Roush Review: Netflix’s ‘Special’ Is Irreverent and Enjoyably Brisk


Ryan’s needs aren’t really all that special. He’d like some respect at work, also a bit of independence as he moves out of his mom’s house. And maybe a boyfriend.

The irreverent and enjoyably brisk Special, based on Ryan O’Connell’s memoir of life as a young gay man with a mild case of cerebral palsy, refreshingly paints fictional Ryan as something less than a saint. He treats his mother (a moving Jessica Hecht) abominably and lies to his new coworkers at an online magazine that his condition is the result of a recent accident in which a car backed into him.

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“Running from who you are is hard. Especially when you have a limp,” Ryan observes about his difficulties in coming out — not as gay, but as having a disability.

His awakening occurs over eight episodes that clock in at around 15 minutes each, making this more of a snack than a binge.

(Credit: Netflix)

Special is only truly memorable when it depicts Ryan’s endearingly awkward embrace of his sexuality. (He wears a suit to his own deflowering.) If we’re lucky, his newfound self-awareness will be rewarded with a second season.

Special, Series Premiere, Friday, April 12, Netflix