Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) features profound social deficits but neuroimaging studies have failed to find any consistent neural signature. Here we connect these two facts by showing that idiosyncratic patterns of brain activation are associated with social comprehension deficits. Human participants with ASD (N = 17) and controls (N = 20) freely watched a television situation comedy (sitcom) depicting seminaturalistic social interactions (“The Office”, NBC Universal) in the scanner. Intersubject correlations in the pattern of evoked brain activation were reduced in the ASD group—but this effect was driven entirely by five ASD subjects whose idiosyncratic responses were also internally unreliable. The idiosyncrasy of these five ASD subjects was not explained by detailed neuropsychological profile, eye movements, or data quality; however, they were specifically impaired in understanding the social motivations of characters in the sitcom. Brain activation patterns in the remaining ASD subjects were indistinguishable from those of control subjects using multiple multivariate approaches. Our findings link neurofunctional abnormalities evoked by seminaturalistic stimuli with a specific impairment in social comprehension, and highlight the need to conceive of ASD as a heterogeneous classification.