The second episode of Atypical is titled "A Human Female." After watching it, I feel like I need a shower. Is this supposed to be funny? Humanizing? Because after watching this episode, instead of merely socially inept, Sam seems dangerous. Has he never read a book or watched a movie with a human relationship in it? Has he never watched his parents? Why won't anybody in his life have a talk with him about what's appropriate and inappropriate in relationships or about appropriate boundaries in general? I am usually pretty skeptical of social skills training programs, but damn.
When the trailer for Atypical, a new Netflix series, dropped, the online autistic community shared a collective groan. It's a story we've all seen before: Awkward autistic white guy tries to date girls. Hugh Dancy did it in Adam. Many autistic people were concerned about poor representation, since the actor playing the main character, Sam, is not autistic. Netflix assured people that the "social production team," whatever that is, included autistic people. The social production team doesn't seem important enough to merit a credit. Their full time consultant appears to be a researcher from UCLA -- Not exactly someone who would be able to provide input on a humanizing portrayal of an autistic person. And it shows. Sam reads like a DSM diagnostic checklist, not a person. After watching one episode, I feel confident saying that it is exactly as bad as you thought it was. Possibly worse. I … Continue Reading ››
When Max reaches new levels of depressive despair she’s exhausted most of her conventional treatment options. She’s tried a range of different medications and therapies, all of which failed to work or made her symptoms worse. But a completely unconventional option is put on the table in Abbey Campbell Cook’s new novel The Lucidity Project: Dream therapy on the astral plane guided by a psychic guru. Needless to say, The Lucidity Project requires a certain level of suspension of disbelief from empirically-minded readers. The premise that Max must spend 21 days on a haunted Caribbean island and do psychic work in order to find relief from her relentless depression is clearly far-fetched. Nonetheless, The Lucidity Project offers a stimulating and radical re-imagining of what mental illness is, or could be. It understands depression as a superpower rather than a deficit. It would either be incredibly New Agey or a mistake (depending on … Continue Reading ››