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Parenthood's Asperger's failure (NBC)

Been watching TV with Brooke tonight. She switched from the MVIX unit to the TV, specifically NBC, to wait the 10-15 minutes for the news after finishing "Chase." Caught a scene on a show that turned out to be "Parenthood" that was seriously WTF, and made me angry and confused. When it was over, I sent NBC this message:

I'll admit, I only saw the last 10 or 15 minutes of tonight's "Parenthood," but what I saw angered and confused me. One character was talking about Asperger's and the Asperger's support group like it was terminal cancer or alcoholism or something. He was talking about "dreading" having to tell his son he has Asperger's, and I thought, "Why the hell not? What the hell is wrong with you?" Thought perhaps the kid was too young to understand it, but when they finally showed the kid, he's like 12 or something, definitely old enough to understand. Even normal kids that age would be smart enough to understand that, and people with Asperger's are generally smarter than average. And worse, they LIED to the kid about where they went. And yes, not all people with Asperger's are the same, but I am one and I can tell when people are lying to me.

So let's review the failure here, shall we?

1. Treating Asperger's like some kind of disaster akin to terminal cancer.

2. Assuming the kid, who is almost a teenager, is mentally retarded or something and hence cannot possibly understand the diagnosis. (Which, how they got the diagnosis without testing him, thus tipping him off, is another question.)

3. Lying to the kid about something important about him.

4. Assuming that people with Asperger's are idiots or mentally retarded or something, when the opposite is generally true. We think differently than neurotypical people, but we're not stupid or mentally retarded.

FAIL FAIL FAIL. I wasn't watching this show on purpose before, and now I am going to avoid it, and tell all my friends (especially my fellow Aspies) to avoid watching it. Your writers need to educate themselves some more before writing about things they *think* they understand, but don't.

Serious FAIL.

Crossposted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
This is just reinforcing the idea that being Aspie, or anywhere on the Autistic spectrum, is something to be ashamed about, that is makes you a defective, broken, human. It's disgusting, and sadly so many parents believe it and do harmful things to try and avoid such a 'curse'.

I'd love to see this narrative dead and buried.
Oct. 13th, 2010 11:01 am (UTC)
Oct. 13th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC)
It isn't too bad.

It actually gently mocks the parents for feeling like that at times.

It also shows how much difference competent trained support can make to a kid with Aspergers.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


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