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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?

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February 10 2013 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@MichelleBriffault: "Lenny Schafer - actually all those things relate closely to Asperger's."

It's best to ignore Lenny Schafer. He's a self-appointed expert on autism, despite having no specialist training in the matter. In other words, he's an imbecile. And he is going to continue to be one until that last turd leaves his sorry little arse.

@Atsila: I have a background in special education and educational psychology, and specialised in autism with an especial interst in Asperger syndrome. I also have the diagnosis myself. I am also trained in diagnosis. Unless we compare his behaviour to the characteristics listed in good quality criteria (i. e., Lorna Wing's criteria or those advanced by Gillberg & Gillberg, both sets being based firmly on Asperger's original paper), we cannot say that his behaviour fits the diagnosis, even if we get the feeling that it would. It would certainly be an interesting paper to write.

@george.georgeson: Sheldon would not be sick if indeed he were Asperger-autistic. Autism generallly is not a disease, and Asperger syndrome in particular is not a diease. They are developmental issues and - in and of themselves - do not need medical intervention: in fact, Asperger's clinic in Vienna did not practise medicine on the children he described or any like those he described. Their ethos was one of 'heilpädagogik', or remedial education.

@R.J.Suss: Actually... Raj would qualifiy for a diagnosis of selective mutism. And, yes - they do all rip it out of him somewhat!

@Barb: absolutely!

@LennySchafer: what bits of FOAD are you too stupid to understand, you hate-mongering piece of inhuman excrement? You're no expert on the autism issue, and - knowing what I know of your 'expertise' - you'll never be one.You certainly never were one. It's time you went home, stopped being an arsehole, and started actually doing something practical for your kid instead of going round the internet being such an insulting **** to other people. If you actually did that, I (and many others) would actually respect you. We all know, however, that you are pathologically incapable of such a behaviour change. Which means that you will remain so far beneath respect that you are even beneath comtempt.

David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E.
Psychologist/Psycho-Educational Consultant

February 10 2013 at 4:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

For pity sake, Asperger's is not a "disease" and Sheldon is not "sick" for having it. People really need to stop going around thinking there's something wrong with being an aspie, it's ignorant, hurtful and irritating.

January 02 2013 at 4:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R.J. Suss

Raj supposedly has an actual "disorder" and they're all jerks to him about it a lot of the time... :P

September 09 2012 at 7:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Huh gotta love the way people who clearly know nothing about autism and Asperger's are so quick to dismiss the opinions of those who do. It's patently obvious that Sheldon displays many autistic traits, more than enough IMO to be considered 'on the spectrum'. Whether the writers choose to publicly acknowledge this is most likely due to the inherent backlash of getting laughs out of an 'ailment', rather than any denial that the traits exist in this character.
Lenny - your implication that a label of 'Asperger's' is somehow being used to excuse 'jerk-ness' is insulting at best, at worst it is indicative of the very prejudice and lack of understanding that pervades society and makes it difficult for autistic people to gain recognition and respect.
So here's a new theory, try getting to know some autistic and Asperger's people, get a good understanding of the traits and behaviours and come back and tell us what you've learned about this 'ailment'.

March 30 2011 at 6:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Michelle Briffault

Lenny Schafer - actually all those things relate closely to Asperger's.

Just because the writers didn't intend for him to have it doesn't mean he doesn't have all the traits of it.
Having Asperger's does not mean you're "sick", and calling people with Asperger's jerks is not nice at all.
I have it and it's one of the huge problems we have. We can say things that sound like we're being a jerk when we didn't mean it like that at all, we just don't know how to express ourselves properly/appropriately.

March 27 2011 at 11:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Josh Kerr

barb i so agree with u just because someone talks fast or has a quick temper doesnt mean there flawed but i also believe that they shouldnt be treated any better they should be like regular people

February 13 2011 at 7:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Give me a break! Why can't people just be themselves without being labeled with the name of a disorder??!!

August 19 2009 at 10:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They've been saying from the get-go that Sheldon doesn't have AS. And yes, they developed the character and can make him what they want. BUT they can't change what the characteristics of AS are and Sheldon clearly has the characteristics. It's like making a TV character who goes around methodically killing people and then saying he's not a serial killer.

I have worked and currently work with people with autism and AS, so I know the characteristics. It is not unusual for people to go undiagnosed with AS (especially at an early age), so as for his mother not getting a diagnosis (even with him being tested to see if he is 'insane'), this isn't a good enough explanation to say that he couldn't have it. As for those who say AS is now the label for people who are jerks, I don't see that; what I see is people underdiagnosed at this time.

I do agree that they should keep AS out of the show for the reasons that were stated in the article. I also do not think a show joking about AS would be funny, because those of us who know about AS would have a hard time believing that Sheldon would not be diagnosed with it, if he went digging around.

August 18 2009 at 8:32 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Wise decision. It would be making Asperger's the new jerk if Sheldon did have Aspergers. I like him to be anal just because he's too smart for his own good. It's an interesting brain. So smart to understand obscure concepts but not street smart.

August 14 2009 at 8:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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