Film and lit crit about disability

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Asperger's, or lack of same, on TV
autistic spectrum beauty
rainbow_goddess wrote in crip_crit
There are many TV characters who people suspect of having Asperger's Syndrome -- Maura Isles in Rizzoli and Isles; Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds; Dr. Brennan in Bones; Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory. Yet even when they show all the signs, none of them is identified as actually having Asperger's, other than a brief throwaway line by an UNSUB on Criminal Minds that mentioned Reid as being on the autism spectrum.

The only time I can recall an adult character on primetime TV was actually identified as having Asperger's, Jerry on Boston Legal, his Asperger characteristics were exaggerated to ridiculous levels, he was turned into comic relief, and they conflated Asperger's with other conditions such as Tourettes Syndrome and implied that it is common for people with Asperger's to have a sexual fixation on objects when a girlfriend of Jerry's left him because she "fell in love with an iPhone."

I'm wondering why the characters are given all of these Asperger-like characteristics but not said to have Asperger's. Is it because writers think that all scientists are geeky/nerdy/socially awkward? Is it because if the character is suddenly identified as having AS, then the writers/producers are afraid that they won't be able to poke fun at the character anymore because "he/she has a disability"? Are they afraid that the audience won't like the character anymore? Is it just a lack of awareness -- not enough people know what Asperger's is, so they won't use the word in the show?

It really puzzles me why so many characters are given characteristics that are so obviously Asperger-like yet the producers of the show won't use the actual identification.

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TV Maura Isles and Book Maura Isles are really different, and I enjoy both. I'm working very very hard to continue enjoying both, because I tend to not do well with differences between book/TV or book/movie or stage play/movie.

Book Maura Isles seems to me to be portrayed as somewhat eccentric, viewed as "cold" mainly because she is a female pathologist and isn't very chatty at work, and deeply conflicted with her romantic situation. I don't read her as autistic at all. TV Maura Isles is more drawn as bubbly but somewhat socially oblivious and passionate about not only her profession but also hobbies including food and fashion. There's something about her speech patterns that I do read as autistic, as well as a way Sasha Alexander is playing some of her body language. She makes good eye contact, but also has a delayed double take mannerism. I keep trying to watch more closely to be better able to describe it, but picking up on visual behavioral cues is a problem of mine. . .

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