So the deaf character on Shameless said farewell last night in typical Shameless fashion – by bludgeoning his Dad to death. I guess it just goes to show that deaf people can be troubled psychotic murderers too though maybe I won’t try and add that to NDCS’s key messages.
So that now’s he gone, what did we think? Some thoughts from me:
1) Without falling into the trap of assuming that a deaf character isn’t “properly” deaf because he/she isn’t deaf ‘”like me”, there was a few bits where Danny seemed to be able to follow what other people were saying with relative ease. I find it impossible to lipread people unless they’re arms length away and I can see their whole face. Danny seemed to be able to do it whilst a nose length away. I think they could have expanded on the communication barriers deaf young people face, but Shameless is a drama, not an educational programme.
2) The jokes around swear words in sign language were all too predictable.
3) It was disappointing he wasn’t on screen that much. But when he was, he was shown integrating well with the various Shameless locals and modifying his style of communication. In last night’s episode, it was revealed he could actually speak, but only when he needed/wanted to. He was a very likable character (apart from the bludgeoning his Dad bit but, in his defence, he did have his reasons).
It was a great performance by Louis Kissaun, who is still 16 and attends Mary Hare school for the deaf. One of my female friends has suggested he has definite heart-throb potential. Hopefully, we’ll see more of him in the future.
And it was great to see a deaf role model, insofar anyone on Shameless can be described as a role model. Admittedly, I’m not sure I’d want young children to be watching Shameless. But I can safely say it’s the kind of thing I would probably have watched when I was 14 so I’m sure there were lots of deaf young people watching it last night. It may have been the first time that many of them saw a leading deaf character on a major TV programme the first time. Who knows, it may have inspired a few to try acting themselves…
And finally hats off to Channel 4. Here’s hoping, they will continue to show a range of deaf characters on the telly.
Anyhow, what did you think?