Atypical's 2nd Season is a Step Forward in Autism Representation

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AspieUtah
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07 Oct 2018, 6:30 pm

thevirtualjim wrote:
Wow. I was so disappointed in season 1 that I was going to refuse to waste more time on it. After reading this, I'll give season 2 a try.

The only thing I liked about season 1 was Sam's sister and her BF. Everyone else seemed just a mess and not nice people, including Sam as a big not-nice stereotype. His therapist too - as someone who works in healthcare, she is a bad doctor and breaks many ethical rules.

I know that fictional television programs aren't held to a high standard (even those of dramatic calibers), but aren't the "fast and loose" descriptions they employ harming us more than if we had no such programs? Such programing doesn't need to comport with diagnostic realities, but could we come a little bit closer to real-world experiences of autists, their families and friends?

I know my life isn't getting portrayed at all, let alone accurately. I don't have goofy friends who make sex jokes when I am left speechless in a conversation. Nor do I calculate the next step in phi (phi, not pi). So, my life is left to obscurity? I amn't a punchline no matter how many advisers and scriptwriters might think so.


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KimD
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12 Oct 2018, 9:23 pm

Quote:
"And if you’re looking for an autistic actor to play him, contact my agent."
Or her. It could be a female.


This bears repeating many times!



jamthis12
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16 Oct 2018, 1:48 am

Haven't seen it myself, although I've been thinking about it. Might be geared slightly more towards me, because I just got out of high school five months ago, however I wasn't diagnosed until July, so I'm not sure. I know my mom's been watching it, so I hope that does a bit of good for her and starting to understand me.

Of course because I'm responsible I also told her to go here for more info, but I'm glad she's at least getting something.


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24 Oct 2018, 12:05 pm

You look like you could be his brother Alex, perhaps his stunt double if he decides to spend some time in Antartica with some actual penguins


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AutisticJar
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10 Nov 2018, 4:24 am

I have watched Season 1 of Atypical before Season 2 premiered. I wasn't so much offended like some people were, but I did have mixed feelings about it. I did feel that it portrayed autism in a way that's much better than what I've seen in other pieces of media that involves a character with autism, and I did relate to Sam in many ways. But nevertheless, I did have my issues.

I liked the topic they went with on autism and dating. That is a topic that, having being on the spectrum, is something I struggle with, and if they approached it correctly, I think it would have had the potential to explain the struggle that comes with autism and dating. Unfortunately, I don't think Atypical really did a good job touching on that. One of the things I was hoping they didn't do was giving Sam a girlfriend who's essentially a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Well, that's exactly what Paige comes off as. I felt like she had little to no personality during Season 1, and it seemed like she just fell right into Sam's lap with virtually no effort on his part. To me, it felt like she was shoehorned in just for the sake of giving Sam a girlfriend, and it was done in a way that felt unrealistic and artificial (Seriously, how the hell was she okay with being locked inside a closet?). On top of that, Sam seemed to offer nothing in a relationship when he was with Paige. In fact, he was pretty much an unintentional jerk to her. This is done by locking her in a closet, or embarrassing her in front of her family.

Season 1, to me, was more cringeworthy than it was offensive. But despite that, I was still interested in it enough to see what would happen in Season 2. I did think there was room for improvement, and some of the interviews I've seen of Robia Rashid had her explain what to expect from Season 2, and that she is taking feedback. I was a little on the fence about Season 2, but I watched all the episodes, and I absolutely loved it. The show has improved so much from the first season, and I found myself enjoying each episode. The show did not make me cringe the same way the first season did, and I actually related to Sam a lot more. There were a few parts from that season that I wasn't too fond of myself. Paige still felt like a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but they did give her more personality compared to the first season (and a few of the freakouts that she had, especially the season finale, were pretty hilarious). Sam's autism in this season felt a lot more authentic in the second season as well. It didn't feel like it was so heavily focused on that, and he really came off as more human than he did during Season 1.

One complaint I heard people use during Season 1 of Atypical that I thought was not a valid criticism at all, was the fact that Keir Gilchrist, the actor who played Sam, did not have autism. I don't understand why people take issue with that. I do understand that yes, people do get denied acting jobs just because they're on the spectrum, and that is an issue, yes. But I don't like the logic that an autistic character can only be played by an autistic person. I don't care if the person is autistic or neurotypical, as long as he makes the character he plays is convincing, I'm okay with it. And I felt that Keir Gilchrist did make the role very convincing.

But if there is one criticism that I do think is valid is the fact that there wasn't really any autistic writers and contributors during the first season. And I do think a lot of the issues in the first season does stem from that. They did have Anthony Jacques play Christopher during the show's first season (which, fun fact, he actually did audition for the role of Sam), but he was a very minor character, who had a slightly bigger role in Season 2. Season 2 actually did start having people on the spectrum contributing to the show, including the main consultant.

The thing I loved the most about Season 2 is, yes, the autistic actors used for Sam's peer support group. I was expecting them to be pretty minor characters, but they actually played a bigger role than I thought, especially the actress who played Amber. And to really show how good of an actor Kier is at playing Sam, he really seemed to blend in this group of other individuals with autism.

I went into Season 2 with feelings of skepticism. But now that I watched all the episodes, then I'm actually really excited for Season 3.



Summer_Twilight
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23 Jan 2019, 1:02 pm

I finally saw both seasons of Atypical and here are my thoughts on it.

1. Sam is a good character, however, I think he is a carbon copy of Sheldon Cooper minus the eidetic memory and the genius side.
2. I think the character who plays Sam's friend seems like he could be autistic in real life who was playing an NT.
3. I liked the realistic issues with the police and the fact that too many parents want to coddle their children. I also liked how they portrayed Arlo's father as ignorant, insecure and prejudice because that's realistic.
4. I agree that we needed to see more autistic characters and people who Sam could start making friends with.
5. What I didn't like was the fact that they focused too much on Sam's family over Sam himself. Rather, there are all these side stories while Sam is pretty much ignored.



MC1729
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06 Feb 2019, 11:43 pm

I watched the first episode and absolutely hated how awkward they made Sam look and how they used his social faux pas as the means for the main humor in the show, and then they showed how adversely he impacted everyone else with his autism even though he was quite high functioning. But reading this article makes me hope that will no longer be the case in the show, and I'm glad autistic actors and consultants are going to be a part of this.


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Magna
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06 Feb 2019, 11:59 pm

^ I recommend you watch more episodes including Season 2. I liked season 2 much better as there was inclusion of more autistic people who play characters on the show.

I have somewhat conflicting feelings about Sam, but overall I like the show very much and I'm waiting impatiently for the 3rd season. I can say that I would much rather watch Atypical or related shows since they interest me a great deal.



typhoeuszombie
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02 Mar 2019, 9:24 pm

I love the show, binged watched season one and three episodes into season 2 in one night. Then I finished the 2 seasons the next night. I have a lot of ideas on how I feel it could better represent more autistics and personal concerns that make no sense to me. It feels like this is one of the best ways to raise awareness of autism to the public. I was only recently made aware of the show a couple of weeks ago by a coworker who was talking about how much she did not know about what autistics go through which is what drew my attention to it. I don't' socialize much so I don't hear about shows like this too often.

I think the main characters hate of cats makes no sense. I have read multiple articles and from personal experience as an autistic that cats can relate to autistics more than any other animal. There is even a book called All Cats Have Asperger's syndrome. I know we are all different by I feel for the majority of the autistic community we would agree that we usually like cats.

I also wish there was more representation of difficulties in the workplace for autistics and the lack of care for the needs of autistics. I agree with the adult autistic mentor role but I also think a bigger problem is not having an adult autistic who was never diagnosed due to apathy and greed by the government to keep costs down by underdiagnosing in schools and severe lack of aid from government assistance. Perhaps an undiagnosed homeless autistic with PTSD from the lack of assistance he got growing up. A much older virgin autistic who was never able to overcome his fears of intimacy due to the negative stigma towards people who are inexperienced. There are a lot of autistics that are homeless because of the ignorance of our condition and the apathy to care for our needs.

Addressing the hate and bigotry of autism speaks and why the puzzle piece is offensive to most of us because it sees us as having a puzzling condition and we don't fit in. Trying to convert autistics to be neurotypicals is just as cruel, abusive and evil as gay conversion therapy which Casey's exploration of her sexuality and autism speaks people trying to make Sam "Normal" would make a great episode on bringing up awareness about two horrible conversion therapies that abuse these people.

Those are just my thoughts in regards to the show and I agree with the author on the problems with season one such as the breaking and entering which autistics are the least likely to enter a private residence without permission.



ConceptuallyCurious
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10 Mar 2019, 12:31 pm

I enjoyed the series. I quite enjoyed Sam - I think his family were shown as having more issues than him.

I would also add that I work with people with autism (in addition to being autistic) and have absolutely seen similarly challenging reactions to being touch.


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phamyen
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27 May 2019, 11:08 pm

I like your post, there are lots of new things I learned. Thanks for sharing the post.



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14 Aug 2019, 1:56 am

This is a great little post with some valuable tips. I totally agree. The way you bring passion and engagement into the things you do can really change your outlook on live.



MagicMeerkat
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14 Aug 2019, 2:22 am

First season ruined it for me. But then again, I can't relate. Never went to a traditional high school. But what pissed me off what that Adam let Paige push him around about his special interests and dictate when he could and couldn't talk about them.


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nobita99
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23 Sep 2019, 3:32 am

I don't know what to say really what you share is so good and helpful to the community, I feel that it makes our community much more developed, thanks.



GlenCurtis
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25 Nov 2019, 5:58 pm

Rofl



WonderWoman
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03 Dec 2019, 11:42 am

I’m not much of a TV show watcher, but if Alex played a part in the show I would definitely tune in! I think many of us would be rooting for you: “That’s our boy up there!”