Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Switched at Birth: Episode 5, "Dogs Playing Poker"

Yay condoms!
Thank god for sexually active TV teens who are NOT pregnant!

Womp-womp classism, Kennishes, but thanks writers for being pretty good about naming and claiming it and doing so in a relevant and not-cheesy way.

To explain, this episode starts off with Bay and Ty not having sex--because neither one has a condom. TLC would be so proud of this moment, I am sure. (I mean TLC the hip hop group, not the channel about babies and weddings.) I think a lot of times this comes across as cheesy, but I believed it, because it was generally kind of understated and realistic. Responsible teens use condoms. Also responsible all people use condoms.

But, womp-womp, John finds Bay and Ty macking when he drives her home at 3 am. Now he's invited to dinner with the family! Teenage nightmare NOOOOOO!

And thank god, it's been established that the Kennishes are kind of conservative, so I was worried this would turn into a polarizing abstinence episode, but it did not. Bay and John argue about her sexual activity and when Bay starts to say something about being sexually active, John does the mature thing and covers his ears and starts to sing.

Bay: You started this!
John: No, you started this.
Bay: By growing up?
John: ... yeah.

Good point! Sixteen is on the young side, but there is also no need to be all Disney Channel and pretend there aren't 16 year olds having responsible sexytimes. We know all about the irresponsible ones, thanks MTV. And by "thanks" I mean, "please stop renewing that show."

Catherine, as usual, takes micromanaging to the next level and tries to discuss this with Regina as they change loads of laundry. You know, stuff LaDiEz d0.

Catherine: Do you think they might be having sex?
Regina: Have you seen Ty without a shirt?
Catherine: No! ... Have you?
Regina: Now that's a washing machine.

MEANWHILE, Daphne and Emmett (who have made up) go with Toby to a poker game. If Daphne and Emmett had ever watched close-captioned reruns of any show featuring rich teenagers, they would know that no matter if you are Gossip Girl or from the O.C. or live in the exclusive 90909 zip code, there is always massive debt and irresponsible teen gambling to come. Don't get involved. It seems that dear Toby has a gambling problem. His main problem being that he is bad at it. Dapne and Emmett sign on first to play because they like poker (and are good at it), then to help Toby win, and end up helping him cheat. This of course, backfires. Womp-womp.

Back at the Kennish residence, Ty comes over for dinner. And darn, Regina has a date, and Daphne is still trying to save Toby's ass at poker (she does not), so Bay is alone with Ty and her parents. Girl, we've all been there, that's awkward no matter who your significant other is. Like any 19 year old dating a 16 year old should be, he is interrogated thoroughly by Bay's parents. And it turns out... surprise! After getting laid off from his construction job he's decided to join the army. And he's leaving in 3 days. But whoops, this is also a surprise to Bay. This is totally going to throw a cramp into her future plans for condom'd sex! But for real, she's upset.

And after her parents try to give her sex advice and talks, the best advice ends up coming from Regina, who tells Bay that no matter what she does he's still going to the army and having sex won't change that. Bay ponders this. Then she goes to say goodbye to Ty and he asks her if she wants to have sex, and oh, BTW, he had a condom the last time but didn't tell her because he knew he wanted to tell her about the whole army thing before they had sex. Admirable. Bay, in a rare moment of maturity, declines. Vanessa Marano can act, dudes. When she goes home she tells her mom that she and Ty didn't sleep together, and "It wasn't because I didn't want to it just didn't seem like the right thing to do." And then she cries.

Fortunately the Kennishes kind of get over Bay dating an older guy from the hood and overcome some of their class prejudices... sort of... and realize that Bay's going to do what she wants anyway and they don't want and MTV situation on their hands if they go too restrictive with her. And I'm glad that Bay remains confident in her sexuality but also a kind of realistic 16 year old. Teenagers want to have sex, it's kind of a biological thing. Whether or not they do it depends on a lot of circumstances (availability of opportunities, confidence, pressure, religion, etc.), but ultimately the best decisions are not the to do vs. to not do, but actual sensible decisions that involve assessing whether the consequences (physical, emotional) of sex are at the time worth the act of sex (which as a teenager probably won't be good anyway.)

In any case, Ty is leaving which is unfortunate because he's some serious eye candy (thank god the actors who play high schoolers are often not age-appropriate, I'd feel weird otherwise). Toby's finally getting sort of a storyline, and Daphne and Bay are ... still working on that whole establishing a relationship thing. Until next week!

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