Is Reg Barclay on the spectrum?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Peach Wookiee, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Peach Wookiee

    Peach Wookiee Cuddly Mod of Doom Moderator

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    Hi, everybody! My boyfriend and I were just talking and in the course of the conversation, we discussed one Reginald Barclay. We're both on the autistic spectrum and we noticed certain things about Reg that seem to indicate he's on the spectrum. And that made us a little bit irked with the Enterprise crew, though it's understandable that writers in the 1980s and 1990s might not have recognized Reg as such.

    But what do you think? Is Reg an Aspie?
     
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  2. Nakita Akita

    Nakita Akita Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, but nobody on the enterprise even thinks about it in the year 2433, or whatever year it's supposed to be.
    By that time humans have realized that everyone is different. For the most part Barclay only draws attention to himself because he shows up late for his shift.
    The stuttering, Geordie stutters around cute women, Picard misquotes historical figures, Beverly lacks any discernible personality, Troi is overly weak for a person in her position, Riker is shallow.
    In the future, it will come to light that everyone is 'on the spectrum ' on some way or at some level.
    It won't be something that concerns anyone.
     
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  3. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Don't mince words, tell us what you really think

    I agree about the writers. Back then autism was mainly thought of in severe terms. People with severe symptoms. I'm not even sure if Asperger's was considered yet at that point in time.

    Re: the Enterprise crew they probably initially reacted as anyone would initially. Barclay was always late and probably seemed annoying at first. But as they got to know him more they adjusted to that and he became friends and a trusted member of the staff. That's not to say there weren't still difficulties but they adjusted, and they even tried to help him deal with his anxieties around others. Him being in a play was probably a huge step for him, and his friends were very supportive of him.

    Is Barclay on the spectrum? An interesting question. With the proper supports he obviously functions well enough. He has some difficulties but his friends I think helped him. I work a lot with people with mental health issues and while not a psychologist or anything, he does share some traits of people I've seen with Asperger's syndrome.
     
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe.

    He has some behaviors consistent with but not exclusive to the spectrum. His behaviors are also consistent with having severe social anxiety and a really robust imagination.
     
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  5. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I think so.
     
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  6. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Yes, good to know in the far future humans will not turn into a race of perfect beings (yes that includes you judgemental Picard!)
     
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  7. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    It's really hard to tell seeing that there are likely as many cases of Asperger's as there are people with Asperger's. When I was a kid (it was about fifty-five years ago). A psychologist thought that I was autistic based on how easy it was to me to make calculations in my head. It was often frustrating when a teacher forced me to write down the operations on paper and it was so much more work than just do them in my head. Anyway, based on that and some other details, like the fact that I could memorize long texts after hearing them once that quack concluded that I had some affection akin to autism (I don't even know if it was well defined by then) and I was forced to talk to a psychologist about my experiences every week. All of that because a teacher seemed annoyed that I knew his lesson before he got the chance to teach it. He came down on me for not paying attention to his course and when he started testing me, I knew all the answers to his questions and I could see that that angered him to no end. Two days later I was seen by a "psychologist"! Well, if only that it taught me a few life's lessons.
     
  8. Admiral Archer

    Admiral Archer Commander Red Shirt

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    I never even thought about it before, but as an Aspie myself, it makes sense. And here I thought Ensign Tilly from Star Trek: Discovery was our first Star Trek character on the spectrum! Go figure.
     
  9. XCV330

    XCV330 Premium Member

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    Could be. He's one of my favorite characters, especially in VOY.

    Even Picard calling him Broccoli in front of Picard's In-Crowd didn't stop him.
     
  10. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    I remember Riker's butthead smile as if by calling Barcley broccoli Picard was now a member of a club of which he was a co-founder.
     
  11. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Not really. The terminology came about back in the 80s, but was nowhere near commonly heard of or understood. Heck, we're still sorting out the specifics now. For most people back then there was Rain Man & anything other than that was just awkward or weird, which is kind of where Barclay fits. It was even kind of groundbreaking for a show to feature a guy like him in a normalizing way

    I'd say it's easily possible he's on the spectrum, and certainly wouldn't begrudge someone the option to consider him that, but there's also a lot of other stuff going on in there with him, kind of like he was just a generic psychotherapy trope, that they could throw any phobia or condition at, that fit the plot of the week.

    Not that I'm knocking the character. Like I said. It was rare for even that much to ever get addressed back then on tv. Mental heath was really in a gray area back then. It nearly took me til the end of the century to recognize my own spectrum stuff as such. No one ever really thought about it like that then.

    Interestingly enough, I never identified with Reg much. He had too many phobias & whatnot to connect with, but I like the character & actor performance, & am glad they included him. However! I did very much identify with how everybody else treated him. It was the way the rest of them acted that was VERY familiar to my own treatment from people around me who never knew what to make of me, in the same way those others were at a loss in how to deal with him. I'm not sure if that was their intention, but boy it hits home .
     
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  12. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Possibly, but this is going to the seamingly standard trope of "classifying" people.. basically.. putting a label on them. Needing to know what they are, putting the round object into the round hole. This in general to me is... agrivating..
    Yes a given majority will answer a question or do something after a stimulus the same.. but there will always be people who are different.. they don't nessisaraly have to have some type of "Condition" to answer to some Normie question.

    Alot of the time, people are just different.. If somebody is quiet or shy around people, they HAVE to have some type of mental problem.. ah.. no.. If someone learns slower, or is a visual learner instead of a book learner.. there Has to be something wrong, and some type of medicine to "Fix" it.. ah.. No..

    Barclay is just differnent.. He responds to stimuli differnt from the Normie's He's shy, he's quiet, has low confidence.. all things that could be part of his upbringing, maybe strict parents that didn't praise him enough.. or to much..

    Now the others that were treating him like crap, or not trying to understand him and work together were assholes..
    7+ Billion other humans, all different..
     
  13. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    Maybe being an asshole should be recognized and treated as a mental condition.
     
  14. Mojochi

    Mojochi Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The thing is, I can't really subscribe to any particular diagnosis of him like this, because to me, he was just a generic catch all for the show to explore mental health issues & probably to give Troi something useful to do. He only had 5 appearances on TNG, & four of them were almost completely different conditions they dumped on him. #1, holodeck addiction (Granted, related to social anxiety, but it still focused on the fantasy addiction aspect) #2, social anxiety (& sure, maybe symptomatic of something more specific like ASD)

    3rd appearance, a phobia. 4th appearance, surprisingly not about his mental state, & 5th appearance, hypochondria
     
  15. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    I assume the 5th is "Genesis", what's the 4th?
     
  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Did he take care of Data's cat in Genesis, or was that an earlier season 7 ep?

    Edit: Ship in a Bottle is the one we're forgetting. :)
     
  17. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    In Voyager should we consider him as having 3, 4, or 5 appearances?

    I agree with the criticism that all people are individuals and we shouldn't try to group and diagnose people when they are functional. But I think the value is that people may have social difficulties for a lot of different reasons, and people with the same reasons may respond positively to similar things. A person who has social problems because of social anxiety will be helped by very different things than a person who has social problems because they have autism.
     
  18. Nakita Akita

    Nakita Akita Commodore Commodore

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    I think referring to the other crew members, the main people as "normal" is a stretch.
     
  19. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Admiral Admiral

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    Socially adaptive, maybe?
     
  20. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He appeared 6 times in Voyager, but the first time was in the doctor's imagination. Besides Wesley giving him the nickname, and Geordi (understandably) getting a little impatient with him, I don't remember the crew treating him like crap at all. They were super accommodating and patient with him. The guy was showing up to work late frequently, and doing questionable things in the holodeck. In his appearances after that, he was treated with all the respect an officer deserves
     
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