Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner

78
    Atypical
Photo Credit: Netflix

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living… with his family of four in Connecticut. Sam and his younger sister Casey don’t always get along, but she might be the only one who sees him completely apart from his autism. Elsa, Sam’s mom, can be overbearing, which grates on his nerves, but at the end of the day, they seem like a happy family. That is, until Sam finds out what his mother has been hiding from him. 

Profession… high school student and part time employee at Tech-tropolis. Sam likes the monotony his job, but hates the crowded halls of his public high school. He doesn’t have many friends in school, and when someone reaches out, Sam has a hard time accepting their kindness. Work, on the other hand, is usually a calming environment for him and his best friend/co-worker Zahid.

Interests… biology, penguins, and girls. Sam doesn’t have casual interests. When he finds something he likes, it quickly turns to obsession. His love of biology turned into a fixation on marine life in Antarctica. Sam likes to compare his life to that of a penguin, which isn’t always helpful, but it provides an outlet for his emotions. 

Relationship status… single. Sam has decided that it’s time to get a girlfriend. Which girl? It’s unclear. Sam doesn’t seem to notice the flirting from a cute girl at school, and instead tries to take things to the next level with someone who knows him well: his therapist. There are a few issues, like the fact that Sam is a minor and his therapist is in a committed relationship, but those don’t seem to faze Sam at all. 

Challenge… feeling comfortable and autonomous. Sam has autism, and sometimes he has a hard time feeling safe in new situations. Most of the time, he likes things to stay the same. However, he craves independence and is slowly stepping outside of his comfort zone. Sam wishes he could just be himself without other people judging him. As he says, “The thing is the obstacles weren’t really obstacles. They were usually just other people living in the world. Which can sometimes feel very problematic.”

Personality… kind, passionate, honest. Ultimately, Sam is a kind-hearted teenager trying to figure out his life in the midst of family drama. His autism can lead him to being blunter that anyone usually appreciates, but he values honesty more than most. Sam feels his emotions deeply, and while he isn’t selfish, he does have a hard time relating to other’s emotions.

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