Marlee Matlin has been tweeting up a storm about the reality-doc short pilot she produced, My Deaf Family. It’s finally on YouTube, and it’s kinda great. Matlin described the show to the L.A. Times as “a deaf/hearing version of Little People, Big World,” and that’s it exactly. The show follows the Firl family: Mom Bridgetta, Dad Leslie, 15-year-old Jared, 12-year-old Gideon, 6-year-old Sabrina, and 3-year-old Elijah. Jared and Elijah are hearing, but everyone else is deaf, and the show spotlights Jared as sort of a nexus between the two cultures.
Matlin says that various networks passed on the series because “they didn’t quite know if they could pull it off or even how,” which is insane: You pull it of just like this. In barely 10 minutes, I was totally convinced that I’d watch an entire season of this show — especially if it stayed focused on day-to-day basics and background of the Firl family. The most interesting moment of the episode comes when Leslie tells Matlin that he didn’t learn to sign until he was in middle school, and that he’s not close with his parents because they don’t sign and thus can’t communicate well with him or his kids. Compare that with the cloying, artificial product-placed problems that seem to plague so many “Look At Our Family” series (I’m looking at you, everything on TLC) and tell me you wouldn’t rather watch the Firls.
Count me in for My Deaf Family, be it in YouTube shorts or hourlong TV episodes. What about you, PopWatchers?