Special, starring Ryan O’Connell as himself, is based on his autobiographical book, I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves (2015). “From the beloved blogger turned voice of an online generation, an unforgettable and hilarious memoir-meets-manifesto exploring what it means to be a millennial gay man living with cerebral palsy…”
Special Season Two, which will be the last, is now available. If you missed the humorous and highly rated Season One, don’t despair—just catch up on Netflix. It’s a breezy brief-episode series.
Or you might want to read his book. This Publishers Weekly review excerpt describes a key element of his story: “Several chapters are dedicated to O’Connell’s lifelong struggle with cerebral palsy, punctuated by a car accident that gave him the tantalizing chance to introduce himself to strangers as an accident victim with a limp rather than, as he describes himself half-jokingly, a ‘gimp’…”
Selected quotes from I’m Special:
You can try on different personalities like they’re clothing for as long as you want, but I guarantee that the outfit you were originally wearing will always be the one that fits best.
You can only really grow when you start being honest with yourself about who you are in the first place.
Sometimes the worst kind of love teaches you the best lessons.
You will fall in love with your friends. Deep, passionate love. You will create a second family with them, a kind of tribe that makes you feel less vulnerable. Sometimes our families can’t love us all the time. Sometimes we’re born into families who don’t know how to love us properly. They do as much as they can but the rest is up to our friends. They can love you all the time, without judgement. At least the good ones can.
We live in an age where we feel guilt whenever we have to cut someone off but the reality is that some relationships do need to die, some people do need to be unfollowed and defriended. We aren’t meant to be this tethered to the people in our past. The Internet mandates that we don’t burn bridges and keep everyone around like relics but those expectations are unrealistic and unhealthy. Simply put, we don’t need to know what everyone else is up to. We’re allowed to be choosy about who we surround ourselves with online and in real life, even if it might hurt people’s feelings.
Season Two of Special is introduced below by Curtis M. Wong, HuffPost:
The show follows Ryan…who is now living apart from his estranged, if well-meaning, mother (Jessica Hecht). Unfortunately, his newfound independence is counterbalanced by his perceived inability to find a boyfriend.
Things start to look up, however, when Ryan meets Tanner (Max Jenkins of ‘Dead to Me’), a dance instructor who is handsome, charismatic and frustratingly evasive about his own relationship baggage. Meanwhile, Ryan’s gal pal, Kim (Punam Patel), is enjoying nights on the town with the handsome Harrison (Charlie Barnett) but nonetheless grappling with her own intimacy issues.
Kim, whom Ryan met at his writing job in Season One, and who self-described as “non-skinny and non-white,” has been a highlight.
Disability, not only Ryan’s own, will be further addressed in Season Two. Looking ahead to audience response, O’Connell told HuffPost: “’I hope that people see it as a sort of balm for these times, and it brings them happiness while progressing their own thinking with regard to disability, queerness, whatever,’ he said. ‘We need that now more than ever’.”
The trailer for Season Two: