Harmon-y

I read this article from WIRED about Dan Harmon’s writing process for Community a few months ago, I may have shared the article in the DB thread. Harmon uses these circles in which he maps the path of a character throughout an episode, the stages of development are fairly standard. The writer of the article, Brian Raftery, uses Harmon’s circles as a way to tell Harmon’s story. It’s a well written piece and you should read it if you haven’t.

At one point in the article, it is revealed that Harmon, at the outset, felt like Jeff Winger was the character that he related to the most. It wasn’t until fans started to point out that Abed had characteristics of someone with Asperger’s that Harmon started to research what Asperger’s was. He had no intention of having a character portraying the syndrome, but after researching he started to identify with Abed. Harmon now feels that he may fall in the Asperger’s spectrum. I don’t think he went so far as getting an official diagnosis, but he said writing Abed is much smoother for him.

The first time I’d heard of Asperger’s was watching a claymation-animated film, “Mary and Max“, about a man and his pen-pal relationship with a young girl from Australia. It’s a pretty good film. Max has a more severe form of Asperger’s than what Harmon may have, and it was interesting to see the portrayal of the characteristics of the syndrome. I remember looking up more about Asperger’s after watching the film and identified with some of what I read. I had put it out of my mind until I read the WIRED article.

A few weeks ago I started looking up more about it and came across this online test on WIRED’s site. It’s not very scientific, but I thought, “Why not?” The average score from a test group is 16.4 and, “Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher.” I took this test twice. The first time was a few weeks ago and I scored a 34. I felt like I answered as truthfully as I could, but I was questioning that score thinking that maybe I had skewed my answers a bit having an idea of some of the characteristics of Asperger’s were and acting like a mental hypochondriac. I took it again today and I feel like this was a pretty honest go through. It kind of felt like taking the second test of a college course, you have a feel for the way your professor presents the test and you’ll do better this go around. I scored 37.

I’m not worried about it, I don’t think I’ll even bother with a diagnosis since I function fairly well day-to-day (I hate going to stores to run errands though). I’m just curious what other people might score. The test is from 2001, so I’m sure the wording of the questions have changed or the test may even be obsolete.

I looked for other online tests, but they were just as old, if not older, than the one I linked to. Most of the sites I came across simply had characteristics of Asperger’s and what-to-look-for-in-your-kid reading material.

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12 thoughts on “Harmon-y

  1. In a more sincere note, I would never have thought that you were on the spectrum, Kos. But I guess that’s the point of the spectrum. You have certain traits I recognize as similar to the archetypical traits, but these traits do not define you. People who are higher on the spectrum seem to be restricted in ways you have never been. Nothing but good can come from further investigation. I’d be interested in that journey, but you certainly shouldn’t feel obliged to publicize your personal life.

  2. I think Asperger Points work like an anti-charisma, the lower the score, the better you perform social interaction checks.

    The reason I brought it up was to gauge the test, how well does it hold up and do others who score high see hints of the characteristics in their lives as well. Dan, you’re really the only one I know of the admin here, and I predicted you would score low (if the test gave valid results). What I’m taking away from it is that it explains quite a bit about my life as far as relationships go, friendships and romanticships. I took a glance at treatments and it seems like most are therapies of one kind or another. I don’t think I’ll bother with that and just the knowledge will be enough to work on areas of difficulty.

    And Wil…

    Umm…

  3. What happens when you find the questions difficult to answer because none of the questions/answers are specific enough for you, and you run out of patience and stop trying?

    ‘Cause that’s what happened to me.

  4. Okay, that’s interesting. Wil, I think you described yourself, maybe jokingly, as anti-social and I say that about myself a lot. So your higher score would make sense (in terms of the validity of the test), whereas Dan, I know, is much more extroverted, hence the low score. I wish more people that I shared the test with would tell me what they scored (not a jab at you, Scott) so I could get a better feel for it by seeing how they rank and take how I perceive their personalities into account.

    As for my previous responses, I was just stringing a joke along as long as I could. You beat me to adding another “hmm…” to the comments section by taking the test.

    Damn you, Wil! You win.

  5. Ha!

    Well, by way of providing better context for you, I am pretty anti-social, occasionally very anti-social. I have mild OCD and not-so-mild depression. And mild trichotillomania. (When I was young it was worse.)

    I am fairly sure that this is the first time that I’ve publicly listed all of the above.

    (Preachy Aside: Lately I’ve been more and more vocal about voicing these things and being “out” about my depression and the like – It’s actually very difficult for me. But I think it’s sort of a duty. If I can make one or two people around me more conscientious or less ignorant about one or two of these problems then my life is just a bit easier. And hopefully, next time those people run into someone who struggles with similar issues they will know how to approach them just a bit better. I’m no expert at this stuff, I’m just trying to live honestly.)

  6. I also have depression. I don’t receive treatment for it though. I’ve been to a few psychiatrists, but I found that I could save $70 and talk to a confidant. If I can’t do that, I try reasoning with myself, but I lose sleep that way. I also tried anti-depressants, but I was too aware of the manufactured happiness and stopped.

    Now a new question is whether those with diagnosed depression score higher on the test or is it a case-by-case basis?

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