I’m no stranger to watching Reality TV shows. My favorites have always been shows like “Survivor” and “Celebrity Apprentice” (unless you count shows like “Dirty Jobs”, “Mythbusters”, and “Storm Chasers”). Like many of you, I also really enjoy the scripted show “Switched At Birth” – mostly for the ASL.
I’ve enjoyed watching Deaf Reality TV show contestants such Marlee Matlin (“Celebrity Apprentice”, “Dancing With The Stars”), Lou Ferrigno (“Celebrity Apprentice”), and Christy Smith (“Survivor”), but I can’t think of many more Deaf individuals on popular TV shows, especially Reality TV shows.
So what ever happened to “My Deaf Family“? Here’s the pilot episode created, produced, and financed by Marlee Matlin herself in 2010 and uploaded to YouTube after an unfavorable reaction from network TV stations.
Personally I find it inexcusable that a show such as this is not on the air. There is plenty of crappy ‘reality tv’ shows already on the air. “Switched At Birth” is paving a path for ASL-related quality shows, and the excuse of subtitles for the American public falls flat on me as one of my favorite reality shows is “Swamp People” which uses captions constantly because of the Creole accents.
A must-read interview about this show is from the LA Times Blog interviewing Ms. Matlin regarding the show idea. Also worth reading is this article from NPR – A Baffling Question: Why Isn’t Marlee Matlin’s ‘My Deaf Family’ On Television?
My position is that given the popularity of Deaf individuals on Reality TV and the success of “Switched At Birth”, it’s time for TV Execs to re-examine the role of a Deaf-related reality show produced by the most respected American Deaf actress ever known.