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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I'm not saying it's a good portrayal of an autistic person nor that bedside manner is not important. What I'm saying is that not "getting" how to talk to a grieving person or not understanding the attachment to a dead body (when the "person" is no longer there), if that attachment is possibly preventing organ donation that could save a life, is realistic for people, even those who are not autistic. It's also not unrealistic for there to be doctors who have lousy bedside manners. Otherwise we wouldn't have House.

Agreed. Having dealt with more doctors over the course of my life than anybody should reasonably have to... some of them have atrocious bedside manners.

On that particular show, she is also not the only character who has a horrible bedside manner, either. Another character who isn't autistic had similar issues learning how to actually talk to people who are grieving.

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