New Netflix Original "Special" Lives Up To Its Name

A couple of weeks ago, I headed back to my hometown of St. Louis to celebrate Easter with my family. For the first time in a long time, I had free time. So I decided that the best, most productive way to spend my free time was to binge-watch something on Netflix.

While deciding between rewatching “Friends” and actually starting a new series, a colorful ad for a new Netflix original caught my attention. This ad claimed to be the first EVER TV show whose main character was gay AND had a disability. That fun fact made my decision for me. It was time to binge an entire season of “Special.”

“Special” is based on the memoir “I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves” by Ryan O’Connell, who also plays the main character Ryan in the on-screen adaptation. The show focuses on O’Connell’s struggle with accepting his identity as a  gay, disabled man. O’Connell, as well as his character in the show, has cerebral palsy, a disease that affects movement, balance and posture, usually caused by a brain injury before, during or shortly after birth.

The first season of “Special” has eight episodes ranging in length from 12 to 18 minutes. The short episode length is nice for busy bingers, but I was left wanting more at the end of every episode.

Besides the perfect mix of hilarious jokes and touching, heart-wrenching moments, something I loved about this show is that all of the “secondary” characters have their own stories; they all have purposes aside from complementing the main character. The sassy best friend Kim is struggling with being an overweight woman of color, Ryan’s mom tries to figure out life after Ryan moves out and Carey, Ryan’s crush, battles with...well, let’s not spoil that one.

Overall, “Special” is a funny, easy-to-watch show that is super bingeable. It won’t take up too much of your time, but it will leave you thinking about how we define ourselves. While watching, I found myself cycling through laughter and tears. I found myself wondering how the people in my life view me and how much control I have over that. I can’t wait for season 2 (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, Netflix) for more clever jokes and heartwarming moments. If you ask me, this show is definitely SPECIAL.