FAMILY comedy Speechless feels like a step in the right direction, ensuring a more diverse representation of people are shown on TV.
The half-hour series opens with feisty mum Maya DiMeo (Minnie Driver) who moves her family of five to a new neighbourhood, in favour of a school that caters to her son JJ’s needs. JJ has cerebral palsy.
Maya is often fighting for JJ to have a normal childhood – a scene in the pilot sees her lambasting the principal when she discovers the very ramp JJ uses to get to school is used to transport garbage too – which is both funny and heartwarming to watch.
It’s also nice to see that an actor with cerebral palsy, Micah Fowler, is playing JJ, seeing that able-bodied actors are usually hired to play people with disabilities.
While the show offers viewers a glimpse into the life of a special needs person, the characters all have their own storylines, too, which may or may not have to do with JJ.
Geeky brother Ray (Mason Cook) wants to be one of the cool kids and athletic sister Dylan’s (Kyla Kenedy) competitive streak gets the better of her sometimes.
The show doesn’t only tell the story of JJ’s disability but captures the complexities of life in general.
airs every Monday at 9pm on Star World (Astro Ch 711).