To the Writers of Glee

6 years ago

Dear Writers of Glee,

I love your show, I really do. My husband Mark even likes it, and we rarely agree on TV. Mark actually did showchoir in Northern Ohio and enjoys guessing which schools all the different teams are based on. Our toddler watches Glee too, from time to time. He memorized the logo and, excuse the pun, shouts it out rather gleefully whenever he sees it.

My husband has aspergers syndrome, and our son has high-functioning autism.

Last night, your episode featured a character who said she had aspergers. Maybe you thought that because you made her say she was “self-diagnosed” that that would make your portrayal of aspergers ok, even funny. You were wrong. 

It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t accurate. It was actually kind of offensive. Creating characters with autism that are incredibly one dimensionally obnoxious only serves to perpetuate stereotypes. Making her “self-diagnosed” just adds to the grief that many on the spectrum get, particularly adults: that autism is made up, over-diagnosed, and just used as an excuse for bad behavior.

The people I know with aspergers don’t act like your character. Many of them are actually quite sweet. They may struggle with social interaction, but I can’t imagine any of my friends or loved ones acting in the manner you had “Sugar” behave.

If you plan to make Sugar a recurring character, please add a little more depth to her. You could take a cue from Parenthood. People with autism shouldn’t be the butt of jokes.

Sincerely,
Maya, the Marfan Mom

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