The lauded graphic novel memoir El Deafo is Cece Bell’s true story of being a young bunny going to school whose hearing aid turns her into a superhero, and Apple TV+ has made it into an animated series that premiers in January.
Check out this trailer!
Yeah! It’s about adjusting to change by embracing your imagination, it’s a realistic look for a wide audience at what it’s like to have hearing loss from someone’s personal experience, and it’s a show (for kids!) about facing how you feel about how you’re treated by others and acting on it.
Seriously, using your hearing aid to spy on the teacher’s movements and let the kids in your class get away with bunny-business they’re not supposed to be up to, shucks, as a former bad kid myself I love seeing the protagonist of a children’s program being allowed to navigate the nuances of misbehavior.
The awesome on display here should be a surprise to no one considering the source material. El Deafo was released in 2014 by the Amulet imprint of Abrams Books, swiftly became a #1 New York Times bestseller, and was awarded the John Newbery Medal from the American Library Association. Bell wrote and illustrated a sweet, earnest, and empowering comic about her experience with hearing loss at a young age. Socializing with a “Phonic Ear” strapped to her chest could have been daunting for a kid, but Bell doesn’t fail to show the world how she’s super.
The voice cast boasts the fresh talent of Lexi Finigan taking the lead as Cece; Pamela Adlon, someone with a million credits from Bobby Hill to Tuca and Bertie playing the role of Cece’s mom (and Spidermom!); the comedy science radio personality Chuck Nice; child screen and voice actor Boy-Yo Korodan; Quinn Copeland from the new Punky Brewster; Evan Hoyt Thompson from Broad City; Clancy Brown, an actor in every stone cold genre classic made in the last forty years and also Mr. Krabs; Jane Lynch– another person with an infinite credit list, one of the Christopher Guest players, the champ of non-sequitur line delivery; and Cece Bell herself narrating the show.
The series is directed by Gilly Fogg, who worked on Bob the Builder. Produced by Will McRobb, co-creator of the poineeringly odd and earnest The Adventures of Pete and Pete, and hot on the heels of his Harriet the Spy cartoon for Apple TV+ this year. Waxahatchee, whose last album, Saint Cloud, topped several 2020 lists (her Lucinda Williams cover is divine), is providing music for the show. The closing credits song dropped with the trailer, and her EP will be released in full the same Friday the show comes out.
El Deafo will air as a limited animated series on Apple TV+ in 2022, all three episodes debuting Friday, January 7th. The original graphic novel El Deafo is published by Abrams Books and is available now wherever better comics and books are sold.