Dylan Matthews reflects on growing up with autism and reviews Sesame Street’s approach to raising awareness with a new autistic character named Julia. Sesame Street doesn’t focus on Julia navigating her world, it focuses on Elmo and Abby Cadabby — a neurotypical monster and fairy, respectively — who help Big Bird understand why Julia plays and acts the way she does. Elmo and Abby revel in Julia’s style of play and in doing so, encourage Big Bird to join the fun so that everyone can have a good time. Matthews posits that with Sesame Street’s clout among the young, and the research to back up the fact that the show “encourages prosocial, cooperative behavior among children,” Julia could have a real influence on how society embraces those with autism in the future.
“Getting television from an idea in someone’s head to the screen in your living room (or on your laptop) is difficult, fast-paced, and complicated work.” Caroline Framke shadows the crew of FX’s The Americans during the production of season four and offers a closer look at how a TV show is made.
Medical errors kill more people each year than plane crashes, terrorist attacks, and drug overdoses combined. Kliff examines the “second victims” of those errors—the doctors and nurses who must live with their mistakes—and whether hospitals should do more to support providers.
An essay about a father-son relationship, character, and how a Yale-trained playwright came to impersonate Richard Nixon on Twitter.