Cast of Love on the Spectrum
Rhode Island, Sept. 3 – I recently was asked to watch Love on the Spectrum on Netflix, and share my honest opinion of the series. I was nervous because I am on the spectrum. The show was described to me as a “reality show.” I worried it might sensationalize, inadvertently or even deliberately, poke fun at autistic behavioral quirks to get laughs from a neurotypical, (not autistic), audience. I was glad that wasn’t the case.
People on the autism spectrum struggle with non-verbal communication and social cues, which can make even finding friends hard. So, the added level of romantic love and dating can be extremely complex, challenging, and stressful. While there are many laughs in the show, the laughs are with, not at, the autistic young adults trying to find love.
The Australian show creators prefer the term “documentary,” and I agree. This show is far from the fights and cattiness of other dating or unscripted shows such as The Bachelor, Dance Moms, or Survivor. As multiple reviews in The Guardian, Boston Herald, and CNN mentioned, Love on the Spectrum is filled with empathy and love – both romantic, familial, friendly, and even supporting love from the director, Cian O’Cleary, and the crew.
During the five episodes, the show follows seven young autistic singles, most of whom are just beginning to navigate the dating landscape, in addition to meeting two already established relationships. Viewers are given a short intro to the match’s likes and dislikes before the date. The “daters,” as they are called, are set up on curated blind dates, in addition to sometimes attending dating events for disabled people. The show interviews the participants, asking them questions such as, “what’s your ideal relationship?” or “how do you think that date went?” [continue reading…]