We’ve come a long way when it comes to autism being represented in the media. From Rainman, to Eric Gibb in The Boy Who Could Fly, to more modern examples like Sheldon and Dr. Fowler on The Big Band Theory. As well as, Freddie Highmore in The Good Doctor, and Keir Gilchrist in A-Typical. However, when it comes to telling a story those who are on the spectrum are not usually the ones telling the story. That’s part of why Amazon Prime’s As We See It stands out among the rest.
WHAT IS AS WE SEE IT?
Based on the series Israeli series On the Spectrum, As We See It tells the story of three 20-something roommates, Jack (Rick Glassman), Harrison (Albert Rutecki), and Violet (Sue Ann Pien) who are on the autism spectrum. As well as their live-in aide Mandy (Sosie Bacon), Violet’s brother Van (Chris Pang), and Jack’s father (Joe Montegna). The roommates are all on different parts of the spectrum, dealing with their own struggles trying to fit into society, while also bringing the heart and soul to the series.
Jack struggles with embracing his autism, while also dealing with the news that his father is dying of cancer. Harrison wrestles with overstimulation from the outside world, while also figuring out his feelings for Mandy, their aide. Violet works at the local Arby’s and is still figuring out social cues, and what’s “proper” in society. She struggled with her brother Van, who is trying to have a “normal” life, but also finding the balance with his sister who he’s in charge of.
Mandy, as their live-in aide, is tasked with loving them through their struggles and getting them ready to live in the real world while dealing with shitty parents, her love life, and personal career growth outside of the apartment.
When I first learned about As We See It, the first thing I did was Google the actors. Because at this point, there are zero reasons why the actors should not represent the spectrum they are portraying. So, I am pleasantly surprised to learn that it is important to Emmy Award-winning series creator, Jason Katims to cast austistic actors because the representation matters.
Having a 23-year-old son on the spectrum, it is deeply personal for me to get to tell this unique story of what it’s like to come of age as someone with autism.
— Jason Katim, Deadline
I honestly don’t feel As We See It would have the same impact and authentic feel if it had gone the A-Typical route (another good show) by casting typical actors in the roles, but surrounding them with actors on the spectrum. I love that each character in the apartment is on a different journey than everyone else. It makes them all different vs lumping them into the same austistic category.
The Cast is Phenomenal!
I’m already familiar with Glassman since I love Undateable, but I had no idea he was on the autism spectrum. I love his take on Jack who is trying to accept his autism and the giant hurdles being thrown at him through his fathers diagnoses. Albert is so loveable as Harrison. His journey touches on his childlike behavior and his friendship with a young child who seems to be on his mental level. As well as his terrible parents who see him as a burden other than the treasure that he is. Violet (Pien) is my favorite. I relate to her on an innocent level. She speaks her mind, knows what she wants, and goes after it. Are her methods not “socially acceptable”? Maybe. But her blunt honesty is refreshing and reminds us all to stop sugar coating and say what we mean.
All eight episodes of As We See It premiere exclusively on Prime Video on Friday, January 21st. Make sure to Stay Tuned to That Hashtag Show for more reviews!