Critic Consensus: Great performances and a likable, realistic family dealing with autism lift Atypical above its alarming tonal shifts and predictability.
Atypical: Season 1 Trailers & Photos
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Atypical is a coming of age story that follows Sam (played by Keir Gilchrist), an 18-year-old on the autistic spectrum as he searches for love and independence. While Sam is on his funny yet emotional journey of self-discovery, the rest of his family must grapple with change in their own lives as they all struggle with the central theme: what does it really mean to be normal?
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It's moving, darkly funny, breathes new life into the family dramedy.
Atypical makes a lot of amazing, important strides by telling the full story of a teenager with autism. It would be great if the series could be equally as inclusive to other underrepresented groups and experiences too.
Atypical doesn't necessarily play it safe, but it prefers to keep it soft and fairly familiar. It's not quite a winner, but I wouldn't mind spending more time inside this little world.
Audience Reviews for Atypical: Season 1
Keir Gilchrist gives a sensitive portrayal as Sam, an 18-year-old high-functioning autistic boy who is in his senior year of high school. As an amateur screen writer, I understand how enormously difficult it is to write about an autistic child without having clichés. Atypical does not make the viewer suffer through stereotypical clichés, and gives a fresh view on kids who suffer with autism.
Sam obsesses over penguins; he knows when he's being bullied but doesn't understand why; he feels love but cannot define it. He wants to get laid. Sam speaks in a deadpan emotionless drawl, and is often brutally honest. His best friend looks like a nerd with a mop of black hair and too-big glasses, but he walks around as if he's a super cool stud, and he blows kisses at women who roll their eyes at him, and gives Sam's mother hugs that are too long.
Sam's mother, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh (who was a teen-actress in 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High') is too tense and uptight, living only to care for her autistic son, often ignoring or taking for granted her healthy 15-year-old athletic daughter. She is taken for granted by her teen-aged kids, which is rather typical, but thus begins an affair, which seems out of character, because she seems to live for her son.
Sam's father is a big teddy-bear-of a goof. He seems mentally challenged a bit, out of it, sweet but stupid, but over-all a good guy. He "gets" his daughter, where his wife does not.
The most interesting and unique character is Sam's little sister Casey, a sophomore and an athlete. She can be tender-hearted and cruel. She punches a high school bully, then yells at Sam's friend when she fears this friend may abandon her brother. She tells her mother she's lame, but then confides in her that she is not having sex with her boyfriend. She teases her brother and pushes his buttons to the limit, but lets no one else do this. She's hard to get with her boyfriend, then is so very vulnerable to him. She lets no one walk over her and doesn't take any crap, but then she cries when her friends pull a mean stunt on her. She's convincing in her role. She's tough, vulnerable, kind, brutal, and smart.
I was immediately drawn into this show due to the depiction of the four family members. I also enjoyed the clingy but endearing and sincere girl that Sam gets close to. I did have a problem with Sam's therapist. She seemed too young to give such advise, and she did a role-reversal half-way through the first season (must omit... no spoilers here).
All in all, I enjoyed binge-watching 'Atypical.' I started watching it Friday night and finished the first season Saturday around midnight. At first, I thought this show was a drama, but then it seemed to be more of a comedy. It kind of toggled between the two. But I'm glad that I finally found a show that isn't too dark so I can fall asleep, and isn't too dumb like too many shows are, and also, it gives some insight into the world of autism. I anxiously wait for Season Two.
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