A new comedy coming to Netflix puts mental health and disability front and center, along with a spunky emotional support dog who heads off to middle school.
“The Healing Powers of Dude” follows Noah Ferris (Jace Chapman), an 11-year-old with social anxiety disorder, as he ventures out of home school and into middle school, armed only with his irreverent emotional support dog, Dude (voiced by Steve Zahn). It doesn’t take long until Noah makes a few friends, including Amara (Sophie Kim), Noah’s fearless best friend who uses a wheelchair.
Amara is played by actress Kim, who has Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy, a condition that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. According to her IMDB page, “The Healing Powers of Dude” is Kim’s first acting role. Her casting in the series is a win for authentic disability representation, which was important to the show’s creators, Sam Littenberg-Weisberg and Erica Spates.
“The series addresses both internal and external disabilities and how people can prejudge,” Netflix said in a press release, according to PopSugar, adding:
With the casting of Sophie Kim as Amara, Noah’s tough and sarcastic best friend, the creative team wanted to ensure they cast someone who knew what this experience was like and could authentically represent her experience on screen. Despite the challenges the character of Amara is faced with, she is an incredibly confident, talented, smart, and funny character who has no fear.
“The Healing Powers of Dude” was picked up for an initial eight episodes, which will premiere starting Jan. 13 on Netflix. You can watch the full trailer below: