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.
(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!