out they find themselves without skills, without a place in the world, all while trying to feed some slack jaw-ed hillbilly kid with severe daddy issues.

Amber has sent a note for everyone. Amber wants everyone to know she misses them and wishes she could be there! Apparently its a parole violation to snort your weight in crystal meth so take care!

The outcome of these follow up specials is irrelevant, the truth is, they all end up the same, in a socioeconomic class that America is trying to do away with.

I’m so glad that Tyler and Catelynn are still a couple cause where else could the worlds two most optimistic people end up but with each other. Throw whatever you want at Cate and Ty and this trailer park Ken & Barbie have stayed upright and in love from start to finish, all despite the handicap of Catelynn’s head being 4 sizes to big for her neck.

I love Dr. Drew but the guy asks the most insane questions. “How are you different than you where 4 years ago?”
“Hmm… well a lot has changed Dr Drew, I’ve grown as a person and had many ups and downs… yeah, ups and downs, simple shit like puberty, prom, high school, umbilical cords, shitty diapers, post pardum depression, not to mention a 700% boost in income and country wide recognition as “open for business.””

I really do salute the people on this show trying to make their lives better with education but I have to say on the record that if your college takes “real life experience” in lieu of credits, its probably not going to happen for you my friend.

Is it a wonder the only adult couple is the two who gave their little bundle of mistake up for adoption? Yeah, and their parents are married, to each other, think about that!

The real world is going to come crashing around these teens soon enough and for me, to be honest, I just cant wait for the 15 year anniversary special when we see that the daughters from the original 16&Pregnant are knocked up themselves, on MTV’s new hit TV series, 30 & Grandmother!

Simple question, if Farrah’s mom was so bad then why did she let her take her daughter for a month?

That’s a great lesson MTV, girls, if your children get to be too much its OK to shirk your responsibilities on someone else for a month or more. Very real expectation to set there.

Fear not, this uneventful Teen Mom Finale  should satisfy your train wreck TV addiction and there is still enough of this crap out there for you to enjoy.

Angst on DVD: Both films are great and horrible in their own right but the messages are gripping and pull you in.

Kids, share with your parents:


Parents, share with your kids:


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