Friday, January 2, 2015

Question: What Do You Think Of Sheldon's Characterization on The Big Bang Theory?

Honestly, I had never seen The Big Bang Theory, and I have seen several posts by Autistic people, citing problems with the way Sheldon is portrayed.  I value those opinions and think we absolutely should listen to those who are being represented by characters like Sheldon.  I am physically disabled.  I am also neurotypical.  I do not put my opinions above those of Autistic people.  In the interest of being able to answer this question, though, and forming my own opinion, I watched a couple episodes (2x04 and 7x16.)

I could immediately see why Autistic people took issue with Sheldon's portrayal.  While an accurate depiction of some Autistic people, all of Sheldon's Autistic behaviors were mocked and/or laughed at by his friends, or by the studio audience.  Rarely, if ever, (at least in the episodes I saw) was Sheldon treated in as an equal by his friends.  He's manipulated into doing what the others want, reprimanded for not recognizing social cues, and the list goes on.

Definitely not a show I'd recommend, as far as disability representation, because disability is not the butt of able-bodied people's jokes.  We are not lesser than.  We do not exist to be mocked or manipulated.

2 comments:

  1. I did a podcast about The Big Bang Theory with another blogger. We mostly took a more positive view, and an autistic listener called us out on it. She made a lot of great points and observations, including what you were saying about how much Sheldon is mocked. I did a followup podcast, too where I reevaluated my original assessment.

    If you are interested, you can listen to the original review here: http://disabilitythinking.blogspot.com/2014/11/disabilitytv-ep-16-big-bang-theory.html

    And the followup here: http://disabilitythinking.blogspot.com/2014/12/disabilitytv-ep-17-mini-cast.html

    My general take now is that it's mostly not great, and the laugh track really should be eliminated, but there have been a few genuinely great moments with Sheldon that are worth seeking out.

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    1. That's really interesting. I listened to your Glee podcast, I think, and it was more negative. And I'm a fan of that show - while recognizing that its disability representation is atrocious :)

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