Switched at Birth: 1.01 “This Is Not a Pipe”

Season 1 Episode 1
Airdate: June 6, 2011

In a classroom, the students are pricking their fingers to take a blood type test. Remember the blood test you took in high school? No, because schools don’t do that. Blood tests for 30 plus students would cost a lot of money and not benefit the football team, so no school would conduct them.

This scene introduces us to a girl named Bay Kennish. Later, at home, she tells her parents that the test results show she has an AB blood type. But her father, John, says that is impossible because both her parents are type A. “You have to be either A or O,” he says. Oh, hey, look, Mr. Science Nerd is here to tell us the FACTS.

While her parents assume this means the test was inaccurate, Bay starts to suspect these two may not be her real mother and father. “Why do you think we see things differently all the time?” Bay asks her mom, Kathryn. Her mom correctly replies that it is because she is a teenager. “We look nothing alike,” continues Bay, who has brown hair while her mom is a ginger. But TV families rarely look alike. Casting directors don’t ever care if the people who play an on-screen family look like they could be actually related. Frankly, the only thing the average TV family will have in common is race, and even then, your average brown skinned Hispanic can convincingly play black or Vietnamese in a pinch.

Bay convinces her parents to get a blood test at the hospital. This is where we get the shocking news. The doctor lady tells them, “It is 99.9% certain that Bay is not related to you.” The hospital mixed up babies all those years ago. “You took home someone else’s baby,” the doctor says, “and another family took home yours.”

We’ve learned this shocking fact, and it is only the 3 minute mark of the very first episode. This show is moving fast!

We are then shown another family: a dark-haired mother with a ginger daughter! They are the Vasquez family.

The two families meet, at not even the 5 minute mark. This is when we are shown the outside of the Kennish house and learn that the Kennish family is rich. John is a former baseball player for Kansas City Royals turned car wash baron. He must have made a fortune selling steroids to Mark MaGwire.

The ginger girl is named Daphne and she is deaf! Bay’s mom made chicken enchiladas for her Hispanic guests. I, of course, had to pause the episode for ten minutes until I stopped laughing. Daphne’s adopted mother, Regina, says they live in East Riverside and describes her neighborhood as “very diverse.” We know what that means! I had to pause the episode again to laugh for another twenty minutes. Daphne has no father in her life. Bay asks if they are Mexican and Regina replies that they are Puerto Rican. Which is a step up from Mexican, if you ask me. I don’t know how to precisely rank all the Latin American peoples, but the list has Cuban at the very top, Puerto Rican and Brazilian close behind, Mexican a little bit lower, and Haitian, obviously, at the very, very bottom.

Daphne goes to play basketball with her never before met biological brother, Toby. I wonder if they could ever become sexually attracted to each other or not. I mean, on one hand, siblings must have some kind of hardwiring that keeps them from wanting to fuck each other, or else every brother and sister who experienced puberty at the same time would be a horrible, horrible mess. On the other hand, do they have to grow up together to develop that hardwiring, or is it automatic from birth? Because people who are similar genetically (like the same ethnicity, or who have lived in the same village for generations) have no problem mating. I suppose we will only know when Switched at Birth reaches season 7 and the writers are desperate to keep it going after totally running out of any good ideas.

Regina explains to Bay’s mom and dad that Daphne is deaf due to contracting Meningitis at age 3. It is a bacterial infection she caught in that nice, clean, diverse Puerto Rican neighborhood. I paused the episode here as well.

John drives Daphne and Regina back to East Riverside. He can hear police sirens in the background. Places with East in the name are always bad: East Los Angeles, the Lower East Side, East Germany. When he gets back, he and Kathryn decide they have to get Daphne out of that diverse neighborhood.

The following morning, Bay is in a rebellious mood. She is drinking coffee, has a nose piercing and is smoking. Kathryn is aghast, but Bay says she is, “Just living the life I was supposed to live.” Puerto Rican girls enjoy a cigarette before school, I guess. If Bay really wants to live the life she was supposed to, she should jab a needle into her ear drums.

Daphne goes to a school for the deaf, which still seems nicer than my high school. She converses with her friend, Emmett, who points out that had the switch had never happened, she would not be deaf and living with poor, Puerto Rican, single mother. I would be cursing God if I were her.

Later, Bay watches Daphne’s house from her car. A boy tells her to leave, saying they do not need rich girls coming here looking for drugs. Bay says she is not interested in drugs, she is an eggplant. I don’t get it either.

John meets Daphne at her basketball practice. He offers to get her out of the deaf school and into Buckner Hall, the expensive private school Bay attends. In the next scene, John and Kathryn accompany Daphne on a tour of Buckner.

Bay doesn’t want Daphne to go to her school. Bay must be worried that if they switch the girls back, she is going to get the losing end of the deal. When John asks about her nose ring, she totally pulls the “You’re not my real dad!” card. That was quick. She’s only known about the switch for, like, two days.

Toby sees Daphne. They flirt talk talk! and then Emmett appears in a motorcycle. Emmett refuses to communicate with Toby since Toby does not know sign language. So Toby has to ask Daphne about him. Daphne says to Toby, “It is not considered polite to talk about deaf people in third person.” But Emmett acts like a mute to anyone who can’t sign, so I don’t know what they expect Toby to do. Emmett is the one not being polite here. Emmet is an elitist deaf who only wants to be around other deaf people. “All his friend are deaf,” explains Daphne. “His whole family is deaf.” His family immigrated from a deaf country in central Europe. They live in the deaf neighborhood and are expected to only marry among their own deaf kind. They are deaf gypsies or something.

Bay runs off and spray paints a house in East Riverside. Is it Daphne’s house? The boy who saw her in her car the other day informs her that “the penalty for graffiti is $10,000 and 30 days in jail.” As a crime deterrent, the police must mail copies of the state criminal code to every home in this neighborhood.

BMom ran a background check on Regina which revealed two DUIs. She and John discuss getting custody of Daphne.

We go to Regina. Someone broke into her car and stole a cell phone charger and two dollars in change. Regina gets a phone call. Daphne has been arrested! Regina rushes to the police station to see that is really Bay who is in custody. The police caught her using a fake ID to by beer. I thought it would be for the tagging. It should have been. Not only was it stupid to do it in broad daylight, but spraying someone’s home is incredibly dickish. Later on in this series, Bay and Emmett will date, which makes sense as they are both jerks.

Kathryn and John arrive soon after. Kathryn and Regina argue and Kathryn threatens to take Daphne away. They are two women who have just met, so of course they immediately hate each other. While they are fighting, Bay slips out of the station. We then go to her mom and dad driving around town looking for her. And it’s now night. Why can’t they find her? She was only a few seconds ahead of them, it’s not like she could have gotten out of sight that quickly. Also, it was a police station.

Daphne talks to her grandmother. Wouldn’t it be funny if the grandma was the Kennish’s maid? Wouldn’t that be funny? Daphne tells Regina that she wants to go to Buckner, but Regina tells her no.

Bay appears at the window to Daphne’s bedroom. Daphne lets her inside and Bay admires her music collection, which includes Papa Roach and other fine rap tunes. Daphne explains that she can hear the beat if the music is very loud. They talk about being different. Daphne says her family will have to move to Toledo with her uncle because her mom is two months behind on rent.

Bay then meets her Puerto Rican biological grandmother.

To save them from the miserable fate of having to live in Toledo, Bay arranges to have the Vasquez family move in with the Kennishs. The episode ends with the Puerto Ricans moving their things into the guest house. Bay wonders who her real dad is. This is her first taste of what being Puerto Rican is like.

Then, Emmett rolls in on his motorcycle and takes Daphne away for a deaf date. I bet Emmett only rides a motorcycle because he knows how God damn fucking loud they are and just wants to annoy hearing people.