Aspergers on TV

I have been going back and watching the old seasons of The Big Bang Theory, Parenthood and Third Rock from the Sun.  For the first two, I was curious to see how aspergers (or what the public sees as aspergers in the case of The Big Bang Theory) was being portrayed in the media.  I know opinions in the autism community are mixed on these shows, so wasn’t sure if I should post about them.

I had mixed feelings while watching The Big Bang Theory; while I like the show and find it very funny, I also felt weird about laughing at issues I could see my son having in the future.  It is great, however, to see characters who have difficulties being successful in life.

Third Rock from the Sun I started watching just for something else to watch, but was struck by how similar it is in feel to The Big Bang Theory.  There is a group of aliens who come to earth and often don’t understand or misinterpret what humans do.  Many times we laugh because indeed it is funny the things humans do and the things we say don’t necessarily make sense; words taken literally will frequently be misunderstood.  The aliens interpret things in very similar ways to the way someone with autism may interpret them.

Parenthood I also like and think the exposure of aspergers to the general public is a good thing. There is the danger of people assuming that is how all kids with aspergers are and as those of us with experience know, each and every child with autism and aspergers is slightly different.  I like being able to watch the show and relate to things the parents may be going through or thinking about.  I may have a different approach or opinion, but it gives me food for thought sometimes.

Note: I am not much of a t.v. watcher, so I have only seen these shows past seasons out on dvd and have not seen the last or current season since these are either not out or hard to get in libraries…

Respectful discussion of these shows or introduction of other shows with autistic characters are welcome…

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One Response to Aspergers on TV

  1. willitbeok says:

    Interesting. I’ve started watching The Big Bang Theory now and then and though I resisted, it’s actually better than I expected, and certainly better than a lot of other shows I see on TV these days. Parenthood — my Rick Moranis-obsessed self thought you must mean the Ron Howard movie, but no, I Googled it and I see this was a 2010 TV series. Oddly enough though, the Ron Howard movie IS about an unusually bright and weird child. I’ve yet to actually see it, though.

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