Fans of Speechless on ABC are campaigning for renewal with a call to action.
Speechless has been on the air for three seasons now on the ABC network. Fans are campaigning for a fourth season with a petition to ABC.
The series follows the story of the DiMeo family. The DiMeos are not wealthy but are fantastically rich in humor and heart. Parents Jimmy and Maya (played respectively by John Ross Bowie and Minnie Driver) are parents to three kids, the oldest of whom has cerebral palsy.
JJ DiMeo uses a laser to point to a word board attached to his wheelchair. Friends, family and trusty aide Kenneth read aloud for JJ as he highlights what he wants to say. This is a unique premise to many, but not me.
From school halls to strawberry fields, the DiMeo siblings have each other's backs. #Speechless #NationalSiblingsDay pic.twitter.com/DgbHK0Oo3E
— Speechless (@Speechless_ABC) April 10, 2019
It is true, I have initiated a Twitter feed and petition to campaign for the renewal of Speechless. It holds a special place in my television lineup. My daughter, too, is non-verbal and also uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to communicate. Of course, I appreciate the representation of disability afforded by Speechless. It’s very important in a world where the idea of disability is foreign to so many.
Speechless provides a welcome landing place for me among the chaos of managing a special needs family. Maya inspires me to advocate for my daughter with fervor. Jimmy helps me keep my sense of humor when things seem overbearing.
With all that said, I adore Speechless for a host of other reasons, too.
Speechless is funny. Very funny.
The Speechless cast is chock full of comedic talent. There is Maya with her over the top antics and no holds barred protection of her family. You have Jimmy with his dry wit and occasional bumbling awkwardness. Middle child Ray (played by Mason Cook) has all the paranoia you might suspect from a middle child, along with a social awkwardness that is both relatable and hilarious.
Daughter Dylan (played by Kyla Kenedy) flips the script on the youngest daughter trope being an award winning athlete, consummate prankster, and student who barely recognizes the inside of the school library. JJ (Micah Fowler) generates laughs with clever glances, nods, and facial expressions that are on point and timed impeccably. Let us not forget JJ’s aide and trusted mentor Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough). Kenneth tells it like it is, which can be both refreshing and hilarious.
Speechless “gets me” (and you!)
I relate to Speechless on a very specific level as a special needs caregiver and mom. My typically developing son appreciates seeing sibling relationships similar to his own on screen. My pastor Lyndsay is a fan because she finds John Ross Bowie’s character Jimmy to be insanely funny and endearing. Longtime viewer Adam is a big fan of Kyla Kenedy’s comedic chops. Fans Rose and Gabby get a kick out of the relatable DiMeo family dynamic.
Speechless connects with its viewers for many different reasons. While some may mistake its premise as being geared to only a very specific population, it truly has broad appeal.
Awards… foundation. Basically the same thing, right? #Speechless pic.twitter.com/QZGmC9X1wU
— Speechless (@Speechless_ABC) April 5, 2019
Fabulous guest stars
Speechless has developed a long list of recurring characters with unique charm, talents, and, of course, sense of humor! Here are just a few:
- Physical therapist Joyce (played by Liz Cackowski) – passionate about her work and anxious to insert herself in anyone’s life
- Melanie Hertzel (played by Sarah Chalke) – Maya’s nemesis turned friend and business partner
- Principal Dr. Miller (played by Marin Hinkle) – big hearted, sensitive (sometimes to a fault) and a little intimidated by the DiMeos at times
- Billy (played by Rob Corddry) – self-absorbed brother of Jimmy who puts on airs he really cannot afford
- Izzy (played by Kayla Maisonet) – JJ’s girlfriend whose chill demeanor is a really funny foil for the DiMeos’ flair for the dramatic
There are many more amazing guest appearances such as John Cleese playing Maya’s father Martin when the DiMeos ascend up London to ask for his help.
It’s not all about JJ
I mean this in the most complimentary way. Speechless has so many stories to tell about all the family members and intersecting characters. Yes, the family operates through the unique lens of a special needs family, but everyone is important and granted time for their tales.
I am not the only one who loves Speechless and wants it to be renewed. The petition is filling up with comments and stories from all over about what Speechless means to other fans. We want your stories, too!
How can you help?
Sign the petition, comment, and share it.
Use the hashtag #RenewSpeechless on social media.
Watch the show! Even though season 3 has ended, you can find episodes on Hulu.
Let’s do this Speechless fans!
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