Review: 'Atypical' season two
Lindsey Lanham | Editor-in-Chief
Season two of “Atypical” was released on Friday, Sept. 7. The show was originally applauded for its accuracy of depicting a family with an autistic child. Season two keeps things interesting as the family continues to face more challenges and tribulations.
“Aytpical” follows the story of Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a high schooler on the autism spectrum, finding his independence. In the new season Sam is forced to deal with many changes in his life. He has to adapt to a home with separated parents, a sister at a different school and on the hunt for a new therapist.
Last season Sam decided, with encouragement from his therapist, that it was time to find a girlfriend. As he adjusted to exploring his sexuality, his sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine) dealt with life as a track star, receiving an offer to transfer to a new school. All the while Sam’s mother’s (Jennifer Jason Leigh) affair with a bartender comes to a head at the end of the season when Sam’s father (Michael Rapaport) finds out.
Now Sam has to deal with major changes, and a common trait in people with autism is the inability to handle change gracefully. Through the first few episodes we see an expertly acted meltdown and an “elopement.” Which is a term used for when an autistic person gets overwhelmed and runs away to a different environment.
“Atypical” does provide some humorous moments. One autistic trait is the inability to lie, and Sam’s blatant honesty provides moments of hilarity. Especially when it comes time to write his college essay and Sam can’t bear to lie or when he confronts his mom about her cheating habits.
Even though the main story line is about Sam growing up and maturing, his family still has their own issues to deal with as well. Casey is stuck at a new school, trying to fit in with her new track team. Sams parents are dealing with being separated, and Sams' old therapist is stuck with problems of her own as she deals with a proposal and commitment issues.
“Atypical” provides one of the more accurate representations of a family with an autistic child that audiences have seen. Sam’s attachment to arctic animals (namely penguins), his wardrobe choices (the same color and texture shirts) and his complete empathy all represent various autistic traits.
There are times when Sam is teased and bullied, occasionally mercilessly, and people are judgmental and unwilling to learn about autism. Though there are scenes that are nothing less than heartbreaking, they are balanced perfectly with Sam’s caring family and friends, and the good continues to outweigh the bad in “Atypical.”
Overall, the show provides plenty of opportunities for viewers to learn and understand what it’s like for a person with autism. It’s accurate representation and excellent acting and dialogue makes for a funny, heartwarming and completely entertaining. “Atypical” is one of the best binge-worthy shows on Netflix anyone can enjoy and relate to.