Series Review: Atypical

Clayton Collins MC

Caelia Allen, Staff Writer

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Atypical is no exception to the abundance of great television. The Netflix Original carries itself as a family dramedy and explores the lives of Sam and his family in various not-so typical situations.The series stars Keir Gilchrist as Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old autistic high school senior whose Season One interest is to find a girlfriend or particularly find a practice girlfriend until he can date his therapist. Season Two of the series was recently released in September. The season consisted of Sam putting his newly learnt life skills to the test, preparing for college while replacing his former therapist with an autistic support group played by actors on the autistic spectrum.

 

Up-and-coming actress, Brigette Lundy-Paine plays Casey, Sam’s younger sister and track superstar at their high school. Their father Doug, an EMT,  is played by Michael Rapaport. He is trying to bond with his son despite lost time. Jennifer Jason Leigh stars as Elsa, the overprotective mom who feels she has no identity besides her motherhood.

 

Although criticized by many reviewers for being a yet again stereotypical depiction of autism, the series is a fairly enjoyable watch. I support the notion that it is one of the best autistic depictions in media so far. Seen as unnecessary info-dumps, Sam’s voice-overs are possibly the most informative of the cognitive illness he deals with. While remaining comical and rather eccentric, the show deals with reality. Following the release of the show’s second season, critics are more lenient with the show after realizing its effort and slight succession to combat stereotypes. Most times in the world of television, the lines of realistic and unrealistic aspects are blurred no matter the context. This is one of the shows where the audience can relate non-stop to the characters and their situations, possibly even more so, the world. Here is a show where reality is finally given a chance to be real.

From heartwarming instances where Sam’s therapist, Julia (Amy Okuda), helps Sam’s father navigate life with his son to difficult ones where Casey is figuring out her sexuality and newfound attraction to a friend, Izzie (Fivel Stewart), Atypical has created a well-rounded space of familial dark times and happy moments.

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