Here’s Why You Should Be Watching ‘Special’ on Netflix

Look, I’m sure by now you’re tired of people (mostly me in these articles) telling you to watch this show or that film and I hate to be that person, but I’m going to be her anyway and tell you that you really, really should watch Special. Written by and starring Ryan O’Connell, it’s a comedy based on his memoir “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” about his life as a gay man living with CP (cerebral palsy). In the first episode, Ryan gets an internship at the online magazine ‘Eggwoke’ where he lies about the true reason for his disability, instead saying he was hit by a car, and then decides to move out of his slightly overbearing, yet loving mother’s house. So yeah, it’s an interesting concept for a show, but why exactly should you watch it?

First off, it’s an amazing step towards a better representation of disabled people. Last year I wrote about how TV and films need more representation and I have to admit that I was remiss in not mentioning disabled people – for that, I apologise. I see many actors like Osric Chau and Jameela Jamil calling for more representation of people of colour and different sexual or gender orientations, yet until very recently I’ve seen little advocacy on behalf of disabled people – even then this almost exclusively comes from actors who themselves have disabilities like Shoshanna Stern and Ryan O’Connell.

Special is great for not just having a disabled character, but for once they are actually played by a disabled actor – think about it, when was the last time you saw a character in a wheelchair played by someone who actually uses a wheelchair? (Yes, I’m looking at you Bryan Cranston in The Upside). What’s more, Special goes a long way in normalising topics like virginity, dating later in life, and sex work (for more on that topic, check out Zac’s article).

Another reason this show is a must-watch is Kim, Ryan’s best friend, played by Punam Patel. She is a hilarious, beautiful, woman of colour who is all about body positivity (seriously, at one point she tells Ryan to strip down and tell her everything he loves about his body) and honestly, at this point I might be a little bit in love with her (for real, Miss Patel, please marry me!).

So yes, this show has representation in every area from people of colour, to LGBT, to plus-size bodies, to older women, to disabled people, but do you know what else it is? It’s genuinely, laugh-out-loud funny. When I found out that Ryan O’Connell used to write for MTV’s Awkward I honestly wasn’t that surprised because I recognised a lot of the humour. It’s sarcastic, witty, and has amazing puns – I will forever be describing my life as “Bleak Lively” after hearing Ryan say it. Ryan’s boss Olivia, played by Marla Mindelle is as hilarious as she is awful and Ryan himself has the snide comebacks I always dreamt of being able to come up with.

If all that wasn’t enough to convince you (and really, how hasn’t it?) there’s a super cute budding romance on the cards for Ryan (no spoilers!) and each of the eight episodes only clocks in at around 15 minutes so you can watch the whole thing in only two hours – that’s nothing for the experienced binge-watcher!

If you get to the end of the series and aren’t immediately demanding a second season like everyone I’ve managed to strong-arm into watching it so far, then you’re probably one of the people at Netflix who axed One Day At A Time, and you should probably reconsider your life choices.

Images sourced from Googe Images