To Binge or Not to Binge Episode 80: ‘Atypical’


Hannah Allred

(Graphic by Hannah Allred | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Paige Lee, Arts Writer


“Atypical” is a fictional show about Sam Gardner, a high school student who has autism spectrum disorder. “Atypical” goes into detail about the life of main character Sam, as well as his sister, parents and friends. As Sam goes from his senior year of high school into college, “Atypical” shows the growth he experiences as a person and the new friendships he forges.

I first started watching “Atypical” last winter when classes got to be too much, this humorous yet heart-ful show gave me a certain solace. I started watching “Atypical” at the recommendation of several friends and ended up enjoying it so much that I found myself introducing it to several more friends and family. To this day, “Atypical” holds a special place in my heart for the care that the writers, cast and crew clearly took when making this series.

To Binge or Not To Binge?

“Atypical” is one of the few shows that I can binge watch over and over without getting sick of it — the show is endearingly charming. There is not a single character in “Atypical” that I did not grow to like as the series progressed. Every character had unique stories, strengths and flaws. Watching each character develop made the show feel down to earth, while still remaining interesting. For example, Sam’s best friend, Zahid, is portrayed in a way that made me feel certain that I wouldn’t ever grow to enjoy this character’s presence. But as the show went on, Zahid grew to become one of my favorite characters.

Above all, Sam is one of the most interesting characters to watch in the show. Seeing the world from his point of view is eye-opening in ways that I had never considered. The way that “Atypical” portrays Sam’s autism spectrum disorder is incredibly detailed and powerful. I loved that his struggles were painted in a light that did not diminish his character or patronize him in any way — Sam is strong and intelligent, and “Atypical” is fantastic at showing his character. The show paints a beautiful picture of humanity.

The show feels real while still managing to stay lighthearted and funny at just the right moments. No matter how difficult things get for the characters in the show, their situations always improve and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. In many ways, this story arc might have been one of the show’s most real messages. “Atypical” keeps perfect pacing that makes it not only impossible to walk away from but also easy to binge through. In my opinion, the show is worth binging at any time.

Favorite Episode

My favorite episode in the series is “Julia Says.” This episode is one that causes Sam’s sister Casey to discover a dark family secret that brings her and her father closer, while giving an important backstory to her father’s character. I enjoyed this episode because of the humor and elements of forgiveness. This episode is also an important tipping point towards themes later in the series.

Thoughts on “Atypical”

“Atypical” is the perfect show to binge no matter who you are. It is a heartfelt show with a perfect amount of humor and intrigue. If you are looking for a show with comedy and interesting characters that still retains an important plot and serious messages, “Atypical” is the perfect series.


5/5 stars

Available to stream on Netflix.

3 seasons, 28 episodes, approximately 15 hours.


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