Atypical, confronts the challenges of fitting into society for its main character Sam, a high school student with autism. Sam (Keir Gilchrist), with help of his therapist Julia (Amy Okuda), decides that he is ready to find a girlfriend. Though for Sam, finding a girlfriend whilst also being on the autism spectrum proves to be a struggle as he navigates new relationships and learns to confront his own behaviors in the process.
Atypical, which is only in its first season, has proved to be a Netflix success among audiences. With heartfelt moments, relatable characters, comedic charm and a bit of dramedy cliché, Atypical highlights the importance and lack of understanding between ‘neurotypical’ and ‘atypical’ people, or those who can function “normally” in society and those who cannot. The show is shot from Sam’s perspective and features voiceover asides and personal thoughts. Though the plot of the show follows many typical teenage coming of age stories, allowing Sam’s voice as a young man with autism to come through as the shows driving factor is both important for representation and understanding, as it allows the viewer to get into the brain of someone who might think neurologically differently from themselves.
Creator Robia Rashid called Atypical her passion project, as she broke from working on a regular network to tell a story she thought needed to be told. By taking an uncharted approach to teenage romance, Atypical’s message of acceptance shines through and reminds audiences about humanity, love, and generosity.
Sources: Vulture, IMDB, The National Autistic Society