I am so glad I found this show. I only started seeing commercials for it about a week ago and was intrigued immediately. So far, the first episode has me hopeful that this will be a true documentary showing the actual lives, struggles, and triumphs of several people with Down Syndrome rather than a fake and exploitative piece of crap most reality shows turn out to be. (I'm sternly looking at you in particular, "Little Women: LA" and "Little Women: NY.")
I will first and most importantly say I cut Elena a lot of slack. A LOT. For one thing, she has Down Syndrome for God's sake; she's naturally going to have a harder time than most in processing and controlling her emotions. And obviously, and most sadly, it seems her struggles with accepting Down Syndrome has a lot to do with how her mother handled it. Therefore, I cannot blame one bit of how Elena is on herself. I have to admit that out of everyone featured on the show, so far, she has broken my heart the most. I am really, really not the type of person who cries at movies or TV shows, but I can already tell she's going to make me tear up the most (she already has). :(
In some ways, I can actually relate to Elena. I was born with a disability myself (although, it's a form of dwarfism, which, for me, is only a physical disability, not an intellectual one), and while I was incredibly lucky enough to have a great childhood with very little, if any, bullying by other kids, I still naturally struggled in some ways similar to Elena as many kids with a visible disability would. Additionally, she and I come from a similar background; my mother is also Japanese originally from Japan and my father is Caucasian (but from the US, not European as Elena's father appears to be). Knowing my personal experience with my mother and Asians in general, I am honestly not that surprised that her mother has handled it the way that she has, sadly. Although I never explicitly had such a conversation with my mother, I think my mother struggled in accepting me and my disability in a very similar way as Elena's mother. Maybe that's a huge reason why I didn't and don't have the typical mother/daughter relationship with her, who knows. But that's a whole other story and topic of discussion not fit for here. :P Anyway, Asians seem to have a harder time accepting such differences and they can be very, very blunt in their criticism and views of someone. I know that sounds very stereotypical, but again, this is coming from my experience with my Japanese mother and many other Asians in my life. (Random, but interesting and kinda freaky to me sidenote: Elena's mother and my mother have the same name!) I wish I had an answer as to how Elena may overcome her difficulties with herself, but I am hopeful that in conjunction with this show and perhaps other loving people who will step in to help her and, as she so heartbreakingly put it, not give up on her, it will help.
I like everyone else on the show so far with the minor exception of John, though. Even though I cut him some slack for obvious reasons, too, he still seems high functioning enough that if people consistently worked with him on boundaries and knowing when and how to use filters, I think he could be more likable overall as well.
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know if Megan, the one who moved to LA and wants to be a film producer, is behind this show? Just wondering given her dream of being a film maker. Plus, moving out to LA so easily with her mom, even if just for a "test run," seems suspect.
Anyway, as I said earlier, I am enjoying this show thus far and remain optimistic that I will continue to do so. It reminds me of a documentary I watched on Netflix earlier this year called "Monica & David", which was about an engaged Down Syndrome couple. If you like this show thus far, I highly recommend watching this movie as I think much of the struggles featured in it will be similar to the ones featured on this show.