Saturday, September 23, 2017

What's On Netflix?: ATYPICAL - Season 1

Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we choose a series or film playing on Netlfix and review it for the fans. This week's selection is the series, ATYPICAL, created and written by Robia Rashid and directed by Seth Gordon.

This series is about a young man named Sam, who is on the autism spectrum. He's quite intelligent; but lacks certain social skills. This is evident through his interaction with girls. Sam is in an extremely tricky place in life, his senior year of high school. His younger sister, Casey helps him a great deal. The bond between these two is admirable and sweet. Casey doesn't treat her brother any differently because of his autism, even while dealing with her own issues with fitting in at their high school.

This series hit a personal note with me because I've worked with kids with autism. Atypical shows a family coming together to deal with the issues of autism and I found that inspiring. I've met parents whose children have it and it is very stressful on the family and they've had to make many sacrifices.

During the first episode, he tells his therapist, Julia, that he wants to date. She encourages him to do so and gives him pointers. I loved the interaction between Sam and Julia.  She genuinely wants to help him and believes that with time he'll be able to develop a relationship with a girl his age.

Another funny moment in the series is when Sam's mother, Elsa, finds out that Julia suggested that he date. She doesn't think he is ready. I think that she is so used to being Sam's guardian and the more independent he grows, the less she is needed. Sam's growing independence has interesting consequences for the family dynamic.

There are many heartwarming and hilarious moments in this series. One of my favorites is when Sam asks out a ravishing redhead with the help of his co-worker. She ends up saying yes and they end up having dinner outside of Sam's work.

This groundbreaking series is not just about a teen with autism or even about a family dealing with a teen with autism. It's about normal family struggles and all the baggage that comes along with it. Also, all teenagers deal with the same issues that Sam does. I'm able to relate to Sam as a teenager; but I can't relate to him having autism since I don't have it.

Atypical has introduced me to some great actors such as Keir Gilchrist, Bridgett Lundy-Paine, and Amy Okuda. I love watching new shows that introduce me to up and coming actors. Netflix has done a great job with just that.

This series has gotten mostly positive reviews. It received a 75% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, Gilchrist's portrayal has been called unrealistic and stereotypical. I disagree with this because the spectrum is varied. For example: Gilchrist's character, Sam, has sensory issues. It's a known fact that some people on the spectrum are highly sensitive to bright lights and loud noises. I'm definitely not an expert, but I have experience with autistic children and teenagers.

If you have a child with autism, then you'll be able to relate to some aspects of this show or you may disagree with it entirely. However, it is a great show for the whole family to watch on a Friday night, so definitely give it a try.

Lisa's Score: 9/10

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