Amy Schumer and Michael Cera in 'Life & Beth' Season 2
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Life & Beth Nails What It’s Like To Get A Late-In-Life Autism Diagnosis

Amy Schumer’s husband, who was diagnosed with ASD after the couple married in 2018, acted as a consultant on the episode.

If you watched the first season of Amy Schumer’s semi-autobiographical Hulu series Life & Beth, where Beth deals with the death of her mother as she rethinks her own life path and eventually meets a plain-spoken farmer named John, you might think you know what to expect in Season 2. More flashbacks about Beth’s childhood, her complicated relationship with her dad, her wild friends. But this season highlights a moving and emotional storyline with her love interest. In particular, John’s autism diagnosis as an adult.

Note: Spoilers for Season 2 of Life & Beth on Hulu are ahead.

In Season 2, Episode 4 of Life & Beth, “This Soup Is Gonna Be So Good,” Beth and John are settling into domestic bliss in their little cabin after getting married in New Orleans. While they were away, they spent time with their friend’s little boy who had recently been diagnosed with ASD (autism spectrum disorder). A little boy who had a lot in common with John, like their shared laser focus on playing basketball or their habit of saying things out loud that other people might find inappropriate.

Beth ultimately asks John to consider getting tested, and John begins to look back at his own childhood. Much of which was spent alone, misunderstood, and confused because his reactions did not really align with other people’s expectations. Like when they are getting married and Beth asks if she looks okay with a face full of heavy makeup, and he replies, “Well, it’s too late.”

After finally finding a therapist who gives John space to talk about his feelings honestly, he’s diagnosed with high-functioning autism spectrum disorder, level 1. When John hears about his diagnosis, he admits, “I’ve always kind of known that my brain works differently from other people. Sometimes I react differently than other people. I spent a lot of time alone as a kid, and those are some of my happiest memories.”

Beth, however, is the one who breaks down in tears for the lonely, misunderstood little boy he once was, and for the man who spent so many years feeling like people were mad at him for just being himself. “I just feel bad that people misunderstood him all those years,” she says through tears. “It’s just unfair.”

Marcus Price/ Hulu

One of the most powerful elements of this episode is the reminder given by John’s therapist that so many of his wonderful qualities come from his diagnosis. His ability to stay focused on a task, his drive to be the best at whatever he does, and his honesty, something Schumer touched on in her 2019 Netflix special Growing about her own husband, Chris Fischer. “Once he was diagnosed, it dawned on me how funny it was because all of the characteristics that make it clear that he’s on the spectrum are all of the reasons that I fell madly in love with him,” Schumer said. “That’s the truth. He says whatever is on his mind. He keeps it so real. He doesn’t care about social norms or what you expect him to say or do.”

The episode was an emotional one, not simply because Schumer has gone through this with her husband and was clearly moved, but because of the stigma that has long surrounded being on the spectrum. This idea that having a brain that works differently is somehow less than, or should be feared as something that might hold a person back. When in reality, as Beth and John learn, understanding a little more about the way autism affects the person you love opens doors for communication that might have remained closed to you forever otherwise.

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Schumer’s husband, who inspired John’s character, acted as a consultant on this episode and was himself diagnosed with ASD after the couple married in 2018. “We really wanted to be respectful and show that, when we talk about the spectrum, what that word means,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, also noting that many of the writers on Life & Beth have connections to autism. “It’s a wide spectrum, and this is part of it that you don’t often get to see: a super high-functioning person. And that that’s not what defines him.”

In fact, Fischer, who shares 4-year-old son Gene with Schumer, has been involved “every step of the way,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that they’ve watched the series several times together. “It continues to be extremely emotional, I think, for all of us.”