So how many people out there watch “The Big Bang Theory,” … the CBS sitcom about four nerdy physicists who compete over one hot blond girl? Raise your hand.
Hm… a lot of you watch the show. Okay, good.
I watch “The Big Bang Theory” too. It’s a funny show and only occasionally annoying. The jokes are delivered with a great deal of snap and the characters are fun. Whenever a new season comes out on DVD I love to plop down on the couch with my parents and laugh through a few episodes while munching pizza. It seemed like a pretty inoffensive show to me aside from the occasional sex joke.
So imagine my surprise when a friend of mine mentioned that she was officially boycotting “The Big Bang Theory” because “it makes fun of autistic adults.” Say what? I asked her why and she explained that the character Sheldon Cooper was clearly a high-functioning autistic adult. “He’s always the butt of the joke,” she said, “The other characters keep talking about him like he’s a space alien or ‘one lab experiment away from becoming a super villain.’ One girl says ‘Oh honey, the bus doesn’t stop where you live does it?’ I mean, ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is clearly a joke that likes to make fun of autistic adults.”
I hadn’t thought about that. Is Sheldon autistic? I went on wikipedia and found- to my surprise- that a lot of people had already been talking about this. One psychologist went so far as to say that Sheldon was “a textbook case” of someone with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Looking back on a few episodes I guess you could make a strong argument about Sheldon having Asperger’s Syndrome… but I wouldn’t go so far as to boycott the show for being insensitive towards autistic adults. After all it does seem to me that Sheldon has all the good lines. Everyone who watches “The Big Bang Theory” says Sheldon is a favorite character. You can’t even look at an episode guide without seeing that all the plots seem to revolve around Sheldon. Difficult as he is the show and its writers love Sheldon.
So what do you think? Does “The Big Bang Theory” discriminate against autistic adults? Are people reading too much into this sitcom? What’s your opinion?