‘Love on the Spectrum U.S.’ offers intimate look at autism | Now Streaming

Courtesy Netflix
“Love on the Spectrum U.S.” cast members enjoy a picnic in this screenshot from the Netflix series.

By Lindsay Steele

Title: Love on the Spectrum U.S. (Northern Pictures)

Genre: Documentary/Reality-TV/Romance

Streaming service: Netflix


Rating: TV-14 (occasional swear words, some drinking, flirting and kissing)

Summary: “Love on the Spectrum U.S.” follows people on the autism spectrum as they navigate the world of dating and relationships.

Overall impression: The search for love can be challenging for anyone, let alone people with autism. It is through this common experience that “Love on the Spectrum U.S.” allows viewers the opportunity to better understand and relate to its cast members. Any show like this has the potential to exploit certain populations or to dwell on what makes them different, but showrunner Cian O’Clery takes a person-first approach to the show, just as he did with his original Australian series, also on Netflix. The cast members have unique interests, strengths, goals and approaches to dating, all of which are showcased and supported by the producers. Viewers see the fullness of cast members’ lives outside of their search for love through interviews with friends and family members. Cast members express a desire to be seen as more than just a diagnosis. O’Clery does not hide or “mask” the autistic traits of the cast members but he does accommodate them; cast members are able to walk away from a date or take a break if they are feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable. Viewers will likely find themselves rooting for the cast members in their search for companionship.

Discussion questions:
How did this series increase your understanding of people with autism?
How might this awareness influence the way you relate to people with autism in your own life?
How does this show reinforce Catholic teaching about the inherent dignity of the human person?

(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at steele@davenportdiocese.org or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)

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