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ricky Gervais, Netflix, Derek, Autism, BBC

Netflix’s Derek Shines Light on Autism & Teaches Important Lessons About Tolerance and Kindness

by Deborah Cruz

My family is addicted to Netflix and my newest addiction is Derek.

It’s a Godsend to me since I haven’t gotten to watch a television show at it’s regularly scheduled time since giving birth and have only been to a movie theater about 7 times in the past 9 years. I know, it’s sad but not really because thanks to Netflix, I can binge-watch entire seasons of shows in a matter of a weekend. It’s like high-intensity television viewing. Not for the weak, or the busy so obviously, I don’t get to take advantage of that very often. By the way, I am a Netflix Stream team member but I was a Netflix junkie way before being part of the Stream Team.

Occasionally, I’ll take a day or two and just watch a season while I do laundry. Come on, we’ve all done it. I’ve seen your feet up, Netflix on the tv Instagram photos. I find television to be a way for me to decompress, especially when I am overwhelmed with life circumstances. In fact, BBC’s Shameless got me through one of the toughest times in my life. There was just something about being at my lowest and being able to watch people at an even lower point, with less to be thankful for, being thankful. Sometimes it’s just changing your perspective or being able to laugh at someone else’s misfortune or be inspired by their tenacity, it works.

While I watch shows like Shameless, Weeds, House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and Orange is the New Black, I certainly don’t want my 7 and 9-year-olds watching any of those. I also don’t want them accidentally stumbling upon one of the horror movies that I have in my queue. Thank goodness for the kids’ section and even more so for individual profiles. Now, no one has to accidentally open Daddy’s National Lampoon’s Spring Break movie or Mommy’s Walking Dead or American Horror Story. Hey, I’m grown I can watch whatever I want but that doesn’t mean that I want my kids exposed to it; individual profiles are the perfect parental control solution. It’s awesome because it provides ratings and reviews so I can see if its okay for my girls to watch before tuning in and getting surprised.

But there is one show that I really want to share with my girls because the messages and themes are so perfect that I want to share this show with everyone I know BUT I can’t because there are also some very adult themes and language in the BBC show Derek. But I can share it with you. Have you seen it?

Ricky Gervais stars as Derek Noakes in the British television bittersweet comedy-drama Derek about a group of quirky outsiders living on society’s peripheral written by, directed by and starring Ricky Gervais.  It is implied in one episode that Ricky Gervais’ character, Derek, may be autistic. Derek Noakes is a tender, innocent man whose love for his job and the elderly people that he cares for shines through. He’s 49 years old and loves animals and Youtube videos of animals. He is a tender, honest and brave soul in a world where most people are not.Derek is kind, helpful, selfless and lives with good intentions and good will towards everyone he meets. He is vulnerable because of his childlike naivety and distractions from society. Outside of the home he works in, he is ridiculed and ostracized, and marginalized by mainstream society because of his social awkwardness and lack of inhibitions. Derek says it is more important to be kind than to be clever or good-looking. Derek believes that old people are special because they’re kind and funny and tell him stories about the olden days.

Hannah (Kerry Godliman) is a care worker at the home and is Derek’s best friend. She’s smart, witty and hard-working, but unlucky in love; and like Derek, always puts other people first.

All the characters, while rough around the edges, will soon endear themselves to your heart and none so much as Derek. If you thought that Ricky Gervais was a one trick comedy pony you would be so wrong. His range will shock you and his acting and insight with which he plays Derek will forever remind you that we are not all what we appear to be; most often we are so much more.

Ricky Gervais, Netflix, Derek, Autism, BBC

I won’t lie, I fell in love with Derek Noakes and all felt a kinship to all the characters. The show is shot in a mockumentary sort of way, like The Office but mostly it just feels like you’re a fly on the wall at this little elderly care home and it reminds us that, if we just take the time to pay attention or care in the slightest, we could see how much good there is in the people around us.  So if you ever find yourself wondering what you should be watching next on Netflix ( like I see many of you asking on FB) please consider Derek. The first 2 episodes are a bit slow but after that, hold tight because your heart will be touched.

If you’ve watched Derek, what do you think of the show?

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1 comment

Orange is the New Black 2015/06/29 - 2:43 pm

[…] to bed.)I told you I have a problem. But it’s not my fault there are so many amazing funny, uplifting and dramatic well-written Netflix Originals to choose […]


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