‘As We See It’ Review

No one illustrates the precariousness of emotional television better than Jason Katims, probably because no one does it better.

When Katims joined his game – Friday night lights, Being a parent – school veteran Edward Zwick / Marshall Herskovitz conducts shows that earn every laugh and every tearful emotion. When Katims is off – Fox is gloomy Almost familythe first half of its short existence Rise on NBC – the results can be dire.

As we see it

Key point

A sincere mixture of mostly tears and laughter.

Release date: Friday, January 21

Cast: Rick Glassman, Sue Ann Pien, Albert Rutecki, Sosie Bacon and Chris Pang

Creator: Jason Katims from the Israeli format

After recent detours – Almost family still makes me angry – Katims is back solidly with his new half hour on Amazon As we see it, based on the Israeli format. Can be called a “comedy” due to its half-hour run time, As we see it generate more smiles of recognition than jokes and perhaps more tears as well. It’s basically a gripping show that easily strips away some of its initial trivia and, by the end of its eight-episode first season, confidently pushes various emotional buttons.

Jack (Rick Glassman), Violet (Sue Ann Pien) and Harrison (Albert Rutecki) have known each other since kindergarten, but they’re not exactly friends. Now in their 20s and occupying various positions on the autism spectrum, they share an apartment in the Canoga Park neighborhood of LA. Jack is a brilliant computer programmer, whose ability to stay on the job is hampered by his potential for stupidity. Violet works at Arby’s and flirts with the attractive delivery guy, to the horror of her controlling brother Van (Chris Pang). The least independent of the trio, but with the wealthiest parents, Harrison has daily goals that include battling external stimuli to navigate around the property, although he enjoys watching shows. more TV games. Their lives are facilitated by Mandy (Sosie Bacon), an assistant whose poor MCAT score has put her dream of middle school to a halt.

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The word “normal” is rightfully stigmatized in the disabled world, and Katims uses it here as a sword. “Normal” is the structure our protagonists aspire to, and “normal” is the weapon that outsiders use to judge them and stop them, an allusion when slurs other too inappropriate.

The irony that Katims often faces is that, of course, the dramatic “needs” faced by his protagonists could not be more “ordinary”. Jack is worried about his father (Joe Mantegna) cancer and he wants a Roomba. Violet is under her brother’s judgment but just wants to find a boyfriend on a dating app. Harrison was stressed about changes in his family and needed a friend who appreciated his source of knowledge about the American Revolution.

At the same time, autism poses challenges for each protagonist, but not in an adequate way. Harrison might require dark sunglasses and noise-cancelling headphones to get to the corner, but Violet might go to buzzing nightclubs in search of her romance. Jack may struggle with tone and social cues, but that doesn’t stop a slow-growing relationship with Ewatomi (Délé Ogundiran, excellent), a nurse who works with his oncologist. His father. There is no single autistic “symptom” and no universal “autistic response” to anything, and As we see it capture this truth, a truth that is sometimes learned by the viewer and the characters on screen at the same time.

The opening episodes are sometimes a little methodical in how they approach the adversities faced by the characters in the series and their loved ones. Each episode seems to limit an experience with excessive bigotry, an encounter or two of well-meaning oblivion, and some hard-to-watch mix and emotional hugs, all both lasted more than 30 minutes with Mandy at the center.

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What happens, however, is what begins as the formula becomes impressively cumulative and perhaps less reliant on Mandy – who barely holds it together – as a steady growing moment. . With that, the series places more and more emphasis on the kindness that comes from situational adversity rather than a noble response to exaggerated ignorance. The series is not without its highly manipulative rhythms, but as I realize, it is almost always caused by smaller instances of basic kindness and human understanding.

TV shows are slowly realizing that the best way to express autism is to actually show the diversity represented by that word “spectrum,” a consciousness that is reflected in shows like Word A, Everything will be fine and Distinctive. The second TV series, which ended on Netflix last year, was a favorite because of how well it used human failures to raise the stakes and how it built a team. character, including out of range, I want to protect.

Distinctive was determined to cast a typical neurotic actor in the lead role, turning autism into something effective. In selecting actors across the spectrum for most of the lead roles, As we see it to prove that the correct casting is not a stunt. Glassman, Pien, and Rutecki are wonderful and nuanced hosts, with no qualifications required. Glassman doesn’t compromise on Jack’s antisocial tendencies, but he offers equally hilarious and touching countermeasures. Pien’s commitment to Violet’s sometimes extreme reactions can be hard to watch, but they’re all naturally escalated and complemented by quieter scenes. And I didn’t realize how good Rutecki was until the last two episodes, which is the payoff for the character.

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This feels like a real breakthrough for Bacon, who I mainly noticed because of her similarities to each of her famous parents. She exposes all of Mandy’s uncertainty and never tries to get you to excuse her character’s mistakes. She has a different chemistry with each of her three main co-stars, and whether those interactions turn out to be “sweet” or “weirdly funny,” it all works. Bacon and Pang is also very good with the complex dynamic between Mandy and Van, an overly pre-determined love story that I usually hate, but I feel As we see it perform the work.

As we see it Find a good balance between when it wants you to laugh and when it hopes you’ll cry a little. Never for a second do you forget that the show is trying to make you have, as the kids say, all the sensations, but sassy and unruly are kept to a minimum. It doesn’t want to be revealed, just sincere and, in that, I think it succeeds.

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