Sunday, March 23, 2008

Marlee Matlin appears on "Ellen"

Thanks to "The L Word" fan blog for this clip of Marlee Matlin and Fabian Sanchez on Ellen DeGeneres' talk show March 21.

It was a typical talk show appearance except the show seemed a bit unclear about how to handle Matlin's personal interpreter, Jack Jason. Matlin signed without speaking while sitting down with Ellen and so the TV audience only heard a male voice. Then the camera pulled back to show Jason (in the dark!), which I found a bit insulting to him. It would have been a better set-up to just have Jason be part of the interview like he has been in other Matlin TV appearances I've seen. I realize now that Matlin is back in the national limelight, TV shows are trying to figure out sign language etiquette (at least I hope they are). I think it is best to just make it transparent for the audience -- many deaf people use interpreters all the time and the more this important communication relationship is shown on TV the better educated Americans will become about it.
(BTW, Marlee Matlin's MySpace page is now booming after her DWTS appearance.)

Obviously Ellen and Marlee talked about "Dancing with the Stars," but it was interesting that "The L Word" wasn't mentioned, as Ellen is the most famous out lesbian in America and "The L Word's" season finale (in which Matlin stars) is March 23. Matlin has always been a big supporter of gay rights. She appeared in a GLAAD "Be an Ally and a Friend" PSA recently. And Ellen is much more open this season in talking about gay rights, mentioning her partner, Portia de Rossi, etc. Either time was limited or Ellen's staff didn't do their homework about all that she and Marlee could have talked about.

I usually enjoy Ellen's show and think she has an even more engaging presentation this season now that she comfortably talks about her life and issues important to her. So here's a plea to have Marlee Matlin back on the show so they can talk some more (with Jack Jason there too!).

Finally, a bit about my one degree (two degrees?) of separation from Ellen. She went to high school in a small east Texas town, Atlanta, TX, which is my mother's hometown. They graduated from the same high school about 25 years apart and had the same home economics teacher. Go Atlanta Rabbits! :-)