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Autism Mom Appreciation Month: Geege Taylor from Leave it to Geege

By Melissa Lushington, "Don't Cut Corners...Unless It's Cake" - Blog Series Vol. 3, Slice #5

Promotional Photo for "Leave It to Geege" Lifetime

In 2020, I wrote my first Mother’s Day blog about my mom who has not only supported me all my life as an autistic individual but has also come to understand her own autistic traits as an individual through reading my blogs. In 2021, my second Mother’s Day blog was about a mother name Alysia Abbot who expressed about the challenges of raising an autistic child during the COVID-19 pandemic in a Washington Post article called Mother’s Day, from a distance. The truth is that autistic mothers as well as mothers of autistic children do phenomenal things everyday for their loved ones as well as the autism community, and I want to make the month of Mother’s Day be about spreading love and appreciation to mothers in the autism community by starting a blog series for the month of May called Autism Mom Appreciation Month. Our first autism mom who we will give our sincere appreciation to, is Geege Taylor from Lifetime’s Reality Tv Series Leave it to Geege.

The series premiered on Wednesday January 12, 2022. In an article titled, Lifetime’s ‘Leave it to Geege’ is latest ‘sitcom’-like reality show out of Atlanta, Geege Taylor is a breast cancer survivor, Athens native, and single mom to two children. One of them is her 19-year-old non-verbal autistic son Pootie who Geege describes of the show as the “baddiest, cockiest [expletive] in town.” During her interview for The Alanta Journal- Constitution Newspaper Organization with Reporter, Columnist, and Blogger Rodney Ho, Geege has shared her experiences of raising Pootie when she states, “I spend my days running around cleaning up his messes,” she said. “It’s like having a hurricane. I advocate tirelessly for him.” She has also expressed in the interview her mission statement about what her tv series is about in terms of autism when she states, “We’re all about autism celebration, not just awareness. I want to spread a positive message. Our lives are chaotic and beautiful.” Geege has always wanted to share her life with the world and explain what autism truly is from her perspective as a mother and her autistic child. In an article titled, ‘Leave It to Geege’ Star on Wanting to Demystify Autism in Lifetime Reality Show, Artisans Editor Jazz Tangcay from Variety Magazine explained how Geege always wanted to have a reality tv series of her own where she can share her experiences with autism when she states, “Taylor, whose 19-year-old son Pootie was diagnosed with autism as a young child, says she had first wanted to open her doors to TV cameras over seven years ago.”

In the same article, Geege has expressed her motivation for wanting to have her own reality tv series in the first place when she states, “When my son was first diagnosed, I started seeing so many depressing stories about autism in the media, and back then people were not talking about it.” Jazz Tangcay has reported that Geege felt alone and didn’t know many people she could talk and relate to, but she knew that she needed to show the world a different side of autism. She wanted to show people that autism can have its challenging moments, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. Autism is not something that makes someone broken, it just makes them neurologically different. There’s a special uniqueness and beauty that people can learn and appreciate from the autism community, and Geege sees that everyday with her son Pootie when she states, “My son is the biggest and brightest spot in my life, and my life is so much better with autism in it.” Referring to the article Lifetime’s ‘Leave it to Geege’ is latest ‘sitcom’-like reality show out of Atlanta, Geege also has a loving and supportive cast of characters in her life that make everyday an adventure worth having. There’s Pootie’s 24-year-old caregiver Tyler who Geege has described to be “my sidekick, my roommate.”, her daughter Harper who Geege has described as “a little bit of Molly Ringwald, a little bit space cadet. Everything she says is deadpan with no inflection. She’s just hilarious.”, Geege’s mom Puddin who Geege has described to be very religious and according to Geege, “She disapproves of a lot of our humor.”, Pootie’s best friend Nicky who is also autistic, and there’s even her boyfriend Mark George who lives in London and visits Geege twice a year. He was able to make his first appearance in the tv show through video chat.

Since the show has premiered, it has received tremendous positive feedback. Randy Barbato who is from the World of Wonder Productions who helped create the Tv Series Leave it to Geege described Geege to be, “an inspirational woman. I love her world. Everyone on the show is a little wacky and that is relatable. It’s a bit like an old-school sitcom.” When I was first introduced to the series Leave it to Geege through a tv commercial, I was completely invested in it immediately. This is the first reality tv series to be about autism for autistic people to connect to and resonate with, and I thought of it to be truly groundbreaking and revolutionary to see a popular Network Channel such as Lifetime investing in something that would have a positive impact on the autism community. After I watched the first episode, I became an instant fan. I love the family dynamic within the family, and I love how everyone is likable and special in their own way. I also love how the show doesn’t have just one autistic individual, but rather two autistic individuals showing that autism is not a one size fits all, but rather a spectrum wherein every autistic individual is different in their own way that is unique to them. What I love the most about the show is the authenticity of autism being shown of the show. It goes into the challenges that come with raising an autistic child, but it also goes into the beauty and open-mindedness that an autistic person can give you by helping you see the world in a broader unique way. It helps you understand that society itself is the one that’s broken due to its unwillingness to accept neurodiversity as well as accommodate for neurodiversity, and it also helps you understand that autistic people are just human beings like everyone else who naturally live their lives differently because their brains neurologically work differently from everyone else. Then in the month of February after the release of the third episode, the show stopped airing on tv, and I found out why from Jazz Tangcay. Referring to the article ‘Leave It to Geege’ Star on Wanting to Demystify Autism in Lifetime Reality Show, Jazz Tangcay reported that the show will no longer be airing on Lifetime but would instead be airing on a different program when she states, “Lifetime moved “Leave It to Geege” to a different platform in hopes that it would find a more robust audience, increasing visibility to the neurodivergent community.”

When I found out the news, I was sad and upset about it and I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. In an article titled Here's how to watch Lifetime's 'Leave it to Geege': Fans call it the 'realest show' ever, SEO Content Writer Sneha Singh reported on the heartbreaking reactions that fans of the show expressed on Twitter when she states, ‘All the 'Leave it to Geege' fans were very upset to know that the show is not airing on the channel anymore and with this, they started to come up with their thoughts and opinions. A fan tweeted and said,"@lifetimetv what happened to leave it to geege??? I was so excited to watch it tonight!! I love how it celebrates neurodivergent people & finally gives them the positive & authentic representation that they deserve!!! and the whole family is so hilarious & loving, I love them!!" Another fan said,"Why are y’all not showing leave it to geege anymore?? That show is the realest show I’ve ever seen and accurately represents autism and how amazing it is. why is any other show better???? also, the show’s ratings have been increasing since it has been aired!!!"’.

Even though I’m sad that the show will not be airing on the Lifetime Network Program anymore, I will always be grateful for the existence of this groundbreaking and revolutionary series. After all, Rodney Ho has stated that Geege had pitched her idea for her reality show, but it unfortunately went nowhere. The fact that Lifetime was willing to collaborate with Geege in order to lift her show off the ground goes to show how much society has evolved in wanting to show authentic representation on television and other types of media. Rodney explains how Geege believes in this statement when he states, ‘She thinks society has shown greater acceptance in recent years to people with autism, fueled in part by the Netflix reality show “Love on the Spectrum” and the scripted dramedy “Atypical.”’.

In conclusion, Geege Taylor is an autism mom and advocate for the autism community who gave autistic people like me as well as the rest of the world something special that everyone can benefit from in terms of education and authentic positive representation. Geege is just one of many autism moms who help make the world a better place not only for the autism community, but especially for their autistic child or loved one who’s part of the community. I want everyone to spread their love and appreciation for Geege Taylor as well as other autism mom who will be mentioned in future blog post for Autism Mom Appreciation Month. Happy Mother’s Day!

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