Dinosaur: BBC sitcom review

Written in April 2024

I was understandably cautious about watching this, especially as The Guardian's review said:

“she is funny and spiky and openhearted in ways that have nothing to do with being autistic”

Which, as any fule kno*, means “she is fully autistically realised and all these traits are actually autistic ones”. Still, I can't expect every reviewer to have experienced enough autistic people to realise the hallmarks of authentic autistic expression.


I'm four episodes in, and it's great. Nina, the lead autistic character does a great job of representing sensory and social overwhelm, confusion at change and social rules, confrontations with people who believe the have some kind of authority (I'm thinking specifically of the bowling alley shoe scenes) and the subsequent “DGAF it's a stupid rule and you can't make me” aspects of many people's autistic experience.

She's accepted, largely, by the people around her and role models perfectly the idea that we can sometimes, if we're in the right place mentally, try new things and cope. I see a lot of my own reactions and responses in her, and she gives me a bit of hope and confidence. Yes, I know this is a fictional sitcom, but so many autistic people find connection with TV show characters that I am glad Nina exists.

* * *

I finished the series last night, and I am still slightly annoyed at the iPlayer schedule thingy for saying there are 7 episodes, the 7th being the trailer (so I'm expecting a 7th episode, then I get the trailer for the show I have just watched...)


Annoyance aside, the last two episodes got me right in the feels. I was having a bit of an emotionally unstable day as it was and some of the scenes here, especially the one where she's feeling like a burden and she flees, were so so relatable and brought up past familiar scenes from my own life. 


Nina's stims, like jumping/stomping in a circle when she's happy and lobster fingers when she's nervous, are so close to some of my stims, and it's just really refreshing to see an autistic character stimming in a way I can relate to rather than in an overblown way for the benefit of the neurotypical audience who might not catch that detail.

I really hope there's a second series and more, because this was a great watch and I am already looking forward to the rewatch.

*This is a Molesworth quote, fairly well known and I couldn't resist the chance to use it.


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