Sam get’s his first taste of heartbreak as Casey maybe getting her first taste of what love is. Meanwhile, as Doug makes headway with Sam, he might be losing Elsa.

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Atypical s1e11

Sam get’s his first taste of heartbreak as Casey maybe getting her first taste of what love is. Meanwhile, as Doug makes headway with Sam, he might be losing Elsa.

Collected Quote(s)

People think I don’t know when I’m being picked on, but I do. I just don’t always know why, which, in some ways, is worse.

Love Imprint: Sam, Doug, Julia

While imprinting usually deals with, usually, a baby bird thinking someone who isn’t their mother is, in this case, it is something romantic. With Sam desiring a relationship and Doug trying to explain what it means to be with someone, the only logical choice for Sam is to date Julia. After all, she is understanding, seems to love Sam’s quirks, and he enjoys being around her.

Problem is, she is 26, is in a relationship, much less living with the guy. However, Sam doesn’t tell Doug this until Sam is breaking into Julia’s house to leave a gift. So, for most of the episode, as Doug gets the chance to be the kind of dad he always wanted, he doesn’t realize he is helping his son woo his therapist vs. someone from school.


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This is this slight discomfort sometimes when it comes to being a voyeur of Sam’s life. If only because it sort of exposes you to your own misunderstandings about people who aren’t neurotypical. Much less, how messed up your sense of humor maybe. Take for example when Sam was doing his research on how to steal a girl and approached Bailey (Ariela Barer) and her friends. Him calling her a skank and asking how boys wooed her was funny. However, there is also this need to realize he doesn’t seem to know what he said was inappropriate.

Yet, because autistic people are similar to Trans people in a way, in terms of if you don’t know one personally they can seem foreign, it’s like walking a mine field. You aren’t truly sure what should be considered funny or what the writers/actors were using as teachable moments. And while, as Noel Murray says in their article, Atypical can’t be your sole source of gaining an understanding of having an autistic person in your life, much less child, it is through media we get to live vicariously.

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So, with that said, I come to question why at 18 it is everything Sam is going through treated as so new? Are we to believe all throughout puberty and high school he didn’t want a girlfriend? That when he likely was hanging out with his sister, who seems to be the only one who does hang with him, he didn’t watch something with her and ask questions? Granted, she is his younger sister, but it almost seems like he has relied on her for insight and protection more than anyone else. So surely between dating, sex, and even slang, she would have gotten him familiar with what is and isn’t appropriate.

For while I get the boy is socially awkward, he isn’t stupid. I’m sure between his mom and sister, someone has told him certain things can’t or shouldn’t be said to people, if not in public. I’m sure his sister, trying to avoid an awkward moment she has to fight for him, has tried to give him some social training. Not in a “Don’t embarrass me Sam!” type of way, but more so given the fact he seems to be the only one she spends time with, her trying to make it so they both can enjoy quality time together. Add in all the doctors you know Elsa has been taking him to, on schedule, and it really leads you to question, even with taking note he is autistic, how can he be this oblivious?

We Need To Talk About Evan: Casey, Evan (Graham Rogers)

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Casey and Evan (Graham Rogers)

You know that bad boy vibe Evan has? Especially since he got expelled for allegedly selling drugs, among other things? Well, it isn’t real. He got expelled for trying to pawn the school’s band instruments. As for why? That isn’t gone into. All we learn is that the punishment was swift and with Casey laughing about it, he gets kind of put off. So, to bring him back in, she kisses him. Something she gets so giddy about, post-kiss, it makes you wonder if it maybe her first?


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Maybe because you aren’t really her friend Sharice (Christina Offley)

With us just seeing Lundy-Paine in The Glass Castle, albeit in a forgettable role, it makes seeing her again so soon quite curious. Especially since it seems her career is about to blow up. Just this year alone, according to IMDB, she’ll have 3 movies out, including The Glass Castle.

But, focusing on Casey, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked here. Perhaps the one which really has me raising my eyebrow is: does she have a life? During track practice, it seems clear Sharice (Christina Offley) is her friend. However, as noted in the first topic, you never see her hang out with anyone but Sam. Now, we could contribute this to how focused she is on track and how much she wants to get away from her family, but surely Evan isn’t the first guy to approach her, right? Much less, the first one who was persistent and seemed interesting?

Finding Someone Who Needs Me: Elsa, Doug, Nick

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Nick (Raul Castillo)

After Elsa’s autism mom group, she reveals Doug did something. It isn’t clear if he cheated, was abusive, asked for Sam to be aborted, put in a home, or what, but it seemingly weighs on their relationship. To the point that when Elsa sees Nick (Raul Castillo) again, so comes the butterflies. Then, to make matters worse, rather than curve him like she did before, she gives him her number.

Which can only be contributed to her wanting to be needed. For with Casey not needing her, Doug may be showing he doesn’t need her, and now Sam gaining some autonomy, what is she left with? What will she be left with rather? Well, it won’t be empty nest syndrome but more so being forced back into caring about herself, her happiness, and things of that nature. Which, considering how Sam sort of put a pause in all that, who knows what decisions will be made when Elsa puts Elsa first?


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I need to know what Doug did. The go to options would be either cheating because of how stressed out his family was making him, or else him being violent. Something which may explain why Sam has been distant from his father. Maybe during that baseball game he hit Sam, or maybe yelled at him to the point it frightened him, and that is why they are just now getting close?

Either way, it seems while Elsa fears what life will be like if Sam decides to really take control of his life, she seems to fancy the idea as well. She can perhaps go back to dancing, maybe find a new husband, and make it so being a mom is just one of her titles, instead of a job.

However, as said in the premiere episode, I hope they really don’t push this storyline too much to the forefront. I get we are in a real renaissance when it comes to older women getting complex roles, but I’d hate for it to be off the back of an actually compelling story. However, like with Jason Bateman in Ozark, Leigh is a producer here so she may use said power to sway some, or a lot, of screen time her way.

Other Noteworthy Moments

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. How old is Evan? We know Casey is a Sophmore and with Evan seemingly out of high school, he has to be at least 18. Why is he taking interest in a girl who is technically jailbait?



  • Getting to understand the various ways people like Sam handle stress, especially per their doctor’s recommendations.
  • Getting to see Elsa’s and to a larger extent the autism parent, community.
  • The shift in dynamics between Sam relying on his mom to relying on his dad for advice.
  • Seeing Casey so excited and bubbly over kissing Evan.

Low Points

  • Elsa’s storyline dealing with flirting with the idea of getting close to Nick – likely to be more than friends.

On The Fence

  • Is it appropriate to laugh at Sam’s awkward, sometimes cringey, moments or does that make me, and possibly the others who may find the moments funny, bastards?

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  1. I don’t know how well you know people on the spectrum, but in my experience with people on the spectrum, the things you are shocked are “new” to Sam aren’t that shocking. Because of the combination of Sam’s literal nature, conflicting messages we all get through puberty, his lack of understanding of social cues, his strict need for rules and structure, and his difficulty in approaching a situation from a point of view other than his highlights that variations on situations neurotypical people find familiar, feel like brand new situations to people on the spectrum.

    Sure he may have been told not to call people skanks, but do those rules apply when it is in the course of research. He can’t understand why the girl would take it as an insult, because he is collecting data, and he is using it to mean promiscuous. Which she has shown publically that she is. In Sam’s mind, it should be no more.offensive in this context than asking someone why they chose to wear a blue sweater today.

    I am sure he has thought about dating a lot. But without having permission or the skillset taught to him, he wouldn’t have broached the subject with mum or sis. He has spent his life.being told of the limits and differences he should expect in life because of his condition, it really does take getting the green light from.his open the possibility. You see in episode 1 the resistance from mum and even sis to the idea. He wouldn’t have felt confident overcoming that resistance to start a discussion on dating without the permission from an expert.

    I don’t find this critical. I am really just trying to give my take on what I think the writers were.trying for

    1. I don’t feel it is critical in the slightest. As a linked to article notes, Atypical is not a complete representation of what it is like to be or have someone on the spectrum in your life. So anything, or one, who can help clear things up is a blessing to me. Especially since I don’t personally have someone on the spectrum in my life. So just getting some insight into their, I want to say culture but the better word maybe practices, is helpful.

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