Fans of the ABC Family drama are no strangers to the show’s many ASL-scenes, which include subtitles for those who not fluent in signing. However, this will be the first episode of the show — not to mention the first in TV history — to feature ASL only. “I always thought would be a Season 8 thing when we’re off the network’s radar and to the network’s credit, they were the ones that came to me and said, ‘Let’s do it now,” creator and executive producer Lizzy Weiss says. “It’s an experiment. We’re all sort of figuring it out as we go.”
The episode, set to air on March 4, will reportedly be told from the perspectives of the show’s many deaf characters, which is why hearing characters will be seen but not heard. “The writers and I were challenged to think in a more visual way because we didn’t want it to just be a regular episode with a lot of captions, so the script even looks different,” Weiss says. “We’re trying to show not only, ‘Oh gee, it’s really hard … but, ‘Hey, there are all these cool things that you can do in sign language that hearing people can’t.’ You can communicate across a theater privately and other little tricks. We’re just having fun with it.”
Burbank, CA (January 11, 2013) – ABC Family’s award-winning original series, “Switched At Birth,” will produce an episode told entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), a first for a scripted series on mainstream television, which will premiere Monday, March 4 at 8:00PM ET/PT.
The special episode will be told from the perspective of the series’ multiple deaf characters – with open captions for hearing viewers – in a storyline that puts the audience in the middle of a student uprising in which the very essence of their deaf identity is at stake. Now in its second season, “Switched At Birth” is the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in ASL.
“I’ve been wanting to do an all-ASL episode since the series began, and the storyline we’ve been focusing on this season gave us the perfect opportunity. It’s an exciting, visual, empowering story of kids who are different fighting back, and it allows our audience to experience the world as our deaf characters do. We’ve been building to this for 39 episodes and we’re all thrilled to be the first to try this,” said series creator and Executive Producer Lizzy Weiss.
New photos up in the Gallery of Katie last night at the 2013 TCA Winter Press Tour.
Katie Leclerc is mostly vegetarian as Daphne on “Switched at Birth,” which returns to ABC Family with new episodes Jan. 7, and she’s been heading in that direction off screen as well. “I eat very little red meat, no pork for about a year and a half now,” she says, adding that she’s also investigating a gluten-free diet after seeing how it helped her nine-year-old nephew. The boy is “borderline Asperger’s,” and after eating gluten-free and dairy-free for a week, he was able to hold a phone conversation with her for the first time. “It helped with his focus and attention. I was elated.”
Leclerc and her boyfriend Ryan recently adopted a deaf dog, though they weren’t aware of that until they brought him home and he wasn’t responding to them or other dogs. For Leclerc, who has partial hearing loss and plays a deaf character on “Switched,” that wasn’t a problem. “We taught him sign language, signs for lie down, get the ball, eat, water. He knows about 20 signs now,” she reports, calling the one and a half year-old Australian cattle dog, named Gus, “our pride and joy.”