Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big Bang's Sheldon

I imagine anyone who is reading my blog has heard of Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  And anyone who knows a bit about Asperger's can tell Sheldon's character fits the mold.  The show has enough popular following now that my wife affectionately says of me to her friends, "He's my Sheldon."

"Big Bang" co-creator, Bill Prady, who based Sheldon on computer programmers he used to work with, has said they were afraid that if they labeled Sheldon an Aspie, they would have too much responsibility to depict the condition accurately within a sitcom.

I understand the dilemma, and wouldn't have been offended if the show labeled Sheldon an Aspie.  If people thought Aspies are all like Sheldon it would get them a lot closer to the truth than what most know now.  I wouldn't want Sheldon labeled with the DSM 5 Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostic since it is too broad.  Aspies like precision, and saying you're an Aspie is more precise than saying you have ASD. I'm fine with the medical establishment using the ASD definition, however I still tell people I have Asperger's.

I'm a bit surprised how the show appeals so much to NTs, but it's easy to see the appeal for Aspies (and aspie-like geeks/nerds).  Besides identifying with Sheldon (and even Leonard's social discomfort), the show takes away some of the stigma of being a nerd.  To take a line from Huey Lewis, maybe it's even hip to be square.

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