The Good Doctor

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The Good Doctor

Postby cmsellers » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:14 am

Last year I reviewed Atypical, a Netflix series with an autistic protagonist. Today marked the Season 1 finale, of The Good Doctor, a CBS show with an autistic protagonist.

The first episode of this show made me cringe. It misrepresents savant syndrome, and the plot point of the first episode seems like a probable violation of the ADA, yet somehow this issue never comes up at all. I almost stopped watching at that point, but since it starred an autistic character I felt obligated to give it a chance.

The early episodes' portrayal of Shaun was inconsistent: for example in one episode it was established that he never responded to direct questions, then that was thrown out the window in subsequent episodes (and probably also inconsistent with prior episodes), as well as being inconsistent with making it through eight years of higher education. By the time that the mid-season finale aired, I'd decided that this was an interesting if soapy drama but a weak portrayal of an autistic person.

However the second half of the season has shown a considerable improvement. The series still feels a bit soap-opera-y, but less so than the first half of the season. Shaun still seems unusually obtuse for an autistic person who managed to make it through college and med school, but he's become much more consistent character, which in turn makes even unrealistic things about him less jarring.

As for the season finale, I'm pissed that it ended on a cliffhanger (I hate when shows do that and if I'm on the fence about a show I'll stop watching when they do) and I'm annoyed that it made a Tide pods joke (Tide pods memes were never funny). Still, I think it did a good job of showing how high-functioning autistic adults react to upsetting events (it's not a meltdown, like Atypical portrayed), and it was a tightly-written and engaging plot.

The series is a more realistic depiction of autism than I expected based on the pilot, and at this point I'm willing to take the whole "savant syndrome" business as artistic license. I wouldn't call this a great series, and I'm certain I wouldn't watch it if you removed the elements of "autistic person trying to learn how to deal with people" (especially considering it ended on a cliffhanger), but overall it's a pretty good show.
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Re: The Good Doctor

Postby ghijkmnop » Wed Apr 04, 2018 3:01 am

Correction for those wanting to find it: it's an ABC show.
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