“I’m often asked about research for the show, but it’s really boring, isn’t it? It’s research. There is never any drama.”
Thomas, who created and stars in the series, and his writers spend a lot of time researching autism for “Everything”, which returns for season 2 on Thursday (10 EDT / PDT). The comedy was praised when it premiered last year for its portrayal of characters with autism, especially because multiple actors are on the spectrum.
“I think when we decided to run this show with an authentic autistic cast, there were a lot of people like, ‘How is this going to work?’,” Thomas said at a recent panel discussion hosted by the ‘Autism Society. “The way we approached it was to not just assume it’s going to be hard, you know?”
“Everything” is about a man in his twenties, Nicholas (Thomas), who takes care of his teenage stepsisters Matilda (Kayla Cromer), autistic, and Geneviève (Maeve Press), after the death of their father. Barely an adult himself, Nicholas struggles with his new role as a parent, walking the line between bossy and friend. In addition to Matilda, the series includes several characters on the spectrum, including his girlfriend Drea (Lillian Carrier).
Thomas, 33, who in a Instagram post and New Yorker Monday article shared that he was also autistic, said in an interview this week that while writing the show, “we’re starting to run scripts by consultants to verify my work …. They read the script and me let them know if they think something seems wrong or offensive. Which never happened. “
Far from offending people in the autistic community, “Everything” has been celebrated as a series that genuinely examines the wide variety of experiences people have with autism.
“This show worked well, especially with the hiring of a lead actress with autism to portray the character of Matilda,” says Maria Davis-Pierre, CEO and founder of Autism in Black, an advocacy organization that supports people with autism from the black community. covered sex, dating, family relationships, grief, even the family’s empowering views towards Matilda and didn’t make a mockery of the autistic community. “
The way autism is portrayed onscreen has been a frequent topic of public discourse this year in light of the pop star. Sia’s film, “Music”, who has come under intense criticism both for her portrayal of an autistic person and for casting a neurotypical actress (Maddie Ziegler) to play the character.
“I just watched that and felt really sad for everyone,” Thomas says of the movie. “It seemed like a really (explosive) situation. There were no winners.”
“Hollywood’s biggest problem with autism is that it’s too awkward to talk to, recruit and hire the real people they’re trying to represent,” says Pierre Davis. “Rather than providing accommodations, they take the easy way out. way not to hire someone neurotypical because in their opinion it would be easier to work with … And that’s a major problem because the story gets filtered and you end up reinforcing the stereotypes and continuing to be capable of a community. “
Thomas plans to bring some of his own personal journey to the show, including letting Nicholas discover he’s part of the Specter.
“I realized that by coming out with autism before this season aired, people were going to look at Nicholas in a different way,” he says. “And we’ll talk about it eventually in this series, but not for centuries.”
Season 2 is also about the COVID-19 pandemic, and Thomas was delighted to write episodes that take place within the confines of a quarantined home.
“It’s been so long that it’s almost ordinary,” says Thomas, who previously created and starred in the cult Australian hit “Please Like Me”. feels like, yeah that’s what life is about. … I really love this intense time for personal reflection that people have had, and how it made people a little weird.
Like many of us, the pandemic derails the plans of the main characters. Nicholas’ boyfriend Alex (Adam Faison) sees 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 that went wrong, is locked in her room looking of a direction.
“She’s really trying to bounce back from New York and rethink her goals in life and where to go next,” Cromer says. “She has more free time. Google search has become a go-to source for her to figure everything out.”
The new season also features, via socially distant hangouts in the aisles, Richard Kind and Maria Bamford as Drea’s parents.
“You know Drea doesn’t have non-wacky parents,” Thomas said. “I was really excited to have Maria and Richard; I don’t think they’ll be offended if I say they’re a little wacky.”
Thomas isn’t thinking about a potential third season, but if it does, he’ll be well prepared.
“I’m probably going to dust off the filing cabinet we had with the Season 2 (pre-COVID) storylines,” he laughs.
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