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Movie Mom

Switched at Birth and the End of Life

posted by Nell Minow

I’m a big fan of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and have appreciated its complicated characters, honest and heartfelt relationships, and compelling storylines, as well as its unprecedented, in-depth portrayal of the deaf community. Last week’s episode may have been the all-time best (SPOILER ALERT) as it dealt frankly with the shocking death of one of the main characters, Angelo Sorrento, played by Gilles Marini.

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The show has a wide range of personalities, so there were many different reactions to Angelo’s crash, his operation, and the decisions to be made after the doctor told the family that there was no hope and advised taking him off the respirator. It included a scene that almost never appears on network television or in movies — a candid discussion of prayer in times of the direst need, what it means and how it helps. There were conversations, some very heated, about life support and Angelo’s wishes. There were anguished memories of angry confrontations and refusals of support. There was the decision about who should be the one to call Angelo’s mother. There was enormous compassion and support and also hurt and recrimination. It was a gripping and exceptionally astutely observed hour of television. Here’s where we pick it up tonight.

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