Tag Archives: tv

Typing Autistic Characters in Media

Finding a fictional character who is explicitly stated (or at least heavily implied) to be autistic has always been a surprise for me, no matter how old I get. I grew up relating to a lot of characters who were not intended to be on the spectrum, but were nonetheless influenced by the creator’s life in some way.

In recent years, there have been more frequent attempts to create thoughtful and accurate depictions of autistic people in the media, which I appreciate. Despite the many creators who are careful about these portrayals, many people consuming said media reduces the characters to stereotypes. 

A phenomena I’ve personally encountered lies on the website Personality Database, which is a forum-turned social media site dedicated to voting on the personality of celebrities, historical figures, fictional characters, etc. Although the comments section is not usually filled with the best arguments, I find an especially annoying disparity around canonically (or heavily implied) autistic characters. 

Many autistic characters do happen to be either ISTJs or INTPS, but it is absurd to believe that autistic characters (and therefore people) will all have functions such as high Si and Tx, and low Fx. This shows a blatant misunderstanding of cognitive functions, behaviour versus personality, and the overall meaning behind what it means to be autistic.

In order to prove my point, I will be comparing and contrasting Abed Nadir of the TV show Community (2009) and Gin Ibushi of the video game Your Turn to Die (2017). These two characters showcase how sharing autistic traits does not equate to being the same personality type (seeing as they are an INTP 5 and ESFP 7, respectively).

Abed Nadir is implied to be autistic throughout Community, with jokes and references to being on the spectrum since the very first episode. However, underneath the comedic aspect of Abed’s “awkwardness” and “obsession with movies” lies an accurate representation of the autistic experience.

In many episodes (including his first appearance) Abed is clearly shown to be collecting and infodumping facts without prompting. This is usually either dramatized to a ridiculous effect for a joke, or serving a distinct narrative purpose, such as giving Jeff (who doubles as an audience stand-in) exposition for the 5 other main characters.

Aerodynamics of Gender is based on the common autistic trait of being blunt in terms of speech. The women of the study group pick up on this aspect of Abed, and manipulate him into being a jerk to other people for their own entertainment.

There is a cold open in Curriculum Unavailable where Abed is seen being comforted by Troy and Annie while the study room’s clock is being changed for daylight savings time. This is clearly meant to show the common hesitate to accept change in our environments and need for consistency.

In Advanced Criminal Law, Troy explains how friends sometimes mess with each other by lying. Abed doesn’t understand that the other person is supposed to know that it’s a joke, and goes completely overboard for the entire episode in order to keep up the lie that he is an alien. 

These are all examples of ways in which autistic traits are exhibited in areas related to communication, interests, and sensitivity to changes. 

Next we have Gin, who was widely considered autistic-coded throughout the first few chapters of Your Turn to Die, but was explicitly stated as being diagnosed in chapter 3 through a flashback to his past.

Gin wears an outfit consisting of a hat attached to a cape, paw gloves, and a tail, with patterning similar to a cat and a plushie that he is often seen holding onto. He feels most comfortable talking to other people with these clothes on, but was discouraged from wearing the outfit at school. 

Gin also has vocal stims, often saying “meow” or “woof” at the end of sentences (which I actually share, as one of my biggest special interests is cat behaviour). Each of these elements is tied into his interest in animals; his favourites are cats and dogs, but he enjoys alligators currently. 

Only one other character has been shown to have a gameplay gimmick; the detective Keiji uses his experience as a detective to interpret other characters’ true thoughts.

In comparison, Gin is able to see clues the other characters miss, as his perceptive abilities are quite pronounced. Many autistic people have similarly strong perception, with the caveat of being more sensitive to sensory input. 

Finally, Gin is shown to have Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), which is an aspect of autism that has been proposed to be added to the official list of traits. 

PDA describes someone who avoids expectations being placed on them, due to a feeling of excessive anxiety and lack of autonomy. These feelings are triggered even when the individual usually enjoys the activity, and describe Gin’s experiences in school very well. 

In Gin’s case, his most prominent traits seem to be stimming and sensory perception, but he also presents intense interests and bluntness similarly to Abed. 

From these character examples, we can surmise that autistic traits and personality traits are separate aspects of a person’s identity, and are not a 1:1 match in most cases. The constant bickering over whether an autistic character is a Si dom for liking routine has no reason to exist, given that these are completely different discussions (and Si ≠ liking stability in the first place!).

I hope this post might encourage others to expand their definitions of autistic people (and correct their interpretations of the cognitive functions, for that matter). 

Relegating autistic people to just a few possible personality types is not only unrealistic, but also serves to deny us of the autonomy which is automatically given to others.


The Most Binge-Worthy TV Series (on Netflix Canada + more!)

One of my favourite activities (in and out of quarantine) is finding new shows to watch! I’m the type of person who constantly needs to be watching something. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite TV series, and as always, I’m totally open to suggestions for what to watch next. Enjoy 🙂

Gilmore Girls

Maybe my all-time favourite series, Gilmore Girls has been with me since I was a kid. It’s the type of feel-good, laugh out loud show that you put on whenever you need to escape reality. Lorelai and Rory’s adorable mother-daughter relationship will have you hooked by episode one. Gilmore Girls is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Breaking Bad

If you have yet to watch Breaking Bad, DO IT. It may seem like the show has been over-hyped, but I’m telling you it is worth it. There is drama, suspense, action, and so much amazing character development throughout the series. It’s the type of show that you will want to binge watch everyday. It’s just that good. Breaking Bad is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.


A totally underrated series, Revenge is everything I want in a show. Families and relationships, secrecy and action, and SO MUCH DRAMA. Emily VanCamp plays Amanda Clarke, who seeks to destroy the Grayson family to avenge her father’s wrongful conviction.


Another series that did not get much hype, but is certainly binge-worthy! The two-season series is all about Maddie, a con artist who marries people and then steals their money. The series is very entertaining as it certainly has its comedic moments. Imposters is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

The End of the F***ing World

SO GOOD. All about teenage angst, crime, action, and young love. The End of the F***ing World is a great series to binge during quarantine! You’re sure to fall in love with the quirky characters and get totally invested in the plot. This series is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Killing Eve

Another great crime-related show, Killing Eve is a dark and twisted story about an assassin, Villanelle, and Eve, the MI5 security officer obsessed with trying to catch her. While I will admit that the storyline started to go in a strange direction after the first series, I would recommend giving it a go!


A classic 2000’s series about teenagers in Beverly Hills and all the drama that they get into. You’re sure to get so wrapped up in the story that you won’t even realize you’re still in quarantine.

Black Mirror

If you want a show that is going to make you question everything about your life, then Black Mirror is for you. Each episode follows a completely different set of characters and storylines, which makes them like miniature movies. For the most part, the episodes revolve around technology and the dark and twisted ways that it can affect humans. Black Mirror is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.


I’m sure most of you have seen this one, but You is another great crime/love/drama show. Based on the novel by Caroline Kepnes, You is a psychological thriller that follows Joe Goldberg, a stalking, toxic boyfriend whose obsession with his lovers lead him to become violent and criminal. You is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Queer Eye

Queer Eye is a feel-good reality TV show that follows the Fab Five in their journey to making over the lives of deserving individuals. This show is sure to make you laugh and cry and everything in between. Queer Eye is currently available for streaming on Netflix Canada.

Currently Watching: Scandal

The current show that I am watching on Netflix is Scandal. I’m on season three so far, and it is definitely scandalous! After the first season, I was not too sure about continuing to watch, but I found that the story line really picks up during season two.

On my need-to-watch-next list:

Based on recommendations online and from friends, the shows that I am looking forward to watching next are: Russian Doll, Maniac, and Dark.

Please leave your series recommendations below, and let me know if you watch any of the shows that I suggested!