Atypical is a Netflix original series that I really love. I just finished watching the second season and I feel pretty happy and here’s why. It’s a great show that follows our main guy Sam who is growing up, just finishing high school but is a highly functioning individual on the autistic spectrum. We see him encounter and overcome challenges, learn more about himself and his abilities and see the interactions he has with his family, friends and school mates.
I may not be an expert on autism, in fact I have had barely any exposure to it at all, and that is exactly why I’m glad to have watched this show. I cannot say for sure that it is an accurate depiction of what autism is for people but it gives me a hell of a lot more insight than zero. Autism is such a common neurological disorder and yet we know barely anything about it. It’s almost like it’s hushed about and swept under the carpet but if we never learn to empathise and understand it then how can you stop alienating people on the autistic spectrum. There is a lot of chat in the world about exposure and the representation of minorities, and of course every one of those groups are important and should be represented, but right now I’m particularly happy to see Atypical on (digital) screens and being a favourite among loads of my friends.
Atypical is a great show because while it broaches many of the different subjects and challenges of autism, it also shows us a real, ‘normal’ and relatable family. None of the characters are perfect, but their flaws do not make themA lot of the show can be quite introspective with Sam’s monologues but also with the amount of therapy in the show. Not just therapy for autistic people through one-on-one professional sessions or school support groups but also for the other characters in how they deal with life generally.
Sam’s character does not (and shouldn’t have to) represent the entire autistic spectrum but I think focussing on a high functioning individual shows how capable people can be and it feels inspiring to watch.
The only other thing I’ve encountered that shed any light on what it actually is to be autistic was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time which used theatre arts to show how vision and sound could manifest in an autistic brain. I like learning about how other people work and I’ve always had a fascination for psychology so I find it very useful to be shown these portrayals and the more of them we have the more empathetic the world can be. I would like to see some more of it in the world.
Big picture aside, Atypical is a really sweet show that warms my heart because it’s about growing up and figuring yourself out and it’s about family. You should watch it, if you don’t already 🙂