Atypical is a coming-of-age series that has four seasons and a considerably large fan base. Even though the Netflix original show created by Robia Rashid has already ended, fans still make videos remembering their favorite moments of the cast.
The series follows Sam Gardner who is on the autism spectrum. We see how Sam deals with all the challenges that face him throughout the show. What makes Atypical even more interesting is the fact that the show doesn't only focus on Sam’s life. We also get to see the problems his family and friends face whether they were related to Sam or not.
Another thing that makes Atypical unique is the fact that they treat autism with respect. We don’t see the show mocking autism or making Sam’s actions come off as a joke and something to be laughed about. While Atypical faced some criticism when it first aired because of its lack of autistic actors, it has gotten better in its representation as more seasons were released.
Some of the actors on the autism spectrum include Anthony Jacques who plays Christopher, Domonique Brown playing Jasper, Spencer Harte playing Sabrina, Nikki Gutman playing Lily, Naomi Rubin playing Noelle, and Layla Weiner who plays Amber.
The fact that Atypical included several autistic actors proves that the show’s creators cared for its idea and representation of autism. We get to see how Atypical avoids stereotypes about autism as it also shows how autistic people can have a job, friends, a love interest, and a partner. Here is a cast and character guide that includes the actors who made us love and appreciate Atypical.
Keir Gilchrist as Sam Gardner
Keir Gilchrist plays the role of Sam Gardner. Sam is an autistic teenager who tries to gain independence. We also see how Sam tries to deal with life on his own, especially with his mother’s constant worry about him. He embarks on a journey to find love and this comes with challenges that he has to overcome. We get to see several situations where Sam takes things literally which leads to misunderstandings that are mostly funny but not in a mean way.
Some of Sam’s special interests include penguins, the South Pole, and Antarctica. We quickly like how smart he is and the fact that he will do extensive research on anything that interests him or that he doesn't know. He is also very good at drawing and the show becomes even more inclusive when they hire autistic artist Michael Richey White.
Other than Atypical, we get to see Gilchrist in United States of Tara, It Follows, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Love & Death, and many more.
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Elsa Gardner
Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the role of Elsa Gardner who is Sam’s mother. We follow Elsa on her journey to find out what she loves and have a life of her own rather than focusing entirely on Sam and his autism. Elsa finds it hard to witness Sam seeks his independence as she is scared to let him go and watch him become his own person.
We also witness heartwarming moments when Elsa, who works as a hairdresser, helps autistic kids and teenagers get haircuts since she knows how to act around them. She also attends a weekly support group for mothers with autistic children. Like mother like son, Elsa has impressive organizational skills. She has to embark on her own journey as her family becomes less dependent on her.
Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated for an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role because of her role in The Hateful Eight. We also get to see her in Single White Female, Hunters, Fargo, and the sci-fi film Annihilation. She is an exceptional actress with many roles under her name.
Michael Rapaport as Doug Gardner
Michael Rapaport plays the role of Sam’s father, Doug Gardner. Doug probably has everything that will make you love any character. He is kind, gentle, loving, and a great father. However, he faces some difficulty in accepting Sam’s autism since he doesn't have Elsa’s characteristics and wonders at times how she manages to balance things. His inability to accept Sam’s autism when he was first diagnosed as a child made him leave his family for eight months as he came to terms with what his life will be like with an autistic son.
We get to see how Doug improves his relationship with Sam as he starts giving him advice about girls and how to know that he is in love. He also supports Sam in his wish to go to college, which Elsa was against. At first, Doug is closer to his daughter and Sam’s sister Casey, but he quickly gets close to Sam as well. As the show progresses, we get to see how Rapaport’s character goes through impressive character development.
We see Rapaport in many works other than Atypical. With over 100 works under his name, we can easily say that Rapaport can do it all. He appears in True Romance, Deep Blue Sea,and Boston Public. More recent works of his include Life & Beth and Only Murders in the Building. Despite the many works he has been in, Rapaport is quite underrated.
Brigette Lundy-Paine as Casey Gardner
Brigette Lundy-Paine, who is nonbinary, plays the role of Casey Gardner. Casey is a track athlete with immense talent and she was part of Newton High School and Clayton Prep’s track teams. Despite being Sam’s younger sister, Casey is quite protective of him as she stands up against anyone who tries to make fun of him. However, she has this belief that only she can tease him.
Unfortunately for Elsa, Casey often makes fun of her as she is closer to her father, Doug, who supports her career as an athlete. One thing we love about Casey is her relationship with Sam and how she always annoys him, but she still loves him and cares about him; he loves her too despite all the teasing. We see how Casey tries to figure out her sexuality as she starts dating Evan but then realizes that she likes her best friend, Izzie.
Other than their role in Atypical, we get to see the performer in many other roles including Downsizing, The Glass Castle, Bombshell, Bill & Ted Face the Music, and Margot vs. Lily.
Fivel Stewart as Izzie
Another fan-favorite character is Fivel Stewart’s Izzie. We start seeing Izzie when Casey starts school at Clayton Prep which Izzie also attends. At first, Izzie and Casey don’t get along since they fight a lot. Izzie finds it hard to accept that a new member will join the track team which she is also part of.
Soon enough, we get to see both of them forming a close friendship which is later filled with jealousy when Izzie develops romantic feelings for Casey. She doesn't like Casey’s boyfriend, Evan, but the trio become friends when Casey and Izzie start dating. We also get to see Izzie become close to Elsa as she shares with her how difficult her childhood was. One can’t help but sympathize with Izzie. Some of Fivel
Stewart’s other works include Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft, The Recruit, Alert: Missing Persons Unit, and Umma.
Graham Rogers as Evan Chapin
Graham Rogers plays the role of Evan Chapin who was Casey’s boyfriend and then became her friend after she broke up with him. Evan’s childhood wasn't the easiest since his father abandoned him and his sister, Beth, when they were young. He doesn't attend school and works at a pizza restaurant.
Evan tries to find his purpose in life as Casey pushes him to find another goal rather than keep making pizzas for his entire life. We get to see him moving on from his breakup with Casey which left him heartbroken for a while. Evan’s story has a happy ending as he finds his purpose when he becomes an EMT trainee and works with Doug who guides him.
We also see Graham Rogers in Ray Donovan, The Kominsky Method, Quantico, 1 Mile to You, and Careful What You Wish For.
Nik Dodani as Zahid Raja
Nik Dodani plays the role of Sam’s best friend, Zahid Raja. The two start their friendship when they meet at work. Their work place is a tech store named Techtropolis. The relationship between the two is filled with Sam asking Zahid for dating advice since he believes that Zahid knows everything there is to know about dating. However, Zahid’s advice isn't always the best. Still, we get to see how Zahid plays an important role in Sam’s dating life as well as his journey to become more independent.
He even helps Sam get ready to live away from his home when he goes to college by inviting him for a sleepover. We see a new side of Sam when he becomes protective of Zahid who is dating Gretchen; she stole from Techtropolis and had a bad influence on Zahid. The relationship between Sam and Zahid is definitely heartwarming and loved by the fans. Opposites do attract.
Other than his role in Atypical, we get to see Dodani in the musical Dear Evan Hansen, Little Mx. Sunshine, Escape Room, Murphy Brown, and Trinkets. We can’t wait to see Dodani’s future roles, especially with his perfect portrayal of Zahid.
Jenna Boyd as Paige Hardaway
Jenna Boyd plays the role of Paige Hardaway who is Sam’s girlfriend. At first, we see how Paige is seen as annoying by those around her, and we believe that too. However, as the show progresses and we get to know her better along with Sam, we realize that she has a kind heart. She has a unique style when it comes to fashion which not everyone can appreciate.
Just like Casey, Paige would do anything to defend her boyfriend, Sam. She even lost her voice after yelling at school while trying to find out who wrote mean comments about Sam. However, despite all of what they went through, the couple breaks up so Sam can follow his dream of going to Antarctica.
We get to see Boyd in roles other than Paige in Atypical. We see her in Good Mourning, Nowhere, Michigan, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Missing.
Amy Okuda as Julia Sasaki
We see Amy Okuda playing the role of Sam’s therapist, Julia Sasaki. Despite Sam’s attachment to Julia, she stops being his therapist. During her time as Sam’s therapist, Julia helps him face all the issues he goes through as an autistic teenager. She is the one who first encourages Sam to try and form a romantic relationship.
We see some sort of conflict between Julia and Elsa because Elsa can’t accept that Julia encourages Sam to be more independent. However, they quickly overcome their disagreement and even help each other by giving and receiving advice from the other person.
Some of Okuda’s roles include Melinda's Wish, Home Sweet Home Alone, The Good Place Presents: The Selection, and The Good Place.