Aspie World 9 – The Bridge

2013-08-16   The Bridge 1

 

So far I’ve seen five episodes of The Bridge and I like the TV series, but I’m not so sure about how the writers are presenting Asperger’s to the public. Diane Kruger seems to be doing a great job, but the script is not so accurate when it comes to Asperger’s.

For example, we aspies do like to go by the rules, but not to the point of letting someone die (the ambulance with the patient with heart attack). Also, if rules are important for us, having sex with a stranger would be going against the rules of caution and moral.

We might be too direct when talking, but with years we learn that we should “lie” to be polite because that is what’s expected and promotes smooth relations at work and everywhere.

It seems to me the writers are presenting more a woman with double personality instead of someone with Asperger’s. She is very normal; dark; focused; professional, and then suddenly she becomes like a stereotypical blonde that, with a lighted face, straight sitting or standing, and a lighter voice, say something completely out of logic that suppose to be the “Aspie” part of the show.

So far people can form the idea that Aspies are close minded; follow rules even if that can cost someone’s life; are sexually loose, completely impolite and with total disregard for other’s feelings and well being.

Yes, there are characteristics of Asperger’s in Sonia Cross, the Aspie character, but the way is presented seems to me that works more like the comic relief of the episode rather than a serious presentation of what Asperger’s is, how it affects us, and how normal people can get to understand and accept us more.

So my criticisms are for the writers and not to Diane as an actress; I think she does a great job, but as Diane pointed out in an interview: “writers on TV are gods”, and I’m sure they are more interested in keeping the show alive rather than advocating for Asperger’s people; and if to keep the show alive they need to use Asperger’s as the comic relief of the show (that is already violent and graphic enough), they will do it.

Now, let me explain you something about Asperger’s.

For an Aspie, our reactions to situations are completely according to that situation, just like a normal person would have an according reaction to the same situation. The problem is that we have our brains wired in a different way, so our perception of the surroundings and that situation is different from that of a normal person, so logically, we have a different reaction. Now, if you see an Aspie reaction to a given situation, it’ll look completely strange compared with your typical reaction, and if you don’t know the other person is an Aspie, or if you don’t know the differences between a normal person (you) and an Aspie, his/her reaction will look to you very strange (to say the least).

Even between two normal people; one might feel the ambient temperature is too hot, when for you it might be too cold, and if the other person runs to turn ON the AC, you would thing that person must be crazy. That is what can happen between two normal people; imagine what could happen between a normal person and an Aspie!

Bellow is a quick drawing I did to try to explain the differences. As you can see, a normal person and an Aspie have reactions according to their brain wiring.

2013-08-16   The Bridge 2

(Click in the drawing to make it bigger)

(Click again to make it huge!)

 

You can see in the drawing that there are common traits between both, but there are also differences in brain wiring and so in perceptions, reactions, etc. which means there will be different reactions to the same situation, and if you only consider the reactions but not the brain wiring, or said in a different way, if you expect the other person to have your own typical reactions without considering the possibility that the other person might have a brain wired in a different way, you will think the other person must be crazy! Why is that person doing something so stupid; or illogic; or completely out of context.

Since Asperger’s is not a sickness but a “condition” (I disagree with that and I’ll explain why in another post), we do learn with time (like any normal person) to adapt our behavior to prevent confrontation. Just like a kid that used to make tantrums all the time can retain his personality when becoming an adult, but will learn to control that behavior and become a “normal” person, we also learn with time that people like and need to be said “hi” when starting a work’s day and like and need to be talked to throughout the day, and also learn to lie when we don’t like something and just say is fine.

In other words, with time we adapt to “normal” behavior, so it is very upsetting to see that the writers of the series present Sonia Cross as an Aspie who remains as a child in that aspect, forgetting (or avoiding) that we Aspies are basically normal people that live in a different spectrum, rather than being normal people like everyone else, and that have weird reactions.

In my opinion the writers are using Asperger’s as a way to have a comic relief in the TV series rather than showing a real Aspie and how they can be an important addition to society. With the way the character is presented people would consider an Aspie a problematic person rather than a possibility of a different approach to the same problem and that could bring a wider perception of the whole. If the trait of Sonia Cross is a very focused dedication to her work, that is not perceived with the dedication shown by Marco Ruiz, the other detective.

So I like the TV series as an entertaining program, but I completely disagree with the way Asperger’s is presented to the public. In my opinion it’ll bring only more distance between normal people and Aspies, while creating a bad image of what an Aspie really is.

At first I thought that this TV show could be an opportunity for my co-workers to learn more about Asperger’s and get to understand more why I am the way I am, but now no way I’ll tell them that I have Asperger’s because with the way Asperger’s is presented in this show, I could loose my job!

Raul

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7 Responses to Aspie World 9 – The Bridge

  1. Kelvin Kao says:

    It’s TV. Everything is for entertainment value rather than accuracy.

    A few years ago, I was watching a show called Lie to Me. It was about this researcher that could read these microexpressions on people’s faces to detect whether someone is lying. (And you know, use that to solve crimes.) The consultant was a professor whose research the show was based on kept a blog. After each episode, he would point out what was accurate and what was wrong (or modified in such a way to fit the story). It was an interesting read.

    As a software engineer, I often found how computer programming was portrayed on screen to be inaccurate. (Especially when it comes to how people hack into computer systems, and how fast and unambiguous some search results come up. When I saw the recent American version of The Girl with Dragon Tattoo, and the main character was typing in her searches using a real language (looks like SQL) instead of some made-up mumble jumble, I was happy with that.

    It’s TV. Nothing is portrayed accurately.
    Kelvin Kao´s last post ..Marionette Workshop (Advanced): Weeks 1, 2

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Kelvin,

    I agree with you that TV is not accurate because what’s most important is selling. The problem for me (and for us, aspies) is that this TV Series was a hope for us in letting people get to know more about Asperger’s and maybe reduce the discrimination we encounter.

    Think of the times when black people was discriminated “legally”, and if there was a TV program were the main character was a black guy, they would be very upset if they present a completely inaccurate image that would make things worst instead of becoming a first step to get accepted.

    Oh well! I guess I was expecting too much.

    Raul
    Raul´s last post ..Aspie World 9 – The Bridge

    Kelvin Kao Reply:

    That is true. As someone that’s Asian, I am definitely aware of those issues. The recent discussion was about movies, where some Asian characters (especially main characters) were changed from Asian to white in some movies adapted from books. At least they don’t do yellow-face anymore.
    Kelvin Kao´s last post ..Marionette Workshop (Advanced): Weeks 1, 2

  2. Patricia says:

    I do not have TV or watch this series on the computer so I can not suggest anything about it. I did think the series Parenthood, which I saw on my streaming video program was a fairly accurate portrayal of a child with Aspergers.

    I have two neighbors who has Aspergers and my friend shares life with 2 Asperger young adults. Her daughter is not able to cope with college and her son is and he seems to be adapting to the world better. I think her 22 year old daughter is still having too many temper tantrums and not adapting or making the effort. It is now causing a divorce for her parents as the behaviors are overwhelming.

    I think the movie Mozart and the Whale (not sure that is the title) showed a better side of Aspergers for adults. It is actually a true story in Seattle – Microsoft has a number of folks with Aspergers working there and doing dynamic work.

    One of my neighbors is unable to work, but he does statistical research for the Police when he is doing well. The other neighbor is an artist and his work is on display and for sale in many of the galleries around town. His parents left him a great support network
    I do think people need more understand of Aspergers and more understanding of each other. Oh for a lovelier world – I have it in my mind’s eye
    Patricia´s last post ..SON OF A GUN: A Memoir ~Justin St. Germain

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Patricia,

    Yes, Asperger’s is not one form but many. It is said that there are not two Aspies the same, which makes diagnosis and help a lot more different since it has to be tailored to each individual.

    My father, my son and I have Asperger’s (three in a row) and for each one of us is in a different way, with different characteristics.

    But the basic problem to be accepted is the same: My father has to keep moving from one destination to another, changing almost every year (he was in the military); I am working in a job where requirement is only High School when I have 3 degrees, and my son has 2 degrees and still cannot find a job!

    It is always our hope that we can be accepted so we can have the same opportunities that everyone else.

    Raul
    Raul´s last post ..Aspie World 9 – The Bridge

  3. Sara says:

    Well, you definitely straightened me out about The Bridge! However, I am glad you explained the mistakes being made in program.

    Also, your explanation about Asperger’s was helpful, as was the chart which I did enlarge.

    What did you mean about writing more on Aspergers not being a “sickness, but a condition”? I look forward to your post about this:~)
    Sara´s last post ..SPC: Penny for your thoughts

    Raul Reply:

    Hi Sara,

    Yes, I believe the TV program is not helping us people with Asperger’s since it shows a different image of what we really are. Instead it seems to be using Asperger’s to justify why the main character is doing crazy things, and that gives the series a difference over other programs. It is creating a stereotype that would make more damage than good.

    In the next post I’ll try to explain why I oppose the concept that Asperger’s is a “condition”

    Raul
    Raul´s last post ..Aspie World 9 – The Bridge

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