When the eight episode debut season of Special dropped, it was groundbreaking — and partially out of budget necessity. Ryan O’Connell, a gay man living with cerabral palsy, had written, created and was now starring in a television series that was loosely based on his own life. And it was a full life: the show follows O’Connell, who was a Will & Grace writer, as a 20-something gay guy named Ryan Kayes, as he works at a millenial-centered website, pursues his friendships as well as love — and yes, there’s a sex scene. It was truly a one of a kind show, and now it’s been renewed for a second season.
“With Special, I was in the unique position to take a machete to [Hollywood’s] awful funhouse and help create a new normal, one that includes a TV lead with stomach rolls and scars,” O’Connell wrote in the August issue of Out. “As a gay disabled person who has never seen their experience reflected back to them, I know how important representation is. So I wanted to tell people something that was never told to me: ‘Your life is important and worth being explored. Your body is hot and worth having sex with. Your existence is not fringe or strange.’” And now, the star will continue that work.
The comedy’s second season will also be comprised of eight episodes. Netflix has not yet announced whether the show will continue with 15 minute episodes which O’Connell has previously called “frustrating.” Jim Parsons will continue on as an executive producer alongside Eric Norsoph, Anna Dokoza, and O’Connell. We hope that the show’s episodes do get extended, and O’Connell gets to tell the full stories (with the same realistic sex scenes) he wants to tell.
“That sex scene was my baby,” the actor and writer told Out of a sex scene with a sex worker. “I have been really frustrated about the lack of representation of gay sex in film and TV. I don't understand why anal sex has not been normalized or depicted for what it is. You get Queer as Folk, really porny, or you don’t get anything at all. So I knew when I was starting the season that I wanted to have an honest sex scene and I also had an experience with a sex worker that has been so amazing and I wanted to create a scene that was also pro-sex work.”