Hey guys, it’s Erin and I’m posting this on behalf of one our followers who’s becoming a good friend to NGE. Today, April 2nd is World Autism Awareness Day. April is also Autism Awareness month. Autism hits close to home with me as my youngest son has it. It was wonderful to receive this article and meet another who’s life is touched by autism as well learning of a character my son and others can relate to. I hope you all enjoy this article as much as we did.
I know a guy who’s got Asperger’s. I myself have a mild autism spectrum disorder called hyperlexia, which allowed me to be basically a self-taught reader at the cost of most of my social abilities (although I’ve gotten better at it over time). Both of us also tend to be overwhelmed by our feelings, because we don’t process them quite the same way as neurotypical people.
You know who else has to deal with being neurodiverse and having trouble with her emotions? Kirsten from Stitchers. Sure, her condition of temporal dysplasia is completely made up for the purposes of the show, but it’s still quite an original idea, and an excellent use of pseudo-science. I’ve seen a few reviewers complain that it wrecks the show’s credibility, but as someone who always believes in willing suspension of disbelief, I was more than game to keep watching even after I learned temporal dysplasia wasn’t real. It sure feels real on the show, though – Emma Ishta has no problem convincing me that Kirsten doesn’t emote properly because all past moments might as well have happened forever ago, meaning all her reactions are always cold and detached due to her faulty perception of time.
Over the course of the show’s first season and beyond, however, Kirsten has slowly but surely learned how to feel all over again. And why? Because of her job in the Stitchers program. Very luckily, her temporal dysplasia makes her the perfect person to go into dead people’s memories (“Induce stitch neurosync on my mark in three, two, one!”) and work to discover who killed them. When she bounces back to reality, she sometimes carries residual emotions along with her, a (mostly) new experience. All this, of course, builds up to the moments in the first-season finale and second-season premiere – no spoilers, in case there’s anyone reading this who hasn’t seen the show, but when I saw it, I was power-slammed by weapons-grade feels of a kind I haven’t had since perhaps The Amazing Spider-Man 2, or Big Hero 6.
I see Kirsten’s emotional and character development as a metaphor for an aimless young social outcast (not that she’s totally an outcast, but she has only one friend at the start of the show) finally finding the connections they need in life. She’s found her calling, she’s making friends, and she’s even finding love (or so my shipper’s mind would think, but hey, it’s a slow burn.) And as someone who’s been known to mislead himself into believing I have no chance of achieving any of those three things, that’s why I’m a fan of this show. Stitchers gives me hope that my neurodiversity won’t keep me out of society forever (as much as my parents have long used it as an excuse to hold me back). And for anyone who’s ever had trouble processing their feelings, or making friends, or forming relationships, they should have no problem feeling the same hope after experiencing what Freeform’s most nail-biting show has to offer.
Remember – Denis Leary is always watching. Always.