Netflix's New Comedy About An Autistic Teen Looks Charming & Important

Photo: Smallz & Raskind/Getty Image.
Netflix has never shied away from groundbreaking content. It first made waves with the controversial 13 Reasons Why, which opened up a national discussion about mental health, and now it's looking to explore a different condition: autism. Specifically, autism in the world of dating. Starring United States of Tara's Keir Gilchrist, the new Netflix original series Atypical is about a teen with autism and his family as he decides to enter the world of dating.
"Talking to girls makes me a little nervous but Julie says it's good to do things that scare you," Gilchrist's character, Sam Gardner, says in a clip released by the streaming service. In it, Sam and his mom (Jennifer Jason Leigh) are discussing his decision to start dating girls, and she's not entirely on board.
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"Fear's also there for a biological reason," she explains. "Fight or flight, right?"
"Mom," Sam replies, exasperated. "I'm getting older and at some point I really, really hope that I get to see boobs."
Sam's tendency to say exactly what's on his mind is a big part of what attracted Gilchrist, who himself is not on the spectrum, to the role.
"Sam's honesty is the most relatable part of him," the 24-year-old told USA Today. "Most people will relate to the way he puts into the words the difficulties [of] dating. The way he describes some situations is basically how everyone feels, but most people don't actually put it into words."
According to USA Today, creator Robia Rashid made sure to consult with a California State University professor who worked at UCLA's Center for Autism Research and Treatment while working on the production in order to get the story right, but emphasizes that the show doesn't speak for all those who've been diagnosed with autism.
"We're telling the story of this one kid on the spectrum, and that's his life. It's a very specific the story of this family," she told the outlet. "The theme is: No one's normal."
Atypical hits Netflix on August 11. Watch the clip below!
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