Netflix’s Atypical Lives Up to its Name

Netflix’s newest original series “Atypical,” is a comedic look at the world of high school and family life. The show centers around protagonist Anna who navigates her family life with autism and how she approaches it in an unconventional way.

Netflix’s new show “Atypical” is a story about the life of Sam, an 18-year-old with autism. The show follows his journey to find love and independence through a group home.

Atypical on Netflix Lives Up to Its Name



Atypical was a Netflix dramedy that aired from 2017 and 2021. The Gardners, a relatively ordinary American family with an autistic kid, are the focus of the film. Several people suggested this program to me, but I am not a fan of family dramas or comedies. Characters with autism, in my experience (and there aren’t many), aren’t always relatable in the manner they’re supposed to be. I’ve identified with a variety of fictional characters, but those with problems similar to mine were seldom the ones for me. For some reason, the people in a tale are what make or break it for me, and these aren’t the kind of programs where I generally find ones I connect with. All of the Gardners, as well as several of their friends, are sympathetic and comprehensible. Now that I’ve watched the full film Atypical, I thought it’d be fun to speak about something completely different. Let’s have a look at what we’ve got. 

Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist) is a high school kid who has to cope with the regular school bullies as well as home issues. The main difference is that Sam suffers from autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which presents its own set of difficulties. Meanwhile, Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), Sam’s sister, must negotiate the perilous worlds of identity and relationships. Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) believes she is no longer required as Sam and Casey become more autonomous and self-actualized. She commits a mistake that puts the family unit in jeopardy in her quest for meaning and satisfaction.



In Atypical, they did a fantastic job casting the Gardner family. They all appear like a family; Sam and Casey, in particular, have a striking likeness, and Sam from the front looks a much like his father Doug. However, physical appearance is just half of the task; the performers must also bring the family to life in a convincing manner. Sam and Casey genuinely go from tormenting to supporting one other. Casey’s jabs at Elsa are eerily similar to the tumultuous relationships many adolescent girls have with their mothers. Doug loves his family but isn’t always sure how to express it. Elsa, on the other hand, constantly oversteps limits and overwhelms the individuals she is trying to aid. I couldn’t stand Elsa when I first began Atypical. She’s well-intentioned, yet she spoils Sam, ignores Doug, and generally irritates Casey. Early in season 1, Elsa begins an extramarital affair, which sets the tone for her character growth, as well as Doug’s and most of what the family will face for the remainder of the season. I despise adultery and cheaters, as do most people. It irritates me when characters on TV do this, even if it’s meant to be sympathetic, like in The Notebook or Titanic. That irritates me even more because of the tone-deafness with which the authors attempt to persuade the audience to cheer for someone who is deceitful and dishonest. Elsa is not treated in this manner by Atypical. Both the program and the character are fully aware of how inappropriate her actions are. It’s exasperating to see her reject overtures from her own spouse in the first two episodes, opting instead for an affair with a bartender (Ral Castillo). 


The consequences of this poor judgment are also quite real. Elsa is held responsible for her actions by the other characters, and she spends most of the episode attempting to make up. The harm she does to her husband and family is not soon forgotten. The revelation not only disgusts and betrays Doug, but it also shatters Elsa’s already tenuous relationship with Casey. One of Atypical’s best qualities is that it never becomes an autism primer. It’s a lot more intriguing and intricate than that, since it follows each family member’s difficulties and relationships in a different manner. Doug is the least noticeable since he doesn’t have a huge lesson to learn or a significant difficulty to conquer right away. The majority of Doug’s issues arise from the distance between him and Elsa, as well as the decisions she takes as a result of that distance.

Season 3 has one of my favorite sequences from the whole series. After a significant amount of time and effort on her part, Elsa offers a separation. She has attempted to be more open, honest, and loving with Doug after her affair. Elsa makes a terrible blunder early on in the play, but spends the rest of it attempting to right the wrong. Elsa has had enough after Doug brings another lady to see Fleetwood Mac (their favorite band and a prior couple event for them). She thinks she is unlikely to be able to make apologies at this moment. Doug feels offended by this, and despite his words and actions, he does not want the marriage to dissolve. When Doug confides in his buddy and colleague Chuck, I appreciate the flow of words. Elsa’s proposal for a split does not sit well with Doug. Why should she leave him if she’s the one who screwed up? Chuck, on the other hand, responds that marriage is a daily decision. Doug hasn’t made that decision since learning what occurred, but he still expects Elsa to remain around until he decides he wants to. 


Chuck is a perfect example of the show’s outstanding minor characters and how they play into the tales of the major characters. Chuck is Doug’s closest buddy and the one to whom he opens up the most throughout the episode, apart from his family. A point is made early on about Doug never telling Chuck about Sam’s autism. By the third season, he’s willing and able to seek marriage advise from his pal. This is an unspoken, but not overlooked transformation. Outside of her family, Elsa’s circle consists largely of her autistic support group. There, she, her friend Luisa, and other parents discuss their autistic children’s problems and accomplishments, as well as other family matters. Sharice, Casey’s closest friend, is almost insufferable. She’s spiteful and vengeful, and she never really supports Casey until the very end. Casey has a lover called Evan (Graham Rogers) at the start of the episode, and he is probably the show’s most likable character. He’s amusing yet not cruel, and really nice. Unfortunately, as the story proceeds, Casey breaks up with Evan in order to date Izzie, a demonic entity (Fivel Stewart). As Casey comes out as bisexual, this is part of her journey of self-discovery. That is not an issue for me; in fact, it is exactly the opposite. But I despise Izzie as a person, and I can’t see why anybody would want to be around her. Compared to Izzie’s continual drama and mood swings, Evan seems very friendly and enjoyable. They delve into her past and why she acts the way she does, but comprehensible does not imply likability. Surprisingly, Atypical reminds me of Arcane in this regard. Even if I don’t like them, almost every character’s point of view is extensively explored and simple to grasp. 


Then there’s Sam, of course. Sam’s closest buddy is Zahid (Nik Dodani), a colleague who is also one of my favorite characters. Zahid is a hysterical bundle of frantic energy full of sexual innuendo and bad advice. As a result, he’s a wonderful counterpoint for Sam, who is shy and uncomfortable. Paige (Jenna Boyd), Sam’s girlfriend, is also a delight. She’s driven, kind, and a touch eccentric. Paige struck me as autistic, or something along those lines, despite the fact that the program never mentions it. She’s a one-of-a-kind individual, and her brash feelings are all too familiar to me. She’s very accepting of Sam’s flaws and forgiving of some huge marital blunders. Another natural progression in the program is Sam’s buddy network expanding to include autistic kids from his college, among other individuals. Atypical’s ability to convey Sam’s condition is aided by the show’s knowledge of Sam as a person first. He’s a multifaceted individual who deals with many of the same issues as the rest of his classmates. They also get to the bottom of why Sam is so obsessed with penguins. In each episode, something about penguins will be linked to something in Sam’s life. They contrast penguins mating for life with Elsa’s rejection of her wedding bonds early on, for example. For Sam, penguins symbolize community, and he recognizes his own hardships in the challenges the birds face on a daily basis in the wild. This is precisely accurate, and what I believe most people miss with these compulsive interests. It’s not just about the object; it’s about what it represents to the person. You may be attracted to penguins because they’re cute, but you’ll grow to respect their strength and the close ties they make. The same may be said about an autistic person’s or anyone’s field of interest. Rather of drawing broad generalizations, the authors become quite particular with Sam. Although this may seem to make him more relatable to a limited set of people, the contrary is true. A spectator may not be able to recall penguin figures and information. Nonetheless, the overall concept is quite recognizable to folks like myself who have similar obsessions. 


Atypical is a suitable name for this program since it is an exception. For the most part, I dislike family drama and the sitcom style, but I can’t recall the last time a program made me laugh (and weep) so hard. Throughout the four seasons, Samand and his family experience significant and realistic progress. Elsa went from being a character I despised to potentially becoming my favorite. I wasn’t thrilled with the series finale at first, but after seeing it again, I’ve changed my mind. I’m still not sure how I feel about how certain things turned out, but Sam’s last trip and his mother’s support highlight just how much character growth took place. Every graduation or reconciliation seems like a major success because these people are so well-developed and convincing. I can’t believe how much I liked Atypical, and I’m sure I’ll be reading it again soon. 

Netflix’s Atypical is a show that follows Sam, an autistic teenager who has never been out of the house. It is a refreshing new perspective on life and love. The show’s fifth season just started, so now it can be binge-watched in full. Reference: atypical season 5 .

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the actor in Atypical really autistic?

A: I am not an actor in the show, but it would be inaccurate to say that the character is autistic. He has some of these traits but he also struggles with other issues as well including depression and anxiety.

Was Atypical Cancelled?

A: Sadly, yes.

Is the mom in Atypical autistic?

  • atypical cast season 3
  • atypical cast season 4
  • atypical season 4 release date
  • sam atypical
  • atypical season 3
You May Also Like