‘As We See It’ a Passion Project for Jason Katims
Amazon Prime comedy-drama features three roommates on the autism spectrum, figuring out life
As We See It, a show depicting three twentysomething roommates on the autism spectrum, hustling to make friends, fall in love, succeed at work and navigate the world around them, premieres on Amazon Prime January 21.
Rick Glassman, Albert Rutecki and Sue Ann Pien, all on the autism spectrum, portray the three leads. Jason Katims is showrunner, writer and executive producer.
Katims’ son is on the spectrum, and that was a factor in him taking on the project, which is based on an Israeli show called On the Spectrum.
“I started to think, what is his life gonna be like as an adult with autism?” Katims told B+C. TV features children with autism, he said, but not so much adults.
“Children diagnosed with autism grow up to become adults,” said Katims, who discussed As We See It on the Series Business podcast.
Katims executive produces with Jeni Mulein, Danna Stern, Dana Idisis, Yuval Shafferman and Udi Segal. Jesse Peretz directs and executive produces the pilot.
The producers went to considerable lengths to make sure those on the spectrum are fairly and accurately depicted. Scripts were shared with people representing autism organizations. Besides the three lead actors, neurodiverse people directed and sat in the writers’ room. “Authenticity was our north star in making the first season,” said Katims, whose credits include Friday Night Lights, About a Boy and Parenthood.
As its title suggests, As We See It shows how the leads on the spectrum view the world. “The show is seen through their eyes,” said Katims.
Much of the show’s humor comes from the main characters, Jack, Violet and Harrison, speaking without a filter. “They say what’s on their mind,” said Katims. “That’s so refreshing at a time when nobody says what’s on their mind.”
As We See It can be classified as either a comedy or a drama, he added. “You’re laughing, then the next moment, crying,” he said. “The show has that.”
While the trio’s view on the world is unique, Katims said their day-to-day challenges–making a friend, keeping a job, falling in love–are things most everyone deals with.
“I set out to make a show about neurodiversity,” he said. “It turns out I made a coming-of-age story that is completely universal.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.