Switched at Birth, "This Is Not a Pipe": bam in your face sneak attack

Quick Take: Switched at Birth, "This Is Not a Pipe"
If you can get over a few things, you might be pleasantly surprised by this new ABC Family show.  

switched at birth

Review: Switched at Birth, "This Is Not a Pipe"
(S0101) I have to admit when I saw the commercials advertising a new show on ABC Family called Switched at Birth, I was a bit skeptical. Usually their “original” series tend to fall flat and feature overly dramatic moments and terrible acting. After I finished the first episode however I was pleasantly surprised.

The story begins with Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) and her science class pricking their fingers to determine their blood type. From the homogenously dressed teens in a science lab any geek (like me) would drool over, it’s safe to assume that Bay goes to a very expensive private school. They have money for blood test kits for every kid, for goodness sakes. All my school had money for was owl pellets. Anyway, dark haired Bay shows her fair ginger family her blood results at dinner that night (who brings blood to the dinner table? This isn’t Twilight). Her mother Katherine (Lea Thompson) claims that Bay got her dark coloring from some distant Italian relative and that seems to be a plausible reason. After all, I have blonde hair while most of my family has dark brown hair. Does that mean I was switched at birth?! Her dad John (D.W. Moffett) dismisses the test, saying that it must be a mistake. Hey buddy, science doesn’t lie! Later on in the family’s fancy Mercedes Jeep/Hummer contraption, Bay asks her mom to go to a genetic counselor to prove she’s not adopted or a vampire (as her brother Tobey, played by Lucas Grabeel, suggested earlier at dinner). Come to find out the hospital mixed up the babies and she is not related to them at all! The title didn’t give you any hints, did it?

We come to find out that that Bay’s biological mom, Regina (Constance Marie) lives in a poorer part of the town and that their parent’s natural daughter, Daphne (Katie Leclerc), is deaf. This produces shockwaves through both families as neither really knows how to cope. They invite Daphne and her mom for lunch and Bay pouts the entire time, especially when she sees Toby and Daphne playing one-on-one at basketball and her parents staring wistfully out the window at them. Things get a bit awkward when Katherine asks Regina if she is Mexican (Puerto Rican actually) and when Bay says she can’t understand Daphne right in front of her. Ouch!

After a semi-uncomfortable day at the Kennishes, John drives Daphne home. She forgets her sweater in the car and he calls after her but she obviously doesn’t hear him. He then begins to become hyper aware of the sounds around him from dogs to passing cars and even an ice cream truck whizzing by. I buy all the sounds except the ice cream truck. Who is trying to sell ice cream after sunset anyway?

The next day the Kennishes try to convince Daphne to apply to Bay’s ridiculously overpriced school, Buckner Hall. Daphne takes a tour of the school and is slightly embarrassed at everyone staring at her and her interpreter. She wanders off to explore the school alone and meets Liam (Charles Michael Davis), Bay’s ex-boyfriend. They have an instant connection but sadly, Liam has class and their first meeting is cut short.

Daphne is about to leave the school when she runs into Toby. They begin to chat when all of a sudden Daphne’s friend, Emmett (Sean Berdy) approaches on his motorcycle.  Toby asks a lot of questions about deaf people, specifically about Emmet, and how they cope in a hearing world. Emmett then calls him a moron for treating him like a simpleton but Daphne translates his meaning as a compliment to Toby’s pink shoes.

Meanwhile, Bay begins to rebel saying that since her parents are not her “real” parents she can do what she wants like pierce her nose, smoke and try to buy beer with a fake I.D. Which lands Bay in jail, naturally.

Both Regina and her parents come to jail to rescue her. Tensions boil over when Katherine finds out about Regina’s previous DUI charges and accuses her of being drunk when Daphne got sick, essentially blaming Regina for Daphne’s deafness.

Bay leaves in a huff due to the adults arguing and refuses to go home. Instead she creepily climbs into Daphne’s room window thereby freaking her out. They end up having a heart to heart talk and Daphne reveals that they may be moving to Ohio because her mom can’t afford the rent anymore. The episode ends with Daphne and her mom moving into the Kennishes guest house.

Overall the show is off to a good start. However, it doesn’t give a lot of background on either family. In the first five minutes we find out they were switched. I understand that they wanted to get the show rolling but it would have been better if we got to know the characters a bit before the bam-in-your-face-switched-at-birth sneak attack. If you can get past that fact and Bay’s pouty face that is recurrent throughout the episode, you will more than likely enjoy this series.

By Amanda M

About the author

I'm a weather nerd from the South with a passion for teaching science. When I'm not writing about watching TV I like to read and chase down cumulonimbus clouds.

I also tweet random things in my spare time: @honeydewfest

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