How Love On The Spectrum Challenges Stereotypes About The Autism Community

After releasing two successful seasons of Australian docu-dating series Love On The Spectrum, a version of the Netflix show set in the U.S. is nearly here. The six episodes follows numerous autistic people on a path to get into the dating world and perhaps find love – guided by showrunner Cian O’Clery’s authentic, tender and refreshingly drama-free approach to reality TV. As Love On The Spectrum returns with the new U.S. version, O’Clery reflected about how past seasons and this one has impacted the Autism community in his experience. 

When CinemaBlend spoke to Cian O’Clery about the newest season of Love On The Spectrum, he shared the reaction thus far. In his words: 

We've had lots and lots of people get in touch from all over the world, writing and telling us how great they thought this series was and I think that's the most important thing. And I think the reason that people are really happy with it is because it gives a voice to our participants. It's them telling their stories in their voices and it's meeting real people on the spectrum. There's been a lot of characters on the spectrum and if they don't know people on the spectrum, then they latch on to what's in the entertainment world, what's on TV and films. So it was a great opportunity to introduce people to a really diverse group of people. That's the best thing about the series for me and I think the most important thing coming to this U.S. series as well is showing how diverse the spectrum is.

The series follows a diverse group of people – some of whom depend on their family, and others who live full-fledged lives on their own – looking to make a connection through dating. Some of them have experiences with being in romantic relationships while for others, Love On The Spectrum follows their first-ever dating experiences. Just like anyone else, they have a range of ways romance has or has not touched their lives. 

Rather than play dating games with their participants or have people decide to get married or not for the season finale, perhaps like other dating shows on Netflix, Love on the Spectrum takes a grounded approach to assisting its stars’ journey. The series works around their lives and there are some people it follows who do find love, while others are simply taking home a valuable experience they might not have had otherwise. O’Clery continued: 

It's great to have somebody like Kaelyn who a lot of people would say 'Oh, I couldn't tell if she's on the spectrum or I wouldn't know'. And it's really important to have that diversity and for people to really understand that. I think that's why people have appreciated it because it's giving voices to real people. We're not trying to tell anyone what to think about autism. [The series] is very light on narration and that's why we have those interviews where people look straight down the camera because they're telling us their stories and they're telling us how they see the world.

O’Clery refers to Love On The Spectrum as a documentary show about dating, and that’s exactly what it is. The series, which will be available to watch with a Netflix subscription on Wednesday, May 18, gives audiences a chance to see the human side of autism spectrum disorder and perhaps debunk harmful stereotypes past depictions of autism in movies and television have brought to our collective consciousness. 

As of late, there have been more honest roles centering on autistic people, including the recent Amazon Prime series As We See It, where the showrunner cast stars on the spectrum and included neurodiversity in the writer’s room, editing room, on set and in the production office. Each of the cast had their own personal connections to the series they could bring to the authenticity of the show. 

Once you check out all six episodes of Love On The Spectrum U.S., stay tuned for more Netflix TV show premiere dates here on CinemaBlend and exclusive coverage of the show. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.