With “The Big Bang Theory” winding down, Jim Parsons, better known as “Sheldon,” is taking a role behind the scenes as the executive producer of the new series “Special.”
The show, set to debut on Netflix on April 12, is loosely based on the upbringing and experience of Ryan O’Connell, a gay man living with cerebral palsy. O’Connell authored a 2015 book called “I’m Special: And Other Lies We tell Ourselves.”
O’Connell stars in the series, along with Jessica Hecht, Punam Patel, Marla Mindelle, Augustus Prew and Patrick Fabian. He also wrote the show and will executive produce with Parsons, Eric Norsoph and Todd Spiewak.
Both Parsons and O’Connell took to social media to celebrate:
O’Connell has a long resume filled with stints on some prominent writing teams. He has written for MTV’s “Awkward” and the reboot of “Will and Grace.”
At this time, being gay is more acceptable than having cerebral palsy, he said.
“Being gay is chic now,” he told NBC Out. “Cerebral palsy will never be chic.”
But, hopefully “Special” will make being disabled cool just like “The Big Bang Theory” made being a nerd cool.
O’Connell has never been politically correct about his disability referring to himself as a “gimp.”
“Honey, I’ve walked in these orthotics for 29 years. I own the fing right to say ‘gimp,'” O’Connell said.
O’Connell’s disability affects his fine motor skills and causes his muscles to be stiff.
Having a disability when you are gay is difficult, according to O’Connell. He used to refuse to go to the bathroom when he was on a date in fear that his date would notice his limp. He would avoid walking in front of people and eventually took to drugs as a way to cope with his disability.
“I had the choice to turn [my disability] into this big giant monster, or it could be this ant on the ground that I saw with a magnifying glass. And I chose to make it into a big monster,” he said.
He has made that big monster morph into his ticket to stardom as he will be the main character in “Special.”
Through this show, O’Connell hopes to give the unheard a voice.