Monday, August 1, 2011

SWITCHED AT BIRTH Secrets: "Paradise Lost" linked to Dali, Milton, Bible, and more

This week's episode of SWITCHED AT BIRTH is entitled "Paradise Lost" and it is probably the most intriguing and complex one yet. Further proof that SWITCHED is written by smart people for a smart audience! I think the "secrets" behind each episode's title make the series alot more interesting.

In episode 9 (without spoiling anything) the Kennishes--Vanessa Marano (THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS) as Bay Kennish; D.W. Moffett (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS) as John Kennish; Lea Thompson (Back to the Future) as Kathryn Kennish; Lucas Grabeel (High School Musical) as Toby Kennish) and the Vasquezes (Constance Marie (GEORGE LOPEZ) as Regina Vasquez; Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez)--try to come to terms with their knowledge of the secret Regina has held all these years, and the two families also celebrate Bay and Daphne’s birthday. Meanwhile, Bay struggles with a secret of her own. With all this in mind, this week's namesake masterpiece is most likely the 1867 Alexandre Cabanel painting shown.

I say most likely because it may also refer to a series of works by Salvador Dali (sample below) that also bear the same name as SWITCHED AT BIRTH episode 9--especially when we think about how Bay is inspired in part by Dali in her own artwork. Even more intriguing, Dali and Cabanel were themselves inspired by a very famous book by John Milton--again with the same name.

To fully appreciate the "Da Vinci Code" style references, you really have to watch--but I will go so far as to say that it's all about "original sin." But is the "sin" the hospital's mix-up? Or the moms not noticing they were raising a stranger's baby? Or does it have more to do with present-day relationships? Especially Emmet (Sean Berdy) and Bay?

I think both paintings add another fun level of meaning to SWITCHED AT BIRTH. Especially knowing that whichever one was intended, they were both inspired by the epic poem (it's about 10,000 words!) of the same name written by John Milton around 1660.

I like to think of Milton as a cross between Homer (who wrote the Odyssey) and Shakespeare! In his "Paradise Lost," he expands on the "Book of Genesis" (the story Adam and Eve and the creation of Man). Supposedly, he once describe the huge poem in his own words as an attempt to "justify the ways of God to men and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and humans' free will."

Another way of putting it is that it's about the fight between fate and freedom, or even nature versus nurture. Very SWITCHED AT BIRTH!


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