by Shaun Heasley, Disability Scoop | January 18, 2022
The creator of television’s “Parenthood” is back with a new show about a group of 20-somethings with autism all of whom are played by actors who are on the spectrum themselves.
The series “As We See It” comes from Jason Katims who was behind the family drama “Parenthood” that included a character with Asperger’s syndrome and aired from 2010 to 2015 on NBC.
The new half-hour show on Amazon’s streaming service, Prime Video, follows roommates Jack, Harrison and Violet as they try to make friends, find love and get jobs. It’s based on the Israeli series “On the Spectrum.”
“With the help of their families, aide and sometimes even each other, these roommates experience setbacks and celebrate triumphs on their own unique journeys towards independence and acceptance,” Amazon said of the series.
Rick Glassman, Albert Rutecki and Sue Ann Pien, who play the three roommates, all identify as being on the autism spectrum. In addition, Katims said that “all neurodiverse roles were cast with neurodiverse actors” and “two neurotypical roles were cast with neurodiverse actors.”
Beyond the actors, Katims said that crew members working on “As We See It” in the writers’ room, editing room, production office and on set were neurodiverse.
Katims made clear that the lead actors were not playing versions of themselves, but that they “bring an emotional authenticity to their portrayals.”
“This is, at long last, not a show where the autistic characters are the best friends, or the girlfriends, or the sons, or daughters — they ARE the stars. The show is theirs,” said Katims, who indicated that his experience with his son who has autism inspired him to make the show.
“I think the show affords us a window into the hearts and souls of three-dimensional, loving, beautiful, complicated human beings who happen to be on the autistic spectrum, played by actors who identify as being autistic. It shouldn’t be revolutionary. But it sort of is,” Katims said.
All eight episodes of the first season of “As We See It” will premiere Friday on Prime Video.