Thoughts on a couple of TV shows

I recently read an article about one of my favorite new TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. I have been watching this show since its premiere, partly because I am admittedly dorky, friends with others who share my dorkitude, and married to an engineer. I know those guys on the show through my interactions with my friends in college and love that the show isn't making fun of geekiness, but making it fun to be geeky! In the article that I read, they were debating about whether Sheldon has Asperger's Syndrome, and apparently there is a large following that believes it is so. If you're not familiar with the show, check out his flowchart for making friends. It's not something that I had given a lot of thought to while watching, because I just considered each character an exaggeration, and it is often thought that 'typical geeks' have several spectrum characteristics without a diagnosis. Is Sheldon diagnosable? Almost certainly. Is it purposeful? Chuck Lorre says no, and that's believable. We're all a little bit on the spectrum... I took this quiz (no endorsement, just the first one I found) and came out favoring the autistic side more than the 'neurotypical' side, which is probably no surprise to anyone who knows any of my numerous sensory issues.

Another show that I have just started watching is Dexter. He is a sociopathic killer who has a day job at the Miami police department. Dexter has severely decreased emotional responses, usually nonexistant. He likely has antisocial personality disorder, though he goes to great lengths to fit in. It has been comical for me to watch his foster father teach him how to fit in, how to pretend, how to be one of the crowd. Halfway through season 1, he has absorbed the instructions to fake social skills pretty well though he does give off some telltale signs of personality disorder that the rest of the cast conveinently ignores. I suspect he has a few additional undiagnosed issues, possibly some OCD, or his attention to detail might be significant of a spectrum disorder.

Not that I think you'll see OT on TV anytime soon, but it is interesting that we are getting a broader range of characters on shows. There was a pretty cool poster presentation at the '05 AOTA conference about disability as presented on TV and movies, you can find many of those movies here. Have you spotted any TV/movie characters that were displaying significant symptoms but not 'outed' as having a disability?


Buckeyebrit said...

I love the Big Bang as well its hilarious (but then I am a self confessed OT geek and my husband is a biology lecturer!). Its an interesting thought about the range of people portrayed now. I'm trying to think of specific examples - let me sleep on it. What I like is that there seems to be more examples of people on TV who have a disability but they aren't doing anything even vaguely disability related which is a shift I have observed. Great post - have a think about putting it into the OT carnival!

Cheryl said...

To be honest, I prefer it now that you have more characters who aren't there to be the "token disabled character" and are just 'Jim' who as part of his backstory has a disability. The medical examiner on CSI (Robert David Hall) is a great example, because in ten years there's only been the occasional arm crutch in a shot. It's never been the main focus of attention in a way that isn't connected to the plot. I also like the character of Stevie on Malcolm in the Middle, and really liked the way that the writers addressed the dynamic between him and his friends.

And on the OT carnival note, I had seen that on your blog, just give a holler if you get a topic :)

Buckeyebrit said...

Those are the types of roles I mean - far more positive than it being the centre of the story. Re the carnival - my initial thought was not to specify a topic in case that put people off contributing but maybe having a focus would be better?

Buckeyebrit said...

Not sure if I mentioned this already but I wanted to make sure you were aware of the OT blog carnival and invite you to submit a post. more on my site http://e-nableot.blogspot.com/2009/02/occupational-therapy-carnival-call-for.html