It Really Is That 'Special': A Brief Review on 'Special' on Netflix

A couple weeks ago a show that I had been waiting for finally dropped on Netflix. ‘Special’ is based off of the actor, writer and producer Ryan O'Donnell's book that he wrote on his own life. In this ‘Special’ show, Ryan, the protagonist, takes us through his trials and tribulations as a millennial who happens to have a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, and he also identifies as gay. As you might be able to tell, this is quite the complex character.

Growing up I never had a true representation of a character on television who had a physical disability. The show ‘Glee’ might have had Artie who was in a wheelchair, but the actual actor did not have a spinal cord injury, which is totally fine, but I am so happy to have a real life representation of a story that deserves to be told.

In ‘Special’, Ryan’s character shows so many amazing examples of ignorance and interpersonal communication errors that happen everyday. While a lot of this show has some serious undertones, it is mostly masked in ridiculousness and sarcasm; two of my favorite genres in life. There is a lot to say about the show, but it is kind of hard to convey the necessity of viewing without spoiling anything. My least favorite part is that the show runs under twenty minutes per episode, which on one hand makes binging pretty easy.

We are gifted with an amazing sidekick in Kim, who is Ryan’s colleague at the online magazine that he works for. This hit really close to home for me for obvious reasons! Kim is the best friend that everyone deserves. She is kind, honest and brave and her positivity inevitably rubs off on you. Although we are approaching a really wonderfully diverse time in television, a show featuring a gay man who happens to be disabled, who has a great best friend who is a powerhouse and happens to be Indian, has been such a magical mix. Despite the fact that I do not have that much in common with these characters, it gives me hope that one day I will see someone like myself on my TV or computer screen.

This show is not for everyone, but I think it can open peoples eyes on how the world treats people who are not part of the norm. I think this show is a great teaching tool and it is definitely one that you could enjoy disscussing with your class or your friends. 

 

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