This week’s episode, "Not Fake," preserves Shaun Murphy's complexity and humanity for another week. While this episode was excellent from a neurodiversity standpoint (everyone struggles in stressful situations, not just neurodivergent people), it completely failed when it comes to physical disability. Rather than live with an amputation and a prosthetic, a man's wife fights to have a risky, experimental surgery that would preserve his leg. To be fair, it is entirely realistic that doctors have a poor understanding of disabled quality of life. This episode didn't highlight that lack of understanding, though. Instead, it plays into one of the most negative tropes about living with a disability: That it is worse than death.
I have a confession to make: I began watching ABC's The Good Doctor with extremely low expectations. Atypical, another recent series featuring an autistic protagonist, was a tire fire of bad stereotypes and worse representation. Awkward autistic white guy is nothing new or groundbreaking. The Good Doctor desperately wants to believe that it is groundbreaking. Apparently, none of the unnamed "autism consultants" involved in the show told David Shore or the writers that there are actually plenty of autistic doctors and med students. So far, The Good Doctor is basically House, if House was an adorable talking kitten instead of a pill-popping curmudgeon. I actually really enjoyed House in all of its formulaic glory, but I'm not sure adding a dash of inspiration porn and subtracting a pinch of nihilism will lead to an enjoyable show. That said, The Good Doctor had a … Continue Reading ››
When the trailer for Atypical, a new Netflix series, dropped, the online autistic community shared a collective groan. It's a story we've all seen before: Awkward autistic white guy tries to date girls. Hugh Dancy did it in Adam. Many autistic people were concerned about poor representation, since the actor playing the main character, Sam, is not autistic. Netflix assured people that the "social production team," whatever that is, included autistic people. The social production team doesn't seem important enough to merit a credit. Their full time consultant appears to be a researcher from UCLA -- Not exactly someone who would be able to provide input on a humanizing portrayal of an autistic person. And it shows. Sam reads like a DSM diagnostic checklist, not a person. After watching one episode, I feel confident saying that it is exactly as bad as you thought it was. Possibly worse. I … Continue Reading ››