A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Family and friends show support, acceptance: "You are weird, so what?" shrugs Sam's friend and co-worker, encouraging Sam to ask a girl out. "You're thoughtful and sensitive," says his dad, advising Sam to find a girl who will love him just as he is. "I wish I was normal," says Sam, deflated after a date gone wrong. "No one's normal, dude," says a friend of his sister's, punching him gently on the shoulder. Other people don't always get Sam, though -- one girl calls him "retarded" and asks if there's something wrong with his brain.
Positive Role Models
Sam is a thoughtful and kind-hearted person who sometimes says terrible things to people, particularly girls he likes. Nonetheless, he emerges as a lovable character we root for. Sam's parents, Elsa and Doug, are present and caring yet sometimes make mistakes. Sam's sister, Casey, is fiercely protective of her brother, argues constantly with her mom, and champions underdogs at school and at home. She also discovers she has her own not-exactly-mainstream parts to her personality, which she struggles to accept and share with others.
Violence & Scariness
Occasional mild violence, as when Casey punches a girl who wrote "orca" on the locker of a girl with a larger body type.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Series is built around a teen interested in sex and dating, so expect many references to sex, as well as jokes about "titties," "bone town," and girls with "bubble butts." A high school boy calls a girl "mamacita" and says her "ass" is "calling" him. Sam watches a video on attracting girls by "negging" them, which claims this is the fastest way to "get a chick on your d--k." Expect kissing and on-screen sex with no nudity, as when a girl masturbates Sam (we see them together kissing, but the camera cuts away before we see the sex act or any body parts). A character becomes involved with a same-sex friend; we see them kissing and discussing their romantic life and the possiblity of having sex. Meanwhile, other characters have extramarital affairs (we see kissing but the camera cuts away before we see sex), and have romances that grow more intense and sexual over time.
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Cursing and strong language: "s--t," "ass," "damn," "d--k," "twat" (said repeatedly in one scene), "a--hole," "hell," "titties." At one point, Elsa flips a double bird to a woman who has annoyed her.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Zahid smokes pot, adults drink wine at dinner, Elsa goes to a bar and flirts with a bartender over cocktails.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Atypical is a comedy about a teen with autism (Sam) who decides it's time to find a girlfriend. Expect sexual content, including kissing and actual sex, like when a girl masturbates Sam in his backyard (no nudity, and we don't see the sexual act). In other scenes, characters are shown in their underwear, and high school boys catcall girls and comment on their looks and body parts. In later seasons, one character accepts that she has same-sex attractions while Sam is able to find a girl he can relate to; expect same- and opposite-sex kissing and dating. One character, Sam's friend/colleague Zahid, who's a hornball in the classic horny-friend mode, makes lots of jokes about "titties," "bubble butts," going to the "bone zone," and so on. Strong language includes sex/body words such as "d--k" and "twat," as well as "s--t," "ass," "damn," "a--hole," and "hell." Zahid smokes pot outside of work, seemingly unafraid his colleagues/bosses will see; Sam's mom, Elsa, strikes up a flirtation with a bartender over cocktails at a bar. Occasional mild violence includes a scene in which Sam's sister, Casey, punches a girl who insulted a classmate with a larger body type. Sam is frequently described as "weird," sometimes affectionately, sometimes not. His family and friends support and accept him, but others don't always -- in an early scene, a girl who Sam punched for touching him asks if he's "retarded" or if there's something wrong with his brain. But in general, Sam's classmates, family members, friends, and others accept him as he is, while Sam works tirelessly to get what he wants, even if he doesn't fit in comfortably with mainstream society.
Is It Any Good?
Viewers will fall in love with Sam in the first few moments of this heartfelt show, and sympathize with his relatable plight: We all want love; some aren't so great at finding it. Sam just happens to be a bit outside the norm when it comes to reading social cues (not to mention overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of the world he doesn't easily fit into). "People on the spectrum date," says his sympathetic (if a bit clueless) therapist Julia (Amy Okuda). "You just have to put yourself out there." "Out where?" wonders the literal Sam, who returns home and immediately starts writing an online dating profile, with the help of his sister. "I spend a lot of time thinking about..." she prompts him for the questionnaire. "Penguins!" he answers truthfully. "Let's say 'sports,'" says Casey. Their mom Elsa, passing by, asks what they're doing. "Casey's helping me sign up for online dating, but she doesn't like my answer so she's just lying," says the honest-even-when-it's-uncomfortable Sam.
Elsa herself, who has Atypical's B story in the first season, is a little harder to relate to. Exhausted after years of advocating for her son, she's both cautious (pointing out that dating is all about nonverbal communication, not Sam's strong suit), fearful (she worries that a broken heart is in Sam's future), and bitter. It's that last emotion that may be her undoing, as she finds distraction in a flirtation with a friendly bartender who values his freedom above all else -- and who makes Elsa wonder what her life would be like if she were similarly free. Her storyline doesn't exactly make Elsa the most lovable mom. But viewers will want to see how everything turns out for her, and for her conflicted, frustrated son, who's weird compared to other people, it's true -- but equally lovable. As the show's seasons progress, Casey becomes a more prominent character, too, with her own limitations and struggles, some romantic, some not, while Sam moves from looking for love to dealing with it once he's found it, and Elsa and Doug grapple with marital issues.
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