Netflix’s sitcom about an autistic teenager’s road to independence reaches its final season, dealing with big themes in a way that is sweet but not saccharine
Atypical lives up to its name in more ways than one. The Netflix show has the look and feel of a run-of-the-mill US sitcom, with episodes that are half an hour long, and charts the trials and tribulations of a nuclear family. However, as it has progressed through the seasons, it has gained an emotional maturity and a new level of depth and warmth. It tells the story of Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist), a teenage boy with autism who begins to explore what it might mean to be independent from his family, who are all dealing with their own issues as well as trying to understand the world from his perspective.
It spins its many plates with skill. This is its fourth and final season, and there have been affairs, breakups, coming-out stories and a lot of conversations about penguins. Now, Sam has moved out of the family home and in with his best friend Zahid, a stoner whose casual approach conflicts with some of Sam’s more rigid routines. Zahid forgets to pay bills, and likes [...]