Ryan O’Connell Is Telling His Life Story In A New Comedy Series
Netflix’s Special, premiering on April 12, follows one man’s journey toward self-acceptance and independence. It’s based on star Ryan O’Connell’s 2015 memoir, I’m Special: and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, and is heavily autobiographical: the first season covers his early days as a confessional blogger, during which he hid that he had cerebral palsy in order to escape the stigma. As a show about a gay, disabled man, it is a rare and — for lack of a better word — special show. And though Netflix has yet to officially renew the series, O’Connell already has plans for Special Season 2.
In an interview with Vulture, O’Connell praised Netflix and said it was the perfect home for the show’s NSFW language and frank sex scenes. But he also admitted he wasn’t thrilled about Stage 13, the digital content company working in tandem with the streaming giant, deciding to make each of Season 1’s eight episode only 15 minutes. If Special is green-lit for Season 2, O’Connell said he wants half-hour episodes.
"I’m a half-hour bitch, okay? That’s what I know," he told the outlet. "Honey, I don’t go chasing 15-minute waterfalls. I stick to the rivers and lakes that I’m used to, and that is a 30-minute show, okay? I’m actually really glad that Netflix bought it as is, because if they wanted to do a half hour, I’d have to rewrite the entire series and that would not be fun. But for Season 2, mama wants a half hour!"
And that’s not his only plan for the show’s future. "In Season 2, ideally, I wanna show a lot more gay sex," O’Connell continued. "It will all have to serve the story, but I wanna normalize gay sex, and I wanna show different flavors of sexy other than Queer As Folk porny whatever."
Special‘s trailer opens with a humorous scene of Ryan daydreaming about shirtless men while he exercises with a trainer. He starts an internship as a writer at a viral content mill company and uses his experience of being hit by a car to get clicks. His co-workers assume the accident is the reason for his limp, and he doesn’t correct them. Soon, he becomes friends with Kim, an Indian woman trying to navigate a space where she is disproportionately surrounded by thin, white women.
Ryan then decides to move out from his mother’s home, where he’s lived his entire life. And though his mother warns that he won’t do well without "an on-call maid," the remainder of the trailer shows Ryan having a great time with his friends and growing into a confident man. It seems like the kind of heartfelt and witty series that will make viewers laugh, while also exposing them to important and underrepresented perspectives.
Hopefully, Special will connect with fans and Netflix will order a second season. O’Connell seems pretty confident about the show returning, and perhaps he’ll get the chance to tell his story in a longer format — and with more sex scenes.
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