The (not so) Good Doctor


The ABC network is known for its hit shows such as Grey’s Anatomy or Modern Family. Recently, they released a new show called The Good Doctor, about a young autistic surgeon that joins the surgical unit of a prestigious hospital while overcoming challenging workplace and social situations. Everyone enjoys a story about an unlikely hero succeeding when everyone thinks that they will fail. In this case however, the story falls short of that type enjoyable plot because it fails to break from stereotypes and presents a poorly written plotline.

I’ll be honest, when I first saw the trailer for The Good Doctor during the summer, I was really excited. Autism barely gets any screen time in media and when it does it’s portrayed either as a crippling disease or an amazing gift that makes a person a completely uncommunicative genius, both of which extreme stereotypes.

Freddie Highmore, who plays Dr. Shaun Murphy, the autistic doctor, said that the show is “trying to move away from past stereotypes” and change people’s perceptions or autism. It’s ironic, however, that the show presents autism in such a typical way. The show makes Murphy’s autism look like just a special skill that got added to his other skills. He looks at a screen and suddenly, he remembers every little detail that has to do with the topic or he looks at a situation and suddenly, he sees something that no one else can see. While these situations may be probable in real life, the show presents them in a very dramatically unrealistic way.

It’s no question though, that autism is presented in a positive light in the show. It was the goal of the writers to show that while autism can hold back a person, it can also be beneficial to a person’s life and The Good Doctor does a good job of presenting that.

All in all, The Good Doctor is like any other show about doctors in the workplace. You have your secret affairs, random hot doctors, and flat cliche dialogue exchanges. The focus on an autistic doctor is a fun twist that makes the show interesting but if you’re looking for an accurate representation of autism in real life, look somewhere else.