Last week’s news that Sesame Street was introducing the first autistic Muppet was met in my house with a resounding, “Huh?”
“But there already is an autistic Muppet,” my high-functioning 14-year-old said. “Fozzie Bear.”
I had never thought of Fozzie that way, but my son had a point. Fozzie is not good at taking social cues; he doesn’t read a room well and he tends to monologue and perseverate (to repeat himself long after the need has passed). He interprets figurative language as literal — remember that fork in the road in “The Muppet Movie?” He has a verbal tic he falls back on, “wokka-wokka.” And he hates to be separated from his hat for no obvious reason.Lexie Hammesfahr writes at Newsy:
Another TV character cited in autism blogs as a pop culture figure who has helped the community is Sheldon Cooper on "The Big Bang Theory."
The show's writers told Jim Parsons, the actor who plays Sheldon, that the character does not fall on the autism spectrum. But Parsons told Adweek that after researching the disorder, Sheldon "certainly shares some qualities with those who do." (Video via CBS / "The Big Bang Theory")
Parsons says that because Sheldon does not officially have the disorder on the show, it helps combat the stigma — something he says he relates to as a member of the gay community. "It's nice when you see gay characters as normal people. ... This is who this person is; he's just another human." (Video via CBS / "The Big Bang Theory")
Well said, Parsons. Well said.