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Whale_Tuune
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15 Feb 2020, 7:34 pm

Is it a good show? There is a female Autistic character played by an Autistic actress.


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cyberdad
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15 Feb 2020, 9:32 pm

Watch the trailer and make up your own minds
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyt_e50eoeI

An interesting side note: the main character Nicholas (the long lost half brother) is played by a popular gay Australian comedian by the name of Josh Thomas



MaxE
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17 Feb 2020, 9:35 am

When I first saw this, I posted about it on the Television, Film, and Video forum, then bumped my post after having seen all 6 episodes that have been released so far. Then it occurred to me that was probably the wrong forum so I came here and can see it's being actively discussed. BTW it's my impression there won't be further new episodes until March. Also, it's available in the US on Hulu and Freeform. Freeform is a "basic cable" and satellite channel, in fact I first became aware if this show while watching Freeform on the elliptical machine at the gym. At present, our cable provider is making all six episodes available On Demand for free, but this won't necessarily go on forever so if you want to see it that way you should probably hurry. If you subscribe to Hulu, then you can probably relax on that account.

I suggest that you (and everybody else reading this) watch all 6 of these episodes (if you are able), form your own opinions, and post them here. There are other topics addressed besides autism and this program's treatment of those topics merits discussion as well.

I will just make some general remarks about the portrayal of the autistic character. So it would seem the actor they've cast in this role is diagnosed with autism, and from what I see on line she is comfortable with how her character is written. Nevertheless, it's my impression that there is a very wide range of ways in which autism presents in young women, and I can imagine many female WPers might not see themselves in this character at all, and would be genuinely interested to know if I'm wrong about that. It sort of brings to mind a 2017 film I saw entitled "Please Stand By" in which Dakota Fanning was cast as an autistic woman, and if you've ever seen that, it seems to me that they cast a female actor to play a male autistic. Not true in this case, but I get the impression that there is a more widely accepted stereotype for how a male autistic ought to be portrayed e.g. Atypical, The Good Doctor and that this is much less true for females, and this is also very much unexplored territory.


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CarlM
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20 Feb 2020, 10:43 pm

MaxE wrote:
I will just make some general remarks about the portrayal of the autistic character. So it would seem the actor they've cast in this role is diagnosed with autism, and from what I see on line she is comfortable with how her character is written. Nevertheless, it's my impression that there is a very wide range of ways in which autism presents in young women, and I can imagine many female WPers might not see themselves in this character at all, and would be genuinely interested to know if I'm wrong about that. It sort of brings to mind a 2017 film I saw entitled "Please Stand By" in which Dakota Fanning was cast as an autistic woman, and if you've ever seen that, it seems to me that they cast a female actor to play a male autistic. Not true in this case, but I get the impression that there is a more widely accepted stereotype for how a male autistic ought to be portrayed e.g. Atypical, The Good Doctor and that this is much less true for females, and this is also very much unexplored territory.


The autistic Matilda character roughly reminds me of my aspie daughter so I find it a very credible depiction. Unfortunately, I didn't like much else about the show and didn't watch much of it. I've watched more of Atypical. The autistic Sam character seems to have so many autistic characteristics, which is not the way I find aspies to be. I think someone observing a real aspie might mistakenly think they are quite mild compared to Sam. I think they made Sam more of a caricature than Matilda.


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26 Feb 2020, 7:58 am

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I watched the first episode yesterday after reading your post. Its nice to see an autistic female presented in a credible, not caricatured way. I found the Matilida character accurate of a certain sub type



MaxE
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07 Mar 2020, 11:02 am

I've decided to bump this because more episodes have aired and it's possible some may have seen it who hadn't when the post was first made.

To the OP's point, I think the actors who play Jeremy and Drea (female) are also on the spectrum, although I forget where I got that idea from.


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09 Apr 2021, 6:45 am

Season 2 begins tonight

How 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' avoids Hollywood's (and Sia's) pitfalls portraying autism

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For Josh Thomas, the most boring part of putting together his Freeform comedy series "Everything's Gonna Be Okay" is the part he gets asked about most frequently.

"I get asked about the research for the show a lot, but it's really boring, isn't it? It's research. There’s never any drama."

Thomas, who created and stars in the series, and his writers spend a lot of their time researching autism for "Everything," which returns for Season 2 Thursday (10 EDT/PDT). The comedy won acclaim when it premiered last year for its portrayal of characters with autism, particularly because several actors are on the spectrum.

"I think when we decided to cast this show with authentic autistic casting, there was a lot of people that were like, 'How's that gonna work?,'" Thomas said in a recent panel discussion hosted by the Autism Society. "The way we approached it was to not just assume that it's going to be hard, you know?"

How autism is portrayed onscreen has been a frequent topic of public discourse this year in light of pop star Sia's movie, "Music," which came under intense criticism both for its portrayal of a person with autism and casting a neurotypical actress (Maddie Ziegler) to play the character.

"I just kind of watched that and I just felt really sad for everybody," Thomas says of the film. "It just seemed like a really (expletive) situation. There were no winners.”

Thomas plans to bring some of his own personal journey into the series, including having Nicholas discover he is on the spectrum.

"I realized that by coming out as autistic before this season comes to air that people are going to look at Nicholas in a different way," he says. "And we'll talk about it eventually in this series, but not for ages."

Season 2 also deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Thomas was excited to write episodes set within the confines of a quarantined house.

Like so many of us, the pandemic derails plans for the major characters. Nicholas' boyfriend Alex (Adam Faison) finds his dental career on hold. Matilda, who at the end of Season 1 decided not to attend Juilliard, New York's prestigious performing arts school, after a visit to the city went poorly, is holed up in her room looking for direction.

"She is really trying to bounce back after New York City and rethinking her life goals and where to go next," Cromer says. "She has more time on her hands. Google search has become a go to source for her and figuring everything out."

The new season also introduces, via socially distant driveway hangouts, Richard Kind and Maria Bamford as Drea's parents.


Bolding=mine


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16 Apr 2021, 5:55 am

Kayla Cromer Opens Up About Breaking Boundaries on TV: 'Autism Doesn't Define Me'

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Kayla Cromer has her eye on the future — and it's action-packed.

"Doing a Marvel movie would be my absolute dream," says the star of Everything's Gonna Be Okay, 23. "That's why I train so hard at the gym! But the biggest thing for me is proving that I can book different roles. I want to get rid of the stigmas in Hollywood."

"I didn't see characters like me on TV growing up," says Cromer. "I would have been really happy to see it more."

And despite her current success, the actress, who was diagnosed with ADD, dyscalculia (a learning disability that affects number-related concepts) and dyslexia at age 7, followed by Asperger's a few years later, says she's dealt with plenty of misconceptions and judgments in her life.

"I felt like an outsider," Cromer recalls of her childhood. "I was always the last to finish in class. And I wanted so badly to fit into social circles at school, but friends and parties were few. I won't say the word, but I've also been called R-E-T-A-R-D. People are still viewed by labels."

Kayla Cromer in Everything's Gonna Be Okay | CREDIT: SER BAFFO/FREEFORM
Cromer later switched to a specialized school where she flourished — and eventually, fell in love with acting.

"I watched Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean and I became hooked," she recalls. "They're both dyslexic and they've never let their disabilities stop them. That just wowed me."

There are still so many stories that need to be told in Hollywood," she says. "The face of the world is ever changing and the industry needs to keep up."

Continues the actress: "Autism doesn't define me. I want to be a part of different genres in film and bring light to different characters. I hope to open more doors for people in the disability community. And I'm so excited for what the future has in store."


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30 Apr 2021, 3:12 am

Hollywood has a long road to disability inclusion. My experience shows it’s possible - Kala Cromer for the Los Angeles Times

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When I first sat down for a table read with the whole cast of “EGBO,” as the first person with autism spectrum disorder to play a lead character with autism on American television, I found support, love and inspiration, building real chemistry even before hitting the set. It helps that the atmosphere around the show encourages us to bring our whole selves to work: I am able to share my personal experiences and interests with my castmates. When I enter the studio, it’s like seeing family. It’s the best experience of my working life.

This is not to say the journey to inclusion is easy. Growing up with autism, dyslexia and dyscalculia, I’ve never known easy. When I tried to check a Harry Potter book out of the school library as a child, the librarian refused, saying I wouldn’t be able to read it anyway. When I started acting, I was an accomplished master of mimicking neurotypical people to fit in — masking myself to avoid the labels and stereotypes that are a constant for people with autism.

Even now, playing a groundbreaking character in a TV series that practices acceptance of differences, I must face the fact that women with disabilities, especially those with autism, are rarely represented in mainstream media. As Josh commented in a recent panel interview with the Autism Society of America, there are currently no other TV shows with autistic girls. None.

In my industry, inclusion starts with diverse decision-makers at the helm and equally diverse representation behind the scenes. Neurodiverse people have spent their lives discovering and building their strengths, and their ability to think outside the box, among myriad other assets, should be a boon in creative fields.

Inclusion also demands neurodiverse characters being portrayed in authentic ways, to which “EGBO” was committed from the outset. Josh never assumed the task was going to be hard: “Whether [actors] are neurotypical or not, you have to figure out what they need to be in the right kind of emotional space, so they can turn up on set and be charming,” he said in the panel interview. “So this didn’t feel different to me.”

And authenticity helps combat stereotypes. People on the spectrum — an estimated 1 in every 54 children are diagnosed in the U.S. today — are not a monolith. How we experience the world is different; we are diverse in our abilities, interests, backgrounds and more. By going beyond just depicting behaviors to showing how an autistic person navigates the world, how families and friends can be truly accepting and supportive, “EGBO” is able to highlight vital topics within the autism community: navigating sex and consent, independent living, the intersection of autistic and LGBTQ experiences and more.

It’s not just representation for autism, either: Our series features LGBTQIA actors, deaf actors and people of color. On the set of “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay,” the writers, directors, producers and crew work collectively with the actors to get their take on the script, scenes, improvisations and rehearsals to make it as authentic as possible. One thing we do on set is share our personal experiences, and then play with those moments to include in our performances. We are proof that increasing visibility and acceptance can be done, because we are doing it.

Of course, entertainment has a huge influence in our lives and audiences want to see themselves reflected in the characters they are watching. But we can also model the process of inclusion for other working environments, which should be places for all to thrive — whether by addressing accessibility on sets, encouraging and maintaining open communication or sharing knowledge and compassion.

April is Autism Acceptance Month, which marks a conscious shift away from the language of mere “awareness” that many in the community, myself included, believe will inspire greater inclusion of neurodiverse people in the entertainment industry and beyond. I am so grateful to “Everything’s Gonna Be Okay” for amplifying my voice, and as a way to give back I am proud to announce that I am now an Ambassador with the Autism Society of America.

I hope that by sharing my experiences, I can communicate to those on the autism spectrum: Please know that you are not alone. After all, acceptance is simply about recognizing that we are all human — we’re just wired differently. People with autism have empathy. We desire friendships, relationships and marriage. We are passionate about our interests and the people in our lives.

Bolding is mine

Kayla, congratulations and thank you.

Panel Interview with cast


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02 May 2021, 1:14 pm

So five episodes in, any opinions?


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04 Jun 2021, 8:17 am

'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' star Josh Thomas on life with autism and ADHD: 'I'm just trying to get through the day'

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Josh Thomas, the hilarious creator, writer and star of Freeform dramedy Everything's Gonna Be Okay, has some stress. The show that he runs is the first in which an autistic main character is played by an actress with autism (co-star Kayla Cromer), and Thomas has been diagnosed with autism himself. He's also gay, and his show's been hailed for its depiction of a gay relationship. No pressure!

And yet Thomas, a 34-year-old Australian whose breakout project was the quirky show Please Like Me, admits that taking care of his mind often falls low on his list of priorities.

"When I see people go home and do things because they're looking after their brain, I'm like, 'Yeah, but I haven't done any of my tasks yet.' So, usually, it's doing my tasks," he explains to Yahoo Life when asked about what keeps him in a good headspace, during an interview from his home in Melbourne. "I'm autistic but, like, I'm so disorganized. I've got ADHD, and I just am always chasing my tail, so I feel leaving a really untidy house and going outside sometimes is really helpful. And then, I mean, I wish I'd had a coffee. It's always so shocking to me when people have time to work on their well-being. [Laughs] I'm just trying to get through the day."

Ahead of the season finale of Everything's Gonna Be Okay on Thursday, June 3 at 10 p.m, here's more about what Thomas has to say on the subject of his mental health, including how he coped during the pandemic.

Even though you said you're just trying to get through the day, you manage to do a lot. How?
GWhen I'm making the TV show, I have an assistant, and her name is Rosemary. And, honestly, that would be my biggest piece of advice for mental health/well-being: et a personal assistant. [Laughs] She, like, keeps all the things nice and makes sure that I have the things that I need, and then I can relax and focus on my job. Otherwise I would just be, like, um… the word I've been looking for is f****d. I'd just be screwed. So, I don't know, what do people usually say on this part… about their mental health? I imagine they, like, take it quite seriously… and they, like, go and do things. Americans as well. They really like to think about it, and they like to go and actively do things that help them. But I've never done anything like that. Honestly, if I manage to pull together breakfast, that's such a big win.

I think what I'm hearing is that part of your way of getting through the day is accepting that it’s going to be out of control.
I think if I got upset when I was late all the time or I missed things, that that would be a very hard life. One of the things about being diagnosed autistic or ADHD is they kind of sit you down, and they give you a list of stuff that you're gonna be bad at. And then I remember that the [doctor I was] talking to about ADHD, she says to me, "You know, [it's incurable.]" Most people, they don't get that, to be sat down, given a list of their flaws and be told, like, "This is never gonna change," right? But I found that really empowering. I was like, "Oh, OK, well, that's nice to know. I'll stop, like, beating myself over those failures." And then it was kind of freeing... I just have to accept that sometimes those things aren't gonna happen and just move on and try to send a nice apology note and not beat myself up over it. So there's a lot of… self-acceptance.

Did you do any dating during the pandemic?
I didn't date during the pandemic. I was single during the pandemic. I really didn't want to get COVID… I was really, like, "Naw, man, I don't wanna get COVID," so I didn’t touch no, like, strangers… And we were filming the show at the end, so it didn't really seem worth it. [I didn't want to] kiss some drunk boy and risk getting COVID, but then now… There's a boy in the back who's listening. [Laughs] I guess I'm not single.

A lot of pressure comes with your job, because your show is held up as an example for the way it depicts autistic and gay characters. Does that stress you out?
The gay stuff I never worry about, because I am gay, right? And I never think about that much... But, yeah, I mean there's never been a show with an autistic female lead ever, especially one that's played by an autistic person, so you kind of have this pressure... When there's a really underrepresented group, you know that they're gonna want to see themselves in that character, but that's not possible. There's a really broad [cross section] of people that have autism, and it involves a lot of different kinds of people. So the way we approach our autistic characters is by just being really specific about the person and just trying to talk about [the character] Matilda and not talk about her autism, which is a thing that I love.

And that was a big creative lesson [from Please Like Me]… just be really specific about the parts; that is better representation than trying to send a message or trying to, like, do good or whatever.


I really like what Josh said about accepting that sometimes because of our autism(and other conditions) things will not always be in our control. This is because an autistic trait is expecting things to fit a pattern and becoming uber frustrated when they don’t. Also American culture incorrectly says if you try hard enough you can be anything you want. None of the preceding should be construed as give up. If you do that you will always fail. The key to success and IMHO the hardest part of life as Kenny Rodgers once sang “know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em”

I also like what Josh had to say about how to deal with the pressure of being the first representation of a group.

It is only one interview but from what I read Josh seems like a very grounded person, less likely as so many have of becoming screwed up living in the entertainment industry bubble.


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