TV Reviews

"Love on the Spectrum" Is a Great Step Towards Fair Representation of Autistic People on TV

One of the best things about Love on the Spectrum is the way in which it portrays how autism really is a spectrum.


As an autistic person, I hardly ever see people like me on TV.

Typically, media representations of people with autism are, at best, well-meaning blunders. At worst, autistic people are simultaneously fetishized and patronized. Us autists are sweet, awkward beings, and pure of heart–kind of like dogs, with limited brain capacity aside from our savant interests (which, of course, we all have)—at least according to Hollywood.

The biggest reason behind the laughable excuse for autistic representation in media is the fact that, while Hollywood is more than happy to tell stories about autistic people (The Good Doctor, Atypical, etc.), they don't care in the least about actually letting autistic people speak for themselves.

Neither of the aforementioned shows have a single autistic writer on staff, and one of the writers on The Good Doctor straight-up conflated being in a wheelchair to having autism, saying: "The story is about autism, but in my mind, it's a story about a disabled character." This is especially wild considering a large portion of the autistic community explicitly does not consider themselves "disabled," but rather "neurodiverse."

These knowledge gaps about autism are especially frustrating when media's depictions of people with autism are the primary means by which many neurotypical people come to understand us, and the issue could be solved by literally just hiring one g*ddamn autistic writer for your show about an autistic person.

All of which is to say: Netflix's new reality dating/kind-of-docuseries, Love on the Spectrum, is a breath of fresh air.

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