Series of Tubes: “Heroes” Reaction - Focus on Deanne Bray

The more I watch “Heroes”, the more I realize how bad the show is. So instead of rehashing the badness, I wanted to focus on something good: the performance of Deanne Bray so far this season.

Bray plays Emma, the deaf character added to the show’s cast this season. More importantly, Bray herself is deaf. Often, Hollywood will use a hearing actor/actress to portray a deaf character, and badly botch the sign language. For someone that knows sign language, bad signing is as easy to spot as a bad foreign accent is for a native speaker.

Bray’s signing has not only been spot on (as would be expected), but her interactions with her on-screen mother are spot-on with how I’ve experienced hearing-deaf conversations. Louise Fletcher is herself a child of deaf parents (like me), so it’s no stretch for her to communicate like she does on the show -- a mix of signing and speaking, with direct visual contact to assist in lip-reading -- but it’s amazing to see it actually portrayed accurately on a mainstream TV show.

If you remember, a couple years ago NBC tried to hire a hearing actress to portray a deaf character on “Bionic Woman”. That didn’t go over well. Then, they dumped the character entirely, which didn’t go over well either (neither of these issues were the reason the show was canceled after eight episodes; it just sucked). So it’s nice to see such a shift in philosophy at NBC, adding a deaf character to a genre show and featuring her so prominently in the story. I’m not sure how I feel about the developments in her ability at the end of last night’s episode, but at least her character gives me someone to root for on a show where I find myself rooting against so many of the characters.

(And yes, that’s an entire post about last night’s “Heroes” without mentioning the big moment between Claire and her roommate, which is just a shitty ratings grab, and I refuse to justify beyond that.)

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