“Atypical” : Great characters and an even greater message


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An entertaining plotline, great characters, and an engaging message, make “Atypical” a must see show.

Jose McDaniel, Staff Writer


“Atypical “ is a show directed by Seth Gordon and produced by Netflix. Released on Aug. 11, 2017, it focuses on the life of Sam who is on the autism spectrum. The most notable characters include Zahid (Nik Dodani), Sam (Keir Gilchrist), and Julia (Amy Okuda).

“Atypical” is an eye-opening show because not everyone knows how life is for someone on the spectrum. Because of this, the show unveils the obstacles that a person with autism must overcome when, just like everyone else, they are trying to achieve their own goals.

Through the character of Sam, viewers are given a glimpse of how people with autism see the world, whether it is how they view social situations or how they respond to minor changes in their life.

With this being said, “Atypical” also illustrates that people with autism aren’t much different from every other person in the world.

Everyone experiences life’s stress causing obstacles that make them feel uncomfortable, and people on the autism spectrum go through the same life altering experiences.

Some of these experiences could be figuring out what one wants to do when they get out of high school or what their life goals are. “Atypical” teaches viewers that everyone views these choices as stressful.

This is one of the main reasons why I like this show though. I feel that it creates a feeling of empathy and greater understanding for those on the spectrum. As viewers grow to love Sam’s character and want the best for him, they realize that it can be a great challenge for someone like him to navigate these everyday experiences at school and at work. 

One of my favorite parts of the plotline is when viewers get to watch Sam go through his first relationship, which he didn’t really understand at first. Again, he is just like the rest of us.

Watching Sam navigate the dating world, helps to break down a common autism myth: that people with autism can’t feel or express emotion. However, Sam busts this myth by illustrating to viewers that just because he sees the world in a different way and has a much more difficult time expressing his feelings, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t able to have said feelings.

Another one of my favorite parts is when Sam and his best friend get into an argument. In order to solve this issue between them and to save his friend from making a mistake, Sam has to go way beyond his personal comfort zone, but he does it because he cared for the well-being of his friend. 

This show also depicts what life is like for those around Sam, like his sister, Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), for example. Casey is easily the person Sam is closest with, so he wants to do everything with her. However, this preference can put her in difficult positions, forcing her to make a choice between her brother, her friends, or even her own boyfriend which isn’t easy because Sam depends on her for so many things in life.

He depends on her to him get through high school and sometimes she has to choose between being able to protect him or chasing after her own dreams, which is a crazy decision because obviously she doesn’t want to see her own brother getting his feelings hurt or being stressed because he doesn’t know what to do.

But it also talks about the sad parts of his life and how other people like him might deal with these situations. For example, how watching one’s parents going through a divorce heavily impacts a child’s (or teen’s) life, it shows how Sam goes through that situation and how it impacts him.

I would really recommend that people watch this show because it is not only educational to those who don’t know much about the autism spectrum, but it also has good entertainment value. It has a really good plot with each season and it is really good at portraying how difficult life and feelings are for people like Sam. 

The views in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of the GENESIS staff. Email Jose McDaniel at [email protected].