Atypical season three left me very surprised by how much it exceeded my expectations

Atypical season three left me very surprised by how much it exceeded my expectations

It feels like every week Netflix is spewing out a plethora of new movies and TV shows. While many of them are misses—like the movie Tall Girl—there is a minute group of elites that stick out as being complete hits. The comedy TV show Atypical happens to be a part of that group.

The show depicts the life of a young teenager named Sam Gardner (Keir Gilchrist) who has autism. In each season of the show, Sam is faced with new and scary challenges that test all of his limits. He has had to endure going to school without his very protective sister Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), coping with the semi-separation of his parents, and having to deal with his downright psychotic girlfriend named Paige (Jenna Boyd).

In this new season of the show—season three—Sam has to endure an entirely new mess that he has to somehow survive: college.

Previously in season two, Sam bluntly decides that he is going to college after he finishes his final year in high school. This comes as a shock to his mother Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), as she had already pieced together a seemingly perfect plan for Sam after he graduated. But Sam insisted that he wanted to go.

Season three depicts how Sam—a kid with sensory issues who has trouble talking to people and thinks in a very black and white format—gets through his college experience.

I have found that with each season that I have watched, they continually capture the essence of how a kid with autism behaves. Episode three, The Essence of a Penguin—the best episode of the whole season—shows the actual tendencies that go along with autism.

The portion of this episode that sticks out is when Sam is assigned a project in his art course in which he needs to capture the essence of an animal of his choosing. He chooses his favorite animal—the penguin—and visits their exhibit at the zoo to find this supposed “essence.” 

For a typical person, that would be easy enough; however, for Sam, he doesn’t quite understand how to capture the essence of a penguin because he sees things in black and white; he can’t delve deeper into topics and conduct creative explanations for topics. 

He simply sees things as they are.

The other thing about this season that added to my adoration for this show are the subplots that are sprinkled throughout, two of which include Casey trying to figure out discover her sexuality and the Gardner parents—Elsa and Doug (Michael Rapaport)—try to fix their marriage after the big cheating scandal that occurred back in season one.

These seemingly small subplots that exist throughout the season bring more entertainment into the show, as the viewer is not just watching the story of Sam. They are instead experiencing what goes on around him, which in some way or another, ends up affecting him in a significant way.

This very creative plot, while it can be quite serious at times, also brings forth a plethora of comedy. Creators of the show (David Crane and Marta Kauffman) made sure that in every episode, the viewer would be laughing at the various types of humor which made it that much more entertaining to watch.

When I saw that the trailer for this season hit the internet, I was quite nervous as to if the third season would live up to the expectations I had based on seasons one and two. I must say, however, that I was surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed this season. 

Many times, a show—most predominantly shown in Netflix Originals—gets worse as time goes on. This was not the case for Atypical.

Season three exceeded all of my expectations, and I was thoroughly entertained through the entire duration of the season.