With two seasons watched and a third on the way, I am loving everything about this show. Atypical strikes a beautiful balance between comedy and drama. The writing is smart and the characters are likable and authentic. Being on Netflix, Atypical is edgier than your average sitcom. Episodes are rated TV-14 and TV-MA due to frank discussions about sex and other mature topics.
As someone who worked with children with developmental challenges, I appreciate the way Sam is portrayed. The show is comedic but never at Sam’s expense. Sam’s unique view of humanity and relationships is a key factor in making this show great. By viewing the world through his perspective via voice overs, the audience gets a narrative on human behavior that is thought provoking and entertaining.
Though Sam, played by Keir Gilchrist (United States of Tara), is the focus of the show, his younger sister Casey, played by Brigette Lundy-Paine (The Glass Castle), may be the breakout star of the series. Alternately loving and protective little sister and button pushing antagonizer, Casey’s storyline becomes as compelling as Sam’s, especially in season 2.
Protective mama bear Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and laid back dad Doug (Michael Rapaport) have their own drama to deal with beyond raising hormonal teens and fighting for their son to lead as “typical” a life as possible. The rounded out family dynamic is what makes Atypical feel accessible even to those of us who wouldn’t know what it’s like to have a child with autism. Every family has issues. For many they just aren’t as visible as a child who struggles with everyday social interactions.
With a fun supporting cast, moments that are funny, poignant and real, Atypical is a show you should not miss.