"Switched at Birth," the ABC Family series about two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital, returns for its third summer season and picks up right where it left off.
Bay (Vanessa Marano) is torn between being true to her current boyfriend Tank (Max Adler) and her love for Emmett (Sean Berdy), which doesn't fade away, and it causes her to do something she never imagined possible for her.
Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and Bay head to East Riverside in an attempt to assuage the tempers that are flaring over mom Regina's (Constance Marie) involvement with the revitalization of the area -- and the unethical deals being made by her boss.
To kick off the new episodes, Marano spoke to reporters about why lies ahead for Bay and Emmett, what advice she would give Bay, what has been most challenging for her and more.
Is there any one topic on "Switched at Birth" that has had a very large impact on your personal life?
We deal with so many topics on our show. We've covered the deaf community. We've covered a lot of social and cultural differences. This last season, we introduced a character who was in a wheelchair, which actually was very close to my heart because I work with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. They've been working so hard to find a cure for paralysis. It was great that "Switched" introduced the character who was paralyzed and was so hopeful to find a cure because that particular foundation is so close to finding a cure that it's unbelievable. So that tugged at my heartstrings a little bit.
What is going to happen between Bay and Emmett this summer?
I think Bay and Emmett fans are going to be very happy this summer. But of course, it's Bay and Emmett, so they're not without their trials and tribulations. It's a relationship that I think all the fans have been waiting to see, revisited and brought back to life. Now that they're finally there, it's not without its struggle. You can't just get back into a relationship, specifically, the way they get back into the relationship. It left with Emmett cheating, and they got back together with her cheating on her current boyfriend. So there's a little bit of a mess right now, but they're together.
What's going to be happening with Bay and Daphne's relationship?
It's a particularly difficult season for Daphne. She's very nervous about her mother's safety now that Regina's involved in this East Riverside Project. In the premiere episode, Bay and Daphne team up to find the guy who threw the brick through the window [of Regina's office] in order to make peace with him, so they know Regina is safe where she is. I don't know if that's going to go according to plan, but again, does it ever go according to plan?
How does Bay address her new relationship with Emmitt to her current boyfriend Tank?
Bay has been cheated on. She's experienced the heartache of it. She is very sensitive in that situation, and she immediately wants to tell him. She wants to break up with him. She wants to not hurt him. She doesn't know what she wants to do, but she knows what the right thing to do is. So she's being pulled into two different directions as far as her knowing she doesn't want to hurt him, but she also knows that he needs to be aware of the situation.
Bay is feeling so terrible about herself, and Emmett has no way to really comfort her. I think what hurts the most is in her situation with Emmett. He was someone who cheated on her, who cared so much about her, and she cares about Tank, but not in the way that Emmett cares about her. I think that brings up a lot of scars for her as well. The premiere episode is a rough one for everyone involved in that triangle.
What's one piece of advice you would personally give to Bay?
Think things through! Girlfriend doesn't think anything through. She says the first thing that comes to her head. She does not ever think of the negative repercussions of anything. It's funny because I think that's directly related to her two mothers. Regina is very independent and very much does what she wants no matter what anybody says. And Kathryn [Lea Thompson]always looks on the positive side of things. [She] always [thinks] everything's going to turn out okay. Those two combinations create Bay -- someone who does what she wants and never thinks anything negative is going to happen.
What's going to happen on the upcoming season with Bay and her art?
This is their last year of high school for the Switched at Birth gang, so I'm sure, as all the teenagers who watch the show know, that's a very stressful time when you're applying to colleges and your future is right there in front of you. Bay has always known what she wanted to do with her life, so she's applying to art colleges and that's where she's at right now. It's a very scary process because you just don't know what's going to end up happening.
What's going to happen with the families this season?
As always, they're together and have each other's back. They're not without their conflicts because the Vasquez/Sorrento clan is very different than the Kennish clan. We're reeling from Toby's [Lucas Grabeel] divorce, so everyone's trying to get him back on his feet; as well as Bay feeling whether or not it's the right time to tell everyone that she and Emmett have rekindled an old flame. There's Regina's safety at this point in time because the project that she's working on in East Riverside with her boss, Wes, is such a dangerous idea to the point where a brick gets thrown through her window. It's a matter of taking care of her as well. No matter what's going on in their lives, they always have each other's back.
What has been the most challenging storyline you've had to play as Bay?
Bay and Emmett have so many different aspects of their relationship that are so difficult. For the first portion of their time together, it was me having to learn sign language, which was very hard. For the second portion of their time together, it was him cheating on her and still playing that you're in love with someone who's cheated on you -- because I have my own opinion about cheating, which is that you don't go back to the person -- but Bay, obviously, went back to him. So that's a very challenging thing for me to portray.
You throw in trying to sign all of that when you're angry, when you're sad, when you're happy, and all the rants that she could be going on because she's at so many different emotional levels of the whole thing, it gets very challenging. But at the same time, that's some of my favorite stuff to do because I like being challenged when I'm performing.
"Switched at Birth" returns Monday, June 16 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.