Netflix shows are usually a major hit or miss, but Atypical was quite the welcome breath of fresh air, and Atypical season 4 does not disappoint either.
Starring Keir Gilchrist, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Nik Dodani among others, Atypical Season 1 started off with Sam, a teenager on the autism spectrum as he tries to assert his independence by getting a girlfriend. Towards the end of Atypical Season 4, Sam has done a lot more than just get a girlfriend. And, even though we know Sam doesn’t really exist, we can’t help but feel proud.
The previous three seasons had been great in terms of technical aspects like the plot, the acting, and the direction. But what really intrigued us was the attention given to representation. More often than not, shows try to reach out to a wider audience by including some semblance of representation. However, most of these fall prey to stereotypes that aren’t only overly used, but not even the most accurate.
Atypical is far from those typical (haha) “teenage high-school drama” tv shows that only seem to get more and more exhausting as the producers belting out season after season. The show makes sure to involve different ethnicities, different genders on the spectrum, different sexualities, mental disorders, and of course, people on the autism spectrum. While autism is technically a disability, Atypical is a great attempt at normalizing neurodivergent representation.
The show follows Sam Gardner, a young teen who falls somewhere on the autism spectrum. One would expect most of the show to revolve around Sam and how he deals with daily teenage problems with his unique perspective. But, we get equal screen time for all of the people who are important in his life. This eye for detail really shows the amount of effort that was put into building these characters, and the amount of research put in to get their representation right.
Last season we left off with Sam and Zahid finally deciding to move in together. This is a huge step for him, considering how the first season began with Sam’s mother Elsa fussing over every aspect of his life. Now, however, not only does Sam go to college, but he also decides to move out.
Atypical Season 4 is everything you would expect it to be. Funny, thought-provoking, and ultimately loads of fun. We see each character grapple with their own emotional issues and come to terms with their identities. What’s most satisfying to see is how each character has grown and evolved from Atypical season 1 to Atypical season 4.
In classic Atypical fashion, the creators stick with the penguin theme throughout. If you’ve watched (and loved) the last three seasons like me, you must be well aware of Sam’s obsession with penguins and Antarctica. Oftentimes, people on the spectrum form a deep interest in a particular field of study, to the point where they start to appear “obsessed”. The creators use this quirk attributed to Sam’s character to explain feelings and emotions we wouldn’t really understand without the analogies. It’s a smart move, and the result is an interesting mix of animal facts you may find random, but they make sense at the end of every episode.
Atypical season 4 has a total run time of around 5 hours, with a total of 10 episodes. Throughout its run time, the show addresses so many different issues, that would otherwise seem messy and haphazard, but because of the way each character has been given an organic back story, everything seems to flow just as seamlessly.
Final Verdict: Atypical Season 4
Like always, Atypical has little for us to criticise. it is surprising to see shows like Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why gaining increasing popularity even though they only seem to be rolling further and further away from a decent plotline. Atypical is criminally underrated, and season 4 is just as good as the rest. Unfortunately, this is the last season to air, and we must bid adieu to all of these characters we’ve grown to love. However, the culmination of this 4-year-old journey is just as bitter-sweet as we expected it to be. A definite must watch that you must check out if you haven’t already.
Atypical Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.