Atypical is a comedy-drama created by Robia Rashid for Netflix. The series focuses on the life of an 18-year-old boy who lands somewhere on the spectrum as high functioning. He has all the issues that deemed him autistic, which I think Atypical covers quite nicely. I have a personal interest in watching this series, which I think is somewhat funny while keeping it real.
Atypical opens with Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist) in session with his therapist, Julia Sasaki (Amy Okuda). He has just learned even though he is autistic, he can date. Sam currently lives at home with Elsa Gardner (Jennifer Jason Leigh), his overprotective mother, Doug Gardner (Michael Rapaport) his father who works as an EMT, and Casey Gardner (Brigette Lundy-Paine), Sam’s younger sister who is also very protective of him. Thanks to her athletic abilities, she was able to earn a scholarship into a private school that placed them at separate educational facilities.
Because Sam is high functioning, he is able to work and has a best friend named Zahid Raja (Nik Dodani), who works at the same electronics store called Techtropolis. Zahid is loud and like Sam, doesn’t have much of a filter. He blurts out almost anything he’s thinking. Sam has developed a crush on Julia but is sad to learn she has a boyfriend. In the meanwhile, Paige Hardaway (Jenna Boyd), who is an intellectual high achiever has taken a romantic liking to Sam, which he doesn’t return. His most profound love is for Antarctica and the penguins. Since Sam is in high school, he has had contact with several students and is in a special support group for autistic children.
Having a high-functioning autistic grandson, I can say first hand, their community was well represented in this series. Sams adventures and coping mechanisms will help anyone needing to see other points of view or just want additional information on autism. Atypical is quite informative. The series manages to capture sams experiences through high school, dating, and working. The only part of the story I couldn’t relate to was Sam having a best friend as well as a girlfriend he’s dating, as my grandson, who is now 23, has neither. I suspect because Sam and Zahid’s boss, Bob (Jeff Rosenthal) was extremely nice and very understanding of Sam’s situation is why Sam was able to keep a job. Atypical will take you on a four-season, 38 episode adventure that is exciting and eye-opening. There is a major break-up, a senior prom-like none-other, sex, and someone comes out.
The first season received mostly positive reviews. However, it was highly criticized by some sources for its lack of autistic actors and inaccuracies in its depiction of autism. The second season featured autistic actors and writers, allowing them to have an opportunity to work and represent their community, and received mostly positive reviews. The third season continued this positive development and received overwhelmingly positive reviews. I highly recommend Atypical because it’s a well-written series for all. Atypical streams on Netflix, Check It Out!