This Wednesday, November 29 will be a momentous occasion for Bonnie, Shoshannah Stern‘s character on Jericho, the CBS TV series: Bonnie will finally have a scene in which there is no voice-over or simcom for her.
For Sho, this has got to be exciting. She’s been hoping for such a scene since the show began, and the producers and writers even let her try her hand at writing. They’ve been what Sho calls “amazing.” Fortunately, Sho was also kind enough to take the time and comment on why this is such an important moment.
Bonnie is just one character out of a sizable ensemble in a primetime drama where the plot is certainly much bigger than a Deaf character we can root for (for those not in the know, check out the Jericho premise here — if it were a book, it’d be a pageturner). Nonetheless, Stern casts light on why Bonnie isn’t just the token Deaf girl in this storyline:
I think the character of Bonnie speaks to the rest of us because she has always had to depend on other people to get information. For the other people in Jericho, that used to be the easiest thing in the world. All they had to do was turn on the television or flip on the radio, and the information would be within reach. In a sense, after the bombs, the people of Jericho have been thrust in the position where Bonnie has been her whole life. …Theoretically, they have now been cut off from civilization in the same way that Bonnie was cut off from society. So in a strange sense, it’s somewhat easier for Bonnie to adapt to what’s going on than for anyone else living in Jericho.
Lest you think Bonnie’s lesson is how to survive despite being simultaneously isolated and dependent, consider the importance of having a scene where Bonnie’s signing is unhampered by voiceover.
…Bonnie lost her parents at a very young age. She’s always needed at the Richmond farm, so that is basically the whole scope of her existence. I think before the bombs happened, she never questioned these circumstances. … But now, everything’s changed. So, I think she’s had a lot going on in her head for a long time that she hasn’t been sharing with anyone. That’s why I think the scene with no voice-over or sim-com is so important. It serves as a sort of catharsis for her. She’s done with doing things for other people and communicating the way that they do. She’s going to do what she wants and what feels natural for her.
Okay, so a storyline where a Deaf girl isn’t just a novelty, and a scene long overdue on primetime television? Dang it. I’m watching. This, I’ve gotta see.