When it comes to feel-good shows for the summer, it doesn’t get much better than Netflix’s Love on the Spectrum. It’s a reality TV dating show that focuses solely on people who are on the autism spectrum. Each episode highlights one or two different singles and, in two cases, couples, and their journey to find love. Given that those on the spectrum have difficulty in social situations, dating is pretty challenging. But like everyone else, they crave social connections and ultimately love.
Is everyone on Love on the Spectrum autistic? When it comes to the central characters, yes. But there are others, including family members and friends, who are not, including relationship coach Jodi Rogers (on the original Australian version). After watching, or even before, there are some really interesting things to know about the show.
Updated on June 14th, 2022 by Christine Persaud: Since Love on the Spectrum premiered on Netflix in 2020, it has streamed two seasons to date as well as the first season of a new U.S. version. Every season delivers new stories of love, with season 2 of the original even bringing back a few cast members from the first as the show continues to follow their journeys toward finding “the one.”
Love On The Spectrum Is Filmed In Australia
While Netflix picked up the streaming rights for this series, it actually originally hails from Australia. It was produced by Northern Pictures for ABC (a national public network in Australia, not the American network of the same name) and aired on that network back in 2019. And yes, Love on the Spectrum is definitely real. According to The Cinemaholic, while the show is dubbed a reality dating show, it’s technically more a docuseries.
Consisting of five episodes in season one and six episodes in season 2, the show was filmed entirely in Australia and so all participants are Australian.
The Creator Got The Idea For Love On The Spectrum After Making Other Shows About People With Different Abilities
The creator of the series, Cian O’Clery, actually got the idea and inspiration for Love on the Spectrum from doing other shows about people with different abilities, according to Salon. After working on the Australian documentary series Employable Me which shed light on how having a disability should not make someone unemployable, he came across an interesting and unexpected piece of information.
People on the autism spectrum might have difficulty with social interactions but that doesn’t mean they don’t want them. And O’Clery heard over and over again from those he worked with that they wanted to find love. And thus, the idea for Love on the Spectrum was born.
There’s Now A U.S. Version Of Love On The Spectrum
In 2022, Netflix launched a U.S. version of the show, with Cian O’Clery still behind the camera and involved. All of the participants, however, are located in the U.S., all in different parts of California. There are some differences between the U.S. and Australian versions of Love on the Spectrum, but for the most part, they follow the same general formats.
There was some interesting characters introduced in the U.S. version, some of which were successful in finding love and some who continue their journeys. Interestingly, in the U.S. version, the relationship coach revealed that she, too, is on the spectrum, which she discovered later in life.
Autistic People Generally Don’t Like Hollywood Depictions
O’Clery has noted in interviews that most people he spoke with who are on the spectrum say they don’t like portrayals of autistic people, and those more specifically with Asperger Syndrome, like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory and Shaun in The Good Doctor because they are so often compared to them.
This reality show presents a true look at autistic people who are proud of who they are and embrace themselves and their true stories. They aren’t characters in a show playing a role – they’re real people. What they also educate viewers on is how wide the spectrum is given that each person has a very different experience, personality, and traits.
Love On The Spectrum’s Creator Still Talks To Many Of The Cast
O’Clery says he still speaks to many of the cast members from the show, most often Michael, one of the most popular singles from the series, who he says calls him often with questions about something or other, according to Salon.
Indeed, fans are curious about learning where the cast of season 1 of Love on the Spectrum is now and what they have been up to. Season 2 provided some details in this respect, following up with cast members like Michael, Chloe, and Mark. Some have pursued interests that they mentioned on the show while others have been working in different areas of entertainment and continue to date.
Ruth And Thomas And Jimmy And Sharnae Are Now Married
Viewers saw a video recording of Thomas’ touching proposal on his bus full of passengers who applauded the happy couple. And now the engaged couple is officially married, along with Jimmy and Sharnae, whose wedding was featured in the second season of the show.
Thomas and Ruth were also able to move out of their home rental and purchase a house by the railway, just as they had dreamed of doing while filming the series, according to Bustle. While both couples had met and were dating prior to the show, they provide inspiration for the other couples who hope to find their special loves through the process.
Love On The Spectrum Has Been Praised For Being Honest
The series has been praised by many critics and viewers, alike, for its honest depictions of those on the spectrum. It has also been lauded for discussing issues that are rarely talked about, such as the difficulty in getting an autism diagnosis, how symptoms present differently in girls leading to later diagnoses, and how different every person with autism is, hence the “spectrum.”
Love on the Spectrum was also praised for showing not only singles looking for love but two couples in healthy and long-term relationships who have proven that it can happen.
Michael Wants To Be An Actor
Michael is still looking for love but he has also mentioned in videos that while he continues to work and loves watching television, he also likes to spend time in his bedroom, which he calls his quarters, to practice acting, specifically voice acting. Indeed, fans love him despite one of the unpopular opinions about Love on the Spectrum, according to Reddit, being that Michael is “creepy.”
He calls acting his passion (aside from finding his queen, of course). Given how well he was received after Love on the Spectrum, it wouldn’t be surprising if the television and movie offers came rolling in. According to LAD Bible, in late 2021, Michael launched his own podcast called Mr. A+ where he discusses a variety of topics with guests.
Some Of The Speed Dating Meet-Ups Were Arranged By Producers
Shedding more light on the fact that there are few resources to help singles on the spectrum find love, O’Clery has noted in interviews that some of the dating events the singles on the show attended were actually put together with the help of producers. This wasn’t for the sake of controlling the narrative or making for good TV, but simply because nothing of the sort otherwise existed.
While there is lots of support for autistic people, including programs to help them develop work skills and find jobs, as well as programs for children, there is little in the way of programs to help them build romantic relationships.
Steve Is The Son Of A Famous Magazine Publisher
Fans of the U.S. version of the show instantly fell in love with Steve, the oldest cast member of either of the shows to date at 63, and also one of the most charismatic, sweet, honest, and funny. Steve is one of the favorite cast members on both versions of Love on the Spectrum, according to Reddit. After the episodes streamed, it came to light that he has a pretty famous father. According to RealityTitbit.com, Steve’s father is Harold N. Spitz, who was the publisher of Guest Informant, a magazine that was founded after World War II.
While Steve’s father passed away in 2005, he recalled fond memories of him on the show, and how his father accepted him knowing he was different.
Not All Reviews Are Positive
While the show has mostly been praised for raising awareness about autism and the wants, desires, and difficulties autistic people experience while trying to form meaningful relationships with others, the show hasn’t been universally praised.
One writer for Metro U.K., who is autistic herself did not like that the series only paired autistic people with others on the spectrum. She also said she cringed when watching some of the uncomfortable moments, like Amanda leaving her date with Michael due to anxiety or Maddi’s forced conversation with another autistic boy at a dance. Interestingly, in the U.S. version, one cast member was paired with someone who wasn’t on the spectrum. However, while he agreed to meet again, he never called them after their first date when she revealed that she was on the spectrum.
There Will Likely Be A Season Three Of Love On The Spectrum
While a third season hasn’t been officially confirmed, given the success of the first two as well as the release of the U.S. version, it’s likely that a season 3 will be forthcoming. Sources like TheList.com speculate that a third season could come as early as the end of 2022, but nothing has been officially confirmed.
A third season could potentially revisit some of the fan-favorite cast members while also introducing new ones. Meanwhile, chances are that a second season of the U.S. version could be on the horizon as well, though it hasn’t been confirmed either.
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