In the first episode alone, “Love on the Spectrum” may do more to reinforce your idea of how special and beautiful love is than any romance movie you’ve ever seen.
|Creator||Cian O’Clery, Karina Holden|
|Genre||Romance, Young Adult, LGBT, Reality-TV|
|Introduced This Episode|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
In the premiere, we are introduced to a handful of people on the spectrum who the show helps to either enhance the relationship they have, in the case of Thomas and Ruth, or help them find their person. Which is the case for Michael, who has serious intentions when it comes to finding a potential wife and then Chloe, who simply wants to date. All of which the creators and their assistants help with so that each can achieve their goals.
Equal Gender Representation
When it comes to anything that isn’t considered typical, usually, men are represented for the demographic. Which, of course, includes people on the spectrum. Part of the reason, as a gentleman named Andreas broke down in the comment section of many “The Good Doctor” episodes, is due to lack of recognition and diagnosis with girls. Something that “Love On The Spectrum” shows as many of the girls weren’t diagnosed until they were, or nearly were, a teenager.
But, perhaps the best part of an equal amount of boys and girls is the visibility of girls on the spectrum. For outside of Matilda on “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” there isn’t a whole lot of examples of autistic women on television. Not to downplay “Atypical” having a few, but they aren’t leads or developed to the point of parity with the male characters.
So to see both Chloe and Ruth’s journey, and where they are now, for both those who are on the spectrum or even family members with people on the spectrum, there is a connection there. Maybe even hope if your child is young and you’re dealing with the unfortunate conversation Michael’s parents were given. Which was this idea that Michael wouldn’t be able to say I love you, and many other difficulties.
Alongside the difference in gender being represented and how that plays a role in their dating lives, there is also queer representation in Chloe’s storyline. From a girl she meets who is bi, as she is, to a boy who saw himself as gay, “Love on the Spectrum” furthers the idea that those on the spectrum aren’t a monolith. They have different desires, wants, needs, and there is no typical or default. Like anyone else, they develop into their own person and look for love in all different kinds of people.
Feel Good Television
While there is, naturally, the possibility that someone may struggle with dating and the show isn’t able to help them, as of now, everything is good. Chloe found a match, Michael may have as well, and Thomas and Ruth are living together, seemingly engaged, and possibly one of the most adorable couples on reality television. All of which makes “Love on the Spectrum” an excellent way to start, end, or relax during your day.
On The Fence
No People Of Color
Note, we do see one of Chloe’s dates, who might be a person of color but, outside of that, there is no diversity here. Now, we won’t pretend that documentary/reality tv like this may not have a huge market, and proving yourself to want to help and not exploit might be hard. That is alongside noting the show appears to be in England (Correction: It’s Australia), which has a white majority.
However, considering how there is equal gender representation and representation of queer people, there was some hope we could see people of color mixed in and their struggles with dating. Again, so that there is representation since, outside of “Atypical,” which is just one show, that ends with its next season, you don’t really have a plethora of alternatives out there.
Note: We do see an Asian man introduced early in the episode, and in the promotion picture. However, they are not focused on in the premiere and still, just one?
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First Impression: Optimistic
“Love on the Spectrum” is hopeful and sets you on the path to honestly see it as more than feel-good television. It is also a reminder that, outside of scripted television, if you don’t have someone on the spectrum in your life, they exist, this is what they’re like, and despite what people may say, they are capable of so much. Also, if you are on the spectrum, or love someone who is, the show lets you and them see others similar to them accomplish notable goals. Be it living outside of the family home or an adult care center, as well as find love.
Hence our optimism about this show. For while you recognize there are going to be some struggles, unlike the scripted takes of people on the spectrum, you know that won’t be the main thing that’ll be focused on with their stories. That’ll just be a minor part of their greatness and accomplishing their goals.