*And some format changes…
From now on, The Role Star can exist in the form of a written review. Let’s face it; the video version just wasn’t going to get done. I have failed. …And I’m sorry.
So, without ANY further interruption… OOOOOOOHHHH, shiny…
FOCUS, JON!!!! *claps hands*
Today, we’ll FINALLY take a look at the first two seasons of Atypical.
I mean, I get it… Every person needs a friend like every protagonist needs a down-to-earth confidant to keep perspective over the series of events unfolding throughout the show. And, in case you were wondering, I hope you’ll be as disappointed as I was to find that Zahid is not that down-to-earth confidant.
I absolutely hated Zahid this season. Not only is he giving spectacularly bad dating advice, but he’s keenly aware that he’s giving spectacularly bad dating advice… or even just spectacularly bad advice. Period. A strip club?! Are you serious?! Would they even let a high schooler in like that? *No, really. I have no idea. I’ve never been.*
I know Zahid means well. He only wants to help Sam with his social life, but how oblivious does Sam have to be to not notice how deep that rabbit hole goes… or loyal to not care that Zahid’s handing him some pretty tall boots?
Paige is too good for Sam this season. Nominate the girl for sainthood. It’s not like Sam really understands the relationship he’s committed himself to. And she’s with him by his side through all of it despite that!
…At least, up until he tells her he doesn’t love her in front of her entire family at the dinner table.
He keeps a list of pros and cons of dating her; she convinces the entire PTO AND school board to make the Snowball dance sensory friendly. That’s… love? No, actually. That’s… pretty messed up. Girl, you deserve much better treatment than that from anyone you date.
Like, Netflix made Sam to be a jack-ass for the sake of being a jack-ass. But it’s okay because he’s supposed to be autistic.
There are so many things wrong with that statement. If you still need help finding them, then welcome to The Aspie Dialogues! Feel free to poke around until you become a decent human being.
And speaking of being a decent human being…
Yeah, no. …With a capital NO. Sam’s plot line, here, is just… NO. I’m not even going to dignify this with a response.
Moving right along…
Hello… Any autistics home?
This was supposed to be a show about autism, right? So, why does it feel like Netflix forgot to bring the actual autism?
Instead of Sam and his diagnosis driving the action and the plot, it feels more like he’s reacting to everybody else’s plot lines. And what kind of school district only has one — count ’em, ONE — diagnosed student in the entire school?
I think Netflix forgot the most important part of a show about autism… Three guesses what that might be…
It’s like they used Sam’s autism as an excuse to make the most unlikable main character they could think of.
It’s like Pinocchio telling Geppetto he wants to be a real boy, and Geppetto just dismisses him while reading the evening newspaper.
“That’s nice, son. Sure you do… Kids today, I tell ya…”
If you’re going to make a show about autism, at least do the community the decency of committing to it.
For Season 2, I love how much of the feedback Netflix took to heart from Season 1!
The characters, now established, have room to grow. Sam’s perspective now runs the show. He joins a support group and starts making connections with other students like him. But the best part of all? Get ready for this…
They fixed Zahid.
That’s right. Zahid now has a method to his madness, however flawed it still may be… We see him start to mature, and for as much as he inspires Sam, Sam inspires him to do right by himself and go for his dreams.
So, okay… There’s that thing about the lying, but Sam took that way too literally.
It becomes so much clearer why Sam and Zahid are friends.
Okay, so it’s great that Doug’s starting to connect with other parents. In one case, he and Elsa reconnect with the parents of another student who scammed Sam out of $700. After enduring half of a season of tension between the two, it was nice seeing Doug start to forgive Elsa for the affair with Nick.
What wasn’t so nice was Doug’s obsession with Nick and getting even. Please don’t be that guy who has an affair to get back at his wife. Even if Elsa misunderstands it as such, I don’t want another season of what is essentially the same plot line from Season 2, this year. Can we agree to that much, Netflix?
Tread carefully, Netflix… This is not a plot line to go into haphazardly… I wonder… what’s the prevalence of autism in the LGBT+ community? Can someone in the comments answer that for me?
Wow… We’re just going for it, this season. Aren’t we?
As accurate as that plot line was, I really advise caution to Netflix going forward. This is an opportunity to start bridging the Great Schism of Autism.
Deep in my gut, I feel like this is going to end up on one side or the other with zero middle-ground. Law enforcement is a polarized topic in any community. Again, Netflix… Tread carefully.
I didn’t like them as a couple for much of this season, but in the time since it started streaming, I feel like their relationship has grown on me. I want to see more of that dynamic in Season 3.
Everybody just comes down hard on Elsa in Season 2, and they just refuse to let up. Maybe, if we had seen more of Elsa’s lies and manipulations throughout the series, it might be pseudo-justified, but… I just don’t have the capacity to suspend disbelief over this.
She seems like she’s putting in an honest effort to make amends for her actions during Season 1, but nobody’s even hearing her out.
Just let me be perfectly honest, here. She was a real ice queen throughout Season 1. But the way everybody treats her during Season 2 seems a bit disproportionate and harsh.
I really want Sam to grow as a character, and as a person, as the show progresses. Season 2 Sam seems like he’s forgotten every lesson he’d learned from Season 1’s events.
Let me be the first to say this: The college plot lines going forward are going to try Sam to the core. I know this from experience. Believe me. It’s about to get real for Sam.
Happy World Autism Awareness Day 2019!
I’ve been waiting a long time to launch this webcomic. I haven’t figured out a dedicated time or day yet, but I should be able to put more out at a pace of about once a week. From here on out, these will take the form of single-panel strips.
Also, the next three strips are ready to go, but in order to do that, I had to color them by hand… analog (as opposed to digitally). You’ll notice a difference for the next three, but at least it gives me more time to polish future pages.
I hope you enjoy The Jack of all Tirades as much as I enjoyed creating it!
…And we’re political, already! We missed you, Jon…
Aww… I missed you guys, too. I just wanted to check in and give an update on where my head is at the moment.
Spoiler Alert: This post might get a bit heavy…
A number of… situations, I’ll call them… are affecting me recently. For starters… Okay, you know what? I’ll ease you all into this. Let’s start with the least complex and build from there.
After I processed the 2016 Presidential Election, I had posted on this very blog, an appeal for readers to, at the very least, attempt to get to know members of opposing political parties and, at bare minimum, try to understand why they felt the way they felt about their stances on important issues affecting Americans. From the events that have transpired since then, it appears my words had fallen on deaf ears.
We’re more polarized than ever before. My calls for unity are not to imply I at any point approve of any of the egregious attitudes the current administration has displayed over the past almost-two years. My words are to insinuate that domestic affairs facing vulnerable American citizens are not going to improve if we’re all too busy in-fighting to improve them.
In American society, citizens used to come together and discuss issues civilly and make minor concessions and compromises with each other, even though they may not entirely agree with each other on every issue. Although this meant that nobody got absolutely everything they wanted out of the solution they would then enact, it would provide a starting point to build upon and improve from over later incarnations of said solution.
At some point–I can’t necessarily say it started with Donald Trump, but I have noticed this has become the relative norm at an alarming pace since he announced his Presidential campaign in late 2015–members of society stopped caring about what is needed for a healthy society to function, instead focusing on their own finances. Where the collective focus was once the benefit of the greater good of the people (in general), that focus has now shifted to an “every man for himself” scenario.
When students owe $1.5 trillion in student loans and don’t even have $1,000 in the bank each month with which to repay them, and the Secretary of Education cuts all programs designed to help these students be able to repay these loans without overextending their budgets… Is this really the society we want for our future? We’re willing to keep voting for the people who would give billions in tax breaks to corporations who don’t use it to expand the job market, but we as a society deem this acceptable?
Say what you will about the Affordable Care Act of 2009 (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare), but that law gave the option of health care to millions of disabled patients who had been previously disqualified from having insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Cancer, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lupus, Osteoporosis, etc. The key take-away from this is people were previously disqualified from having insurance because they held a diagnosis for a condition they had no control over having, but the ACA made them eligible for the insurance they needed to pay for the life-saving medical treatments they needed for the first time in their lives.
Then came the current administration… For the first time since it’s enactment, the ACA had not enough defenders in the government to stave off repeal. When Donald Trump’s administration released the revised list of what it considered a pre-existing condition, it had included sexual assault–a criminal act involuntarily forced upon the victim–on the list. To this day, the administration has re-asserted its intentions to repeal protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
Obviously, you’re interested in ASD if you’re reading this; you are reading this on a blog devoted to an autist’s life on the spectrum as written by said autist (Autist, aspergian, spectrumite… Whatever gets you through this post…). Chances are, then, you either know or love somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted by such a repeal. …And they will be impacted by such a repeal. …And at a prevalence rate of 1-in-59, you probably do know or know of somebody with ASD who will be impacted.
What I’m trying to get at here, is vote. I’m not going to try to tell you who to vote for and how to vote, but I am going to tell you to vote. Period. Vote like you have children whose futures depend on the choices you make now. Vote like you have people who are counting on you to make the choices you feel deep in your heart are the best choices you can make in their best interest. Ten years from now, will you honestly be able to tell them you did everything you can to give them the best life you honestly could? How about twenty years from now? Thirty?
Vote because you can make a difference. If nobody voted, nothing would change. By not voting, you are guaranteeing that nothing will change. If you do vote, you have a 50% chance that the person you voted for will win and make the changes you want him or her to make. Isn’t that worth trying? Have we given up on each other as a society that much that we don’t even want to try to make life better in the future? And this is only one issue weighing on me, lately…
This month will mark my 30th birthday–or as I like to call it, becoming six five-year-olds in the same adult body–and I generally get emotional at this time of year as I reflect on my life. This year is different for me for the obvious reasons.
If I had been fully employed by SAP’s Autism at Work program from the very beginning–as opposed to being brought on as an intern whose contract timed out after 21 months–I’d have had my first promotion right about now. Things worked out differently, as they had, and that’s not the case. I’m having a hard time in my mind reconciling with that. It’s just something I have to learn to emotionally accept… however much it still hurts and feels unjust in mind is just the way the situation is.
I had so many goals for myself by the time I turned 30, many of which I am not going to be able to accomplish in 18 days. I wanted to be employed–and appreciated in my work–with something tangible to show for it by now. That never happened. At least not with the being employed with something tangible to show for it by now part. I’m on the cusp of 30, and my resume is a small list of internships that ultimately led to more unemployment.
All I have to show for my efforts over the past 10 years are two degrees (a bachelor’s and a master’s), a failed wedding engagement, and thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt. This is not the life I’d imagined for myself by 30. I don’t even get called in for job interviews, which doesn’t really surprise me given my lackluster ability to get a job offer in the past.
It’s not even a lack of effort on my part. Nobody ever calls me back, and there’s no contact information available for me to contact the hiring recruiter. As time goes by, it becomes harder and harder to explain to my family why I’m still unemployed. The current statistics, which suggest 86% of autists are underemployed or unemployed, don’t help my ability to find work either, but that’s little consolation at a time when the economy is supposed to be exploding with new job opportunities on the market.
This has been an exceptionally long post, even for me. I just wanted to check in and let you know where my mind is at, emotionally. If you’ve read all the way to the end of this post, I appreciate you taking the time to do so. As much as I wish my life had more… fulfillment… in it, this is what my life is at the moment. There’s not much more I can do to change my situation that I haven’t already tried.
No matter what happens tomorrow, I wish all of you the best, as I would hope you all are doing the best you can with what you have. May you find peace with yourself, within yourself, and I’ll try to do the same. Life’s a journey; enjoy it while it lasts, I suppose?
Jeff is Jon’s father, who always seems to be asking a ridiculous favor from Jon at the worst times. Though Jon always tries to hide from him, Jeff always seems to find his son.
Daisy is a cat. Pet the kitty…
Randy is Jon’s friendly rival who will mischievously get into trouble with Jon from time to time. He means well, but doesn’t always think ahead to the full picture, much to Jim’s annoyance.
Also, he’s an enthusiastic workaholic.
Jim is Jon’s best friend and keeper of the peace.
An aspiring police officer, Jim juggles Jon’s idiosyncrasies with Randy’s antics, all while trying to keep Jon’s and Jeff’s father-son relationship as healthy as possible. Good luck with that last one…
Jon is our eyes and ears for the series. He calls it as he sees it. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? That remains to be seen. He may be autistic, but that suits him just fine.
Also, do NOT ask him what being autistic is like…. I mean, unless you want to hear about it all day…
All images and content on this blog are copyrighted by their respective copyright owners. Please do not reproduce anything on this blog without permission. Thank you.