Atypical is a coming-of-age television series created by Robia Rashid for Netflix. It focuses on the life of 18-year-old Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), who is on the autism spectrum. The first season was released on August 11, 2017, consisting of eight episodes. The ten-episode second season was released on September 7, 2018. In October 2018, the series was renewed for a third season of ten episodes.
|Created by||Robia Rashid|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||18 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Robia Rashid|
|Producer(s)||Jennifer Jason Leigh|
|Running time||26–38 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Weird Brain|
Sony Pictures Television
|Original release||August 11, 2017 –|
The first season received mostly positive reviews, though the show was criticized for its lack of autistic actors and perceived inaccuracies in its depiction of autism. The second season featured more actors and writers with autism, and also received mostly positive reviews.
Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old from Connecticut with autism, announces that he wants to start dating. His father, Doug, has struggled to connect with Sam and is thrilled when Sam approaches him for advice. When Sam wants to surprise his crush with chocolate-covered strawberries, Doug drives him to her house only to discover that Sam's crush is Julia, Sam's 26-year-old therapist. Doug quickly pulls Sam away and tells him to find a girlfriend his own age. Sam decides he needs a "practice girlfriend" and, with the help of his friends and family, begins to learn the social nuances of dating.
As Sam grows more independent, his mother Elsa struggles to find a life outside of being his guardian. During a night out with friends, Elsa meets a bartender and begins an affair with him. Sam's younger sister, Casey, breaks a track-and-field record and receives an athletic scholarship to a prestigious but distant high school. Although she wants to attend, she is nervous about what leaving will mean for Sam. Her concerns are exacerbated when she discovers that Doug abandoned their family for a while after Sam's diagnosis and that Elsa is having an affair. Meanwhile, Julia finds a chocolate-covered strawberry Sam left behind during his visit. She accuses her boyfriend of cheating on her, which leads him to break up with her. After he moves out, Julia discovers that she is pregnant with his child.
Upon learning of Elsa's affair, Doug quickly kicks her out of the house, leaving him to complete all household tasks by himself, causing stress. Doug later allows Elsa back into the house under his guidelines, although he remains distant. Sam, no longer able to see Julia due to a conflict of interest, fails to find a new therapist he is comfortable with. The school's guidance counsellor, Ms. Whitaker, encourages Sam to apply to university and join her peer group for students on the spectrum, which prepares students for graduation and independence.
Although she feels unwelcome at Clayton Preparatory School, Casey is befriended by the captain of the track team, Izzie, who is initially mean to her. The two develop a close relationship, and Casey develops romantic feelings for Izzie towards the end of the season–leaving her wondering what it means for her and her boyfriend, Evan. Without Casey being in Sam's school, he begins to express the changes in his life by sketching in his notebook more frequently. After his drawings are discovered by Ms. Whitaker, Sam applies to Denton University's Scientific Illustration program and is accepted. Meanwhile, Julia deals with frustrations regarding a lackluster proposal, as well as her pregnancy.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Keir Gilchrist as Sam Gardner, an 18-year-old boy on the autism spectrum who is obsessed with Antarctica. Gilchrist said about the character, "He's one person that is on the autism spectrum. He's a very specific character".
- Brigette Lundy-Paine as Casey Gardner, Sam's younger sister who is very protective of him
- Jennifer Jason Leigh as Elsa Gardner, Sam and Casey's overprotective mother
- Michael Rapaport as Doug Gardner, Sam and Casey's father and Elsa's husband
- Amy Okuda as Julia Sasaki, Sam's therapist
- Graham Rogers as Evan Chapin, Casey's boyfriend
- Nik Dodani as Zahid, Sam's best friend, a "dweeby and foul-mouthed lothario"
- Raúl Castillo as Nick, a bartender Elsa has an affair with
- Jenna Boyd as Paige Hardaway, Sam's classmate
- Rachel Redleaf as Beth Chapin, Evan's sister, whom Casey stands up for after witnessing her get bullied by stuck up mean girl Bailey Bennett
- Fivel Stewart as Izzie (season 2–present), Casey's enemy-turned-friend
- Graham Phillips as Nate (season 2–present), Izzie's boyfriend
- Casey Wilson as Ms. Whitaker (season 2–present)
Season 1 (2017)Edit
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Antarctica"||Seth Gordon||Robia Rashid||August 11, 2017|
|Sam has a session with his therapist Julia. After she tells him that autistic people can date, Sam begins to look for a relationship, and is encouraged by his friend Zahid, with whom he works at Techtropolis. He goes on an unsuccessful date, then another where he pushes his date off the bed when she starts to touch him. Meanwhile, Sam's sister Casey is suspended for punching Bailey, who graffitied "ORCA" on Beth's locker. Beth gives Casey a chocolate cake out of gratitude, bringing her brother Evan with her. Evan asks Casey out and though she rejects him, they begin to hang out. To take her mind off worrying about Sam, Elsa goes on a date with her husband Doug and starts a dance class. Afterwards, she goes to a bar and spends the night talking to the bartender, Nick.|
|2||2||"A Human Female"||Michael Patrick Jann||Mike Oppenhuizen||August 11, 2017|
|Sam is distressed to learn that Julia has a boyfriend, as he is interested in dating her. Doug gives Sam advice without realizing the girl he likes is Julia and Zahid encourages Sam to pursue Julia. Sam is mocked and taunted after he approaches Bailey and Arlo, researching how to "steal a woman". Doug consoles Sam and tells him that relationships are difficult but one shouldn't give up. He gives Sam a lift to Julia's house so he can leave chocolate-covered strawberries. Sam breaks into Julia's house and Doug follows him, realizes whose house it is and drags him away. Meanwhile, Elsa discovers that she left her credit card at the bar, and picks it up. She is hit by a dart on her way out, so Nick puts a plaster on her wound. The pair exchange phone numbers. After her coach orders her to, Casey apologizes to Bailey. Her friends tell her that Evan was expelled and arrested; Evan explains that it was for stealing brass instruments. He is upset that Casey finds the story funny, but then she kisses him.|
|3||3||"Julia Says"||Michael Patrick Jann||Brian Tanen||August 11, 2017|
|Whilst on a run together, Casey tells Doug about her first kiss. Doug is angry towards Evan when he returns home and sees him with Casey. Casey learns from Sam that Doug left them for eight months in 2004, so she skips school, but Doug finds her and confesses what happened and how he regrets it. After rejection by a girl, Sam gets a desire to vary his wardrobe. He goes shopping with Elsa and Zahid, but finds a jacket that Zahid picks for him very uncomfortable. In the corridor, a girl—Paige—compliments the whale T-shirt he bought. Elsa is concerned over the influence Julia has over Sam, and rubs her butt against Julia's car in anger after Zahid told a story of doing the same thing with another person. She responds to Nick's texts, and they meet up and have sex.|
|4||4||"A Nice Neutral Smell"||Seth Gordon||Annabel Oakes||August 11, 2017|
|After having sex with Nick, Elsa goes shopping and suddenly announces to a cashier that she cheated on her husband; throughout the episode sees things that remind her of her affair. Casey wins an important 400m race, but her family are distracted as Elsa drops her phone and Sam grabs a girl's ponytail. Following the race, Clayton Prep want to recruit her. Paige asks Sam to study with her, but he declines; after discussing it with Julia, he starts studying with Paige and invites her to his house. Doug attends Elsa's weekly support group for parents with autism, though the group leader objects to some of his wording, such as a lack of use of people-first language. Elsa makes a special family dinner, to which Casey invites Evan and Sam invites Zahid and Paige, both without asking. Paige steals Sam's notebook, looking for a pros and cons list he made about her. She is upset by the list and leaves during dinner. Sam follows her and asks her to be his girlfriend. Casey then tells her parents about Clayton Prep and Elsa replies that she probably can't go because Sam relies on Casey being at the same school.|
|5||5||"That's My Sweatshirt"||Michael Patrick Jann||Dennis Saldua||August 11, 2017|
|Elsa phones Nick angrily after he accidentally sends a birthday invitation to her. Paige and Sam hang out in their bedroom. He finds her loud and annoying so he makes her sit in his closet, though she doesn't mind. Paige takes a sweatshirt of Sam's, so he hides from her. Casey has an interview at Clayton Prep and is told by a friend that Sam is missing, but he is quickly found. The interviewer, a student at the school, talks to her about her brother's autism. The following day, Casey discourages Paige from dating Sam. Paige breaks up with Sam and returns his sweatshirt. Sam yells at Casey, telling her that he doesn't need her help. He bursts into Paige's French class with a penguin necklace for her, and the pair kiss. Meanwhile, Julia's boyfriend Miles moves out of their house without warning, only leaving a note behind. Elsa and Doug have dinner with two of Doug's old friends, leading Elsa to realize that he never told anyone at his job that his son was autistic. Elsa goes over to Nick's house and they have sex again.|
|6||6||"The D-Train to Bone Town"||Michael Patrick Jann||Mike Oppenhuizen & Jen Regan||August 11, 2017|
|7||7||"I Lost My Poor Meatball"||Joe Kessler||Robia Rashid||August 11, 2017|
|Elsa makes cupcakes for the Winter Formal with friends from her support group. Without thinking, Paige tells Sam that she loves him, and she wants him to decide if he loves her before meeting her family on Thursday at an Olive Garden. Elsa walks in on Casey and Evan kissing intensely; Elsa tells Casey that she is available to talk about sex if she wants. Casey replies that she is not having sex. Elsa goes to the bar, where a memorial is being held for a deceased staff member Meatball. Sam goes with his parents to Olive Garden and they give him three criteria to decide if he is in love. Julia goes to Techtropolis to pick up a television and runs into Sam and Zahid; she shows Sam how to slow dance. Casey finds out she has received a scholarship to Clayton Prep and cycles to Evan's house to tell him the news. Elsa ends her affair with Nick, and as she gives him a parting kiss, Casey rides by on her bike. Casey arrives at Evan's house and they have sex. Afterwards, Evan tells Casey that he loves her.|
|8||8||"The Silencing Properties of Snow"||Michael Patrick Jann||Robia Rashid||August 11, 2017|
Season 2 (2018)Edit
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|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|9||1||"Juiced!"||Joe Kessler||Robia Rashid||September 7, 2018|
|Sam is upset as it is the time in his week when he usually has an appointment with Julia, but she is no longer his therapist. In a flashback, Doug punches a hole in the wall after learning Elsa had an affair. He leaves the house to stay with his father. At dinner, Casey is passive-aggressive towards Elsa and leaves to go for a run. Sam and Paige speak over video call. Casey and Evan kiss in her room, despite interruptions from Sam and Elsa. Sam searches for a new therapist, but does not like the ones he meets. Elsa begs Kathy, from her support group, to get an appointment with Dr. Brob. Casey returns her gym uniform to Coach Briggs. At home, she tries on her new uniform and is angry at Elsa for tailoring her blazer after she asked her not to. Casey mentions that Elsa cheated on Doug, then realizes that Sam is present. Elsa explains to him why Doug left. Finding Casey moved his toothbrush again, he throws juice over her while she is wearing her uniform and she attacks him, though Elsa quickly pulls her off him. Sam goes to Julia's office, and they talk briefly. Doug returns home and consoles Casey. He tells Elsa she needs to leave. Casey apologizes to Sam, and he buys her pencils for school. Kathy leaves her kitten with Elsa to take care of, in exchange for speaking to Dr. Brob for her.|
|10||2||"Penguin Cam and Chill"||Ryan Case||Robia Rashid||September 7, 2018|
|Elsa is staying at her friend's house, to the disappointment of her autistic son Christopher. She visits home to see her kids go back to school, but they act distant towards her. At Clayton Prep, Casey introduces herself to Izzie, who warns her not to cause drama. Paige tells Sam she wants a "casual" relationship and kisses him. Casey struggles to find her classrooms and keep up with the difficult nature of the lessons. Zahid explains to Sam what a casual relationship means. Elsa gets bangs. Sam gets Paige to define rules for their relationship. The next day, Casey arrives in uniform on casual dress day and does not have a Flex card to purchase canteen food with. As she accidentally mistakes his locker for hers, Casey meets Nate, Izzie's boyfriend. Doug meets Elsa at a coffee shop to give her a list of rules. The next day, Casey still cannot get lunch, but Nate gives her pizza. Sam goes to Paige's house, as she is upset after getting waitlisted for Bowdoin College. Finding out that Sam didn't tell her about Elsa's affair, Paige ends their relationship. Kathy gets her kitten back from Elsa.|
|11||3||"Little Dude and the Lion"||Silver Tree||Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal||September 7, 2018|
|At a meeting with Sam and his parents, Ms. Whitaker discusses Sam's plan for college and recommends a support group she runs for people with autism who are Sam's age. Overwhelmed in a lesson by the noise of the other students, Sam runs away and is hit by a slow-moving car in the parking lot. He gets up and hides in a supply closet. Julia and Miles bicker in front of one of her friends. Izzie falls over while running and blames Casey, so a teacher makes them sit in the same room until their issues are resolved. Izzie phones someone which leads her and Casey to talk about how Izzie takes care of her three siblings and Casey takes care of Sam. They bond and drink vodka together, which Izzie steals from a friend's locker. Sam attends the support group, where they discuss change, while Doug bonds with another member's mother and offers to show her daughter inside his ambulance. Meanwhile, Elsa expects them to turn up to Dr. Brob's office as they had agreed. Sam asks Paige to walk with him between classes sometimes. Casey goes to Evan's house, still drunk, and wants to have sex with him, though he ignores her. Elsa confronts Doug about being late to the appointment with Dr. Brob. Sam comes downstairs and announces that he wants to go to college. Evan calls Elsa about Casey being drunk.|
|12||4||"Pants on Fire"||Geeta Patel||Mike Oppenhuizen||September 7, 2018|
|After he submits a college application essay written about seeing a stripper's breasts, Ms. Whitaker suggests Sam should write the essay about his autism. Casey encourages him to lie, so he goes to Elsa, telling her she is the biggest liar he knows. Casey and Evan call, with Evan making jokes about Casey's behavior when drunk. In Elsa's support group, she talks about her lying. Julia goes for an ultrasound exam and realizes her hormones have been affecting her mood. The doctor puts the baby's gender and sonogram in an envelope which Julia can open if she wants. Zahid helps Sam learn to lie. Sam practices by telling Paige lies, and she accidentally slices her fingertip off on a paper guillotine after he pretends he has a sexual partner. Encouraged by her friends, Elsa starts a haircutting business for children with autism. Doug has a panic attack after a phone call to Elsa. Julia runs into Elsa and tell her that she's pregnant, and the two reconcile. After Zahid is caught smoking marijuana twice, Sam tells him the marijuana was his so that Zahid is not fired. Evan comes to visit Casey, who is still embarrassed, so Evan shows her an embarrassing video of him. After Elsa says she is trying to be more honest, Doug asks her questions about her affair. Julia opens the envelope and calls her mother to say she is having a boy. Sam writes about his autism and Zahid in his essay. Doug has a panic attack and collapses after hearing Elsa still thinks about Nick.|
|13||5||"The Egg Is Pipping"||Wendey Stanzler||Bob Smiley||September 7, 2018|
|In a flashback, we see Elsa and Doug's reaction to learning that Sam is autistic; Elsa discusses therapies while Doug wants a third medical opinion. In the present, Doug denies to Elsa that his collapse was a panic attack, and refuses her offers to help around the house. Casey convinces Doug to allow Elsa to stay at the house. One of the members of Sam's support group expresses surprise that he does not have a bank account, so he talks to Elsa and Doug, overhearing, takes him to set one up. At Izzie's suggestion, Casey goes to dinner with friends from Clayton Prep. Evan asks Casey if he can come and she reluctantly says yes. Doug recites the four species of Antarctic penguin, at Sam's suggestion, to calm down as he feels stressed. Sam has $700 set aside to donate to charity and classmate Arlo convinces him to give him the money for a party, which he claims he will make penguin-themed, with an area set up for people to watch an Antarctic penguin egg that Sam has been watching online. Sam tells Elsa about it and she rings Arlo's mother, thinking it is a school-sanctioned event. Doug shows a girl from Sam's support group around his ambulance and chats to her mother about his situation with Elsa. Doug offers Elsa chop suey for dinner and she puts on makeup before realizing he ate his meal separately. At dinner, Evan is surprised to see how Casey acts around her school friends, particularly Nate, and is upset when Casey interjects with "but he's really smart" after he says he goes to a technical school. Arlo smashes Sam's phone, as Arlo's parents realized he was planning a party from Elsa's call. Sam goes to the supply closet and tries to use his broken phone; Bailey lends hers to him and they watch the penguin egg. Casey and Evan argue after the dinner. After Sam asks, Doug clarifies that Elsa is living at home, but tells Elsa that they are like roommates. The Gardner family watch Sam's egg hatching.|
|14||6||"In the Dragon's Lair"||Silver Tree||Robia Rashid||September 7, 2018|
Sam buys Paige a stylus and she forgives him. As she is a sleepwalker, Paige asks Sam to watch her during the school's lock-in. Doug sleeps in the sunroom. Izzie meets Sam, and the two get along. Doug and Elsa go to visit Theo and Holly, the parents of Arlo, who previously stole $700 from Sam. The four of them had been friends year ago, but stopped when Theo and Holly stopped inviting Sam to their camping trips. Sam eats dinner with Zahid's family and stays overnight to practice for the lock-in. Arlo's parents apologize for his behavior, returning the money and buying him a new phone. [Izzie and Casey] Sam struggles to sleep in Zahid's room, so he wanders the streets. Holly apologizes for uninviting Sam to the trips. A police officer pulls up but Sam does not stop. Zahid rushes up and explains that Sam has autism, but the cop ignores him and makes them get on the ground. Nate arrives at Casey's house, and Izzie falls asleep as they watch a movie. Nate tries to kiss Casey, but she jumps up and he storms out.Zahid and Sam are taken into the police station; Zahid helps Sam cope and tells him about his dream to become a nurse. Holly and Elsa get along, Theo and Doug fall out when Theo is dismissive of Sam because of his autism. The police officer lets Sam and Zahid go, refusing to apologize for his actions.
|15||7||"The Smudging"||Pam Thomas||Robia Rashid & Dennis Saldua||September 7, 2018|
|Sam has been calling Julia at the time his sessions used to be. His latest message is about him being apprehended by the police. Sam agrees to go the lock-in with Paige. Elsa suggests to Doug that because of his job, he should be the one to complain about Sam's arrest. Casey writes Izzie a letter saying that Nate kissed her, and Izzie sees her trying to put it in her locker and reads it in front of her. Sam goes to his support group and Ms. Whitaker asks him to research into colleges he wants to attend. Doug speaks to the officer who arrested Sam, and he puts Sam's face on a noticeboard in the station. Zahid talks to Sam about college. Evan and Casey talk about Nate; he sees Elsa trying to fix the hole on his way out. The next day, he comes to help fix it. Paige has been accepted to Bowdoin College and wants Sam to attend too. Nate told Izzie that Casey was the one to kiss him and she does not believe Casey. Julia calls Doug and tells him about Sam's calls. Casey encourages Sam to think for himself about his future. Anxious, he skips his appointment with Ms. Whitaker and hides in the supply closet; Bailey is impressed by his drawings and ask him to draw on her arm with a marker. Casey finds "slut" and "ho" written on her trainers and struggles to clean them. Paige overhears Sam and Bailey as she finishes painting a bench for the senior gift; she pulls the fire alarm after noticing Bailey's cigarette. The three are called into Ms. Whitaker's office and Sam and Bailey are assigned community service. Seeing his notebook, Ms. Whitaker notices Sam's artistic ability. After Elsa washes Casey's trainers, she sees the slurs on them and buys her new trainers. Doug suggests to Elsa that they work on a training program about autism for first responders. As they pick up litter in school, Bailey kisses Sam.|
|16||8||"Living at an Angle"||Pete Chatmon||Jen Regan & Theresa Mulligan Rosenthal||September 7, 2018|
|Sam shows his finished his art portfolio to Casey and Evan. He is applying to the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), but Casey and Evan make him feel anxious about the big change. The coach at Clayton has a meeting with Casey, warning that if she continues doing badly in biology, she may lose her scholarship. At his study group, Sam announces that he has an interview at RISD. Julia meets with Doug and Elsa about their planned training for first responders, but Doug and Elsa begin talking about the state of their marriage. Sam realizes he has lost his portfolio during work with Zahid; they contact Casey, who stops studying to search his room. She comes to work and calms Sam down. They search Techtropolis and a sports place where Sam and Zahid recently went; Sam and Casey descend into argument. When they return home, a girl from Sam's support group—Amber—and her mother arrive to return the portfolio, which Amber had stolen. Casey apologizes to Sam and he helps her with biology. Julia rings Miles and breaks up with him; he is already in Africa working for Doctors Without Borders. Panicked, Sam runs away in the waiting room before his RISD interview. Ms. Whitaker recommends a Denton University scientific illustration course. Elsa tells Doug about her intention of starting a haircutting business for autistic children. Doug suggests couple's therapy and Elsa joins him in a shower.|
|17||9||"Ritual-licious"||Ryan Case||Mike Oppenhuizen & D.J. Ryan||September 7, 2018|
|To her annoyance, Sam wakes Casey at 3:15am to say "Happy birthday" to her sixteen times, as the first of his many traditions for her birthday. In the afternoon, Casey goes driving for the first time, with Doug accompanying her. Meanwhile, Elsa has arranged a big surprise party for Casey, though Evan is concerned as Casey wanted something small-scale. Zahid works out that Sam has been kissing somebody and assumes it was Paige. As Casey arrives home, she is unimpressed by the surprise party and refuses to do the next of Sam's rituals, finding the "Ickle Bickle" gorilla figurine that someone else has hidden in the house. He fears this will cause the death of his tortoise, after finding his tortoise dead the last time they failed to complete the traditions. Zahid confronts Paige and lets slip that Sam has been kissing somebody. As the girls from Clayton Prep arrive, Casey angrily tells her mother to get them and everyone else to leave; as she storms upstairs, Sam tells her they need to look for the Ickle Bickle, and she snaps at him. Elsa talks to Sam about apologising to Casey, but he finds the Ickle Bickle and runs off. Izzie apologises to Casey and asks if they can "forehead promise" that things are okay; they do so and move to kiss each other, but Elsa interrupts. They go downstairs for cake, where Casey is happy to find that Elsa sent most of the guests home. Sam gives Casey a comic he made, the last part of his ritual, and tells her that he got accepted to Denton. Meanwhile, Doug goes to confront Nick after being unable to get him out of his head during the day.|
|18||10||"Ernest Shackleton's Rules for Survival"||Ken Whittingham||Robia Rashid||September 7, 2018|
|Doug punches Nick in the face outside the bar. Sam gives Julia an invitation to his graduation and they talk briefly. Elsa tells Doug that she is starting to get appointments through her haircutting website. Sam tells his family that they need to stop helping him so he can become "fully independent". Paige is annoyed to learn through Sam that the girl he has been kissing smudged the paint on her bench. Elsa offers to talk to Casey, telling her about a sexual occurrence she had with a woman. Casey has sex with Evan. Paige works out that Sam has been kissing Bailey, but he runs off as he notices that someone has written slurs about him in his yearbook. He asks the student at the stall for a new yearbook but she asks why; he frustratedly slams his old yearbook on the table, causing it to collapse, and grabs a new one. Back home, Elsa panics as she discovers Sam is not at work. She, Doug and Casey find Sam at the aquarium. The next day, as they drive to his graduation, Elsa discovers a flyer in Doug's bag from the bar Nick works at. She works out that he punched Nick and asks him if he can ever accept what she did, but Sam interrupts. At the ceremony, Paige remains in her seat as she is due to give her valedictorian speech, as her voice is too hoarse to speak. Sam delivers the speech for her, with frequent interjections to comment on it. Back home, Sam says in passing to Paige that he thinks he is in love with her. Doug talks about not being able to move past Elsa's affair to a woman from his peer group. Casey talks to Izzie about having had sex with Evan, but the two move to hold hands.|
Background and productionEdit
The coming-of-age series, originally known as Antarctica, was created and written by Robia Rashid, who previously worked on How I Met Your Mother and The Goldbergs as a producer. For a more accurate portrayal, she consulted with Michelle Dean, a California State University professor who worked at UCLA's Center for Autism Research and Treatment. Gilchrist said in an interview for Vulture, "[Rashid] wrote the script. We talked a ton and I did research and I watched movies and I read books". The supporting character Christopher is played by Anthony Jacques, who is autistic.
On September 13, 2017, Atypical was renewed for a ten-episode second season. David Finch, who is autistic, joined the writing team. Eight autistic actors from The Miracle Project have supporting roles in the second season as members of a peer support group which Sam joins, and other autistic actors play neurotypical characters. Executive producer Mary Rohlich also said the show was "bringing in more female directors and female diversity": seven of the ten episodes were directed by women and half of the writing team were female.
At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the first season received a score of 66, based on 20 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews", and a score of 77% at Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 5.32 out of 10. The acting, including Gilchrist's performance, was generally well-received, although Gilchrist's portrayal received criticism from some quarters for being inaccurate and stereotypical. The lack of autistic people in the cast was also questioned.
Sara Luterman of The New York Times writes that the second season improves on the first. Sam's decision to go to art school deviates from common depictions of autism, and his autism is no longer "the source of [his family's] misery". Luterman praises the involvement of more autistic people as writers and actors, but criticizes that Sam's misogyny is unaddressed and that he is "still portrayed as more of a checklist than a person". Lorraine Ali of Los Angeles Times lauds the show's continuing "unique perspective, sharp humor and empathy", and describes the show as a "wonderfully atypical family drama" with "many moving and awkward moments".
In a negative review, Jen Chaney of Vulture writes that the show "loses some of its focus" in the second season, such as with the "unnecessary side plot" of Julia, an "underdeveloped side character", or by attempting to make Zahid a "lovably wacky sidekick". Chaney writes that the show "often seem contrived or aim blatantly for the easy joke", and criticizes scenes between Doug and Elsa which "don't seem reflective of actual human behavior". However, Chaney praises Lundy-Paine's acting, which switches between "understanding and exasperation", and Gilchrist's "yard-stick straight" acting.
|2018||Satellite Awards||Best Musical or Comedy Series||Atypical||Nominated|||
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