‘Switched At Birth’ creator Lizzy Weiss has been hoping for an episode told entirely in ASL (American Sign Language), and ABC Family has granted her wish! The episode will be the first of its kind on mainstream TV. In a recent interview by TVLine, Weiss details the thinking, the process, and the execution of the groundbreaking television event.
TVLINE | This is something youve wanted to do for a while. How did it finally become a reality?
The network called and said, We thought itd be really fun if you did it. Do you want to try? I said, We totally want to try! We talked about it in the room [and said], Lets do it. We always thought we would do it later. The writers and I always thought, Someday. Someday. We were more focused on, OK, whats the story were going to do next week? Once the network said, How about now? we said, Great! We have room for it in this cycle because were telling a story already about Carlton closing, and thats probably a great time to do it.
TVLINE | How did the cast react? Especially among those who are hearing, did they think, Oh, Im going to get a vacation?
Ha! [Laughs] Actually, the opposite. They were really nervous at first because before any of them knew what the story was going to be, they assumed it would just mean a lot more signing for them. As it turns out, it wasnt more signing for them. The story we ended up telling is more a story about deaf students, so most of the signing in the episode is by people who are fluent already. We have some scenes, of course, with the parents, but less than normal because its a one-story episode. Its the first time weve ever done an episode in which theres only an A-story. We dont cut away to a parent story or to one of the girls having a different story or to a Toby story. Its just the story of the kids trying to save the school.