Netflix’s Atypical is a refreshing comedy that stars Keir Gilchrist as an 18-year-old on the autism spectrum. Since premiering, it has garnered acclaim and praise for the representation of autism via a comedic lens. After screening the eventful and emotional season 2 finale at the ATX Television Festival, Executive Producer Mary Rohlich was joined on stage by the show’s stars Brigette Lundy-Paine, Fivel Stewart, Jenna Boyd and Amy Okuda to discuss the season finale, how the show handles the autism narrative and what we could expect from season 3.
Rohlich credits show creator Robia Rashid (who was unable to make it to Austin because she was sick) for how the show represents the autism community with empathy and thoughtfulness. “We have a lot of awareness about representing all of our characters, but in particular Sam,” she said. “As we develop our stories, we make sure things are authentic by working with consultants and research — Keir also does research on his own.”
Since the show premiered, the community has welcomed Atypical and the response has been incredible. “Nobody knows who I am, but they reach out to me and it’s moving,” said Rohlich. “It’s incredible to work on something that you feel is something impacting people’s lives.”
The season 2 finale was jam-packed with surprises. Sam strives to be independent and has graduated and his relationship with Paige (Boyd) took a turn when he dropped the “I love you” bomb on her. His relationship with his former therapist Julia (Okuna) has also changed but she is going through her own journey after breaking off her engagement while being pregnant.
But the season ended with the biggest cliffhanger: the developing relationship between Casey (Lundy-Paine) and Izzie (Stewart). The two hold hands while Casey ignores Evan’s phone call, leaving us with the question, “What happens next?!” That’s a question that even Lundy-Paine and Stewart couldn’t really answer.
“We find out what’s going to happen almost at the same pace as you,” admits Lundy-Paine. “We get scripts one at a time!”
“It’s been a roller coaster,” adds Stewart about the relationship between Casey and Izzie evolve. “Seeing it unravel on the screen is fascinating.” She adds that when they were going into season 3 they didn’t even know what was going to happen with the duo, which Atypical fans have dubbed with the portmanteau, “Cazzie”.
“She’s figuring out what works and what looks good,” said Lundy-Paine of Casey. “She’s grown up with chaos and her family continues to adjust.” During her bold journey of becoming a teenager, Casey now has to deal with these feelings for Izzie. “It’s incredibly confusing for her and in season 3 she is figuring it out,” she explains.
Stewart adds, “We’re finding ourselves, as anyone would.”
Season 3 of Atypical is set to premiere this fall.