Louis Theroux: Extreme Love

Louis Theroux: Extreme Love - Autism

Series 1 - Episode 1 Louis Theroux: Extreme Love - Autism



An exhausted mother of autistic twins cannot hide her sadness as she tells Louis Theroux: “I just try and make them happy, because, God forgive me, I don’t get a lot of enjoyment from them.”

Theroux spends time with a handful of families whose children – all at different points on the autistic spectrum – are pupils at the Developmental Learning Centre in New Jersey. It’s a tough, often uncomfortable film.

We, like Theroux, are hapless bystanders while some of the kids launch into shrieking, violent tantrums. But Theroux, who at one point helps to calm a little boy by showing him cartoons of Peppa Pig on his iPhone, is kind and unpushy, allowing the parents to talk freely. And he makes a friend in 19-year-old Nicky, who is entranced by Theroux’s celebrity status, telling a pal: “This is Louis, he’s from the BBC and he’s popular in the UK. I’m not kidding you. He has a Wikipedia page!”


In the first of two documentaries focusing on neurological conditions, Louis visits a school in America for people with autism - a developmental disorder characterised by difficulties with social interaction and communication. The DLC Warren in New Jersey is one of the most innovative centres of its kind, with specialist intervention designed to help both the students and the families who care for them. He meets 13-year-old Joey, whose mother Carol is finding it increasingly difficult to cope with his explosive tantrums, 19-year-old Nicky, who has written a novel, and 20-year-old Brian, whose extreme behaviour has led to the decision to place him in residential care.