On “The Big Bang Theory” and Aspergers Syndrome.

Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. Fro...

Cast of characters in The Big Bang Theory. From left: Howard Wolowitz, Leonard Hofstadter, Penny, Sheldon Cooper and Rajesh Koothrappali. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many things can be said about this series, it’s just epic! If I really had to, the only thing I could find wrong with it, as a European, is the laugh at the background which is something I am not used to, as we know when we have to laugh, but as it’s usually covered up by my laugh, plus there’s Kaley Cuoco, all is fine!

The two main starring actors in it are Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons. Jim “embodies” (that’s how good he is) the role of Sheldon Lee Cooper, an individual who displays all the clinical symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Behaviour (OCD) and High Functioning Autism Spectrum

 Disorder (hfASD) yet the writers refuse to acknowledge either, maintaining that Sheldon is just Sheldon. High functioning Autistic Spectrum disorder is a disorder of the Autistic Spectrum just like Aspergers syndrome is. During their 2011 ComiCon interview one of the questions from the public came from a woman who was working with children with Aspergers syndrome who thanked them for refusing to verify that Sheldon does have OCD and ASD.

Speaking as a person who has ASD I have to say that I categorically disagree with both the writers and the woman. To me their refusal to verify that he indeed has OCD and ASD is political correctness gone wrong. It’s just like saying “No, we shouldn’t say that, that would just label him and stereotype people with aspergers. Instead we should let the majority of the public remain completely oblivious to what OCD and ASD are, and let them think that Sheldon and the rest of the people who display the same kind of behaviour are just mean and socially inept obnoxious conceited smart ass egotistical perfectionists on purpose!”

Over the years I have done and said things that thinking about them now makes me cringe in embarrassment and wish earth had opened up and swallowed me. All those things had in varying degrees something to do with my ASD. But if people knew what ASD is they would potentially be able to tell that I wasn’t trying to offend them on purpose and if not forgive it at least not read too much into it.

I understand that the producers may want to promote this behaviour as something that exists simply because it happened to be so and he is not like that on purpose, and along with that behaviour you get all his good qualities too and just try to unconsciously familiarise people with it, but to my mind familiarizing people specifically with an extreme case of OCD or/and ASD, like that of Sheldon, and making clear that this is the cause of his behaviour would allow them to identify less severe cases as well in their everyday lives and treat those people with more understanding instead of getting offended by their social faux pas.

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One comment

  1. Very good argument. Well written!

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