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Feels like a finely-tuned, precision-crafted Web series, with potent little zingers stitched into every exchange - along with the occasional sledgehammer.
Its appealing length is a sign of much-appreciated self-awareness, as "Special" needs some time to hone its delivery and find more storytelling confidence, but there's more than enough in Ryan O'Connell's new series to make it the right kind of notable.
Netflix's first sitcom of 15-minute episodes plays out like a woke, snappy, millennial dream.
His awkwardness, and the strides he takes when conquering the downslides and sideways spills of cerebral palsy, make this show sharp and socially cutting without sanctimony.
The brilliance of O'Connell's game is that he's created an uber-accessible comedy, full of self-referential and -deferential humor. It's also full of wise observations about the absurdity of modern culture.
"The show is vastly significant in terms of what it does for our representation in the mainstream culture...provides me, and other disabled and marginalized people, with a much-needed piece of representational belonging."
That shines through when you realize Special isn't a "disability comedy," it's a comedy where disability is a meaningful, but singular, slice of its main character's rich life.
Special-with O'Connell's obvious talent as a writer and star-makes a compelling case for why disabled writers, creators, and actors should be leading the way in expanding media representation for people with a variety of disabilities.
Though the series and character sometimes verge on being too sweet, there is an unimpeachable emotional realism here...
It's very light, there's nothing sad or disturbing about it. It's light, and it's sweet, and it gives you a slice of the gay community you usually don't get to see.
The 15-minute episodes are an easy binge and the two lead characters...are often a hoot even if some of the secondary characters (a witch-on-wheels boss, in particular) and situations undercut the show's attempts at realism.
Audience Reviews for Special: Season 1
Apr 06, 2020Super good: the same genre as Master of None, Ramy, Feel Good, etc.
Oct 18, 2019Funny af watched it in a day!
Aug 18, 2019Parsons was the reason to terminate the best series ever made Big Bang theory for spending his time in tv series like this? What a pity.
Jul 08, 2019This series demonstrates that anyone can be an awful person. 20-something pain in the ass more worried about image than how he treats people. The millennial me-first mentality. Not funny, uncomfortable to watch, poorly presented, awkward, and goes nowhere.
May 17, 2019Special can use its title honestly due to its perfect blend of heartfelt and funny moments - thanks to Ryan O'Connell's talent as both lead star and writer.
May 04, 2019Ryan the main character really is an asshole who takes for granted the people around him and what people really do for him specially his mom which at the end of the season throws a pity party for himself when his mom expresses all she really does for him I really hope this show doesn't get a second season by far one of the worst shows on Netflix
Apr 26, 2019Overall, this show was really well done! It had a lot of heart and comedy in a way that I have never seen before. The ending to the first season was good and a little bumpy, however, it did leave me wanting more from season two. Also, I would love to see the episodes be longer!
Apr 21, 2019Special is fun and one of the best Netflix original comedy series, because it has a good direction, a great script, a very pleasant rhythm due to the short duration of the episodes and excellent characters that are very charismatic and interpreted in an incredible way by Ryan O'Connell, Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel and Augustus Prew
Apr 21, 2019Ryan is super fucking annoying. I loved all the other character's except the mom's boyfriend. I thought that him and Ryan became rude for no reason. Apart from that I loved all the characters and found myself shipping people and chuckling but not laughing. I'm excited to see where this show goes. It's short but sweet. there is a certain romance i can't wait to see develop and I really don't want his mom to feel like she is guilty. Hopefully they don't take the show in that direction. 3.5/5
Apr 20, 2019Excelent. Want to watch the season 2 soon.