Looks like the internet is a very unforgiving place as the streaming giant Netflix is hit with another controversy. The latest show Atypical, which debuted on the streaming platform on August 11, tells a story of teenage boy Sam and his way of dealing with the world of dating.
But unlike other normal kids, Sam's (Keir Gilchrist) story is not typical. The 18-year-old lead character of the series struggles to fit in everywhere as he has Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Atypical's official synopsis reads here— When a teen on the autism spectrum decides to get a girlfriend, his bid for more independence puts his whole family on a path of self-discovery.
The much-anticipated Netflix drama sparked outrage on social media not because it revolves around autism but it adds a bit of a comedic punch advocating the disability. Many critics have accused the show writers of using the development disorder 'for laughs'.
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime star Mickey Rowe raised his voice through his opinion piece on Teen Vogue. He is one of the first autistic actors to portray an autistic person in a movie.
While drawing some instances from the series (Atypical) such as in a scene where Sam repeatedly points out that his therapist's purple bra is visible, Rowe notes, "As he does each of these things, it feels like the audience is supposed to laugh at how weird and different Sam is. This is the crux of Atypical's comedy, but there's nothing that funny about turning someone's disability into a punchline."
Another lead investigators at the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment expressed her sympathy over the issue as she told Daily Mail, "I do think that the media portrayal is focused on high-functioning autism where it's kids who have language and are gifted in other areas. That doesn't represent the large majority of kids who do have cognitive or other issues."
She further continued, "It's essentially impossible to portray everyone on the spectrum. There's a famous quote, 'if you've met one child with autism, you've met one child with autism'. So it's tough."
In a recent interaction with The Wrap, Atypical showcreator Robia Rashid revealed the reason why Atypical is really important to her.
"Sam feel like a real person and [not be] defined by his autism. That's not all there is about him. And it was a real priority for us in the writer's room to kind of make sure that we purposefully portrayed him as a real person, not a trope, not a stereotype."
Rashid said that someone close to her is on the spectrum, thus she felt the need of writing a story that she really wanted to tell right.
However, this is not the first time any Netflix series has sparked backlash for the controversial subject. Prior to this, Selena Gomez-produced 13 Reasons Why drew flak for dealing with mental illness and teenage suicide.
The Netflix series is accused of rising numbers of teenage suicide in the United States, according to research.