I must start by saying I’m not a “Gleek” and really have only seen the show a couple of times. But a friend tweeted me about a storyline in a recent episode, wondering what I thought of it. Apparently one of the characters in the show, Sugar Motta, said something out of line and then remarked that she was allowed because she had “self-diagnosed Asperger’s” (You can read her post about it here).
I don’t watch a lot of TV but when I do, most of it is cable where “edgier” storylines are tolerated, even expected. But remember there’s a difference between network and broadcast (you can read my primer here). Where cable is more niche and people pay for the content (and consequently know what they’re getting), broadcast networks cast a wide net, trying to reach as many as possible with their free, over-the-air content.
I have two issues with this “joke”. The first is that it’s mean-spirited trying to pose as funny. I have a number of friends with children on the Autism spectrum, some very high functioning and some, not so much. I am amazed watching them tirelessly work to educate, inform, dispel stereotypes and advocate for their children. It’s tragic to see that undermined for a cheap laugh.
The other issue is all “jokes” like this do is reinforce outdated and untrue stereotypes and you KNOW how I feel about those.
It’s such a shame because Glee (according to friends and what I’ve seen and read myself) is a great show because it worked hard to show those who were frequently on the outside looking in. Could it be that after a few seasons of success, it lost its heart? I hope not.
Okay let’s debate this. Do you think Glee was out of line in telling a joke like this? Was it inconsiderate or should we all lighten up and recognize it for what it is, a TV show? Let me hear ya!