I used to dance three rows behind her every Saturday morning in the Palisades. We were in the same JAM class, a plyometric dance workout with sex appeal. There were often celebrities in the class but Minnie seemed different. She was really joyful in those classes. She just had this cool, no bullshit vibe about her. Or maybe I was just reading into who she was because I’d most recently seen her on The Riches. Either way, Minnie showed up at our first big charity event, a dance class at the Malibu Lumberyards, where we were raising money and awareness for PhaseOne Foundation. She jumped right in with the class as we all danced ourselves into a sweat in the name of crushing cancer…and was super nice about posing for pictures too. All in all, a cool girl.
On Sunset the other day I was delighted to see a decal on the side of the city bus announcing Minnie’s new show Speechless on ABC. Minnie in another pithy mom role? Bring it! And OI! she nailed this one. Speechless stars Minnie Driver as Maya Dimeo, family matriarch and fearless defender of her eldest son JJ who has cerebral palsey. In the first episode the Dimeo family gets uprooted for the 6th time in a year to find a better educational environment for JJ. JJ is confined to a wheelchair and uses an electronic board to communicate, and in this new school he allowed to have an interpreter accompany him. The designated interpreter sounds a bit like a fairy godmother and JJ makes a number of quips about her voice like “say bippidy boppity boo” in defiance of this particular interpreter being assigned to him. But by the end of the first episode he manages to befriend the school janitor and find himself a cool voice, recruiting the janitor as his new interpreter.
There’s some arguing about the ramp at the school, people staring at JJ, a run-in with a cool kid and his girlfriend, a first kiss and a school carnival. A lot happens in this first episode. And apparently Maya Dimeo has built quite a reputation for herself as a brassy, outspoken mom, even the cops are scared of her. The rest of the family goes along with the flow. Dad appreciates mom’s aggressive, den mother mentality of fiercely defending her cubs, and their daughter seems to make things work for herself wherever she lands. The middle child, Ray, however feels at times overlooked by his mom who is so focused on JJ. Plenty of family conflicts to make things relatable but entertaining. Plus the whole thing is pretty darn funny. Well cast and well written. I definitely recommend recording this one for binge watching. You can watch the first episode here.
PS – here’s the pics of Minnie joining us at the charity event a few years ago. Thanks Minnie! You rock.