Switched at Birth: 1.03 “Portrait of My Father”

Season 1 Episode 3
Airdate: June 20, 2011

One of Kathryn’s rich friends is over. She gives Kathryn a prized antique vase captured on a recent adventure to South America. She then asks if Regina is her new live in maid. Kathryn does not want to tell her the truth.

Kathryn calls a Kennish-Vasquez meeting to decide on a story to tell others about why a bunch of Mexicans are living here. Regina is fine with being honest about their situation, but Kathryn is not comfortable talking about the switch. Daphne signs to Regina asking why they have to lie. Regina signs back, “It’s the way of the WASP.”

Hey, that’s offensive to white Protestants! It’s cool when this show is making fun of Hispanics, but now you’ve gone too far!

When they are alone, Bay asks Regina “Who’s my father?” The Vasquez family did not come with a padre, so Bay has yet to meet her biological dad. Regina only says that he ran off after Daphne was born, and it is best that he is out of their lives.

Over at the deaf school, Daphne talks about the Kennishs with Emmett, her classmate. I am not going to get into this scene other than to say that Emmett is playing with something that that is orange and thick, so at first I thought it was a Fisher-Price View-Master. But it’s a camera. I guess Emmett has one of those little children’s starter cameras that have to be brightly colored so children will want them, and thick so they can’t break them.

Ty the Barrio Boy takes Bay to a Mexican restaurant in his neighborhood. Bay acts like a typical white girl who is totally infatuated with an “authentic” non-white culture. She is building up a romantic idea of these people’s lives which ignores the police sirens that are often in the background. Barrio Boy says this restaurant only serves tacos. Man, Kansas City is so white bread that even the Hispanic community has no idea what authentic Hispanic food is.

John goes to watch Daphne practice with her basketball team. Marlee Matlin plays the coach. This is a show about deaf people; you have to hire Marlee Matlin. It’s the law. Matlin’s character is named Melody, is Emmett’s mom and, of course, deaf. She knows John was a baseball player and is Daphne’s biological father because Regina spilled the beans (not literally, a real Hispanic mother would never be so careless with precious beans).

John drives Daphne home and they talk about her basketball team the whole ride. Bay gets back at the same time and is jealous to see them spending time together.

John then asks Bay for the blood test results that led them to finding out about the switch, telling her it will be needed for their lawsuit against the hospital. This is the first Bay has heard of the suit and asks why her parents are going after the hospital. “They made a giant mistake,” says John. “You think getting stuck with me was a giant mistake?” Bay cries. It kind of seems like one lately.

Liam phones Daphne. Liam was the hearing boy who is courting Daphne, but had friends who made fun of her last episode, so Daphne does not like him. Daphne has a video phone that is linked to a real person who signs everything Liam says. Why aren’t all of us using video phones? Damn it we clearly have the technology!

Bay asks Daphne for info about her biological dad. Daphne does not know much about him and says he had zero interest in being her dad. Bay says that maybe he will have more interest in being her dad. Daphne takes offense, thinking Bay was putting down to her deafness. What Bay meant that maybe daddy will bond more with a genuine Latina than Daphne, who is really a Gringo. However, I thought Bay meant that her bio dad just didn’t want a ginger daughter. That shit should be classified as a hereditary disease. And my theory is still less stupid than Bay’s.

Kathryn got Regina a job at the fancy salon in her neighborhood. Regina’s first client is one of Kathryn’s friends, who takes delight in assuming Regina is staying with them as a boarder because the Kennish family is having money troubles.

Back home, Regina tells Kathryn that her well-to-do friends may not be as friendly as she thinks they are. Regina describes them as “insincere” which Kathryn takes as fighting words. Kathryn knows how catty her friends are, telling Regina, “I was on the pilot of Real Housewives of OKC!” Bravo refuses to pick it up for a series.

Bay asks Grandma Vasquez about her biological dad. Gammy V. refuses, saying the event was so bad that she wants Bay to drop it and will not even tell her the man’s name.

Ty needs money for an alternator for his pick-up truck. Bay asks her brother for the cash and tries to give it to Ty, but he refuses the charity. Hey Bay, don’t flash that kind of money in this neighborhood! “Here in East Riverside we don’t have rich white girls bailing us out with daddy’s money,” Ty tells her. “It’s my brother’s money, jerk!”

We then go to Emmett and Daphne at the school for the deaf, which appears to be just an outdoor courtyard. Back home, Bay returns the money to her brother. The producers need to work on how they order the scenes. They go from a scene of Bay at a restaurant, to Daphne at school, to Bay at home, so it looks like Bay never goes to school. The next scene is, of course, Daphne at school. Daphne’s team is practicing, and Melody gets so tired of John’s backbench suggestions that she makes him the new girls basketball coach.

Ty’s truck broke down on his way to apologize to Bay, so he calls her and she picks him up. Bay uses the event to inform him, “And for the record. I’m not just white. I’m a quarter Puerto Rican.” Ty kisses her again to get her to shut up again. I bet he loves whenever Bay tries to claim his culture when she has no experience. Bay is pulling the Latin genes card like most white Americans pull the 1/16th Cherokee card. “Hey poor non-white person, I may have grown up as a privileged Caucasian in the USA. But I am not actually 100% of European descent, so I totally understand your life. Some of my ancestors suffered too!”

Regina approaches Kathryn, who is creating colorful decorations for a rich people party. Regina asks if the party is Oriental themed. “No Friday is African night,” Kathryn corrects her. “We are going to paint our faces like authentic Africans.”

Regina tells Kathryn that she has to tell her friends the truth or else they will assume far worse. Kathryn is still reluctant to do so because she doesn’t want her friends to treat Bay differently (like the help).

Back to the deaf school, John is barking orders to the lady basketball players while they practice. How can they possible follow what he is saying? They are ignoring him, I’m sure. John yells at Daphne so much that she leaves the gym in a huff. I mean, she couldn’t hear anything, but John’s pointing must have gotten on her nerves.

John has to apologize to Daphne for working her so hard. “I’m not a great player,” Daphne tells John, “I’m not like Michael Moore or something.” I don’t know what she said, because she has a deaf girl’s voice which isn’t always clear. It sounded like she said Michael Moore, but that dude is pretty far from athletic. She must have said the name of some woman in the WNBA.  Only girls who play basketball know the names of WNBA players.

Kathryn tells one of her friends the truth about the switch. Kathryn’s friend is relieved. Everyone in their circle assumed that Daphne was John’s love child. No, I didn’t make that up, that is really what they thought.

John apologies to Bay, saying he likes having her as a daughter. He pretends to enjoy her latest art piece because parents are supposed to lie and tell their children they are talented.

Bay and Daphne make up and Daphne gives Bay a photo of Regina when she was pregnant (with Bay). Of course she is poising next to a pickup truck.