'Switched at Birth's' Katie LeClerc and Vanessa Marano

Affection can have its complications, as Bay and Daphne certainly know on “Switched at Birth.”

The ABC Family drama series resumes new fourth-season episodes Monday (Aug. 24) as relationships go in opposite directions for the two young women who were indeed switched at birth. Hearing-impaired Daphne (Katie Leclerc, who has a hearing loss herself) is thrilled about a new college romance until her friends weigh in on her beau, while Bay (Vanessa Marano) remains distraught over her breakup with Daphne’s longtime friend Emmett (Sean Berdy).

And, in the script by series creator Lizzy Weiss, that’s not all. Bay’s legal parents (Lea Thompson, D.W. Moffett) get troubling financial information, and a giant revelation stuns everyone: Someone among them is pregnant. Oscar winner Marlee Matlin reprises her recurring guest role as Emmett’s mother.

“I pinch myself every day and think, ‘Man, I can’t believe this is real,'” co-star Leclerc tells Zap2it of the ongoing ride “Switched at Birth” has given her. “My favorite thing about Daphne is that she’s just a regular girl. She happens to be deaf, but she grieved like any college student would when her father [Angelo, played by Gilles Marini] died. She rebelled, she had moments of glory and moments of defeat, and I feel she’s a very real character. And I’m very grateful that I get to breathe my life into hers.”

RELATED: ‘Switched at Birth’ – Bay’s life after Emmett is ‘a freaking mess’

The drunken night Bay spent with ex-boyfriend Tank (Max Adler) earlier in the show’s season, with intimate but murky results, was a reason for the end of her romance with Emmett — and also for much viewer comment on social media that surely was not lost on actress Marano.

Deeming Bay “just a broken human being who doesn’t have anything to claim as her own life” now, Marano allows she was “very nervous” about playing that “very controversial story line. There could have been a lot of negative reaction; my character wasn’t necessarily in the right, his character wasn’t necessarily in the right, and which one was more at fault? Our audience, and the critics, responded really well to it. That motivates you to continue telling different stories like that.”

With “Switched at Birth” regulars Thompson and Moffett also having directed episodes, Leclerc reflects, “I’ve gotten to see my co-stars grow, as well as myself. In the time we’ve all been together, there’s been babies, there’s been marriages [including Leclerc’s own last year], there’s been divorces … we really have become a family.”

Posted by:Jay Bobbin