Skip to main content

The Daily Beast: "Hollywood Takes on Autism"

Over at The Daily Beast, you can find my latest piece, entitled "Hollywood Takes on Autism."

The article explores the portrayals of people with autism spectrum disorders in pop culture, from films like Dear John and Adam to television series like Grey's Anatomy, Parenthood, Community, and The Big Bang Theory.

I also talk to some of theses projects' creators--including Community creator Dan Harmon and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims--about why they are--or aren't--labeling their characters as autistic.

Head to the comments section to be sure and let me know what your take is on this trend and whether it matters or not that these characters are labeled or whether it's the discussion of neurodiversity that their presence creates that's far more important.


Unknown said…
Interesting point to add to your article: the character of Parker on Leverage. According to TV Tropes, show creator John Rogers has said on his blog that she has Asperger's. (I've read said blog,, before, but can't recall exactly where he said that about her.)

And what about Brennan on Bones? I think they haven't officially pegged her, but she's another character that sure seems to have something. (Ditto Zach, but ah...he had other issues.)
Jace Lacob said…

Hart Hanson and Emily Deschanel have made comments to indicate that Brennan "almost has Asperger's" but she doesn't. According to the series, Brennan has a personality trait called alexithymia, which is described as being in "a state of deficiency in understanding, processing, or describing emotions."
Radha said…
Great article!
Glenna Meredith said…
It seems that autism is the cause de jour among show biz folk. It's an interesting trend, and I have to wonder what has prompted this interest.
As a person who works with an autistic child, (he is high functioning), it's hard to realistically portray the many elements of interaction that occur.
So far I haven't seen any characters watching TV while standing or "sitting" on their heads.
Maybe it will help to gain attention to the condition, but I'm guessing the people who drive campaigns for relevancy will get bored with it eventually.
mercygraceword said…
Is the Brick Heck character on 'The Middle' another one of these characters? Some of his traits are similar to my family members who are on the Asperger end of the autism spectrum, but I haven't seen anything that mentions it?

Popular posts from this blog

Katie Lee Packs Her Knives: Breaking News from Bravo's "Top Chef"

The android has left the building. Or the test kitchen, anyway. Top Chef 's robotic host Katie Lee Joel, the veritable "Uptown Girl" herself (pictured at left), will NOT be sticking around for a second course of Bravo's hit culinary competition. According to a well-placed insider, Joel will "not be returning" to the show. No reason for her departure was cited. Unfortunately, the perfect replacement for Joel, Top Chef judge and professional chef Tom Colicchio, will not be taking over as the reality series' host (damn!). Instead, the show's producers are currently scouring to find a replacement for Joel. Top Chef 's second season was announced by Bravo last month, but no return date has been set for the series' ten-episode sophomore season. Stay tuned as this story develops. UPDATE (6/27): Bravo has now confirmed the above story .

BuzzFeed: Meet The TV Successor To "Serial"

HBO's stranger-than-fiction true crime documentary The Jinx   — about real estate heir Robert Durst — brings the chills and thrills missing since Serial   wrapped up its first season. Serial   obsessives: HBO's latest documentary series is exactly what you've been waiting for.   The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst , like Sarah Koenig's beloved podcast, sifts through old documents, finds new leads from fresh interviews, and seeks to determine just what happened on a fateful day in which the most foul murder was committed. And, also like  Serial  before it,  The Jinx may also hold no ultimate answer to innocence or guilt. But that seems almost beside the point; such investigations often remain murky and unclear, and guilt is not so easy a thing to be judged. Instead, this upcoming six-part tantalizing murder mystery, from director Andrew Jarecki ( Capturing the Friedmans ), is a gripping true crime story that unfolds with all of the speed of a page-turner; it

BBC Culture: Matthew Weiner: Mad Men’s creator on its final episodes

The creative force behind the period drama talks about where his characters are as his show begins its final episodes. “We left off with everyone’s material needs being met in an extreme way,” says Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner of where we last saw the characters on his critically acclaimed period drama when the show went on hiatus 10 months ago. “Then the issue is, what else is there?” That is the central question with the return to US TV of the AMC hit, one demanding to be answered by both the show’s characters, and its creator whose success is the envy of the television industry. Mad Men has been a defining part of Weiner’s life for the last 15 years. He wrote the pilot script on spec while he was a staff writer on CBS’ Ted Danson sitcom Becker in 1999, using it to land a writing gig on HBO’s The Sopranos in 2002. It would take another five years, filled with multiple rejections, before the first episode of Mad Men would make it on the air. Someone with less determination or vision