Atypical follows Sam, an autistic teenager, and his family and friends. Among those family members is his sister Casey, who has her own storyline of self-discovery. We are going to zoom into Casey’s life.
Casey is dating her boyfriend but gets the opportunity to transfer to a private school. Once there, Casey is initially bullied by popular girl Izzie and finds herself wishing she never transferred. However, Casey and Izzie find themselves relating to each other’s hardships, and becoming quick friends. Naturally, they eventually kiss and begin to fall for each other, never having been openly attracted to women before. As the story usually goes, the girls leave their boyfriends to be together, and the rest is teenage drama-filled history.
From Casey’s relationship with Izzie, it’s clear that the two are struggling to find themselves through their sexuality, and figure out what being gay truly means to them. As teenagers, emotions run high, and there is still a lot for Casey to figure out. Casey experiences her first heartbreak with her boyfriend, as she leaves him to be with Izzie, but becomes heartbroken again from Izzie later on. Casey struggles deeply leaving her boyfriend; she truly loved him, and what they had together was important to her. This also leaves Casey’s sexuality open to interpretation as she could be bisexual, but her limited experience with both men and women doesn’t give her a lot to draw conclusions from.
Regardless, we find Casey experiences the intensity of a first break up, as well as the passion of a newfound relationship. This leads Casey to her coming out, which she does very confidently. Her brother Sam draws a picture of two gay penguins (an interest of his) and basically lets Casey know that no matter what, he will always have her back. Casey confidently steps foot into her sexuality, and coming out seems to be somewhat of a breeze for her.
Casey and Izzie argue because Casey wants to be able to hold Izzie’s hand at school and show off their relationship to the masses. Izzie, however, wants to remain private. The tension grows and the will-they-won’t they becomes clear as the two break it off over and over again. It almost seems at times that Casey wants to pressure Izzie to come out, or at least to acknowledge their relationship publicly; Casey is more than heartbroken over Izzie’s lack of affection and doesn’t feel comfortable being a secret. We can’t say we blame her as she took a big step to leave her boyfriend to be with Izzie, but we can’t blame Izzie either. These things take time.
Casey’s storyline is slow, and the writing seems lazy, as they force Casey to mold herself into someone she was so adamantly against in the previous seasons. Before, Casey was confident and committed to her passions. After Izzie, Casey becomes submissive, nervous, frightened, and honestly a little toxic. It is almost as if the show is trying to send some sort of progressive pro-LGBT message, without considering how that waters down the phenomenal characters in the show, making them two-dimensional. However, Atypical is a decent watch, at least for the first two seasons.
The show is streaming on Netflix and stars Brigette Lundy Paine, Keir Gilchrist and Fivel Stewart in pivotal characters. Have you watched the show? What are your thoughts?