How do you get people to do stuff you want them to? More specifically, how do you get someone to watch or listen to something you’re obsessed with? Lainey tries to manipulate me. “It’s got this that and that, which you love!” Sasha tosses in small tidbits about whatever it is, and when you ask what it’s from, she’s like, “I told you a hundred times!”
Nowadays, since we’re spending every day all day on text, I favour the screen grab, usually with captions on so I can sell what’s going on. But of course the Netflix show Deaf U has copious captions, and is way ahead of me.
Here’s the shot I used to entice Kathleen:
The hearing world! She’s gonna graduate sometime soon! Are you intrigued? Kathleen was, because here’s what she sent back:
This is it – we’re in. Are you on board?
Deaf U goes fast and hard and to be quite frank, it f-cks. Literally, we’re into allll the hookups and entanglements in a small, interconnected group at Gallaudet University, the world’s only university specifically designed to accommodate deaf and hard-of-hearing students.
The thing about the show that makes it so delicious and the thing that has drawn a lot of online ire is that while you will absolutely learn a metric ton about deaf culture and subcultures, and all kinds of things you never thought of (like the way their dorm ‘doorbells’ are flashing lights), educating you is not what the show is about. Go somewhere else for that.
The show is about hooking up.
And with who, and why, and how come Alexa (referred to very affectionately as, basically, a f-ckboy) is either featured or mentioned in basically every scene in this show, and why Cheyenna is being driven so extremely nuts by ‘the Elites’.
Oh yes, there are people who are called the Elites. But here’s the thing – this show is a documentary, so unlike shows where a given group is called “The Plastics” or “The Power Bitches” or whatever… these people call themselves Elites.
I’m not going to tell you what it means or who is or isn’t an Elite because finding out is part of the intrigue. All I’m going to say is that, unlike so many of the other groups you’ve heard of with names like this, these people actually have the power all those other groups say they do.
There is backstabbing and there is confusion. There is super-soapy drama and there is level-headed discussion about racial inequality. There are people telling their parents way too much about their sexual exploits, and those who devilishly smirk that they try to horrify their grandparents. There are people dealing with legitimate family issues, identity issues, and trying to figure out how they fit into the world – for many of the (admittedly small) cast, being deaf is a defining characteristic of who they are, but by no means their biggest challenge.
I mean, I’m sold… by my own self. Why aren’t you? But if you need a little bit more, I’ll say that these episodes fly by. There are only eight, and the longest one is 21 minutes – most are closer to 18. You can binge them all literally right after finishing this article and get into a rabid chat about these people and their lives with me right afterward (that is, after you follow them all on Instagram like a stalker, because who are we kidding).
Years ago, on Weeds, there was a tertiary, yet still three-dimensional, character dating the Hunter Parrish character, who wanted to go to Gallaudet. She was fascinating, intriguing – and based on the real-life people on this show, she was created and written by someone who knows.