Special Season 2 premiered on 20th May 2021 on Netflix. The 8-episode long series created by Ryan O’Connell stars Ryan O’Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Max Jenkins, Augustus Prew, and Patrick Fabian alongside other cast members.
There is something extremely beautiful and heartwarming about characters who power through their odds despite things around trying to pull them down. With Special Season 2, Netflix has dropped the second and final season of one of its most beautiful original series. Created by Ryan O’Connell, the series is based on his own memoir as a queer person with a disability. While season 1 offered more of Ryan’s story and his buildup with his identity in the society wherein he lies about his disability and everything else that goes around.
Special Season 2 is more romantically involved in terms of character building and the storyline. We see Ryan’s estrangement from his mother after a heated argument and his beautiful relationship with Tanner (which is complex, yes). There is warmth and calmness in what Tanner and Ryan share for the most part of the series. We also watch Ryan exploring new bonds with people who are like him, it is here that he meets Henry who is on the spectrum and they seem to be happy for the time being it lasts.
Furthermore, Kim, Ryan’s best friend, goes through the ups and downs of her life mostly being broke but finds comfort for a while in a beautiful man named Harrison. As the series continues, Kim hits it off with his best friend and childhood friend Ravi and well, it’s always and forever then, I guess.
Special Season 2 is beautifully executed and has the right amount of comedy, drama, and reality. Nothing here seems to be going overboard. While the show offers smiles and laughter and heartwarming moments throughout, it does not stray from its central theme i.e., finding one’s identity as a queer and disabled person in the world. Ryan must traverse the dating world while keeping his impairment in mind, looking for people who help him feel at ease in his own skin. He’s has matured since last season, but he’s still charmingly imperfect, and his experiences provide a contrast to the innumerable broad tropes about disability that have been conveyed to audiences time and again.
There’s no huge epilogue about overcoming ableism here, and no spectacular moment in which Ryan does something he thought was unattainable. Ryan is simply going about his business, cerebral palsy being a huge part of it. This simplicity is one of the major high points of the show. The show also openly addresses tokenism, particularly in relation to Kim, a plus-sized Indian-American woman. Special makes important strides in real on-screen portrayal by analysing the problem of tokenism and then ingeniously responding to it with the introduction of a nuanced, multi-dimensional character.
Special Season 2 also gives space to Karen (Ryan’s mother) to develop more as a character and rise above the image of an obsessive caretaker to Ryan. We see her trying to loosen up and live a little for herself. Additionally, Kim’s character is interesting and there is a lot that can still be talked about her here, both in regards to her experience as an Indian-American woman and emotional rollercoaster. Both Kim and Karen are loveable characters despite the odds that befalls their way.
It is disappointing that Special Season 2 is the final season of the series as there was more to Ryan’s journey as O’Connell told The Hollywood Reporter that he is “not finished telling stories about disability and queers” and I hope in some way or the other Special gets another season for it’s beautiful and worth it.
Stream It or Skip It
STREAM IT! Special Season 2 is worth your time and will keep you engaged with its storyline. There is both warmth and reality here and the series never seems to go off-track. If you’re looking for a short series worth your time then Special Season 2 might as well be that!
Special Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.