Have you ever wondered what would happen if Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc) had never been switched?
Well tonight we're finally getting our questions answered with it's a wonderful Switched at Birth life! The hit ABC Family drama is paying homage to one of the greatest Christmas tales of all time with a one-of-a-kind holiday episode.
ETonline had an exclusive chat with star Vanessa Marano to get all the inside scoop on Bay's shocking life as a full-fledged Vasquez, struggling to sing on set, and (sorry, Bemmett fans) a potential relationship with her brother!
ETonline: What do you want Switched at Birth fans to know before tuning into tonight's Christmas special?
Vanessa Marano: If they liked the what-if episode, they're going to really like this episode a lot. It's a lot more fun and a lot less depressing — like the fact that Regina is alive. So essentially the first what-if episode is what would've happened if Regina has not hid the secret of the switch, and this is what-if the switch never happened? So Bay growing up with Angelo and Regina, and Daphne growing up with the Kennishs. So it's really what their lives would've been, and by our logic, we would think Daphne would be an athlete and they'd be their happy little Kennish family, and nothing else would really change for the Kennishs. Bay would be the artist and Angelo and Regina would still be together, and they would be this happy little Vasquez family. But as we dive deeper into the episode — a la It's a Wonderful Life — things aren’t necessarily better when you wish for things to be different in your life.
How does this Christmas special fit into the Switched at Birth timeline?
VM: Well t's an isolated episode that doesn’t really have anything to do with anything that proceeded it. In the magical world that we're in right now, were somewhere in between Angelo passing away and Daphne going off the rails. Even though it seems like she went off the rails pretty quickly. It was like none of that stuff has happened yet but Angelo has died.
In the episode you play Bay as Daphne and vice versa with Katie's characters. How confusing was that on set?
VM: It's was actually so confusing on set! [Laughs] In fact it actually got so confusing with the writers that if you actually read the Christmas script, it just says Vanessa and Katie because they were so confused.
Bay and Toby and up having some very strange — almost romantic — interactions in the episode. How did it feel to play out those scene?
VM: Isn't that the best part of the whole episode? It's just too good. It was my favorite part of the episode by far. [Laughs] Lucas and I have had a joke from the very beginning where we go, 'They're brother and sister, but they're really not.' So we make that joke all the time that they're this weird borderline thing because they aren't related, but they grew up related. In the real world of Switched at Birth, obviously that didn’t happen, but it makes for great jokes. So [the writers] found a way to do it so it's still super creepy, but our world doesn’t suffer from it. Get ready for hashtag Boby!
Bay and Emmet are strictly friends in this alternate universe. Will Bemmett fans still be happy with this episode?
VM: The Bemmett fans will be fine, that whole episode gives them something. They get something in the end. They might react poorly in the beginning, but they definitely feel satisfied by the end of the episode. Since, I'm a hearing actor and I have never had the experience of playing a deaf character, and we really didn’t have time to work on an accent, and we couldn’t do the entirely silent thing. But what actually ended up happening was a lot of the scenes with Bemmet, where Bay usually SIMCOMs, were completely silent because that's supposed to be like the Emmett/Daphne relationship. So that was a kind of fun thing that we got to do. As deaf Bay I got to do silent scenes with Emmet which is fun because I have never experienced doing that before with Sean [Berdy].
What are you most excited for Switched at Birth fans to see in tonight's all-new special?
VW: We get to sing in this episode, so we get to hear the lovely voice of Lea Thompson, and the wonderful voice of D.W. Moffett, and the beautiful voice of Lucas Grabeel, and then Constance [Marie] and Vanessa try not to crack. We were singing the song — and it's scripted that we're not supposed to be great because nobody's a fool here — and the director comes over and turns to both of us and says, 'Hey look, I know it's supposed to be bad, can you at least try?' And we were trying! [Laughs]
Switched at Birth's Christmas special airs tonight at 9 p.m. on ABC Family.