ABC's "The Good Doctor" has stirred up many thoughts and reactions. Is this show going to showcase more of the autistic and special-needs community? Are these secondary characters going to be deep rather than cliché doctor motifs?
The pilot episode is not a full representation of the series. Pilots are created to give an idea of what the show will be about. The story for this pilot followed a parallel structure, but the transition of storylines felt forced and awkward.
One minute, we're in an intense situation where Dr. Shaun Murphy, played by Freddie Highmore, is saving a young boy's life in San Jose International Airport; then, the director cuts to a scene post-coitus between two doctors: Dr. Claire Brown, played by Antonia Thomas, and Dr. Jared Unger, played by Chuku Modu. The last scene shows a hospital board meeting. This episode could have been restructured, so the intense scene isn't slowed down, and the discussion scenes aren't cut off every minute.
There have been other reviews calling the show a copycat of "House." Although Dr. House is difficult to get along with, he is very different from Dr. Murphy. If anything, this show is more of a copycat of Grey's Anatomy since it's already showing signs of being a serialized rather than episodic drama. There's already cliché storylines of two doctors having sex with no strings attached, the president of the board member having a secret relationship with the arrogant chief surgeon, and the main protagonist growing up from a rough background.
It seems that the writers of this show are excited to showcase an autistic protagonist but also want high ratings. That's where the typical doctor soap drama comes in. I really hoped this show would add a strong female with steadfast morals to represent another type of character we don't see as much in this type of series.
What this show lacks in morals to make up for in bringing a new type of character to television. Hollywood has changed slowly throughout the last decades and is catching up with social issues. However, this social issue is long overdue.
There are many communities in this world that separate themselves from the norm, but there's one community I have been a part of my entire life. The special needs community has been ignored for far too long, and it's about time it sees the light. This show will make a huge impact on the community because families who have a special-needs members now have something to which they can relate. Sure, there's been autistic characters in movies before, but none has been the protagonist.
I really enjoyed the argument that Dr. Aaron Glassman, played by Richard Chiff, made about how it wasn't long ago that African Americans and women were excluded from medical practice. This is a great argument because it touches on the need to diversify our work force and not just by age, gender, race, and religion.
This show already shows signs that it will try its hardest to address on how society treats people with physical, mental, and social disabilities. There is a part in the episode where Dr. Murphy questions why Claire was mean to him when they first met but eventually started treating him nicely. We may know why, but to someone like Dr. Murphy, it's not clear. This represents the typical interaction people have with special-needs adults. We're often judgmental of people they don't understand, but there's always enough time for change.
Some reviewers might call this show melodramatic or a copycat, but this show is unique and deserves praise. Even Sesame Street is on board with more diversification with characters since they debuted an autistic character named Julia. These are just a few signs signifying the change that's coming to Hollywood.
For too long, the special needs community has been shoved on the back burner of schools and ignored by society. This show is special to someone like my brother and family friends who have a special-needs child. ABC studios is finally the one to step up and say we need to diversify in ways we never thought of. To make a real impact, the show needs to hire A- or B-list actors to boost ratings and awareness.
I highly look forward to seeing where the show goes and how they plan on incorporating more characters from the special needs community. I hope others will jump on this long-overdue bandwagon.