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Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by Skittlebisquit, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. _eri_bellehumeur

    _eri_bellehumeur Active Member

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    I really hate this show for a variety of reasons, including blatant sexism and ableism. When I finally started talking to people about autism, I had several people try to tell me that I wasn't autistic because I didn't "act like Sheldon Cooper or the Good Doctor". UGH. Their portrayal of autism is very stereotyped, and is not representative of the majority of autistic people, not to mention that it is more often used for laughs and does real damage to the autistic community. It's super gross. I have found that autistic or autistic coded characters written by neurotypical people to be really unpleasant and poorly constructed. Autistic headcanons are where it's at.
     
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  2. Judge

    Judge Well-Known Member

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    Actually quite recently "the Good Doctor" dealt directly with those of us who are not so obvious autistic people. Where Dr. Shaun Murphy called out one of his patients, who was less-than-happy about being considered autistic.

    Quite refreshing...though the main character remains a savant, which granted remains the least representative of the autistic community as a whole. But I see this as a step forward...

    Though as far as situation comedies go, I just don't see them as a device to enlighten much of anyone over anything. They are just there to produce laughs, whether at the expense of others or not.
     
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  3. MyLifeAsAnAspie

    MyLifeAsAnAspie Well-Known Member

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    I think it'd obvious shows like this avoid a diagnosis for the autistic character because they know they will be criticized for the portrayal if they are diagnosed. Doc Martin is another aspie character without diagnosis.
     
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  4. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    I thought it was funny. I saw a lot of myself in it. Those were the funniest parts. Wife says I am not a Sheldon. I am somewhat like a Leonard, though stronger physically and mentally and weaker at physics.

    Every main character on the show has traits that could put them on the spectrum as well as a lot of the minor ones. That includes Penny and Bernadette. Amy and Sheldon are clearly on the spectrum, though they started to soften Amy pretty quickly because audiences didn't like her original scripting. Might have been too real. Jim Parson said they took Sheldon's character right out of the autism textbook.

    And that is how popular television goes. It is called "cute autism." Make everything funny and adorable and quirky, even their stories of being bullied in school. Ignore all the downside, depression, ridicule, rejection, loneliness, burnouts, meltdowns, sensory issues, and failure to get the message or the job. And there is nothing wrong with that. If they did, nobody would watch it. It is a fantasy. It is fiction.

    Sit-coms have no obligation to teach morals or educate the public. They exist to entertain and they reflect popular myths of reality. Nothing makes it onto television for long that isn't already commonly considered acceptable to society at large. (Note what happened to Rosanne.)

    I wish I had a life as charmed as those guys. To be working in cutting-edge physics at Cal Tech? An astronaut, a planetarium director, a physicist with his own lab, and a Nobel prize winner? That's what my dreams were once made of.

    I did not note any idle rich guy. Raj was a CalTech astronomer who eventually got to run a planetarium.
     
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  5. Penumbra

    Penumbra Member

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    I don't like TBBT because I resonate with it on an uncomfortable level. Everyone is so mean to each other just to score social credit and some laughs. It reminds me of how my parents tried to raise me. I was mean to everyone for the same reasons until I finally realized how horrible I was acting.
     
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  6. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    The solution is to first own it. Yeah. I did that.

    Then accept that whose "fault" it is doesn't matter. The past cannot be changed. By constantly revisiting it, by wishing it weren't so, weeping over what ought to have been, being angry over wrongs that cannot be corrected, nothing useful is accomplished. Those are choices we make that contaminate the present with the past.

    Finally, laugh at yourself. Life is absurd and so are we all. Don't take yourself seriously. People who are unable to laugh at themselves are rarely happy. To busy fuming or weeping to have any fun.

    So when I laugh at Sheldon, I am laughing at myself. I'm also laughing at the human condition in general. And that is what great comedy is all about. Laughing at the absurdity of existance.
     
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  7. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Ooof. That strikes a nerve.

    My father would always scare all of us kids at every opportunity. I grew up doing the same and didn't realize until I was well into adulthood that it's really kind of mean.

    I also grew up around some very racist people - I heard hundreds of racist jokes. It was an eye opener to learn what racism is, and how much the rest of the world hates it.

    The biggest lesson I learned is that I shouldn't copy an NT behavior until I understand why NT's do that behavior, and until I've had some time on my own to think through the effects and consequences of trying that behavior myself.
     
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  8. selena

    selena Well-Known Member

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    The sexism got to me. I just thought it was gross that Penny (and the actress, who was my age) was surroumded and sexualized by men in their 30s.

    As for Sheldon's neurodivergence, back then I liked seeing someone who was like me (I also liked Monk) just because I had no idea there were other people who did the things I did. I was disappointed by Amy's character development because she almost became more normal over time, but I'm pretty sure I never actually finished the series.

    These days I understand the harm in autism being portrayed/directed by people who aren't autistic, but I think there's a difference between the character Sheldon/Monk (who I think is no worse than the typical mainstream TV character) vs Rain Man.
     
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  9. _eri_bellehumeur

    _eri_bellehumeur Active Member

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    I haven't watched Monk, but have heard good things actually so I may have to check this series out. For me it's all about intention- if the creator has the intent to portray autism/autistic individuals in an informed, and compassionate way it's fine- so far I've only seen this done with the character Sang-tae from the K-drama It's Okay to Not Be Okay, and Renee from the Pixar short Loop, though like Monk, I'm sure there are others I haven't engaged with that are done well and with positive intent. For Sheldon, the intent of his personality is comedic relief, and while some people clearly identify with him, I find this repeated portrayal of the difficult genius who is always a white man pretty tired, and representative of a very small group. It's great if people find representation somewhere, but this repeated image sends the message that this is the type of person that autism affects- I have encountered too many people who seriously think that women, or people of colour can't have autism. Sheldons character is of course not to blame for this, but it certainly doesn't help that this stereotype is the vast majority of the autistic/autistic coded characters seen in mainstream tv/film.
     
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  10. _eri_bellehumeur

    _eri_bellehumeur Active Member

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    I haven't seen the Good Doctor myself, but know the character representation. I'm glad to hear that they addressed other representations of autism, but I will probably always be biased against this show and shows like it because everybody that I have talked to about autism has literally nothing to say about it other than comparing it to these shows. Sadly most people are not going to understand or accept people on the spectrum who don't represent in the way that the media has taught them is acceptable, so I think that media is responsible for the messages it sends whether they are intentional or not, because people are always going to internalize information from the things they interact with.
     
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  11. Fino

    Fino Alex V.I.P Member

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    Sounds like it would be better if everyone were a little dumber! The elitist who made the venn diagram feels his position of discontent is superior. It's a silly television show with no serious intent of any kind. Intellectual judgements are irrational.
     
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  12. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Have to admit though that some of the things Sheldon is concerned with such as changes to things in his life that he counts on, alterations to the labels on foods he likes. His desire to eat the same foods from the same take out places, and placing everything in a particular order. Were quite familiar.

    Recall having a meltdown when discovering that a certain kind of bread that I ate everyday for years was no longer available as the baker had retired. I wanted to drive to the bakery and convince him not to retire. And there was an episode of Big Bang in which Sheldon visits his barber in the hospital so that he can cut his hair, as he will allow no one else to do it. Similar as well when my husband discovered that his favourite chocolate quick had changed the label on the packaging and the rabbit looked strange.

    So there are similarities. Although Sheldon's desire to be superior to everyone around him is not something I find credible for someone with autism.
     
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  13. Bolletje

    Bolletje Overly complicated potato V.I.P Member

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    That's funny. Arrested Development is one of my favorite shows of all time.
     
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  14. Meistersinger

    Meistersinger Well-Known Member

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    Count me as one of those that watched the show one time, and never after viewing that show. If I acted that way, there would be plenty of people, including my parents, grandparents, relatives and friends that would cut me down to about 1 mm in height (they did so anyway, despite being a nice, inoffensive guy.). It had gotten to the point that I began to hate myself. I, now, in my twilight of my life, seldom leave my apartment, and have pretty much, cut myself off from social life (although I never had much of a social life to begin with), being bipolar with seasonal affect, autistic and suffer PTSD, and suffer diabetes, hypertension, colitis, morbid obesity and insomnia.

    come to think of it, the TV may be on (usually to Boomerang, Disney XD, ITV 4, CITV, METV, Antenna TV, Laff (if and when my IPTV provider decides to add them), MotorTrend or Animal Planet. Other than The Crocodile Hunter, Pitbulls and Parolees, and most shows on MotorTrend, I tend to stay away from news channels (except for the English feed of Deutsche Welle and NHK) and any entertainment shows after 1980.
     
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  15. Ronald Zeeman

    Ronald Zeeman Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    The only show I have ever seen that appears to somewhat have an accurate depiction of a aspie would be Bones, now in reruns up here. The other characters may be. Having worked at a large testing lab, my specialty was paint and coatings labs are not organized as depicted. I found her depiction credible, curious how my fellow aspies think. Personally not that interested in shows that centre around homicide, as I think they trivialize murder .
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2021
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  16. Au Naturel

    Au Naturel Au Naturel

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    The character Penny was born December 2, 1985

    The character Leonard was Born: May 1980.

    The Big Bang Theory premiered on September 24, 2007 so that would make him a bit over 27 and her almost 22. It ended May, 2019. The older they get the less meaningful the age gap is.

    Not such a big age difference, given that Penny was the one with the power in the relationship. And she had the sexual and social experience that Sheldon lacked. I believe that Leonard and Bernadette are the ones who actually saved Penny from the self-destructive path she was on.

    Leonard - and not Sheldon - was the one who occasionally showed the sad side of Asperger's.

    So, for the remainder of my speech, this is for the invisible kids. Maybe you never fit in. Or maybe you were the smallest kid in the school. Or the heaviest. Or the weirdest. Maybe you're graduating and you still haven't even had your first kiss. (By the way, nineteen, and Geraldine Coco, wherever you are, thank you.) Maybe you don't have any friends, and guess what, that's okay. While all the popular kids are off doing whatever - I don't know what they're doing because I was never there.
     
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  17. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Keep trying to be as amazing as you really are

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    Dang thats fantastic