Season 1, Episode 2
Date of release: April 12, 2019 (Netflix)
In which SPECIAL turns from a light comedy into a potentially serious storyline about Ryan trying to win confidence inside his body. And it’s not just his body that gives him discomfort, it’s the culture of Los Angeles hipsters in general. I can already see the social criticism of the show, and how Ryan O’Connell tried to make it as obvious as possible while also not losing the sight of why the show exists in the first place (a disabled gay guy navigating life), but it turns out that aspect is more interesting to me than the disabled and gay aspect. And the reason is simple: I am a straight white male, so I have less of a connection to a disabled gay character than I have to a character who is trying to navigate around shitty human hipsters of the 21st century, who waste their money like they don’t even know it’s money they are wasting. Olivia throwing the birthday cake into the garbage was the prime example of that: She doesn’t give a shit about what people think of her, she is just living in her own world. And she probably finds the thought of donating the cake to someone with lesser means of living a good life disgusting as hell. Olivia probably feels the sudden urge to shower for a few days non-stop, when she gets accidentally touched by a homeless guy, that’s how shallow this woman is.
Another episode which was only 14 minutes long, but it felt longer than the first chapter, and I don’t quite know why. Maybe it’s becasue there have been three set pieces in this chapter. Number one is the body image positivity scene with Ryan and Olivia, almost giving me and my almost overweight body confidence to get out there in the world (I’m too riddled with social anxiety though, so I will always be a couch potato, watching one TV episode after another). Number two is the pool party and Ryan’s impromptu meeting with his Grindr crush. Number three is the realization that Ryan might not bring anything to the table as the gay guy of the bunch, because he has no experience at all. He wants to live the life of a normal human being, and it’s not like his cerebral palsy is distracting him from living that life. But it turns out his inexperience is hindering him gaining new experiences, and because of that, he gets anxious about certain decisions. Will he be more open with himself and about his sexuality after his Grindr date pretty much told him in no words at all that Ryan is just a kid? Will he grow back into his shell after the bedroom experience, which for an outsider like me didn’t even look hat bad? Will this be Ryan’s character arc throughout the remaining chapters and beyond?
Best part of the episode: The body image positivity scene needs to be shown everywhere. Ryan O’Connell goes into this show knowing he wants to deliver some social messages, and I’m all here for it. That and the gay sex I wanna see, just to grow some distance to all the other white-savior shows I’m watching.
Worst part of the episode: The cake. When a thin hipster woman doesn’t respect you, you must have been a crappy cake. No reason in wasting time to think about eating you, cake.
Weirdest part of the episode: The two girls, who suddenly believe they are Kim’s sidekicks. First of all, where did they come from, and secondly, could they not have been Olivia’s sidekick first, so there could have been a story about how Kim steals her boss’s girlfriends? Another missed opportunity of a comical storyline. Besides that, those girls really were weird.
Player of the episode: The black guy who asked Ryan “are you done?” Holy shit, is that what gay guys in L.A. are like? Top-notch delivery of those three words, my dude.