There have been more images of gifted in the media, a few examples I will discuss are ABC’s The Middle and Fox’s The Simpsons. I think it’s good to see more gifted people depicted in the media, but it’s hard to conceive of how these characters became who they are in the social milleu and family they grew up in.
The Simpsons: I would suspect that we all love Lisa Simpson or at least identify with her. It is clear from hearing her character that we are hearing what a gifted person would be thinking and talking about. Who’s genes did she come from, the rest of the family is at best average, perhaps less? I recall hearing that the difference in IQ in families tends to be very small like plus or minus 15 points. Even if you want to argue nurture over nature, the social environment is very poor. We have other characters who could be, but they are portrayed in such a bad light, for instance the mad scientist character, or Martin, the other gifted child, who is unfortunately gets portrayed in a negative light.
The Middle is another example. The gifted example we have is Brick portrayed as a child who at minimum avoids social contact because of anxiety, or might be diagnosed as Asperger’s Syndrome. Who else in this family could be gifted, again who’s genes did he come from?
There are more examples to be found in Seth McFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad on Fox.
Family Guy: Little Stewie is our gifted character, of course we also have a gifted dog Brian. Stewie is like two but acts older, and talks even older. This is one character, I am not fond of, he is very condescending and insulting and has murderous tendencies. Where the giftedness could come from, not in this family. It is mentioned in episodes the father has borderline intellectual functioning, and the rest of the family at best average. This example is not the best example of giftedness that we have. I could go on about this, I will later.
American Dad: In this show, we see another potentially gifted son, a real nerd, though probably not the most obvious example. The father and mother aren’t very bright in this one either, not as stupid in the Family guy example, but brain dead in different ways. Again a question, where did the son get his brains?
What is the common theme in these stories? The gifted child surrounded by people who are stupid and moronic. I wonder if the creators saw their families like this. My father used to say when we are young, we think our parents are stupid, when we are older we admire them. This does not seem to be the case. They are people to be ridiculed.