Friday, September 23, 2011

Parenthood Asperger's Storyline - Must See

It's past my bedtime, but.

The 2nd episode of Parenthood on NBC. I just watched it. BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN ON TV.

And without a doubt the most amazing coverage of Asperger's I have ever seen.

I had tears in my eyes by the end. I have never had tears in my eyes from watching something on TV.

Every storyline was so vivid, so well played out, and so emotional. I got caught up in everyone's stories.

But Max. Oh, Max. When they showed him trying to make friends .... I can't even describe... ptsd here because it brings up so many painful memories of me in the exact same situation.
That scene had so much realism, you just can't even imagine. Then, later on, when they showed him sitting on a table at reccess, reading a book while everyone else played boisterously around him, and he just tuned them out? My entire elementary school experience, condensed in one scene. More flip flops of my heart. I spent every reccess reading a book on the cold, hard concrete by the door in elementary school. That scene could NOT have been any more real.
Fortunately these were only like 30 second scenes so I didn't have time to get too depressed.

But, at the very end,when they show him sitting alone again.And his younger cousin Jabar comes up to him with two or three of his friends,and sit with him. They start peppering him with questions - questions about things he might actually know about. He looks at them for a second, silent. Not saying anything. You're worried for a second he might mess this up, might not respond to them at all. But them he says "Hi, I'm Max Braverman," just as he was taught. And this time, they respond well. And then Max launches into a dialogue about the video game they were asking him about - finally at ease, communicating in his own way.

And then the clencher. Jabar,the younger cousin, says to his friends, "See, I told you, he knows everything! He's like a genius!"

And then my heart swelled up inside of me, and tears came to my eyes. If only. If only everyone with Asperger's could be surrounded by people who sees what they CAN do, and not what they can't. If only they could be surrounded by people who aren't put off by their awkward social skills, but like them for who they are.

I eventually found those people,but it took me a hell of a lot longer than Max, at age 8 or 9 - it took me until the latter half of high school.

And I just think, put together, those were the most moving scenes I have ever seen on TV.
In those three scenes, which probably weren't more than say 4 minutes altogether, they perfectly encapsulated first what Asperger's is, and second, how to interact with someone who has it. What more could you ask for?

If you have not seen it - you must watch it.

Click here to watch it.

The storyline with Adam and Crosby was nothing short of inspiring, and the story line with Julia was gripping - the rejection of the coffee girl was nothing short of a knife in the heart - but it was the storyline with Max that really got me.

I LOVE this show.



  1. I am dumbfounded as I am reading your post. You are describing me and especially my son (with the books) exactly. I have wondered if I wasn't a highly functioning autistic, and now I know I am. I learned coping skills in 9th grade when I learned how to make people laugh. Before that, I was unable to make more than 2 friends throughout my life. I am 48, and today may be the happiest day of my life, as I now understand my entire life's issues. Thank you so much for sharing. I've shared this with my 22 year old son and hope this will help him as well.

  2. Hi Penny, I am so happy that this blog was able to make so much of a difference for you! If you liked that, you should watch the original episode =) But yes, those few scenes they included can describe almost any autistic's life.I am so happy for you. Good luck to you!

  3. I totally and completely agree. For me, it was like watching the future for my son. It was the most incredible experience watching it. As a mother, I was also struck by the scene between Max's mother and the teacher, having been in that position just the week before. Thank you for sharing your insight here. They do so much right on that show.

  4. I've heard other good things about this show - I definitely have to check it out!

  5. As a mom of 2 Aspie boys I LOVE Parenthood and rarely make it through an episode without crying. I completely agree that the scenes with Max were extremely powerful and so well done. Max's launch into video game trivia sounded just like my Nintendo obsessed 16yr old. :)

    There is an episode from last season where
    Max's heres his parents talking about Asperger's and asks if he has Asperger's. That was an extremely hard episode for me to watch, especially because my un-officially diagnosed 11yr was sitting next to me. This led to our first real conversation with him about why he struggles.

    Thank you Kate for sharing your story!