After five seasons and 103 episodes, Freeform’s Peabody Award-winning drama “Switched at Birth” came to an end on Tuesday night.
In the 90-minute series finale “Long Live Love,” showrunner Lizzy Weiss and executive producer Linda Gase said a final goodbye to the Vasquez and Kennish families, sending the characters off in their own directions. And though the decision to end the series came from the network, after more than a year off the air, Weiss says she feels good about their run.
“I feel proud. The word everyone uses is ‘bittersweet,’ and it’s true,” Weiss said in an interview with TheWrap.
With the current trend of reboots and revivals in television, Weiss hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of revisiting “Switched at Birth” in the future.
“If people want to revisit it, I won’t shut that door,” she said. “[But] I’ve made my peace with it either way. If it doesn’t happen, we have 103 episodes that people can revisit, I hope for many years to come.”
Read the full interview below:
TheWrap: How are you feeling now that “Switched at Birth” has come to an end?
Lizzy Weiss: Proud. I feel proud. The word everyone uses is “bittersweet,” and it’s true. We’re all in a huge text change and we’re all going to get together and have dinner after the show. It’s real-world friends. The cast is excited to see the finale, since they haven’t seen it yet, and I’m excited for the fans. I’m curious to see how people will respond. It’s weird because I feel like this has happened twice. We wrapped and then put it away for a year, and now we’re showing it. I went through a lot of mourning after we wrapped, and here we are again. I’m proud of everything we did. Not just the series finale, but all 103 episodes.
Looking back over run of the show, was the experience at all what you expected it to be?
No, I don’t think I ever could have anticipated that it would last five years and go 100 episodes and mean so much to so many people. I certainly felt good about the pilot, I can say that. I was happy with the pilot after we shot it. I felt that we had something special. But I didn’t know where the stories would take us over five years, or that I would meet so many people. Or that they’d become close friends. It just becomes woven into your life.
Five years ago, I wasn’t really on social media. So that’s been great to really specifically hear from person to person. When I’ve gone out with the actresses, I’ve seen people come up to them and say how much the show means to them, but I don’t have that experience. So the only way I can get that is on social media. And that means a lot to me. When people reach out to write long letters, or tell me about their daughters, or about the sign language classes they got commissioned at their high school, or how they decided to become an interpreter. That means a lot to me, and that’s not something I would have anticipated.
Would you have liked the show to continue?
It would’ve been fun to go on, because there was more we could do to move things around and have fun stories. The first season was so steeped in difference and disability and different perspectives on the world. And then we had the opportunity to tell versions of that story in lots of different ways. I feel good about it. Getting to go on just would’ve been more cake.
What did you want to accomplish coming into the series finale?
The word “closure” feels too closed, but I did want to send the key characters on a path. Either on the path that we knew they were on, or to spin them in a new direction, like we did with Regina. The guys got spun off together in an unique way, and Emmett got a whole new career. We did make some life choices for the characters that felt finale-ish. Emmett’s going to go off and be a photojournalist, Regina’s going to wait for Eric and raise his kid, Toby’s going into education, Bay’s going to pursue tattooing. I feel good about it. You’re going to shut the TV off and feel satisfied.
Were there any characters that were especially difficult to finish?
We have brought up the specter of Daphne not becoming a doctor a couple times. She’s wavered and worried. Because we’ve answered that, it was on the table that maybe we do want Daphne to do something different. But sitting with that for a while, it just felt like a bummer. There was no way around that feeling like a disappointment. So that was important, to figure out a new way to let fans know that she’s doing it. It’s happening.
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Were there any scenes that felt cathartic to write? Or characters that you felt really good about the how they ended up?
I was very happy with Regina’s story. I felt good about starting her as a pretty tough, slightly bitter but very strong single mom, but ending her with a new life partner and son, going off on her own. It was always a joke in the writers’ room about when she was going to finally move out, but it was something I felt very strongly about saving for the end. I felt so happy for Regina. She got this total new life, a new family. And the Bay-Emmett scene was really cathartic for me. It was tough to get that one right. That relationship meant a lot to me as the creator of the show and seeing how the fans responded to it. To have it be sparse, to have not a lot said in dialogue, to have it said in the montage. To have it say, “we’re not going to be together in the long run, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t everything to me.”
Would you be willing to revisit the series at some point down the line?
It’s impossible to know 10 years from now what the interest will be. If people want to revisit it, I won’t shut that door. A lot of things would have to come together, people would have to want to do it, and I’d have to feel like there’s a story to tell. I’ve made my peace with it either way. If it doesn’t happen, we have 103 episodes that people can revisit, I hope for many years to come.
What comes next for you?
I’m doing a project now for Lifetime, I have an idea for a kids show for the first time. I’m pairing with Marlee [Matlin] and we’re going to pitch something together. And have a ton of ideas, but this feels like my first love. It feels like everything happened on this show, it was my first time running a show. We got great reviews, we got amazing awards, I grew as a person, my kids grew up on this show. Nothing will ever be quite like “Switched at Birth” for me.
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