Now this is something I have always wondered about. What is the purpose of the character of Sheldon Cooper and are the writers attempting to make fun of people who are obviously on the spectrum or are they doing this to spread awareness, and be funny, because it is a sitcom. But lets look at the traits this character who many online forums reference when concluding the man has Aspergers.
1. He has his personal, trivial obsessions.
2. He doesn’t understand sarcasm.
3. He is often perceived as self-centered but occasionally will show genuine empathy for his friends.
4. He moves slow with his girlfriend and for the longest time was terrified of sex.
5. Everything he does needs to follow a weekly routine or else (according to him) the world is out of order.
6. He is deeply into nerd culture and is what Penny calls “indoorsy”.
I could go on and on with this list, but you get the idea. And if you watch or have watched the show, you already know this. One thing I can conclude with the humor behind Sheldon is that his quirks are of the old-school and ignorant approach to understanding the autistic spectrum. One could say I am over-analyzing this (another Sheldon trait) but if I am, so are the writers who each year make Sheldon even more unlikable because of a biological strength that is being portrayed as a weakness. The creators and writers obviously are neurotypical and maybe they don’t even like people on the spectrum. So they use it to sell the show to a wide, nationwide/global audience that laughs at these ignorant stereotypes. You don’t see transgender people getting zinged every week on TV. So why the double standard? Why must we be condensed down to a punchline? All the characters Sheldon is friends with spend 99% percent of the time treating him like an inconvenient loudmouth that would make the world a better place by dropping dead. In fact, the most neurotypical character in the show (Penny, the token ‘girl next door’ character) is the most patient and compassionate with Sheldon throughout the whole series. To me that is one thing I cannot complain about. As for Penny’s future husband Leonard who is Sheldon’s so-called best buddy and roommate, often treats Sheldon as a burden and someone who is purposefully ruining his life. While I am sure many people who watch the show identify with Sheldon, I know that the majority and key demographic does not laugh with Sheldon, but laugh at him.
The writers are passive aggressive bullies. While most modern sitcoms are mostly an exchange of insults for laughs, rarely do they base their whole premise on a specific type of person that represents a disability for lowest-common-denominator humor.
I stopped watching the series a while ago and after starting blog again, I may never revisit that show. Everything is cringe-worthy to me now. So any time my readers are watching Big Bang, look past the jokes and ask yourself, “if I was autistic or because I am autistic, would I be offended right now?” If you asked me personally, I would always say yes.
The next blog post about TV shows will be focused on Brick Heck from the family sitcom, The Middle. Stay tuned…