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‘SPEECHLESS’: Top 5 hashtag worthy moments from ‘N-E–NEW JJ’

SPEECHLESS - The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) MICAH FOWLER, JONATHAN SLAVIN
SPEECHLESS - The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal) MICAH FOWLER, JONATHAN SLAVIN

Jimmy and Maya both face some trials of parenting this week on Speechless.

J.J. is becoming more independent as his parents have always wanted. This creates a bit of a void for Maya, however, and she seeks someone else to help. Maya offers Ray her assistance as his junior year begins to overwhelm him. Ray welcomes his mother’s involvement until she becomes more overwhelming than school itself.

Dylan discovers that her family has purposely been keeping her bedtime early. She decides to take back the night and engages in fun games with Jimmy, or Jimbo as she calls him. It is all fun and games until Dylan begins falling asleep at school. Jimmy makes the tough decision to curb their late night bonding so Dylan can get the sleep “a growing girl needs”.

No episode of Speechless is complete without a host of hashtag worthy moments. Here are some of this week’s standout phrases.

Who are you? A zipper?

You never know what you can do until you try. Kenneth refuses to help J.J. zip his jacket because he thinks it’s a poor fashion choice. J.J. insists and tries the zipper himself despite being told for years that he is not capable of operating the zipper.

J.J. succeeds!

This sets the pair in motion to try more things J.J. has been told he cannot do. When Kenneth tells J.J. he cannot join the staff for poker on free period, he replies “Can’t? Who are you? A zipper”, swiftly turning “zipper” into a new zinger for someone who tries to get in his way.

#WhoAreYouAZipper

Are you Ellen DeGeneres’ exclusive online content?

J.J. tricks Kenneth into searching for his fake history paper so he can try his hand at poker in the staff lounge after all. Kenneth asks Mr. Powers to pair with J.J. as his “voice” while he goes to retrieve the paper. When Kenneth approaches Mr. Powers for the favor, Mr. Powers responds, “Are you Ellen DeGeneres’ exclusive online content?” Apparently, Mr. Powers uses his free period for catching up on his Ellen news.

He is happy to forego the Ellen updates this time to help J.J. Things do not end well, however, after J.J. convinces Mr. Powers to let him partake in the poker game where he ends up losing his wheelchair to the custodian. The chair is returned in exchange for Kenneth and J.J. covering some custodial night shifts. J.J. is reminded that setting some limits have nothing to do with disability.

#AreYouEllenDeGeneresExclusiveOnlineContent

I’m Ray, I’m Ray!

Be careful what you wish for. Ray is happy to have his mother doting on him and helping him navigate junior year with one of her infamous binders chock-full of schedules and supports. As Maya’s “help” becomes more and more intrusive, Ray has a vision of Maya trying to replace J.J. with Ray.

He imagines Maya taping his mouth shout, making him a rolling “wheelchair” desk, and decking him out with J.J.’s glasses and word board. Ray shouts a muffled “I’m Ray! I’m Ray!” as he awakens from the dream.

#ImRayImRay

Individualized Mom Plan (IMP)

Ray tells Maya that he cannot be a replacement for J.J. She struggles with feeling less needed as J.J.’s independence increases. It is certainly an interesting dichotomy. Maya has worked so long to help J.J. become more autonomous, but what becomes of her own time as J.J. can do more for himself.

Ray and J.J. team up to help Maya in a way that is quite relatable. Having just completed J.J.’s last IEP (Individualized Education Plan, an annual staple in special education), the guys offer to help Maya generate an IMP (Individualized Mom Plan). Maya is touched by their gesture and welcomes the opportunity to do some planning for herself.

#IndividualizedMomPlan

You’re pretty magic yourself

Dylan decides to make up for lost time after having been duped into a child’s bedtime well into her teenage years. She pledges to stay awake and soon discovers that Jimmy engages in silly challenges at night to “recharge [his] battery with dumb stuff that doesn’t matter”.

Dylan is enamored with her father’s performance in cup stacking, corn hole, and even magic tricks. What began as merely a bedtime boycott quickly becomes some great father/daughter (Jimbo/Dylan) bonding time. Neither one of them wants to give it up, but Dylan begins falling asleep at school.

Jimmy assures Dylan that they will continue to do awesome things together but insists she get a healthy dose of sleep. As she falls asleep on the couch, Jimmy kisses her on the forehead whispering, “You’re pretty magic yourself.”

#YourePrettyMagicYourself


Oh, Speechless! As much as you make us chuckle, you also know how to tug at our hearts. Being a parent is not always easy. Being a special needs parent brings extra unique challenges to the table.

As one of those special needs parents myself, I know how tempting it can be to try to recover from some of the daily challenges with late night games and silliness. I also understand how being needed has become a large part of my identity.

It’s a balancing act and there are lots of falls, but we carry on and try to make good decisions. Thanks, DiMeos, for being a part of our journey!

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Writer, interviewer in metro Atlanta. Always ready to talk TV and movies. Wife, mom, special needs advocate. Co-host of the Bosch-themed Everybody Counts podcast.