If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

Atypical

CaderMacCaderMac Posts: 105Community champion Pioneering
I wondered if anyone has watched the new Netflix series Aytpical - about a teenage boy on the autistic spectrum. 

I've not actually got round to watching yet but I have seen lots of mixed reviews about it and would be interested to know your opinions and thoughts? 

This review by Leslie Felperin in the Guardian might be interesting for those who have watched it. 

Replies

  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Posts: 1,114Member Pioneering
    Hi @CaderMac,

    Excellent discussion topic! I was hoping someone on our community would post about it soon, as I know it's become a big talking point on Twitter and the autistic community lately.

    The National Autistic Society recently published an article on their website which includes some people's reactions to viewing the trailer for the show - including my good friend Connor! It's quite an intriguing piece.

    Whilst I haven't seen the show myself (I don't have a Netflix subscription!), I did watch the trailer as well and I had some mixed reactions about it. I wrote a post about it on my blog last month, which you might be interested in reading.

    @VioletFenn, have you heard anything about it/seen it? I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts!
    Liam
  • NystagmiteNystagmite Posts: 609Member Pioneering
    I've not seen it. But it would be nice to see a programme on adult females on the spectrum. Anyone would think we don't exist...
  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Posts: 1,114Member Pioneering
    Very true, @Nystagmite. Whilst it wasn't a TV drama, I remember seeing a great documentary in January this year called 'Girls with Autism' - all about Britain's only girls school for those on the autistic spectrum. Did you see it?
    Liam
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Posts: 1,114Member Pioneering
    Unfortunately, it looks like that site is only for internal ITV staff, @Sam_Scope. I just had a look at the registration page and you need to select someone from the staff list to approve your registration. Gah, what a shame!
    Liam
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Oh that's a shame! Sorry about that!
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 124Member Pioneering
    I've just been talking to someone about this! I haven't watched it yet, because if I'm absolutely honest I'm concerned it might make me a bit punchy :D I've had quite a few messages about it - currently it's about 50/50 between 'this will be great for awareness' and 'DID THEY EVEN *ASK* ANYONE AUTISTIC FOR THEIR OPINION, FFS?' :D

    I think it's very difficult for TV companies to make 'awareness' dramas that appeal to both those affected by the issue that's being portrayed, as well as the general public. I spent a day on the set of the new series of The A Word recently and the writer behind it was very upfront about the inevitable difficulties, it was really interesting.
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    We have had a few comments about this on facebook.  Russell said:

    I honestly wish it were better. But as Carly said, it's another generic white socially awkward geek and it has all the pitfalls of the "autism" programs that came before it - namely that it's clear autistic people weren't consulted nor listened to. It's got that Sheldon Cooper vibe - when I watched it, I felt like I was supposed to laugh at him rather than with him, like we're supposed to laugh at Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. He truly wasn't a relatable autistic character - he was written like a placeholder filled with stereotypes, to make allistic (non-autistic) people who watch feel like they Really Understand Autism. And they didn't even get the autism right.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Martina on facebook said:

    Only watched ep1 so far and loved it! The first autistic character I've ever seen that I can relate to. Yes it had some of the stereotypes in it but there were times when I proper laughed out loud as I knew what he was going to do or say before he even did because it was EXACTLY what my son would do or say. I think with any dramatisation of autism


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Claire said:

    Can relate to bits of it, but I'm fed up of seeing the stereotypical geeky white autistic guy. I'd like to see a woman, preferably with a job, family and social life to be a positive role and be seen as an equal rather than someone to be mocked.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Andy said:

    Honestly? As an adult on the spectrum I felt insulted by it rather than endeared. Russell sums up all my issues with it.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Joanne said:

    I loved it, i thought it was brilliant. No matter what is put on t.v. someone is going to say something is wrong with it but I couldn't fault it. I watched it all in one night.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    Bryden said:

    I understand why people are bugged by the whole 'white, nerdy, high functioning male' thing. I really do. I work in the field with lower functioning kids and have a high functioning sibling. And I can tell you they got that bit right, for me at least. The sibling relationship was excellent in my book.

    I don't feel they got autism wrong though ... purely because it's such a varied spectrum. It was just another character we've seen a million times. 

    Also I really appreciated seeing the dynamic of dating. It's rarely portrayed that autistic people (or disabled people in general) don't have an interest in dating. This made clear that they do, as well as sexual desires. Even in things like Big Bang Theory, Sheldon is pretty much portrayed as asexual, even after he has sex ... he doesn't want to do it again any time soon. This showed that some autistic people have 'typical' sex drives and that that's fine.


    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • joanne1987joanne1987 Posts: 1Member Listener
    I agree with the above Bryden, the spectrum is so varied. How can you say he doesnt potray someone with Autism when no one person is the same.Has anyone looked at the family around? This series was not just about him, it was about how it affects others around him too.And I thought this was great. 
    I also didn't see the awkward geek that everyone is seeing. To me he was just a teenage boy :/ what because he wasn't the boy driving a car in a leather jacket surrounded by girls means geek...i don't agree.
    Sheldon Copper is brilliant and I do not laugh at him, I laugh with him. I believe that if a series is done based on humour when it comes to certain topics people will always have a problem with this, as they see this as people laughing at, rather than with, but is that because thats what they are doing :/
    I believe this series has at least opened up younger viewers talking about autism. Such as my 16yr old sister who didn't know about autism. So I see that as a bonus at least!
  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Posts: 1,114Member Pioneering
    Wow, that must have been an interesting experience, @VioletFenn! I really enjoyed the first series of The A Word, and I'm looking forward to the next one! I've heard that they're looking for an autistic person to play a role in the upcoming series, which is promising!
    Liam
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 124Member Pioneering
    @LiamO_Dell - there is indeed an autistic actor in the new series, and most excellent he is too! There is also much more screen time for Leon Harrop, the actor with Down Syndrome who plays Ralph - I was lucky enough to meet Leon for a chat and he's just brilliant fun  :)
  • LiamO_DellLiamO_Dell Posts: 1,114Member Pioneering
    Oh, that's fab! It's great to hear that they're working so hard on the representation side of things. :)
    Liam
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Posts: 7,361Administrator Scope community team
    I finally watched this series and I did enjoy it, as a neurotypical person I don't know how accurately it portrayed ASD but there were definitely parts that resonated with me.

    The relationship between the brother and sister is one, I liked how they showed the balance between her wanting to protect her brother but also how she felt the weight of responsibility and also the feelings of isolation.

    @CaderMac have you seen it yet?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • CaderMacCaderMac Posts: 105Community champion Pioneering
    @Sam_Scope still not quite got round to watching (you know times are busy when you can't even make time for Netflix!) but definitely will after reading everyone's responses! 


  • RattyPipkinRattyPipkin Posts: 2Member Listener
    I enjoyed the programme, although at times it was emotionally harrowing. It does fall into the usual trap of trying to create a character with *all the things*, and not so much of the positive aspects. Where are his Aspie tribe? Why is him learning to restrict his interest more important than helping him to channel towards potential lifelong benefits to be gained from that level of knowledge? We need to celebrate the joys of being part of this Awesome Autistic Community. 
  • CaderMacCaderMac Posts: 105Community champion Pioneering
    So this weekend I have been really poorly (boo) but I spent 48 hours in bed watching Netflix and managed to watch ALL of Atypical (yay!). 

    I have to say I really enjoyed it, mostly because of how it dealt with the wider implications of autism - so for example the direct and indirect effect it has on his mum, sister and dad. The relationship between Sam and Casey I thought was really believable and realistic. 

    I do however agree that Sam is often a walking stereotype, but much less than in other representations of autism (for example Sheldon Cooper). I would like to see female representation for sure!
Sign in or join us to comment.