On the Spectrum
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On the Spectrum
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that On the Spectrum is an award-winning Israeli dramatic comedy (available subtitled or dubbed in English) about the lives of three neurodiverse young adults on the autism spectrum. Characters yell, argue, curse, and occasionally drink alcohol. Sexual content includes people visible in their underwear. Overall the show is a smart and sensitive portrayal of what life can be like for adults with autism spectrum disorder; it encourages compassion, curiosity, and empathy.
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What's the Story?
ON THE SPECTRUM is an award-winning Israeli series about a neurodiverse trio of 20-somethings navigating living in a neurotypical world. Ron (Liv Majar), Zohar (Neomi Levov), and Amit (Ben Yosipovich) are roommates who are on different parts of the autism spectrum living in a group apartment under the supervision of social worker Yael (Tal Yakimov). Ron is a young, anti-social computer expert who is being encouraged to get a job. Amit eats compulsively and hangs out with his friend Erez (Avi Dangur). He also thinks he's dating a young waitress named Lior (Reef Neeman) from his favorite café. Zohar works at a sandwich shop and is desperate for a boyfriend, but her protective brother Asher (Ori Gat) won't let her date. It's not always easy to participate in the world around them, but as they work through their individual challenges, they also hope to reach their own goals and dreams.
Is It Any Good?
The poignant dramatic comedy tells the life stories of three adults who are on the autism spectrum with care, honesty, and compassion. From being unable to understand social cues, to desperately wanting a more neurotypical life, each member of the neurodiverse group is learning to live, work, and socialize in a world that doesn't always make sense to them. While the setup lends itself to some occasional humorous moments, the overall series also underscores how difficult -- and sometimes dangerous -- this can be.
On the Spectrum approaches autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with sensitivity, and while the actors are not neurodiverse, it is evident that much research was done to honestly and unobjectionably represent people with ASD. Granted, the trio's support system isn't always as reliable as it should be, which leads to some heart-wrenching moments. But this also gives Ron, Zohar, and Amit the room to succeed. Overall, this is a series that offers an entertainingly thoughtful look into what it's like to live in a world that isn't designed for you.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a developmental disability that can cause behavioral, social, and communication challenges. How many types of this disorder are there? Why are people on the spectrum referred to as neurodiverse, and those who are not referred to as neurotypical?
On the Spectrum is designed to show what life can be like for people with ASD living and socializing in a neurotypical world. How different would the series be if the stories were not told from the point of view of those on different points on the spectrum?
- Premiere date: April 2, 2021
- Cast: Liv Majar, Neomi Levov, Ben Yosipovich
- Network: HBO Max
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Curiosity, Perseverance
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
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