Speechless (TV series)
Speechless is an American sitcom television series that debuted on ABC on September 21, 2016. Created by Scott Silveri and co-executive produced with Christine Gernon, Jake Kasdan and Melvin Mar, the 20th Century Fox Television/ABC Studios co-production was greenlighted to series order on May 13, 2016. A first-look trailer was released on the same day. On September 29, 2016, the series was picked up for a full 22-episode season. An additional episode was ordered on December 13, 2016 for a 23-episode season.
|Created by||Scott Silveri|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||23 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original release||September 21, 2016– present|
On May 12, 2017, ABC renewed the series for a second season.
The series follows the DiMeo family, each with a unique personality: Maya, a take-charge British mother with a no-holds-barred attitude; her husband Jimmy, who doesn't seem to care what others think; Dylan, their no-nonsense athletic daughter; Ray, their scholarly middle child who acts as the "brains" in the family; and their oldest son, JJ—a high schooler with cerebral palsy who has a biting wit and sense of humor. Unable to speak himself, JJ communicates by using headgear with a laser pointer to indicate various words, letters, and numbers on a board attached to his wheelchair, while others read aloud what he "writes". The DiMeos move frequently in an attempt to find a good educational environment for JJ. They believe they have found an optimal choice when they discover a school that prides itself on being inclusive and where JJ will have an aide to speak for him. Because the school is in an upscale part of town, Jimmy and Maya move the family into the cheapest, most rundown house in an otherwise nice neighborhood. Though they quickly find that not everything is as good as it could be, JJ enjoys having Kenneth, a well-meaning school groundskeeper with a likably deep and resonant speaking voice, work as his aide.
- Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo
- John Ross Bowie as Jimmy DiMeo
- Mason Cook as Raymond "Ray" DiMeo
- Micah Fowler as Jimmy "JJ" DiMeo, Jr.
- Kyla Kenedy as Dylan DiMeo
- Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth
- Marin Hinkle as Dr. Miller
- Jonathan Slavin as Mr. Powers
- McKaley Miller as Claire
- David Lengel as Tad
Season 1 (2016–17)Edit
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|1||"Pilot"||Christine Gernon||Scott Silveri||September 21, 2016||1AZJ01||7.38|
|The DiMeo family moves into a rundown house in a better neighborhood than the one they left, meaning a new school for the kids. Maya DiMeo is forceful in her efforts to get the school to provide everything that JJ, her special needs son, requires. Her attitude rubs many school staff members the wrong way, among them Principal Miller and groundskeeper Kenneth, the latter to whom JJ takes a liking. Meanwhile, Ray wants to rebel against having to go to yet another new school until he sees the school has a planetarium and meets a fellow astronomy buff named Jillian.|
|2||"N-e-New A-i-Aide"||Christine Gernon||Scott Silveri||September 28, 2016||1AZJ02||6.43|
|Maya reluctantly hires Kenneth to be JJ's aide, but wants to fire him when he helps JJ meet the cheerleading squad and JJ ignores her phone calls about his physical therapy appointment. Maya later sees Kenneth helping JJ in the bathroom and decides to keep him on. Elsewhere, Ray continues to pursue Jillian even after learning that she has a boyfriend, while Jimmy makes a bad impression with the new neighbors.|
|3||"B-o-n-Bonfire"||Bill Purple||Danny Chun||October 5, 2016||1AZJ03||6.03|
|As the football team prepares to face a rival school, they invite JJ to their annual pre-game bonfire. But, with the bonfire taking place on a beach down a rocky hillside, Maya realizes JJ cannot get to it and forces the school to cancel the event. JJ becomes angry with Maya because he doesn't want to be the reason for spoiling the other students' fun. At home, Ray wants to show Jillian his model Jupiter Probe, but is embarrassed to invite her into the house, which is filled with junk the family has culled from other people's garbage. Jimmy tries to rectify the situation and get rid of the trash but, on the way to throwing it out, he and Ray can't help falling back into old habits. Meanwhile, a conversation with Kenneth makes Dylan question why she likes to run.|
|4||"I-n-s-Inspirations"||Christine Gernon||Seth Kurland||October 12, 2016||1AZJ04||6.03|
|When people proclaim that JJ and Kenneth are an inspiration and give them special treatment, Kenneth starts taking advantage, getting free admission to and various perks at a baseball game. At home, Ray and Dylan want to back out of widening a doorway for JJ so they can go paintballing. They convince Jimmy and Maya to come along and they all have lots of fun, but the kids soon feel guilty for having fun without JJ around. Maya realizes they've learned that guilt from her, so Jimmy tries to convince her it's okay to do things only she enjoys.|
|5||"H-a-l-Halloween"||Rob Cohen||Niki Schwartz-Wright||October 26, 2016||1AZJ05||5.85|
|Jimmy is upset that the kids no longer want to participate in the family tradition of dressing up for Halloween. Maya tries to cheer him up by allowing him to do things he loves that are on her "Dead to Me" list. Meanwhile, Ray recruits Dylan to help work the school's haunted mansion and Kenneth is scared of losing his job when JJ gets drunk at a party. Even though Maya is furious, she is thrilled to see JJ having a "normal" social life.|
|6||"D-a-t-e-Date?"||Phil Traill||Daniel Chun & Mark Kunerth||November 9, 2016||1AZJ06||5.64|
|JJ meets Claire (McKaley Miller), a girl his age who is temporarily wheelchair-bound due to twisting both her ankles in a gymnastics accident. Kenneth tries to fix them up despite JJ's insistence that Claire isn't interested in him that way. Meanwhile, Ray takes an embarrassing photo of his nipple, then tries to pass it off as a girl's nipple to some classmates, hoping he can become popular for receiving a "sext". Also, Jimmy tries to help Dylan deal with anger management after Dylan destroys a participation trophy in the school display case because she despises what it represents.|
|7||"T-h-a-Thanksgiving"||Claire Scanlon||Eric Lapidus||November 16, 2016||1AZJ08||5.72|
|Maya wants to make a game out of Jimmy's brother Billy (Rob Corddry) and his family's annoying habits when they visit for Thanksgiving, but everyone else worries that this will cause more family drama than necessary. Meanwhile, Ray and Kenneth take over Maya's annual dinner preparation despite their combined lack of cooking experience.|
|8||"R-a-y-c-Ray-Cation"||Bill Purple||Carrie Rosen & Seth Kurland||November 30, 2016||1AZJ07||4.98|
|Ray sets up morning drills for the family to make sure he gets to the dock on time for a school trip to the Channel Islands, which is still a month away. Claire continues to watch movies with JJ, but says her casts are being removed soon. Just before this happens, Ray helps JJ go to the hospital to tell Claire that he likes her, then stays home to help JJ deal with being rejected. Meanwhile, Dylan realizes she's too grown up now to use her predictive powers and help her father capitalize on what will be the hot toy of the Christmas season.|
|9||"S-l-Sled H-o-Hockey"||Ken Whittingham||Elizabeth Beckwith & Ron McCants||December 7, 2016||1AZJ10||4.59|
|On a trip with Jimmy to play arcade games at a local ice rink, JJ discovers a recreational sled hockey league. Despite his father's initial reluctance, the two discover themselves bonding when they take the ice. Meanwhile, Ray and Dylan butt heads over a secret crawlspace in the house; and Maya and Kenneth work on their relationship during a CPR class.|
|10||"C-h-o-Choir"||Christine Gernon||Jeremy Bronson & Niki Schwartz-Wright||December 14, 2016||1AZJ09||5.46|
|With the year coming to a close, Maya proclaims she is finally seeing the good in people. Her attitude quickly changes, however, when the van is stolen with all of the family's Christmas presents in it. Elsewhere, Ray looks for an extracurricular activity when he stumbles upon the school choir. He earns a solo and thinks he has finally found something he's skilled in besides his core academics, but JJ quickly worms his way into getting the solo instead, with Kenneth doing the actual singing.|
|11||"R-o-Road T-r-Trip"||Ben Lewin||Dan Holden & Miriam Datskovsky||January 4, 2017||1AZJ11||5.75|
|The DiMeos are set to embark on their annual free-form road trip, for which they have no agenda and just wing it. The ultra-organized Ray, however, has secretly plotted out a course to his own benefit, based on his family's habit of always out-voting him on which direction to go. On the way home, Ray comes down with appendicitis. Kenneth shows up at school to take notes for JJ and finds it awkward to hang out with the students without JJ by his side. He then tries to hang out with his old maintenance buddies, but they shun him since he is no longer one of them.|
|12||"H-e-r-Hero"||Victor Nelli, Jr.||Carrie Rosen||January 11, 2017||1AZJ12||5.93|
|In order to get on the good side of their insurance agent to get everything JJ needs, the DiMeos ask Dylan to make a tough sacrifice at her next track meet. Meanwhile, Ray wants to use his brother as inspiration for an essay contest at school, but JJ rejects his plan. But, when another student lies about being JJ's friend to write a similar essay, Ray and JJ team up to outdo the other student. They fail, but the fake inspirational speech encourages the insurance agent to support JJ.|
|13||"S-i-Sick D-a-Day"||Bill Purple||Elizabeth Beckwith & Seth Kurland||January 18, 2017||1AZJ13||5.39|
|When Kenneth shows up to the house with the flu and Maya catches the illness, Jimmy is forced to be the mom of the house while Dylan becomes JJ's replacement for Kenneth at school. JJ protects Dylan from a boy she's interested in, though she doesn't realize it at first and thinks her brother won't accept that she's blossoming. Meanwhile, despite the spread of illness, the family bands together and pulls an all-nighter to finish Ray's school project.|
|14||"V-a-l-Valentine's D-a-Day"||Stuart McDonald||Shana Goldberg-Meehan & Niki Schwartz-Wright||February 8, 2017||1AZJ15||5.54|
|While dining out with the family, Maya sees her ex-fiancé Ethan (Ken Marino), who was also Jimmy's former roommate. This leads her to tell the kids the story of how Jimmy stole her away from Ethan. The reminiscing makes Maya and Jimmy resolve to restore the "heat" in their relationship. At school, Ray receives a candy-gram from a secret admirer. Dylan finds the girl who sent it, and realizes it was meant for a popular jock named Ray Diblasio, not Ray DiMeo. Dylan decides to have fun by catfishing Ray as the admirer, but later regrets her actions. Meanwhile, JJ succumbs to his sugar addiction and begins eating several of the candy-grams he and Kenneth are supposed to be delivering.|
|15||"T-h-The C-l-Club"||Christine Gernon||Danny Chun & Matt Roller||February 15, 2017||1AZJ14||5.64|
|Maya lies her way into an exclusive club so the family can use the pool. Ray meets another boy and they hit it off, causing Ray to try and figure out a way he can keep attending the club. Meanwhile, a guy in JJ's disabilities group inspires him to get a computerized pad that speaks for him, causing Kenneth to feel like he's no longer needed.|
|16||"O-s-Oscar P-a-Party"||Christine Gernon||Danny Chun & Scott Silveri||February 22, 2017||1AZJ16||5.34|
|Maya is hosting her annual Oscar party for the mothers with disabled children club, but a mishap with the cable TV forces them to the home of new member Becca (Michaela Watkins). Becca annoys Maya by seemingly being able to do everything in addition to caring for her child, including looking nice and keeping a clean home. Jimmy finds that the club members' husbands are conditioned to do whatever they are told, and he takes advantage of it. Elsewhere, Kenneth runs a movie trivia game for the kids, trying to make it fair enough to cover their multiple disabilities, while Ray falls for the sister of one of the kids and pretends to be a "free spirit" like her.|
|17||"S-u-r-Surprise"||Michael Weaver||Dan Holden||March 8, 2017||1AZJ17||4.99|
|Maya plans a surprise party for Dylan's birthday even though Dylan herself is adamant about not having one. Ray is unnerved by a trip to the mall with JJ to buy their sister a present, especially when JJ takes off on his own. Meanwhile, Jimmy and Kenneth desperately try to find something they have in common, but when they do, it leads to a fierce competition.|
|18||"D-i-Ding"||Cherie Nowlan||Matt Roller||March 15, 2017||1AZJ18||4.63|
|Ray accuses Maya of dinging a nearby car and leaves a note behind Maya’s back, causing a rift between the two. Following through on a promise, Jimmy takes Dylan to the back room at the supermarket to search for a rare item. The DiMeos discover Kenneth moonlighting as a supermarket manager.|
|19||"C-h-Cheater!"||Michael Weaver||Ron McCants||April 5, 2017||1AZJ19||4.75|
|JJ is accused of cheating on tests, as it turns out Kenneth is helping him. Maya forces him to earn a good grade himself, believing it will put him on the path to a good life. Dylan accidentally becomes popular when she sets a trend by wearing some clothing found in an unclaimed luggage carrier. Meanwhile, Ray falls for a Pyramid scheme, though his reasoning is he wonders how much money he will need in the future to help JJ. JJ overhears the family discussing his future and Maya saying he may never be able to live on his own, so he returns to Kenneth.|
|20||"R-u-n-Runaway"||Claire Scanlon||Mark Kunerth||April 26, 2017||1AZJ20||4.45|
|Having heard the conversation about who will have to care for him, JJ goes to Kenneth's apartment, but Kenneth returns him home. Maya insists that JJ should be able to run away like any other boy, and she helps him do so. She soon encounters another wheelchair-bound young man (Zach Anner) who drives and has a girlfriend, and she asks the guy if he can speak with JJ about living on his own. Meanwhile, Dylan tries to bond with Kenneth after learning he was a star basketball player in college, but Kenneth says he didn't like the kind of self-serving person he was back then and wants to leave that chapter behind.|
|21||"P-r-Prom"||Bill Purple||Teleplay by: Elizabeth Beckwith
Story by: Eric Lapidus
|May 3, 2017||1AZJ21||4.41|
|Excited for prom, Ray thinks he's found the perfect girl (Holly Barrett) until she uses the 'R-word' ("retard") forcing Ray to consider where he stands on issues himself rather than just what his family told him to think. JJ hates the attention at the event and reaches out to others who feel like outcasts. Meanwhile, with the kids away, Maya and Jimmy use the opportunity to air out the arguments they cannot have in front of the kids, causing Kenneth to question his future with the DiMeos.|
|22||"M-a-May-Jay"||Geeta Patel||Miriam Datskovsky & Bryan Keefer||May 10, 2017||1AZJ22||4.28|
|Wanting to prove to Maya he is ready to spend the summer at a camp for people with disabilities, JJ has a minor accident and needs knee surgery. Kenneth is distraught having never seen JJ at the hospital before, though Maya is eventually convinced JJ should go. Jimmy realizes he has 'juice' at the hospital for special treatment. Meanwhile, Dylan is threatened when it's revealed Ray might be a faster runner then her.|
|23||"C-a-Camp"||Christine Gernon||Matt Roller & Danny Chun||May 17, 2017||1AZJ23||4.52|
|As the family readies for their flight to JJ's camp in Maine, Maya is surprised when they get to the airport and JJ acts like he doesn't want her around. After striking out with every girl at school, Ray sees the summer as an opportunity to reinvent himself. Jimmy lets Dylan pick the layover location (Miami), and the two have a father/daughter bonding moment before changing planes. Ray meets a girl at the camp and learns she is from Orange County like himself. Maya eventually shows up in Maine, and JJ is happy to see her.|
Speechless received largely positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the series has a rating of 98%, based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Speechless speaks to a sensitive topic with a heartfelt lead performance and a fine balance of sensitivity and irreverence." On Metacritic, the series has a score of 79 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
The editors of TV Guide placed Speechless seventh among the top ten picks for the most anticipated new shows of the 2016-17 season. In its review from writer Liam Matthews, "ABC has another worthwhile addition to its strong lineup of modern families with Speechless," adding "It's a clear-eyed and empathetic exploration of life in a special needs family that makes plenty of room for hilarity."
Season 1 (2016–17)Edit
|1||"P-i-Pilot"||September 21, 2016||2.0/8||7.38||0.9||2.9|
|2||"N-e-New A-i-Aide"||September 28, 2016||1.8/6||6.43||0.8||2.6|
|3||"B-o-n-Bonfire"||October 5, 2016||1.8/6||6.03||0.8||2.6|
|4||"I-n-s-Inspirations"||October 12, 2016||1.8/7||6.03||N/A||N/A|
|5||"H-a-l-Halloween"||October 26, 2016||1.7/5||5.85||0.7||2.4|
|6||"D-a-t-e-Date?"||November 9, 2016||1.7/6||5.64||TBD||TBD|
|7||"T-h-a-Thanksgiving"||November 16, 2016||1.7/6||5.72||TBD||TBD|
|8||"R-a-y-c-Ray-Cation"||November 30, 2016||1.5/5||4.98||0.6||2.1|
|9||"S-l-Sled H-o-Hockey"||December 7, 2016||1.3/5||4.59||TBD||TBD|
|10||"C-h-o-Choir"||December 14, 2016||1.6/5||5.46||0.6||2.2|
|11||"R-o-Road T-r-Trip"||January 4, 2017||1.7/6||5.75||TBD||TBD|
|12||"H-e-r-Hero"||January 11, 2017||1.8/6||5.93||TBD||TBD|
|13||"S-i-Sick D-a-Day"||January 18, 2017||1.6/6||5.39||TBD||TBD|
|14||"V-a-l-Valentine's D-a-Day"||February 8, 2017||1.6/6||5.54||TBD||TBD|
|15||"T-h-The C-l-Club"||February 15, 2017||1.6/6||5.64||TBD||TBD|
|16||"O-s-Oscar P-a-Party"||February 22, 2017||1.6/5||5.34||TBD||TBD|
|17||"S-u-r-Surprise"||March 8, 2017||1.5/5||4.99||TBD||TBD|
|18||"D-i-Ding"||March 15, 2017||1.3/5||4.63||TBD||TBD|
|19||"C-h-Cheater!"||April 5, 2017||1.4/5||4.75||TBD||TBD|
|20||"R-u-n-Runaway"||April 26, 2017||1.2/5||4.45||TBD||TBD|
|21||"P-r-Prom"||May 3, 2017||1.2/5||4.41||TBD||TBD|
|22||"M-a-May-Jay"||May 10, 2017||1.1/4||4.28||TBD||TBD|
|23||"C-a-Camp"||May 17, 2017||1.2/5||4.52||TBD||TBD|
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