Since Asperger`s syndrome, a developmental disorder that falls on the autism spectrum, came out quietly on television, it`s hard to tell when the disease debuted in prime time. But I know when I first became acquainted with a character with trouble: in December 2005, when Boston Legal introduced us to Jerry Espenson, the eccentric and socially awkward lawyer played by Christian Clemenson. Many viewers have noticed that when depictions of what it`s like to live with Asperger`s syndrome, Jerry and the brilliant but difficult Dr. Spencer Reid of Criminal Minds were exaggerated and unrealistic – a better word might be rude – drawn. But still, these characters had an impact. Quite sneaky, like a raccoon rearranging the pantry, things began to change and awareness of the disorder grew. Asperger`s disease is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger, who first described the disease he saw in his young patients in 1944. He noticed their lack of non-verbal communication skills and clumsiness. He also discovered a lack of empathy with his peers. The disorder was officially recognized in 1994 and is now included in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders as Asperger`s Disorder. Asperger`s syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder. People with this condition have difficulty interacting socially with others.
It differs from autism in several ways. People with Asperger`s have no delays in language or cognitive development, but they may have compulsive-compulsive tendencies and suffer from a lack of fine motor skills. As children, they were probably described as “clumsy”. I suspected she would be portrayed carefully because the showrunners hired my friend Alex Plank as Asperger`s advisor (maybe he needs to change his business card now). Like me, he is an adult with Asperger`s syndrome. He too was diagnosed with Asperger`s when you still could – before these shrinkages removed them from the catalog. He parryed his own eccentricity into a website – Wrong Planet – that has become Asperger`s largest site, and now advises networks like FX. Judging by the veracity of Kruger`s account, his instruction seems to be working. However, although the character from the Swedish/Danish series on which The Bridge is based has sprinkled and Kruger discussed the disorder in interviews, not a single character from the FX series mentions the word. Television is now forced to adapt to this new reality without Asperger`s. But this week, with the debut of The Bridge, we met Sonya Cross, who, like those of us who identify as Asperger`, is already an anachronism, developed as it was before the term for the condition that Kruger verified by name in the press became obsolete. So, in a way, The Bridge is a kind of historical play, like a movie about female hysteria, but that won`t stop me from enjoying it or Kruger`s serious, realistic portrayal of Asperger.
NBC Universal apparently owns the rights to “The High Chaparral” and has signaled its willingness to release it on DVD once some legal issues regarding global distribution have been resolved. You can learn more about the progress of the show and DVD by going to www.thehighchaparral.com. On the ABC show “Boston Legal”, one of the characters suffers from a psychological illness that forces him to hang his hands on the front of his thighs when he leaves. In fact, in a few episodes, they had a client who had it too. And so the CDC came to do studies, and the legislators got together. Time has passed. Optimists hoped that the big names in television would monitor the situation themselves. Eventually, the American Psychiatric Association took action. “We can solve this problem,” they said effectively.
“It`s so simple: let`s get rid of Asperger`s syndrome!” And that`s exactly what they did. May 18, 2013, with the release of the fifth edition of the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) industry standard, was the last day Asperger`s syndrome existed as a stand-alone psychiatric classification. As of today, all newly diagnosed patients who had previously been classified with Asperger`s syndrome would be labeled on autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, the revised catch-all category for autism and other profound developmental disorders. In yesterday`s episode of Boston Legal, it was revealed that Jerry Esperson (Christian Clemenson), the character nicknamed “Hands” and last seen threatening to slit the throat of Shirley Schmidt (Candace Bergen), has been diagnosed with Asperger`s syndrome. His character has been consistently overlooked as a partner at Crane, Poole and Schmidt due to his weak interpersonal skills, although his confidential record has also highlighted his genius as a lawyer and his value to the firm. Jerry`s Asperger`s symptoms included difficulty making eye contact, letting his hands sit on his thighs all the time, and his encyclopedic knowledge of the law. Although the latter was clearly recognized as an asset, it was also used as a diagnostic criterion. I thought it was pretty well managed. Christian Clemenson did not portray Jerry as a fool or psychotic, but only as a very intelligent man who only has to work on his social skills.
Alan Shore (James Spader) was particularly sympathetic to his fate after breaking off the company`s partners` meeting to make an eloquent argument for making Jerry a partner. He was also Jerry`s lawyer in court and kept Jerry out of jail with his usual skills (the list of charges against Jerry was quite long and quite ridiculous). He showed sincere respect for Jerry and went out of his way to help him take considerable risks for his own position at Crane, Poole and Schmidt. Has anyone else seen that? What do you think? Overall, Boston Legal is one of my favorite shows on TV. David E. Kelley created another winner. The scripts are educated and funny; The acting is excellent, especially William Shatner, who as Denny Crane eventually created another character just as memorable as Captain Kirk. James Spader as Alan Shore is perfect in the letters: obviously brilliant and not afraid to fight for what he believes in, even if Denny or Shirley Schmidt do not agree with his decisions. The turning point in Asperger`s integration came in 2007 with the highly functional, haughty and hilarious theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper and The Big Bang Theory.
When the show was a success, winning two Emmy Awards for actor Jim Parsons, characters with symptoms similar to Asperger`s syndrome left our television screens and infected our brains: Dr.