Come up with a new theory: Sheldon does NOT have Asperger's
by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 14th 2009 3:29PM
The votes were counted and 77.2% of TV Squad readers believed Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory has Asperger's Syndrome. Based on Slate writer Paul Collins' article on the subject and reported by Joel, you were asked your opinion and agreed with Collins.
Well, majority may rule, but the writer is king. Big Bang co-creator Bill Prady knows the character better than we do, and Prady said Sheldon does not have Asperger's.
TV scribe Alan Sepinwall spoke with Prady at the TCA's and got it straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. So did Joel. Prady was amused that so many people had glommed onto the theory that Sheldon's idiosyncracies added up to Asperger's, a form of autism. However, Prady never had the syndrome in mind when the character was created. If he had wanted him to be an Aspie, he and Chuck Lorre would have spelled it out from the get-go.
"We write the character as the character. A lot of people see various things in him and make the connections. Our feeling is that Sheldon's mother never got a diagnosis, so we don't have one," Prady told Joel.
When Joel asked Prady about how Sheldon was created, he said, "Sheldon started out... there was one guy I knew, we pulled out some of his characteristics and spread them around a little bit. He was very Sheldony, but he also had the inability to speak to women. So we pulled this out and gave it to another character. ...He also began to evolve after episode five or so and became his own thing."
There are good reasons why The Big Bang Theory writers do not want to label Sheldon an Aspie. Number one on the list is that if he's afflicted with a real disease, how can his friends mock him the way they do? Sheldon may be as annoying and fussy as Felix Unger, and it's funny. Turn him into the ABC Movie of the Week and Leonard, Howard and Rajesh become heartless bastards. Not funny.
Prady also told Sepinwall that they weren't ready to accept the responsibility of getting all the details right if Sheldon were diagnosed as having Asperger's. Instead of the writers having the freedom to make Sheldon as anal and nerdy as they like, they would be constrained by the nature of the ailment.
Of course, that's not to say that sometime in the future the writers wouldn't use this idea for comic purposes. You know, an episode where maybe Sheldon is afraid that he has Asperger's only to learn that he's just annoying, not sick?