If there is one thing you can expect from visiting your parents over holiday break is watching a fuck ton of television. On one hand, this is an opportunity to rot your brain and prevent conversations about politics. On the other, this is a great time to discover new television shows that your parents might hate.
This year, that show for me was Born This Way on A&E. It’s one of the sweetest, most precious reality shows ever created in that it deals with a delicate group of people—a cast with Down Syndrome—who have very real and relatable lives. The show is about how this group of friends find love, meet people, and deal with familial issues with their own problems. There is the hopeless romantic (Rachel), the ladies man (Sean), the life of the party (John), the go getter (Megan), the basket case (Elena): you can find yourself in this rag tag, great group.
The reason why this show excels is because it isn’t sad or sappy or pandering: it’s produced to treat this group of people legitimately, contextualizing their issues and life events so that you aren’t ever laughing at them. You always feel like you are experiencing with them instead of watching, from afar, to gawk. This helps from having the family of the cast very much involved to explain where exactly they are coming from, to abbreviate their history and the history of Down Syndrome. Obviously, the show has done an excellent job of handling a sensitive subject with dignity.
Will you like it? I hope so! I love it. It’s the best show of last 2015 / early 2016. But will your grandma like it? “Shut this off,” mine said as I watched it over break. “It’s too depressing.” Then she proceeded to call them “retarded” and sulk, which was reason to change the channel because it made me turn int the red faced emoji. (I didn’t correct her because she is turning 91 in April and it was a losing battle.)
Born This Way airs Tuesday nights on A&E. You can watch it for free on the A&E app.