• Katrina Pinili

Important Life Lessons from Netflix's Atypical


A diamond in the rough, Netflix’s Atypical has many lovable characters in which every one of them has relatable experiences for its audience. Throughout each season, many messages and life lessons are displayed. This article will highlight those important moments and lessons in this light-hearted drama-comedy. This article contains Atypical spoilers (seasons 1-3); you’ve been warned!

The main premise of this show follows the life of a high schooler named Sam Gardner, as well as his friends and family, while incorporating quirky and silly moments. After I finished watching the third season of Atypical, I realized that there were so many important life lessons that the show displayed to its audience. All of these themes can be applied to anyone’s daily life. Keep reading for the notable life lessons from the show!


Having Consideration & Respect for Others

One theme I’ve noticed in this TV show is how people treat others and most importantly, how they respect one another. Sam Gardner, a very straight-forward teen and protagonist of the story, was diagnosed with autism when he was younger. Growing up, he dealt with bullies and many situations that were great obstacles. Aside from all the mockery and the bullies, his family and closest friends were the ones who were there for him and truly understood him as a human being. This show made it clear that it is always important to be considerate and respectful of others no matter who they are.


Relationships & Space

Another important theme I’ve noticed in Atypical is relationships and giving each other space. This theme involved both platonic and romantic relationships. One main example is Sam’s parents, Elsa, and Doug Gardner. Through all the stress from being a mom of two and never getting a break, Elsa found herself in an affair. After realizing her family is what she truly needs, she ended the affair and came clean to Doug. This broke him, making him extremely distant and distrustful of Elsa. For nearly two seasons, the pair was shattered and always seemed to be in an uncomfortable position. However, Elsa knew to give him all the space he needed because her mistakes were nearly unforgivable. At the end of season 3, all of the space paid off, which in turn made them come back together and understand each other.


Finding Your Passions

Since Atypical is a coming-of-age story, many characters are following their passions and dreams or are just starting to find their passions. Casey Gardner, Sam’s younger sister, is deeply involved in track and field in school and continues to pursue her dream throughout the show. Eventually, she gets recruited from a sports-focused private school once her athletic performance was observed by the school’s coach. For her, finding and following her passion seems easy, but this was not so easy for others. For example, Casey’s boyfriend, Evan, struggled to find what he wanted to do in life. Eventually, he was inspired by Doug’s job, an EMT, and decided to shadow his workday. At the end of the day, he felt like being an EMT was his calling in life which ultimately made him feel better about himself and his future.


This show brings light to many themes and lessons that are not only important to those who are coming of age, but to those who are independent adults as well. I enjoyed watching this series because each character was unique and interesting in their own ways and went through relatable and realistic situations. Atypical is a show where you’d laugh during one moment, and then your heart breaks in another. Because of all of Atypical’s likable characters and ways of storytelling, the show was able to bring many important themes to light.



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