I recently stumbled upon... ok fine. Recently, while avidly reading Slate.com, I found an article in their 'Recycled' series. The article is titled Must Geek TV: An Emmy for the first sitcom character with Asperger's: The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper.
The Big Bang Theory premiered on September 24, 2007.
You know what premiered on September 13, 2005?
Bones is a television show about forensic scientist Temperance Brennan. She works closely with a shoot-from-the-hip FBI guy Seeley Booth, and she clearly has Asperger's.
I'm not going to definitively diagnose anyone with Asperger's, fictional or otherwise. To my knowledge, I don't know anyone personally who has been affected. All I'm saying is that if Sheldon Cooper, TV scientist, has Asberger's? Temperance Brennan does too.
Asperger syndrome (AS) is a developmental disorder that is characterized by:
- limited interests or an unusual preoccupation with a particular subject to the exclusion of other activities
- repetitive routines or rituals
- peculiarities in speech and language, such as speaking in an overly formal manner or in a monotone, or taking figures of speech literally
- socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers
- problems with non-verbal communication, including the restricted use of gestures, limited or inappropriate facial expressions, or a peculiar, stiff gaze
Sheldon certainly represents many of these traits. For example, he is unable to knock on any door fewer than three times, and without saying the name of the occupant each time. He also has no idea whatsoever that his roommate and neighbor find this to be an irritating and ridiculous habit.
Let's look at Temperance's record.
- Limited interests? The woman vacations in places with lots of unidentified dead bodies so she can help figure out who they were.
- Repetitive routines? Watch for the episodes when another FBI agent is sent to replace Booth, or she has to find an intern to fill in for her favorite. She can literally barely acknowledge their presence.
- Speaking in an overly formal manner? Witness her at a wake referring to the 'visage of the deceased'.
- Socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior? How about when she's working with regular old cops that she's met several times before and she says to their faces that she sees no reasons to learn their names because they don't have PhDs?
- Limited or inappropriate facial expressions?
I know that Sheldon has become something of a poster child for Asperger's sufferers. I do love me some Sheldon.
However, he wasn't first. If this were a blog post they were both commenting on? FIRST would have gone to Brennan.
And then we would have all internet-smacked her.
Cause nobody likes that person that yells FIRST.
P.S. Damn it all to hell, I just realized that the article specifically says sitcom. Like, in the title. At this point, I'm going to pretend I didn't notice.