'Speechless' Season 1 - TV Review

This review is based on episodes 1-15 of the 23 in the first season. Each episode is ~30 minutes.

"Speechless" is an American sitcom TV series about a family whose oldest son JJ (Micah Fowler) is restricted to a wheelchair and unable to speak because of Cerebral Palsy. His British mother (Minnie Driver) is a hard-ass who will do anything to assure a good life for her son. Other characters (and it being a sitcom, emphasis on the word character) include the father, the other son and daughter, and the former school grounds-keeper who becomes JJ's aide.

I loved the first episode. But as I worked through the episodes, I found it had a set structure, and bore a strong resemblance to the sitcoms of the 1980s. Plot continuity from episode to episode was minimal, and each episode has a topic-of-the-week flavour. And while the show likes its characters, it's not above humiliating them. Except JJ. Which is ironic on a show thats social message is "treat people like JJ as human." Well, if you want to treat JJ like everyone else, then you have to humiliate him occasionally too ... but we're too respectful for that, aren't we?

While the show is often quite funny, I stopped watching it because it's too fond of using broad character moments for humour, too weak on actual character development, and too similar to the shallow 80s sitcoms.