Atypical is the new series on Netflix which features Sam an 18 year old young man on the Autism Spectrum. It takes a look at how he sees life, how he copes with some of the barriers he comes across such as coping with relationships, sex and also how Autism affects not just him but the family as a whole.
It has had mixed reviews and I do feel for anyone who tries to produce a programme which highlights Autism as you are never going to please everyone. Autism is given the name 'spectrum' because it is so diverse and completely different from person to person so this is just one view of a teenager with Autism. Yes it is a male again which alot of people are concerned about as there are very view programmes which feature girls with Autism. It was originally thought that Autism was more common in boys until we started to realise that it is just as common in the female population but girls seem to mask their symptoms quite well.
There has been a bit of criticism about the family itself and that the mother played by Jennifer Jason Leigh is over the top and that the programme seems to feature her too much and her affair. The series as been deemed as inaccurate and poorly written, but what do I think?
Well I have to say I enjoyed it, it was a tough watch in some parts mainly watching the behaviour towards Sam from his peers at school. That's always hard to watch as a parent, no one wants to see their child teased, bullied or hurt in anyway with or without Autism so yes I did get upset. I grew to like Sam's character, I thought Keir Gilchrist's acting was good, although some say Sam should have been played by an actor who is actually on the spectrum themselves, maybe so, maybe that is something to consider for the future. I thought Elsa, Sam's mum wasn't at all 'over the top', I could relate a lot with her story.
As the mother of a young man with Autism I have over protected my boy (still do at times). I felt I needed to make his decisions, not coped, wanted to escape to a different life, wanted to be an advocate and make the world a better place for those with Autism, all things Elsa seems to do. Sam's Dad, Doug played by Michael Rapaport was also criticised by some for his break from the relationship with Elsa and the family. He left for a while to go away and come to terms with his son's condition. You ask any dad and I bet a lot of them have felt like that. So there is a lot of real characteristics about the series which we probably don't realise ourselves until we stand back and think 'well yeah we did that or yes that happened to us'.
To be blunt and honest it's bloody hard sometimes. Autism doesn't just affect the person actually on the spectrum, it affects everyone around them too. My relationship broke down with my husband, I felt claustrophobic and trapped emotionally and mentally. I've come along way and learnt a lot and I'm sorry for the people I may have hurt along the way but I needed to be able to cope and be the person I am today for my son to give, not just him but both my boys the support and love they need. I consider myself on the spectrum to a certain extent, I think there are a lot more of us that are too, so we see it from all sides.
My son is 17 years old now and very different to Sam but I know this isn't a documentary about how life is with Autism, it's just one story, a story which is like an article of clothing, it may be a different size and doesn't fit all but we can admire it from it's hanger. I was entertained and when I finished my binge watch of Atypical I missed it and wanted more so that tells me I liked it a lot. Yes I'd like to see another series, would I like it changing? Not really as I like to see what someone else sees when they write about and produce a programme about Autism. It isn't perfect but then neither is life itself, take away the Autism and it is just another Netflix box set, some we like some we don't.
So that's my view, personally when I kept watching Elsa (Sam's mum) I hadn't looked at the credits a lot and it started to dawn on me that she was played by the very talented Jennifer Jason Leigh. I can never get her performance in Single White Female out of my head, she slightly scared me in that so it's nice to see her in something else. Those of you that have seen it will know but if you haven't go watch it but have a cushion handy to hide behind as it does give you a fright although more of a psychological fright.
Thanks for reading, please go and have a watch of this series if you have Netflix and make your own mind up. Tell me what you think. leave a comment below as I'd love to know how everyone else perceives it.
For now though I must go, I'll be back tomorrow for more tv chat with 'Pass the Remote'
Take care for now.........
Every Saturday will be about Autism, family and life.