The West Wing/NBC/1999-2006 (Deaf)
Josephine “Joey” Lucas (Marlee Matlin), a hearing-impaired California-based pollster who uses her expertise to interpret national poling data for President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his senior staff at the White House.
Born in California, Joey is deaf. She attended UCLA and Stanford. Her Sign Language interpreter is Kenny Thurman (Bill O’Brien) who had been with her for 11 years. She trusted him implicitly (“to trust her was to trust him”). Joey’s religious affiliation is Quaker.
Initially, Joey served as a campaign manager for Bill O’Dwyer in the California 46th district until President Bartlett suggested she dump his campaign and run as a Congresswoman.
When President Bartlet revealed that he was suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, Joey was brought on board to monitor the public’s reaction to his medical disclosure. Joey also assisted the President before several of his State of Union addresses.
Joey’s liaison at the White House was Deputy White House Chief of Staff, Josh Lyman (Bradley Whitford). When Josh decided to support Congressman Matt Santos’ run for president, Joey worked as a consultant for the campaign.
Joey dated fellow pollster Al Kiefer (John de Lancie). Later, Josh Lyman became interested with Joey romantically until he discovers Joey is pregnant. Joey suggested that Josh pursue a relationship with his faithful assistant, Donna Moss (Janel Maloney). Joey and Josh’s flirtations continued for a time. But Donna gets Josh in the end.
Note: Joey Lucas first appeared on the episode “Take This Sabbath Day” (February 9, 2000) and continued on the series for another 16 episodes ending with “Requiem” (April 16, 2006).
Marlee Matlin, who played Joey on the series, is deaf in real life. She has appeared in a number of TV series including PICKET FENCES, SEINFELD (one episode), REASONABLE DOUBTS and SWITCHED AT BIRTH.
SPIN CITY/ABC/1996-2002 (Hysterical Deafness)
Paul Thomas Lassiter (Richard Kind), a neurotic employee at the Mayor’s Office in New York City who suffers from hysterical deafness. As he told his coworkers, “Under intense competition I lose my hearing.”
On episode No. 107 “Lost and Found” Paul competes with coworkers Carter Heywood and Stuart Bondek for a chance to be chosen by the Mayor to go to a conference in New Orleans.
After Stuart is no longer in the running, Carter realized Paul’s affliction was real and he bowed out gracefully so that the Mayor would choose Paul.
Paul is thrilled at being selected until the Mayor announced that while in Louisiana, Paul was to play in a friendly game of golf against some other politicos [and that there was a monetary wager involved]. Of course. Paul went deaf at the thought of the seemingly friendly competition.
PICKET FENCES/CBS/1992-96 (Deaf)
Laurie Bey (Marlee Matlin), a self-proclaimed modern day Robin Hood with a hearing disability seen on the drama PICKET FENCES/CBS/1992-95.
Outraged at the government’s pork barrel spending, Laurie went on a four-year crime spree robbing banks and redistributing the funds to people who really needed them-in one case, victims of a flood disaster.
Bold in her endeavors, she ended each of her capers with a little dance performance in an attempt to humanize her deed and create a positive folklore in case she was arrested. Her antics earned her the nickname “The Dancing Bandit.”
On the March 3, 1995 episode, Laurie was captured and put on trial. She so endeared the jury that they delivered a verdict of “not” guilty at which the judge outraged at their “putrid” decision-based on sentiment rather than fact-gave Laurie Bey 3000 hours of community service. Laurie, who was fluent in sign language, was later elected Mayor of Rome, Wisconsin.
WEST WING/NBC/1999-2006 (Multiple Sclerosis)
Josiah “Jed” Bartlet (Martin Sheen), a liberal Democratic US President afflicted with Multiple Sclerosis.
Only a few of his highest advisors knew of the ailment. He never informed the American public he had such an illness during the campaign. Now, that he is in the White House and under stress from domestic and international issues, his condition begins to reveal itself.
On episode “17 People” (aired 4/4/01) Communications Director Tobias “Toby” Ziegler was shocked to learn of the President’s secret affliction with multiple sclerosis — and he detailed its political and legal ramifications.
Joey Lucas (Marlee Matlin), a deaf pollster was brought on board to monitor the public’s reaction to his medical disclosure. Joey also assisted the President before several of his State of Union addresses.
See also: West Wing 2