Netflix released the highly anticipated season 3 of its hit coming-of-age comedy “Atypical” Friday, Nov. 1. Following the success of its first two seasons, with an 80% critics rating and a 96% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the writers of the show had their work cut out for them from the start. Season 3 does not disappoint however, as the show continues to tackle the struggles of the Gardner family, now with more comedy, more heart and the unsolvable question of what it means to be normal.
Season 3 picks up where Season 2 left off, with Sam (Keir Gilchrist) beginning his first semester in college. While starting college and living away from home can be scary enough, as we all know, Sam must cope with these new changes in addition to facing all of the challenges brought on by his autism. This is especially jarring for Sam, considering he no longer has his high school support system of family and best friends.
The plot of Season 3 also builds on the story of Sam’s younger sister, Casey (Brigette Lundy-Paine), a high school track star who struggles to understand her sexuality and her growing feelings for her teammate Izzie (Fivel Stewart). While the two characters were not fast friends to say the least, their almost kiss of the Season 2 finale was a dead giveaway to Casey’s struggles in Season 3, especially given the love story with her lovable high school dropout boyfriend, Evan (Graham Rogers) of the first two seasons. The show actually focused on telling Casey’s story so much in Season 3 that I questioned who the series was about at times.
Alongside the turbulent lives of the Gardner children, we see the crumbling marriage of Doug (Michael Rapaport) and Elsa (Jennifer Jason Leigh), their parents.
Every member of the family is faced with difficulties and challenges in some shape or form during this series. While the show is about Sam and how his life is affected by his autism, the Gardners are not atypical because Sam has autism, but rather because each family member struggles to figure out who they are and what they must do amidst their ever-changing lives. Every member of the family hopes to find some element of normality in their lives, but this begs the question: Is there even such a thing as a normal life, and if so, how do they find it?
When Sam cannot understand how to do something, or how he must act in a situation, he tries to make rules and instructions for himself, but what “Atypical” tries to tell us is that there is no rule book or instructions to lead a normal life. Everyone has a notion of what they must do and say to be normal, but the reality is that there is no such thing. The Gardner family deals with common issues in American society: Disabilities, understanding sexuality and failed marriage, yet they label themselves as different, abnormal and atypical. Does that mean that being atypical really makes you typical?
A Season 4 for “Atypical” has not been announced, so many viewers will have to hold out for any news of the fate of the Gardner family. Will it be renewed, or will it suffer from Netflix’s “three seasons and done” rule that cursed so many of our other favorites? Only time will tell, but in the meantime, be sure to binge Season 3 of “Atypical,” as I can say with complete certainty that this has been their best season yet.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @atypicalnetflix Instagram.
Gino Giansanti is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.