Julia Bascom is an Autistic writer who writes about her disability, and growing up and living as an Autistic woman. She writes on her blog, “Just Stimming,” and last week, she wrote an incredibly moving piece about how “Community’s” Abed Nadir has moved her because he moves like her. Abed is the first autistic character on television that’s not a caricature — he’s an autistic character who behaves like an autistic character behaves, and seven months ago, Julia Bascomb discovered “Community” and Abed Nadir. The discovery meant a lot to Julia because as someone like Abed who is also obsessed with popular culture, for the first time Julia had found a reflection of herself on television.
Do you understand what that means?
It’s probably not something you’ve ever really had to think about. But how someone moves is the first thing telling you whether or not they might be able to be you, and you them. And for the first time in Julia’s life, she looked at a character on television and saw a yes.
Abed Nadir walked onto Julia’s laptop screen, and nothing and everything changed.
For the next seventh months, there was a lot of CAPSLOCKING IN GOOGLE CHAT at C about Community and Abed Nadir, but very few words elsewhere. Which was odd, because when Julia liked things, she tended to talk about them too much. This was one of many things she and Abed had in common.
Except, here’s the funny thing. Abed said “I just like liking things,” and it wasn’t just not-punished, it wasn’t just okay—either of which would have been remarkable and unbelievable—no. It was good.
And Julia, who had endless words for a great many small and unimportant things, couldn’t say anything more about Abed beyond he moves like me.
Abed Nadir, you see, is an autistic character ….
You must understand that one story is infinitely bigger than zero, and it may still be very small and nowhere near enough, but it’s something.
I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece because it’s touching and amazing, and it deserves to be read. After all, Julia Bascomb — autistic though she is — is not that different from us when it comes to our love of “Community.” She was equally heartbroken when Dan Harmon had his show taken away from him, probably moreso because it meant that the reflection of herself on television had been taken away.
And when it turned out that someone else would be in charge of Abed next year, she remembered what she had always known to be true about happy endings and said goodbye, mourned more than she had for any corporeal person (which was still not very much,) and folded away that part of herself and went back to not existing.
But for seven months.
For seven months, she had.
It’s an amazing piece.