Television on the Spectrum: The Best (and Worst) Depictions of Asperger Syndrome on TV

abed communit

Abed Nadir, Community

Abed is the antithesis to some very tired and pervasive Asperger’s cliches. He’s obsessed with pop culture instead of math and science. He clearly has empathy and he’s capable of forming meaningful relationships. So it’s no surprise that he’s been embraced by the Aspie community despite the lack of official diagnosis. As great as Abed is, though, Community as a whole is even better. There’s something about the tone of the show, and the way that it explores friendship and family with a unique mix of distant cynicism and shy earnestness, that really captures what it’s like to be an adult with an ASD learning to function and thrive in this world. Creator and once and future showrunner Dan Harmon might have been surprised when he recently discovered that he himself was on the autism spectrum, but Aspie fans of the show had him pegged as one of us from the very first episodes.