Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

Having a disability is a funny thing.

Not "ha-ha" funny, mind you. I would never suggest that. But funny in a curious way. People who have disabilities know they must do things differently than their peers. The mere presence of a wheelchair can … change things. And it can change people around them.

In ABC's Speechless, disability—and how people deal with it—can be funny indeed. Too bad it can be a bit foul, as well.


J.J. Dimeo has cerebral palsy, which has robbed him of the ability to speak and walk. But despite those impediments, J.J. is doing OK. He cruises through life in a fancy wheelchair. He communicates with a massive keyboard and with a Bluetooth-like laser pointer attached to his head. His physical abilities may be impaired, but mentally he's just peachy, thanks very much.

Too bad the same can't be said about his family.

Maya, his mother, is determined to give J.J. as normal a school experience as possible—even if that means she has to check J.J. into every high school in the region. J.J.'s on his sixth in a two-year span, with Maya and husband Jimmy moving the whole Dimeo clan into a truly frightening house just to be in the right school district. She'll call foul on any insensitivity—real or imagined—that bounces J.J.'s way. If a school's not accessible enough, she'll holler until it is. School administrators run when they see Maya. Like, they literally sprint—sometimes tripping over shrubbery in their rush to escape.

But it's not just J.J. who's on his sixth school. His younger siblings, Ray and Dylan, are too. They've found their own ways to cope with their family's literal and metaphorical instability. Smart, geeky Ray retreats into his books and his love of astronomy and, recently, an attraction to a fellow star-gazer named Jillian. Dylan loses herself in sports. And she has very little patience for her new school's habit of ignoring scores and praising everyone, no matter how badly they perform. "Not amazing, Emma!" she hollers, counteracting her coach. "You're slow!"

A Mixed Bag

Speechless feels a lot like ABC's The Middle with wheelchair accessibility. It's clever and zany and, in its own wacky way, insightful. While some treat J.J. like a charity case and others treat him with exaggerated reverence, the show itself treats him as a flawed, realistic person: It doesn't ignore his cerebral palsy, because that's part of what makes him who he is. Nor does it ignore how that disability impacts the people closest to him, because that's part of what makes them who they are, too.

My favorite moment in the pilot comes as Maya considers moving the family yet again, even though middle son Ray would really like to stick around for once. And Jimmy drops a little wisdom in his wife's lap.

"You fight and fight for J.J. to have a normal life," he tells her. "Maybe he's not the only one who deserves that."

Speechless has been praised by both critics and families dealing with their own disabled kids. And the show's credentials are boosted by the fact that Micah Fowler, the actor who plays J.J., has a neurological disorder himself.

But from a content perspective, Speechless sometimes still says the wrong things.

Even as Maya tries to ensure that J.J. isn't mocked or abused, the Dimeo family—including J.J.—doesn't always extend the same grace to others. (Indeed, a woman hired to serve as J.J.'s interpreter is essentially bullied out of her job by J.J. and the family.) Sexual content and allusions sometimes make an appearance. And the language, while pretty typical by modern sitcom standards, may at times make viewers wish these characters were at least temporarily speechless.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Speechless: Sept. 21, 2016 "Pilot"



Readability Age Range





Minnie Driver as Maya; John Ross Bowie as Jimmy Dimeo; Cedric Yarbrough as Kenneth; Mason Cook as Ray; Kyla Kenedy as Dylan Dimeo; Micah Fowler as J.J. Dimeo






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!