Upon seeing the show’s description I was initially concerned for Netflix. A ‘quirky’ show about autism, I thought, would lead to common clichés, inaccurate information and mildly offensive portrayals associated with the implications of being on the spectrum. This was a risk Netflix had to anticipate, but was unnecessary as there was nothing but raving reviews in response.
So when I finally sat down to watch the 2017 Netflix Original, created by Robia Rashid, I was pleasantly surprised by the complex and humourous storyline. Not only does this show provide first-hand insight to the disorder for ‘neurotypicals’, it explores the lives of those affected by Sam’s (the protagonist) antics as he decides to become independent and find love. The show continuously changes perspectives within Sam’s family involving his younger sister, Casey, and their parents, Doug and Elsa.
At times it gets messy considering the range of categories involved; autism, friendships, tubas, love, sex, betrayal and penguins. But it works. The ideas intertwine with each other and each episode focuses on a set of moral rules that Sam must learn as he navigates through life. It is heart-warming and relevant to the complexities of growing up and should be a reference of inspiration to those watching.
I hope, just as it did with me, that it educates the next viewer and leaves them with just that little bit more empathy and understanding into the minds of those on the autism spectrum.
8/10: Did you know that Keir Gilchrist is the lead in a grindcore band?