Category Archives: TV

Jogi Week without the Jogi/TV Shows you expect to hate but don’t

Well as far as ways go to start the weekend this officially sucks, Jogi week hasn’t even started and it’s already ruined because he is not going to be there. I always hate the season ending but this time I didn’t mind so much, not because I had a tournament to look forward to (and thus plenty of Jogi watching guaranteed) but training camp in Venlo is good second best. At least it would have been. And for once I was the last to know, which is just typical. Yesterday just had to be the day I was behind the curve news wise.  I can’t believe that my mother decided this was something I didn’t need to be woken for, that she waited seven hours to tell me. Still at least she did risk my wrath and tell me, and not let me find out from the news.

It doesn’t completely ruin my plans for next week, I can still do almost everything that I planned. And Matze will be there, so that’s something. It doesn’t however solve the dilemma I have, namely what to title the posts and videos from the match itself. For the game Jogi was banished (because of his sending off and behaviour during the Austria game) in Euro 2008 Hansi took the helm, and I put both their names in the video title, but only Jogi’s name in the post. But that was different, Jogi was at the game and there are pictures of him, hence keeping the title the same. Now it’s different, if Hansi were there it would be much simpler. I would happily put his name in the title. With Marcus it’s different, I like him but he’s not Hansi. Still it could be worse, at least it’s Marcus taking the helm and not Schneider.

In the post-season lull whilst I’ve been waiting for the international break I’ve been watching a lot of TV, and I’ve started watching a show I said I’d never watch, The Good Doctor. I’ve seen one episode of it previously, the one where the patient is autistic (and he’s played by an autistic actor) and the parents don’t want Shaun operating on their son. That was enough for me, or so I thought. I don’t know why I started watching it, curiosity and a lot of free time I guess. Either way I don’t hate it quite as much as I expected. I like Richard Schiff in it, but I knew that would happen. I don’t love Dr Glassmann as much as I loved Toby in the West Wing of course, but I like him.

There are plenty of things I hate about the show, plenty of things I hated in the first episode actually, not least the constant description of autism as a “mental disorder.” For fuck’s sake they work in a hospital and they don’t know autism is a DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDER. And they way they debated over whether or not hiring an autistic doctor or not is acceptable was simply disgusting. In that later episode with the parents of the autistic child who don’t like Shaun, all I could think was would you let a patient refuse a perfectly qualified surgeon because they were uncomfortable with them being a woman, black, Jewish or a wheelchair user?

Even so I like Shaun, and whilst I do hate the fact the show reinforces lots of stereotypes I can’t deny I can relate to him, so they must be doing something right. The scene where Shaun flips out over losing his screwdriver and calls Dr Glassmann is just so typically autistic it’s funny. Funny because I knew how Shaun was going to react when Dr Glassmann said he could just buy a new one. He flipped out, and I would have too, Because you don’t want a replacement, only the original is good enough and you can’t accept anything less. It’s also funny because that’s happened to me many a time, both losing something and flipping out because I can’t find it and finding it in a real stupid place.

Some of it however is painful to watch, not because it’s bad, rather because it hits too close to home. Like when Shaun doesn’t want to accept any help from a stranger and refuses to meet the therapist. I understand how he feels about that, deep down he knows he needs help but doesn’t want it from someone new, that he doesn’t know or trust. It’s so frustrating when someone tells you that you can say no, yet when you do they don’t listen, been there too. Dr Glassmann didn’t know it then but he had overstepped his mark. He should have realised that at the point he said he had tried and failed to talk to Shaun and to bribe him. You can’t and don’t bribe a fully competent adult to do anything, and despite his difficulties and vulnerabilties that’s what Shaun is. You can’t tell an autistic (or otherwise disabled adult) that they have the right to make their own decisions, and then go and override any decision they try to make.

Despite all the things I find frustrating about the show I can’t stop watching, Yet every episode I watch I can’t stop thinking about the fact it perpuates a very annoying stereotype, namely the fact that every so called high functioning autistic person has a super high IQ and is an excellent visual thinker. Now those are some myths that need to die a long overdue death, but I don’t think they’re going anywhere if the ignorance I’ve encountered on the internet is anything to go by. That said I do like the fact that the show makes it clear Shaun is both able and disabled, I like the fact he’s for lack of a better way to put it “visibly autistic.” That’s important because in real life people make the assumption that if a person is visibly autistic in the way Shaun is that they are learning disabled, usually non-verbal and can’t live independently, let alone be a doctor. Same as I like the fact Shaun visibly struggles to answer questions and communicate verbally, but can express himself just fine once he’s started speaking. I’m sick of autistic characters who are hyper verbal, have perfect speech and use that voice to lecture other characters at length – like Sherlock for example. I know some autistic people do sound that way, but the way the media portrays autism it’s like autistic people are either hyper verbal or non-verbal. And they don’t seem to understand that a lack of speech doesn’t mean a lack of intelligence, which unfortunately is something that society can’t quite grasp either.

Advent Calendar Day 8: The Not so Scary Day of Doom

I should be relieved that the worst didn’t happen, yet I’m only partly relieved. Mostly I’m still angry, angry that some people seem to continually get away with not taking responsibility for themselves and their actions. They think it’s fine just because the worst didn’t happen, that because it turned out to be something of a misunderstanding and disaster was averted it means they don’t need to take responsibility for their mistakes. The fact the more serious consequences of their careless mistake was avoided doesn’t make it ok, not by a long shot. But it’s impossible to make them see that. I guess on this one I’ll just have to take the advice I got, time and time again I’ve been told “you can’t always change what other people do or think, all you can do is decide how you’re going to react to it.”

Actually in a way it’s worse that what I was worried about didn’t actually happen. Because they screwed up and put me through all this for nothing, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I know I need to let go of this but it’s not easy. I’ve got plenty of my own stuff to stress out about, I don’t need idiots like that adding to the list. It’s ironic that’s for sure, today was destined to be the worst day of the week yet it’s actually the day in which I’ve gotten the most done. Not only that but I somehow managed to be up, showered, dressed and to have eaten breakfast all before lunchtime. And right now I’m writing something which isn’t depressing. Even so it’s not an all’s well that ends well sort of thing. It’s yet another reminder that you can’t trust anyone but yourself, and sometimes I don’t even feel like I can do that. I’m supposed to be thinking of a few things that I can work on to make my life better, they don’t have to be big things, just something that could potentially make my life more bearable. I still don’t have anything for my list, nothing that’s realistic anyway. There are no big strong centre backs like Antonio Rüdiger to protect you, no Hansi either to help keep you out of trouble. I have something for my list but it’s not realistic, at least I don’t see a way it can be achieved. I’d like for life to not lurch from one crisis to the next, for things to just be settled and quiet but that never seems to happen, something always has to go wrong. I don’t have any solutions except to run away and hide, whether that be in a story of my own creation, books or yet another TV show, in this case Grimm on Netflix seeing as how I’ve watched almost everything else in my own collection. In the show the main character Nick can see monsters whereas other people just see regular human beings, that would be great, if you could really see people for who they are. That way you’d never get taken in, lied to or taken advantage of ever again.

Advent Calendar Day 12: An Early Christmas Present

These days I always have trouble starting posts and put way too much thought into it when I should just do what I do in real life, just start wherever I want. Sometimes it’s at the beginning and more often than not right in the middle of whatever I want to say. Though with this post there really isn’t a beginning, middle and end because there’s only one important point. That point being today’s draw for the last sixteen of the Champions League and it’s in that draw I received the aforementioned early Christmas present. I said I didn’t want any surprises this year but this is one surprise I’m happy to get, though it seems I’m in the minority on this count. It’s mostly due to the draw I didn’t have to try very hard at being positive today. So happy am I with the result I’ve actually managed to write a few pages. As soon as Bayern got drawn I prayed “Arsenal, Arsenal, please get Arsenal.” Low (no Jogi reference intended) and behold Arsenal is who they got drawn with. Sometimes wishing does work. It means Mesut and Mustafi get to face off against Manuel, Philipp, Thomas and Jerome. And significantly increases my chances of getting a Jogi video and maybe even a half-time interview. The game isn’t until February and I know I shouldn’t be thinking that far ahead but just this once I can’t help myself. Dortmund on the other hand will be playing Benfica and Leverkusen got drawn with Atletico Madrid which pretty much ends their hopes of getting any further, Dortmund have a much better chance of going through. I’d put good money on them making the next round. As for Bayern, well I wouldn’t bet either way.

champions-league-achtelfinale-2016-17Speaking of Jogi videos I got no such thing from any of this weekend’s games but then I didn’t expect one. I didn’t get one from last week’s Champions League games either, instead getting as a sort of consolation prize in the form of video and pictures of Miro Klose. Well this week’s consolation prize of sorts is Stefan Kuntz who was at Eintracht Frankfurt’s game on Friday night against Hoffenheim:

stefan-kuntz-at-eintracht-frankfurt-v-hoffenheim-2016-17There’s a quote I like from The West Wing, when Leo says “I like the little things.” I haven’t watched the show in quite some time yet that quote always sticks with me, as do a lot of the things from the show. It’s one of those things I wish I could watch again, but I can’t and not just because I know it too well. Rather it’s because it’s too depressing, both because of how idiotic real life politics are and because I view it a lot differently now. The only character I feel the same affection for is Toby, everyone else including the president I feel somewhat differently about, in fact especially him. I guess I’m a lot less naive than when I first watched it.

And none of that was my point, I had no intention of saying anything about the show itself. My point was I wonder if sometimes I’m a little too easily pleased, today’s draw being an example of that. It hasn’t completely taken my mind off what I was worrying about but it has a little, and it has put me in a slightly better mood. It’s the first time in several days I’ve decided to write something story wise and actually sat down and done just that without too much fuss. It should be a good thing yet I don’t feel like it is. This is why I don’t have any long-term plans. How can I have any real plans when I’m happy just to get a new box of cards. Or maybe I’m over thinking all of this. It’s just that question keeps coming up again and again, and every time I get asked it makes me feel like an even more inferior to other people than I already do. As if I’ll only be a person in their eyes if I do what they think I should. One day I’ll answer what I’m really thinking, I’ve never done that. I’ve never said that all I really want is for them to go away. I don’t know what’s worse, constantly being interrogated as to what your plans are in life or being completely forgotten about and people assuming you couldn’t possible have any such plans. It’s sort of like the way I never get invited anywhere when people go out because they just assume I can’t go. Chances are I probably can’t but it’s still nice to be asked. And that was a whole of rambling which wasn’t planned. Better to write it here than for it to keep me up at night I guess. I suppose that’s enough rambling for one night.

In the Freiburg calendar was Slovakian striker Karim Guede who scored that invaluable goal against Heidenheim last season, and who of course played such an important part in Petersen’s goal against Bayern two years ago. Joining him from the Dortmund calendar is Nuri Sahin who like Karim has made just the one appearance so far this season:

Karim Guede & Christian Streich - 1.FCK v SC FreiburgKarim Guede & Mike Frantz – SC Freiburg v KSC20161213_001612-1

The A Word: The Autism is Silent

The original title I had was “The A is Silent” which was a fun reference to Django but I wasn’t sure if it was clear enough. So I went with the above instead. Either way the point is the same. The A Word claims to be about autism but it’s not really. It’s not informative as it claims to be either. I didn’t expect the last few episodes to be a significant improvement on the first few. In retrospect I should have expected it’s cringe worthy ending. There were plenty of enraging moments in the first few episodes, so many in fact I was starting to think the A should stand for anger rather than autism. But with the last episode they really outdid themselves and not in a good way. I should have seen they were gearing up to some kind of big cheesy reveal which is what they did.

The whole thing makes no sense whatsoever, they’re content to let Joe wander off each morning walking on the road but they freak out when he actually wanders off. Why in the hell would they let him wander like that in the morning anyway, you wouldn’t let a NT child wander off let alone one who probably has little sense of stranger danger and road safety. It just makes no sense whatsoever but then little about the show does. Like the fact we’re supposed to believe all this happened in just over a month. The final diagnostic appointment, the speech therapy assessment, the school fiasco and all the rest of it. For one thing it’s unbelievable they’d get seen that soon.

There was nothing good about it, the scenes where they were talking about what to tell the police made me want to throw up and to punch all of them. Even his sister who seemed to be the most level headed of them in regards to the diagnosis was being an idiot. Talking about how if you tell everyone then he’ll be the village freak forever. They don’t seem to get it, people will know he’s different whether you tell them he’s autistic or not. As for being the village freak I think you’ll find you don’t need to have a disability for that to be true. It’s ironic really because I think the sister has more chance of being the resident freak than her brother. As do the whole family. The idea they’re talking about what’s normal and what isn’t when they’re all so screwed up is quite insulting really.

The fact they even had that conversation is disgusting, if had something like asthma, diabetes or epilepsy would they be debating whether or not to tell the police? His safety was at risk and all they could think about was how it would look to other people. When all is said and done none of them are sympathetic characters. But then I lost any sense of sympathy I might have been able to have for the mother after the third episode. In that episode Joe was sick and because of it he was acting differently. Or as his mother likes to think she got to see the real him. She just doesn’t get it, there is no real Joe. There isn’t a normal little boy there being hidden by the big bad autism, there’s just Joe. And if she just spent five minutes trying to understand him rather than obsessing over whether he looks normal or not and how fix him then she might get to know him a little better. Part of the reason she’s so distant from him is because she can’t accept him the way he is.

In the final episode the show raises the issue of acceptance and awareness of disability in general. One point it makes clear is that Joe’s family aren’t alone in their ignorance. The attitude of the local police officer is nothing short of appalling and his comments about Ralph even more so. Even worse is the way Joe’s grandfather and mother responded to it, the latter in particular. After having a go at her father she then proceeds to go and interrogate Ralph. She’s such a hypocrite and she can’t even see it. She wants people to accept her son yet it’s ok for her to treat someone else’s son that way. In a few years it could be her son faced with such a situation yet that doesn’t seem to occur to her.

The idea didn’t bug me, him acting differently because he was sick. I’m familiar with the such a thing happening. At least it’s not complete fantasy like the rest of the show. What bothered me is his mother’s reaction. They were looking at photos and Joe actually engaged with them, he asked questions and shared some of his own thoughts. Commenting on his empathy and the way he engaged with the photos his mother said “He’s not meant to be able to do that.” And there it is, just in case I didn’t hate her enough already there’s the line which completely killed dead any sympathy I could have for her. Whoever said that, that he’s not meant to be able to do that. Hasn’t that myth been debunked already. Besides how would you know what’s capable of, you have no idea what’s going on his head.

Which is the main problem with the show, not once does it attempt to show or consider what’s going on in his head. The audience is left completely uninformed about his point of view. Save for that final shot where he seems to be talking directly to the camera. And that I really hated, the line is obviously supposed to be meaningful, about loneliness being too much to bear. It’s just perpetuating the stereotype of autistic people being locked in their own world and how they need the nice NTs to help them out of it. I’m just glad Joe’s fictional and he doesn’t really have to grow up with that family. The one attempt at giving some insight into his perspective comes from the sister in law, the GP who picked up straight away there was something different about him. When they’ve got him back home she points out they’ve all been talking about Joe running away when they have no idea what he’s thinking, they’re imposing their narrative upon him. Which is just about the only good point the show made over the six episodes. Because it’s what gets done to autistic people all the time. People assuming because you’re by yourself that you’re lonely, that you don’t join in because you can’t. To be fair they aren’t exactly wrong, I really didn’t have the social skills to but that’s beside the point, I really didn’t want to. Time and time again you see autistic people being cajoled into social groups and other such things, without anyone ever stopping to ask do you actually want to socialise. They just assume you’re lonely because you’re alone, because they would be.

The most bothersome aspect of all this is that people who know nothing of autism are watching this and now thinking they know what it’s all about. Wrongly thinking that it’s not so difficult to deal with, that the diagnosis process is easy,  that help such as speech therapy is easily accessible and worst of all is the impression the show gives that autism is something which occurs in dysfunctional families. It’s not something they state outright but the implication is there. Just in case autistic people and their families don’t have enough ignorance to combat and deal with.


It’s kind of a relief to read other people’s posts, to see that I’m not alone in feeling the need to wear a mask of some kind. At the same time it makes me kind of sad, the idea that so many people feel the need to hide who they really are. And it makes me wonder what the point is, is it the case that everyone is pretending to be something and someone they’re not? If so then how does anyone ever form a connection with another person? How do you know that something is real? I’m only a few sentences in but I get the feeling I’m rambling already. Or maybe it’s just because I’m so tired that it feels that way. This prompt got me thinking about all kinds of things I’d rather not think about. Not least the e-mail I finally got around to sending. Before writing it I was obsessing over the fact I hadn’t done so and now I’m obsessing over the fact I have.

I did get my answer though, I don’t miss the person in question. I just like the idea of having that kind of relationship but it won’t work in reality. Not as long as I can’t stop pretending not to be me around other people. I keep telling myself that when I find the right person I’ll trust them enough to be able to do that. But it isn’t true, it’s just another lie I tell myself so I can keep going. Truth is it’s not just about finding the right person, the problem is with me. I’ve spent my entire life being told I needed to act differently, that if I worked harder to fit in more then I wouldn’t get picked on. I know all of those things were wrong to tell me, that the people who said them aren’t right. And that if I ever had kids I would never let someone talk to them that way or tell them such rubbish. But their words sunk in, a little too well maybe. Now I really am rambling. In fact all of this is making me very uncomfortable, talking about feelings usually does. That alone is the reason why I should write this and not delete it as I want to. Because writing this is the only way I can talk about it, I can’t do that in real life.

I have no idea what my point is or if there even is one. This isn’t how I envisioned it turning out, I had it all laid out in my head and this isn’t how I expected it to go. I can’t even remember what I originally planned, I wasn’t quick enough in writing it down.  There is however a downside to how tired and forgetful I am at the moment. It means I’m too tired to rant about the last episode of The A Word which aired last night. I know I’m angry about it, I ranted about it at length last night. But I can’t remember any of it, other than how angry it made me. So that’s a good thing.

As I’m writing this I’m half-watching yet another re-run of CSI, I say half-watching because I don’t need to (nor can I) pay full attention to it. It’s an episode I’ve seen many times and is in fact a favourite of mine, an episode titled “Who Shot Sherlock?” I don’t think I need to explain why it’s my favourite, the title says it all. The reason I’m mentioning it is because I find it amusing that it’s one of today’s episodes. The main case is about a group of Sherlock re-enactors, they get together and pretend to be Sherlock and the accompanying characters. All of them are normal grown-ups who have lives and jobs, for some of them the society was a bit of fun but for others it was preferred to their real life. More than just an escape from the tedium of daily life, they depended on it. Ironic seeing as how Sherlock is a drug addict. Even more ironic because it was the group member who played Sherlock that put an end to it. What tickled me the most is one of the group members is English, Captain Brass tells him to “drop the accent” and he replies “I can’t, I’m English.” I don’t know why I found that so amusing, just that I did.

Writing about that reminded me of my first though in relation to this prompt, Batman. Not the films or the comics, but Abed and Sheldon. Both of them do Batman impressions of a sort but it’s Abed who does the best one. One of my favourite ever scenes is when him and Troy are both talking in Batman voices. The voices are awesome, the topic of conversation even more so but what’s the best is at the end when Troy says “It’s cool to know other people think about this stuff too.”

I wish I had a friend like Troy. Him and Abed are just the best. There’s nothing that can beat “Troy and Abed in the morning.” I can’t stop singing that, it’s just unbeatable. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a friend who was every bit as strange as you are. To have that license to be completely weird with someone else. But then even Troy and Abed came to an end. Nothing lasts forever. Including how sorry I was feeling for myself when I started writing this post. I think watching Abed helped. He’s connected to the other reason I should be happy right now, the Russo connection. Tomorrow is the big night, the midnight release of Captain America: Civil War. Everything is in order, I’ve got the tickets, the money, all I need to do now is pack. This is either going to be the best thing I ever do or one of the worst. I’m not worried about the film being disappointing, though I still hate the fact Iron Man is in it. I’m just very aware of how big a challenge this is, spending a night away from home. I have to get some sleep at least. The plans for Friday depend on it. I’m making the most of where I am and going to see Civil War again in the morning before going home. And then the most important part of the day, Freiburg’s game against Paderborn, potentially the deciding game for both of them. Best thing about it all is Leipzig play on Friday too, which means no waiting for the other results. They play Schwolow’s team from last season, Arminia Bielefeld. With their 2.Bundesliga status secured I hope they’ll give it their best shot against Leipzig.

The A Word

I was going to write about the show the night after it aired, I decided against doing so because I thought the post would be nothing but an angry rant. I really didn’t like the first episode and the ending in particular infuriated me beyond words. The other reason for waiting was to give it more of a chance, the hope it may redeem itself somewhat with the second episode. That didn’t happen which was to be expected really but I hope at least the fact I’ve waited a few days to write it will make this post a little more coherent. I’m probably being a little hopeful on that count I have to admit.

I have to say I didn’t have any great hopes for this show for a few reasons, first of all autism is a complex issue, not something I was sure could be adequately dealt with in just six episodes. Secondly and more importantly the makers of the show were advised by the National Autistic Society. Upon finding that piece of information out I had a feeling it would turn out to be a propaganda piece essentially. The writers claim their purpose was to inform people about autism, to dispel myths and stereotypes and to show the reality of living with autism. If they wanted to do that they should have got their advice from somewhere else. You can’t help but see the digs at people who don’t see things as they do, the none too subtle remarks about needing to trust professionals, the negative comments about home education and the ridiculous depiction of ABA. I know the latter is a very divisive topic, it’s not something I have any vested interested in defending. I don’t have any views on it one way or the other. But if a show chooses to depict it (especially one mainly about autism) then they should do it right. I can’t help but wonder if they decided to show it in such a poor way because of the advice they got from the NAS.

As for the home education comments, now that did make me angry. Because professionals always know best don’t they, they know better what a child needs better than their parents. You mean the same professionals who usually deny there is a problem to begin with, who try to deny your child access to services they need and who are obsessed with a child learning to act “normal.” Not to mention their insistence that keeping them in mainstream school is the most important thing. In the doctor’s words “Social isolation is not a cure for social isolation.” Home education doesn’t mean social isolation, for some people leaving mainstream school or school all together can mean getting to have friends for the first time ever. Eleven years of mainstream school for my brother yielded precisely one friend and even then it was more a case of misfits sticking together rather than a true friendship. It was only going to a school with autism provision that enabled him to be part of a friendship group for the first time in his life. He doesn’t seem to get it, being at a mainstream school can and often is more socially isolating than not going to school at all.

Their digs at parents who choose to home school their autistic children is not acceptable at all, neither is implying they do so as a way of not engaging with professionals. But then what else would you expect? I think if the show had asked parents of an autistic child who had no ties to such an organization the show would be very different. It’s not as if they can show the reality of the situation, because doing so would make the government and certain charities look very bad indeed. If they showed how schools discriminate against autistic children, how they brush off parents concerns and not only refuse to engage with the diagnostic process but sometimes actively try to sabotage it and even worse is the behaviour of the education authorities. And that’s before you even get to how hard it can be to get such referrals, it’s certainly nothing like the speedy process it’s made out to be in the show.

As for showing the reality of autism I don’t think the show does a great job of that either. I understand that the portrayal of autism won’t be one familiar to everyone, I get that everyone has different experiences. In one way I see what they’re trying to do, showing that autistic children don’t always have violent meltdowns and they don’t all display extreme challenging behaviour. If that was done right I wouldn’t have an objections. On a similar note I’m happy they haven’t gone with a stereotypical special interest either like trains. The problem with Joe’s behaviour is they’re passing that off as a meltdown. The show’s creators claimed they wanted to raise awareness of autism yet all they’re doing is spreading more misinformation. People who know nothing about autism are going to be watching this thinking that doesn’t look so difficult, what are you all complaining about. Truth is it was more of a tantrum than a meltdown. What’s wrong with it is that Joe was fine when he got his music back. For one thing I’m surprised he didn’t resist when they took if off him. Also it’s too neat and perfect, and resolved far too easily. A meltdown won’t stop because you gave them what they want. It just doesn’t work that way. So congratulations to the writers, you just made a kid with autism look like a spoiled and over-indulged brat. What was that about challenging misconceptions again? If they had somehow explained it better maybe, that some kids have shutdowns as opposed to meltdowns then it might have worked a little better.

I think the writers are a little confused to be honest, they want to show the realities of living with autism yet at the same time they seem to be attempting to make it palatable for a mainstream audience. You can’t show the reality of it whilst at the same time softening it somewhat in case the “normals” get too uncomfortable.

One of biggest problems with the show is his parents reactions, in particular his mother. In the second episode she was accused of being ashamed of Joe and of course she denied it. I think she is though and whilst I’ve been trying not to judge too harshly any sympathy I had evaporated in the second episode when she lied about the reasons for taking Joe out of school. She came up with some story about him being gifted and talented and being part of a pilot program. Now I didn’t expect her to talk about his diagnosis or anything relating to that. But the particular lie she told really bothered me. Partly because some people don’t seem to understand that a person can be autistic (or have other disabilities) and still be gifted. The presence of one doesn’t preclude the other.

Another scene which made me really not like her was when her husband tried to make a point about how Joe feels when you take his music away. He tried to stop her from drinking wine to make his point. She responded angrily and said that she’s not the one who’s locked in her own world and she’s not the one who has to change her behaviour. All the time their teenage daughter is in the background yet again going ignored and unnoticed. That line was very ironic to me because she absolutely does need to change her behaviour.

For one thing the way she went about deciding to home school Joe was ridiculous. She hadn’t even considered any other options, refused to even think about special schools and for all the reading she’s doing online you think by now she would have realised he can get help in mainstream school if that’s the way they decide to go. The way it was written feels like a none too subtle attempt to criticize people who do home educate their kids. It’s absurd to suggest that someone would just pull their kid out of school like that, let alone one with special needs. That they wouldn’t have a plan and have thought all the options through. Whilst I’m on the subject her line about what’s Joe going to learn from the kids in a special school because they’re autistic, that was really out of line. Like she’s worried he’ll learn how to be more autistic by being around other autistic kids. If that were true then he’d learn how to be NT by being around them. I don’t know what kind of school is right for him, I don’t think you can answer that question with what little information we have about him, not to mention the fact he’s fictional. But being around other kids who have special needs may not be the worst thing in the world for him. He may find an acceptance he’s never found before. He won’t be the odd one out that’s for sure. Like the situation in the first episode where he wasn’t invited to a birthday party, that won’t happen anymore, he’d have a peer group.

There’s other aspects of her behaviour which are problematic too, she’s only thinking of herself, rarely does she seem to consider how her son feels. The end of the first episode angered me in this regard, her refusal to say that he’s autistic. But yet she says it when it suits her. Their confusion about how to refer to his diagnosis isn’t entirely their fault though. Part of it lies at the door of the doctor they saw. I really did not like them. All their woolly talk about being “on the spectrum” and how we don’t say autism anymore. Really, says who? Who the hell are you to decide that? Do you have autism or have an autistic child, if you don’t then you’re not part of making such a decision. You don’t have to live with it then you don’t get to decide what to call it. I have to say I don’t understand this fixation with not calling it autism. I didn’t see the need to say ASD instead of autism and I really don’t like the term ASC which I’ve seen used online, never in real life though, only online. I liked it even less when I came across a so called professional online saying that in their opinion young people prefer ASC. Two points, even if that was true, that’s just the opinion of those people in question. Secondly it’s never been the view of anyone I’ve ever encountered. And I’m talking about autistic people, parents and professionals. I don’t like the way ASC sounds and whilst I’m not keen on ASD either it’s the lesser of the two evils. I don’t mind the term disorder, after all an autistic person’s development is by nature “disordered.” That is they develop in a way different to the norm, so the term disorder actually makes a lot of sense to me and I don’t find it bothersome or offensive. My only problem with the term is a tendency for other people to see it as “not real autism” or for it to mean that a person is mildly autistic. Look at that, I said I wasn’t going to rant, I didn’t keep that promise for long. I was always being overly hopeful in that regard.

Back to the point, the other main criticism I have of the show is that it’s about autism but not about Joe as a character and as a person. It’s almost as if he doesn’t matter, he’s certainly not given the same attention as the other characters which is odd considering he’s at the center of the drama unfolding. You never see his parents interacting with him, only them reacting to his behaviour. They’re showing him as a problem to contend with, not a person in his own right. He’s just there in the background. No thought seems to have been given to how he feels about anything, it’s all very autism specific. That is they use him to display a particular trait of autism and then just forget about him. The writers either seem to have forgotten or just not realised that whilst he is autistic he’s also a five year old boy. Just like everyone else he has a personality and likes and dislikes. It’s all about how him being autistic affects his parents and everyone else, not much thought has been shown as to how it affects him. I don’t even feel like we know that much about him. There’s so much they’ve just left uncovered. A fact which may have something to do with their many needless sub plots. I read some comments online to the effect that the sub plots are required because a show all about autism would be boring to most people. If people want to watch a soap opera then they can watch one, this wasn’t meant to be like that. We know nothing about Joe at school, only that he doesn’t play with the other kids. We found that out when his mother went there to spy on him. What about the rest of the day? At home he’s always listening to music, yet he survives a whole day at school without it. How do they get him out of the house without his iPod or tablet, seeing as how he’s so obsessed with them? And how much can he talk, because at the assessment his mother said he was chatty and he has a great sense of humor. We certainly haven’t seen any evidence of that, maybe because of course it’s not there. It may be a lie she told to make herself feel better. Or maybe it’s because they don’t show any normal everyday things with Joe, they don’t show his parents interacting with him that much, just the difficult stuff.

Despite how angry it makes me I have to keep watching it, not least because I have to finish what I’ve started. When I mentioned to my mother about the show she pleaded with me not to watch it, without reading a single thing about it she knew it would infuriate me. At least writing about it on here means she’s spared yet another angry rant.

Sebastian Stan Pictures: Once Upon a Time S1 E21 An Apple Red as Blood

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