Speechless pilot: A self-aware sitcom

The family sitcom is one of the staples of network TV, something with broad appeal that the whole family can watch. This is why we’re greeted with a usual slew of them around this time of year as networks desperately try and get something that will stick for the next ten years.

Speechless is one of those sitcoms. A family moves to the ‘cheapest house in the richest neighbour’ so JJ, the son with cerebral palsy will be given a person to talk for him as previously people had to read what he was spelling out.

Minnie Driver also returns to our screens as the brash British mother to the three kids. She’s ready to fight with anyone whom is standing in her son’s way whether it’s the school, the police or a guy who’s care has broken down. Driver is hilarious in this role as a no-bullshit mum who makes mistakes almost constantly.

Speechless addresses the ‘inspirational’ side of disability that we see in TV over and over again and pushes it to the side as JJ and his family are just trying to take on the normal battles of life.

Also careful to not ignore the other children and especially the perpetually ignored middle child, Speechless knows the tropes of it’s genre, doesn’t avoid them but instead meets the head on and uses our own expectations against us.


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