June 2018
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Stephanie C. Fox

Goodreads

A Show for Those of Us on the Autism Spectrum Rather Than for the Majority

Jim Parsons narrates the spinoff of The Big Bang Theory in Young Sheldon, playing, as usual, the adult version of the character. We never see him, and we are not meant to. That works, and I have been enjoying the show.

When I like a show, I do what I can to boost its ratings and thus extend its life on the air. This meant visiting the Internet Movie Data Base – Young Sheldon page and giving each episode a high rating, plus an overall one on the show’s page itself.

This evening, the show had a mini-marathon run of a few episodes that were broadcast this past autumn, so I had fun watching them.

Then I noticed the overall rating for the show: 6.6 out of 10.

That led to a look at the reviews.

There are many positive ones from people who love the show. I didn’t spend much time on those other than to click the “Yes” button.

“Yes” – those reviews are helpful to me, because they boost the show’s chances of continuing, and that is an outcome I want.

The negative reviews were the ones I spent time on, because I wanted to get a sense of why people were complaining.

That worked, of course, and I fought back by clicking on the “Report” option and choosing “Inappropriate” and “Spoiler Information”.

Then I clicked the “No” button for good measure.

I wish there had been a way to write a complaint about the complaints, but there wasn’t, and there won’t be (probably overkill anyway!).

Instead, I wrote my own review, addressing the objections.


This is a show for Aspies, and that’s a good thing. It is what it promises, and it is great fun.

I love this show. It focuses on a character who ought to be focused on: an Aspie genius who will always stand out and never fit into the crowd. His mother is a great, supportive parent, and the show has demonstrated that this kid loves and appreciates his parents. They know what he is, and he knows what they are.

I love that Sheldon comes across as annoying to “most” people and that the show emphasizes that he does not like what “most” people like, and that he dislikes what “most” people like. That is really how it is for people on the autism spectrum, and this show tells that as it is to the world.

The world, however, is full of selfish neurotypicals (those who fit into the category of “most” people) who are being shown that there are other points of view than their own, and that those points of view count.

This show is being treated much the way that the original Star Trek series was treated: with disdain and derision, and complaints that it is more cerebral than entertaining. I am disgusted but not surprised.

The mother should NOT be the central character. She is meant to be what she is: a supporting one.

Laurie Metcalf should NOT be the narrator. We on the autism spectrum neither need nor want yet another neurotypical to speak for us. We don’t need a narration by the mother to understand how she views the situation. That’s not a new concept. It’s an old and tired one.

This show is being presented properly, with the adult Sheldon’s voice as the narrator. We are seeing his point of view represented and emphasized. We are well aware of how we seem, because “most” people are only too happy to tell us. What is funny and satisfying about watching this show is the comeuppance it offers to the smug attitude of the majority.

This show does a great service to society by pointing out what Aspie geniuses are like, that they exist, and teaching others about all this. The scientists, inventors, professors, economists, writers, and other innovators of the world are always going to exist, and it is their unfettered quirks that bring out and maximize those innovations.

That is why I love this show.


That’s it, and it’s been successfully submitted.

I was careful not to include any spoilers, such as the sincere though succinct moment in which Sheldon thanks his football coach dad for getting angry that the NASA scientist blew his calls off for weeks, thus causing him to get an ulcer, and therefore driving the family to NASA in Houston and demanding that the guy meet with Sheldon and hear him out about his calculations for landing reusable spacecraft.

The adult narration by Jim Parsons has Sheldon wishing he had told his dad that their trip to Cape Canaveral to see a space shuttle launch, rained out though it was, was the best trip he ever went on, demonstrates that he loved and appreciated his dad.

It also shows how an autistic child is as human as a neurotypical one in that Sheldon was unable to fully express every E.Q (Emotional Quotient) impulse during childhood. A human being cannot have both high I.Q. and high E.Q. That is the stuff of gods and goddesses, not of humans, after all. Yet the kid gives his dad a sincere thank-you right after his father makes a dismissive big-shot pay attention to his son. He doesn’t treat his son as annoying, frivolous, or a waste of time.

The show may be presented as a sitcom, but it comes across as a serious one rather than as a comedy, and that’s okay.

It is hilarious in a way that “most” people cannot appreciate, in part because they don’t like having a mirror held up to themselves.

The joke is on them: “most” people can be (but are not always) ordinary, cannot appreciate a beautiful mind, do not possess a sense of intellectual curiosity or adventurousness, and care more for fitting in and being patted on the back for doing so than anything else.

That seems to be what grates on the negative commenters.

That is what makes the show a comedy, and it is a comedy to those of us who are amused to see that joke being, for a nice change, on “most” instead of on the “few”. The few should have the spotlight and our point of view shown, too.

The “most” people group should not be the only ones who get shows, attention, and accolades in fiction.

These negative comments smack of resentment that the “few” have gotten some of that.

The positive commenters are people on the autism spectrum who are tired of seeing what they love being marginalized and unappreciated.

I am one of them.

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