Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Emmy Awards. Somebody Got Robbed.

In my continuing effort to stay behind the curve, I seek redress on a grave injustice served at last week's Emmy Awards. Peter Dinklage won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in the series "Game of Thrones". I am completely unfamiliar with both the actor and the series. Still I am completely comfortable in saying that the best supporting actor in a drama series received neither the award or even a nomination.
The Emmy Should Go To...
Source: Wikipedia
As a fan of "SportsNight", "Six Feet Under" and "The Gilmore Girls" I should have taken to "Parenthood" immediately. For inexplicable reasons, I didn't find the show until the middle of the first season but due to the magic of Netflix, I caught up immediately. In the midst of an incredible ensemble is an actor that doesn't appear to be acting. Max Burkholder as Max Braverman isn't playing a child with Asperger's syndrome; he is a child with Asperger's Syndrome.
He's Just Acting, But... 
Before I go further, Max Burkolder does not have Asperger's Syndrome, though it's hard to tell. As the parents of an Aspie, neither my wife nor I were sure Mr. Burkholder was acting in his roll as Max. He has the manifestations of Asperger's (inflexibility, lack of eye contact while conversing, mastery of minute details) down pat. His timing as he enters meltdown mode is impeccable. His (lack of) dealing with social situations and unspoken communication is pitch perfect. Max's portrayal of Max should be recognized by his peers in the acting community.
Older, Not Nearly As Good.
There have been adult characters with Aspergers on TV in the recent past. Mary McDonnell's Dr. Dixon on "Grey's Anatomy" was two-dimensional. Christian Clemenson as attorney Jerry "Hands" Espenson on "Boston Legal" started well but soon went over the top ("Boston Legal" was not noted for continued nuance).  There have been other characters with Aspergers as well, but none portrayed as well as Max Braverman by Max Burkholder.

So I now ask you: Do you have any other examples of outstanding representations of characters with challenges? Do you agree with my thoughts about Max Burkholder? Any ideas on the next step to getting Max Burkholder an Emmy?

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