Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Witty LGBTQ Comedy That Everyone's Watching On Netflix

There are about a million TV comedies available to watch about a quirky family trying to get along or a group of friends learning about life and love in their 20s and 30s. Many of them are quite enjoyable, but if you're looking for something to laugh along with that also opens a window onto an experience you've maybe never engaged with before, then Netflix has just the thing. Their original series "Special" just dropped its second and final season, which makes it the perfect time to binge this hilarious and heartfelt show.

"Special" tells the story of Ryan (Ryan O'Connell), a young gay man trying to get ahead at the startup he's interning at while also figuring out his love life and his relationship with his mother, Karen (Jessica Hecht, known to sitcom fans as Susan from "Friends"). Many of Ryan's friends and co-workers believe the limp he walks with is due to a car crash. However, it's actually caused by cerebral palsy, something he's hidden for fear of how it will affect people's perceptions of him. But as Ryan comes to grips with the other aspects of his life, he realizes he must also face living with a disability head-on. Once he comes out as not just a gay man, but a gay man living with cerebral palsy, he finds that so many more opportunities, and challenges, open up to him.

The series is deeply personal, deeply moving, and above all else, deeply funny. It was co-executive produced by Jim Parsons aka Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory" and created by O'Connell based on his memoir "I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves." For O'Connell, bringing his story to Netflix was about so much more than just himself.

Hardship and humor co-exist in Special

"Special" strikes a specific tone that manages to seriously address the challenges that Ryan faces as a gay man living with a disability, while still keeping the overall vibe of the series light and funny. During an interview with Vulture, O'Connell spoke about this complex perspective, declaring, "I've had so much trauma in my life, but you can't live in that trauma forever ... When I actually think about it, it's like, 'Oh wow, I've actually been through a lot.' But it doesn't feel that way to me. It just feels like my life."

O'Connell also explained, "I deal with it in my writing. That's a safe space to work through my stuff." Writing about it also performs another important function. While speaking about the difficulties of living in a society with a general lack of awareness when it comes to disabilities, O'Connell said, "There is such ignorance surrounding disability 'cause there's no dialogue, and, in part, that's because there's no disability representation on TV."

For O'Connell, there is another important aspect to that representation. "I also feel it's really important that a show with a disability comes from someone who's disabled," he explained, adding, "I want disabled people to be able to tell their own stories and be in charge of it."

If you'd like a perspective-shifting look into O'Connell's world, you can check out both seasons of "Special," which are currently available on Netflix.