Autism Awareness Month, Day 18: 8 of My Favorite Fictional Characters with AS (Maybe?)


I could call your tastes vapid and infantile, but that would just be mean. ~Lt. Tim O’Neill, “SeaQuest DSV”

My Aunt Marian was right, but I forgot what she said. ~Snoopy

What is it, Holmes? Why, Watson, I think its AS.

First of all…my apologies to my readers for a few days’ gap between posts. It was my original intent to write a post a day during April for Autism Awareness Month, but all great plans go awry. In my case it was a deadly cocktail of allergies, an ill-times storm, a delivery of furniture, and a dog with a bad temper. Excuses aside, today’s topic is one of my favorites: exploring fictional characters who may or may not have Asperger’s. It’s impossible to tell in many cases, as some of said characters’ creators are long-dead, but others, we have a pretty good idea (ie the “Peanuts” cast, who are pretty much all Aspies in their own ways.) So, without further ado, I give you my personal list of the famous and obscure, cartoon and real-life, whom I’ve conjectured may have AS, along with a short writeup. I will let slip that many of these folks have been my fictional heroes over the years. So, let’s saddle up, buckaroos, and ride into the Canyon of AS…

#1. Dr. Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown, Back to the Future

It’s become a cliche of shorts that Aspies are like “professors” or “mad scientists.” Some historians even conjecture that Einstein (one of Doc’s own heroes) and Thomas Edison may have been fellow Aspies. Doc, one of my role models growing up, is brilliant but eccentric and follows personal rituals to a T. He even has his own catch phrase (“Great Scott!”) and seems ungainly and slightly awkward. In short, the perfect Aspie.

#2 Joxer the Mighty, Xena: Warrior Princess


A friend of mine once wrote a scholarly article on why Joxer is an Aspie. He’s one of those sweet but nerdy guys who tries so hard to fit in, but never can master the art. He also has a single-minded obsession (to become a warrior) and doesn’t really know how to get the girl (Gabrielle.) I actually had a big soft spot for the big lug, because I understood what he was going through.

#3 Lisbeth Salander, “The Millenium Trilogy” by Stieg Larsson

Lisbeth is a ton of things I love: a female Aspie, a badass Aspie, a genius who plays by her own rules, a complete nonconformist. For years I identified with male Aspies, and now I finally have a female Aspie fictional hero. Larsson sadly died in 2004, but his brilliant creation has helped sell millions of novels. (For the record, it is hinted at in the books that Lisbeth is an Aspie but never confirmed.)

#4. Snoopy, “Peanuts” by Charles Schulz


If there’s any comic strip that appeals directly to Aspies, it’s Peanuts. Snoopy is and was my first Aspie love, though I didn’t realize why at the time. The intelligent, quirky little beagle is verbose, but can’t communicate with his human friends because he is a dog. He also indulges in flights of fancy as Joe Cool, the Flying Ace, or a famous writer, and lives largely in his own mind. He’s the only dog I can think of in literature who writes novels and contemplates the meaning of life. That’s cool even for a non-Aspie dog.

#5 Calvin, “Calvin and Hobbes”  by Bill Watterson

If Snoopy is the quiet, contemplative, introverted Aspie, Calvin is certainly one of the extraverts. He makes lots of loud noises, is undeniably self-centered, and lives vicariously. He’s also prodigious for a 6-year-old (he makes “transmogrifiers” in his bedroom and spouts blank verse,) intensely creative, and the definition of an escapist fantasy. I’d also be willing to bet his tiger BFF, Hobbes, is Aspie-ish too. I’ll confess that I got through many a boring hour at school by escaping into fantasy sequences the way Calvin does.

#6 Lt. Reginald “Reg” Endicott Barclay III, Star Trek: The Next Generation

I suppose my readers might be wondering whether I’d choose Murdock or Barclay (both played by the talented Dwight Schultz.) I went with Barclay because he shows more of the “typical” Aspie traits. He retreats into his head (or into the Holodeck,) he’s a talented natural engineer whose social skills don’t match up, he often stutters when he speaks. I think there’s a lot of “Barclays” hiding out in the hallways of academia, in basement labs, in IT departments in large companies. They help the world keep on ticking and are so often underappreciated. Just be gentle with them.

#7 Adrian Monk, Monk


 


Any number of famous detectives exhibit Aspie traits, from Sherlock Holmes to Nero Wolfe or Philo Vance. I chose Mr. Monk because his AS is (to me) obvious: he is obsessed with symmetry, sameness in routines, has various tics and tends to speak in a blank, almost emotionless way. He’s a good example of an Aspie with another condition (in his case, a nasty case of OCD). Nevertheless, he has a photographic memory and a Zen-like ability to read crime scenes. He also reminds me a lot of my dad, which is why I put him on my list.

#8 Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons


 

 

 

Has it really been over 20 years since The Simpsons first came on the air? I had to include Lisa on the list because I grew up with her, both literally and figuratively. She’s also a good example of a middle Aspie child caught in an NT family…and summarily overlooked. She’s also so bright and talented that nobody assumes she has any sort of problem at all. Not to mention, she blows a mean saxophone (music and AS seem to go together.)

For those readers wondering why I didn’t include Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory on the list? I have never seen the show and don’t intend to unless a show about Aspie females getting the men of their choice comes on the air. Until then, well…

Coming tomorrow: AS and dating (gulp!)

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on April 19, 2011.

2 Responses to “Autism Awareness Month, Day 18: 8 of My Favorite Fictional Characters with AS (Maybe?)”

  1. Hi Heather. Great post. I love how you present Aspies as people with differences that make them extra cool, not as people with problems. I know and love a few, and they’re some of the smartest, funnest, most interesting people I know. All the best.

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