‘Finding Your Place at the Table’: Melodrama as a Vehicle of Identity Exploration in ABC Family’s Switched at Birth

Peabody Archive & Genre Television, Summer 2020

There’s a kind of rule when talking about my approach to media studies: it always comes back to teen dramas. This course was dedicated to studying genre conventions within the context of the Peabody Awards Collection, so this paper specifically looked at two elements of ABC Family’s Switched at Birth: its use of melodrama and melodramatic conventions, and the way in which it did or did not qualify as a “story that matters.”

This paper actually required a pretty even balance of research and media criticism, as I read many reviewers written by Deaf fans of the show in order to begin to understand the nuance of this series’ legacy, as well as offered my own interpretation of its use of melodrama conventions.

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