Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Autism Comedy Atypical — Get a Sneak Peek

“Mom, I’m getting older… and at some point, I really, really hope that I get to see boobs.”

That’s the heartfelt (and understandable!) proclamation coming from autistic teen Sam, played by United States of Tara alum Keir Gilchrist, in a new sneak peek of Netflix’s family comedy Atypical. Along with the clip, the streaming service also announced a premiere date for the eight-episode series — Friday, August 11 — starring Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (Weeds, Revenge) as Sam’s mother Elsa.

In the clip above, Elsa asks Sam during a car ride if he’s sure dating is something he really wants to do. Isn’t he worried about getting hurt? “Not unless I date a great white shark,” Sam replies matter-of-factly. He thinks it’s good to do things that scare you, but Elsa reminds him that fear plays an important biological role, too, keeping us from walking down dark alleys and encountering “gang boys with knives.” (Gee, thanks, mom.)

But Sam’s pretty set on trying his hand at dating… and maybe seeing a boob or two, if he’s lucky.

Press PLAY on the clip above to get a sneak peek at Atypical, then hit the comments with your first impressions.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. I really wish that this show had gone the route of Speechless and cast an actually autistic actor in the lead role. Or even consulted with anyone who was actually autistic when crafting the show – from articles it appears that they consulted a professor with autism research experience, which does not equal the perspective of someone who lives with it.

    I’ll give it a try, but having been burned so often with media portrayals of autistic people, it’s hard to get too excited over it.

    • the guy from speechless does not not have austim he has ceberal palysy big difference

      • My point was not that Micah Fowler from Speechless is autistic (I’m aware he isn’t), but that the show took care to actually cast a character role with cerebral palsy by casting someone with cerebral palsy, instead of going the route shows typically do (such as Glee). Representation matters. As an autistic person who routinely has to watch neurotypical people represent people like myself in television and film that runs the gamut from well-intentioned misinformation to horribly stereotypical, I can certainly vouch for that.

    • Derek says:

      I’m not sure gruelling 15-hour-long days of intense human contact, including possible extreme proximity and physical contact, following scripts and commands and having to connect on a very personally level with your fellow actors would be easy or humane to an truly autistic person.

      I think at some point we have to let go of the notion that every character needs an actor that is the same. Representation is important, but so is practicality, realityand the best fit for the job.

      • John says:

        As someone who is ‘truly autistic’ in the definition that this show is using (look up neuroatypical and stop using the word autistic) i interact with people 12-15 hours a day every day, and while I loathe it – i do it

        Unless yo’ve been diagnosed as being on the spectrum as I have, please don’t presume you have a clue how hard it is or isn’t – autism isn’t just rain man – move beyond tv and films for your education – please

        • Derek says:

          Until you work on a set – as I have – don’t equate whatever you do with how taxing, stressful ans extremely up-close and personal at times being on a set is.

          At the end of the day, what is the most important is that they find the best for the part, not necessarily someone who is exactly like the character. You don’t have to have Cancer to play a cancer patient, a brilliant mathematician or a lawyer to play any of these things.

      • Speaking as a “truly autistic person”, that’s an incredibly sweeping generalization. I work for a living in a socially oriented field where I routinely have to interact with anywhere between dozens to hundreds of people within the workweek, and maintain personal relationships with my clients. Can it be difficult or exhausting to keep up that level of social interaction on a daily basis? You bet. Can I do it? Absolutely.

        Not every autistic person could handle the rigors of being on set, true – just as not every neurotypical person could. The point is though that many can, and have in fact chosen acting as their desired profession. Certain elements you mention, such as memorizing a script, are actually things many autistics excel at. These people have the ability but are not afforded the opportunity. To insinuate that autistic actors couldn’t possibly be up to the challenge, or that in some way it’s more “humane” to keep them out of the business, is simply untrue, and frankly insulting.

        • Fabrizia says:

          It’s because they are not good actors. They may have chosen to act but it doesn’t mean they should be chosen for the part.

        • Derek says:

          What you describe as your profession does not come close to describe to how stressful a TV set can be. Or how personal it gets. For starters, you don’t have to kiss or hug your clients. Or simulate fights or breakdowns. People are not touching and retouching your hair, face, clothes and body all day long. It’s probably not an environment where people are always against the clock, constantly stressed, where yelling can be necessary to get a huge team in sync and tension often runs high.

          Every one things it’s a breeze and “Hollywood types” just relax, but it’s quite harsh. I work in commercials and, while people enjoy what they do, they leave destroyed and it demands a lot of intimacy with complete strangers.

          Many times Film or theatre actors get surprised at how gruelling a TV set can be. To insinuate the challenges of your job are equal to all jobs is frankly, insulting.

          • At no point did I equate my job to all jobs in terms of its challenges, nor did I indicate that the film industry is a walk in the park. I completely agree with you that not everyone is suited to working in the environment you describe, and I think that you detail the myriad of issues someone on the spectrum could face very well. Heck, I’ll readily admit I would never be suited for acting, for a number of reasons. I am merely stating that the issues you describe, including your list above regarding personal touch and various stressors, are not insurmountable for all autistic people. There are plenty of people who are on the spectrum for which kissing or hugging is not an issue. There are also many for which that kind of contact would be prohibitive. That is part and parcel with it being a spectrum disorder.

            My initial point was simply that there are many autistics who would be up to the challenge of being able to tackle a role like this on television, and yes, the rigors that would be involved on set, and instead are passed over in favor of neurotypical actors. I’m not pretending there aren’t challenges to an autistic person working on set, but there are also challenges for an actor who utilizes a wheelchair or a deaf actor being on set – that doesn’t mean you should hire able-bodied or hearing actors to play them. Shows like Switched at Birth and Speechless show how much richness can be brought to a project when using actors who are representative of their onscreen counterparts, as well as an inside perspective that brings a sensitivity and depth to those characters instead of them winding up stereotypes or caricatures.

            (Also, to respond to your point to the poster above me – I think that we can agree that mimicking a person’s neurology is somewhat different than pretending to be a doctor or lawyer on screen, or having contracted an illness [which autism is not].)

            Even using an autistic consultant, such as The Bridge did when they brought on Alex Plank to make sure their character was accurate and they weren’t just furthering autism myths, would go a long way here to showing that they want to get the interpretation right. Too many times there’s a list of supposed “traits” that get checked off, and when that’s the only exposure someone gets to what autism is or autistic people are like, the end result can be very skewed and even damaging.

            It’s frustrating when the only instances of people who are supposedly like you on screen are the savant-like Rain Man types, cold unfeeling robots, or inspiring props for the other characters to learn and grow. Many of us lead very full lives, and that is not often reflected on screen, which is very disheartening.

          • Derek says:

            That was a great and enlightening reply. Thank you.

        • Yep. There are a lot of actors with autism. Many people with higher functioning autism are more than used to playing a role day to day just to get by in life, masking their true selves. Being a chameleon in order to fit in with whoever they’re with – plenty of people are surprised when they’re told about a diagnosis. “But you seem so normal!!” (bleh)

          Acting is a natural fit if the sensory and social issues can be overcome.

  2. This is, maybe, the stupidest idea for a show I’ve ever seen. Cop Rock was a better idea than this. Autism, a universally over diagnosed so called “mental disorder” should not be given this much glorification. All these children need is a good spanking or two and they’ll act normal. This is sickening the way we treat bad behavior as a mental illness now. Sickening!

    • John says:

      Oh how I love the ignorant troll who is mr tough guy on the internet hiding behind his computer screen. You have no clue about the spectrum or what autism is or isn’t…that much is obvious, and if we’re lucky, you’re also sterile

    • Drew says:

      Troll says what?

    • ScottJ says:

      Try spanking in some parts of the world and you would be jailed for assault.

      • Hey Scott, this is one of the problems with our world today. A parent disciplines a child for bad behavior and they can go to jail now. 20 years ago, we didn’t have this crap. We taught our children the difference between right and wrong. We didn’t award bad behavior with stupid spinning toys.

        • john says:

          You know – i’d try to point out the irony in what you wrote but you, like alanis morisette, probably wouldn’t see it

    • Danielle says:

      Are you really that ignorant? I pray for you…

    • Derek says:

      You seem to have no idea what Autism is.

      But if bad manners are not something you enjoy, re-examine how rude you are being.

  3. MMD says:

    Has anyone watched The A Word starring Lee Ingleby? It is a BBC show which I watched on CBC and has been renewed for a second season. It is more of a straight drama and typical of a lot of British shows is only 6 episodes/season. I thought it was really well done.

    • JamesK says:

      YES! The A Word was a great show. A heart wrenchingly beautiful depiction of the day to day lives of a family who happen to have an autistic son (Max Vento was only 5 when he played the part, and he was particularly great).