In a TED Talk a few years ago, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie referred to “the danger of a single story” – essentially, the risk that a particular narrative becomes so prevalent as to be ubiquitous. There’s a sense that this is what’s happening here; that Sam, perfect stereotype that he is, is just feeding into a general impression of what autistic people are assumed to be like. It’s very much the reverse of the above maxim – the implication is that, once you’ve met one person with autism, the suggestion is you really have met them all.
Up to a point, I did actually kinda like Atypical. If nothing else, it’s actually quite watchable as a piece of television. But, by the same measure, it relies on a lot of stereotypes… but also, in other ways, does some interesting things.
I feel like I could probably talk about it at great length – greater length than I did in this article, which I think is a little more straightforwardly negative than I actually feel about it – but for now, this is probably the extent of my thoughts.