Hank's storyline on Parenthood is really close to my heart because I have experienced the same situation as an adult finding out about yourself and that there is reason for you to be different and what that difference could be. At this point they do not seem to be going to concrete a diagnosis for Hank, which I find disappointing. I think making it more concrete would be a relief and a lot of fun to have a character diagnosed as an adult. This is something that is happening more often today than it has in the past, based not on increased prevalence, but increased knowledge. I think there are many more adults out there who are autistic, and even more celebrities that are autistic in real life that are just undiagnosed. I like to see them get diagnosed, and put a face to the reorder of the brain that is aspergers/autism.
There have been few scenes involving Adam and Kristina, the parents of Max who has aspergers. They have thought it has been great that Max has a place to go, and those brief interactions have been pretty nice to see. After Max's meltdown over a broken promise, Adam is thoughtful enough to hand Hank a book on aspergers in hopes that it will help Hank understand Max. What Hank ends up finding is himself, and the following scenes have been brief but pretty special.
In one scene Adam and Kristina talk about Hank possibly having aspergers being a window into what kind of life Max might have. Mindblowing as it may seem to people who don't have any experience with aspergers, but we can, and do, live successful lives with spouses, children and even jobs. We aren't the party hardy ones, but we are out there living normal, successful (at least in our eyes) lives, and we're pretty okay with what we've got. That was a pretty good scene because yes, it does happen and yes, we have positive futures!
In another series of scenes, Adam tries to include Hank in something, and I think it was rooted in the idea of getting to know more about Hank, and more about what kind of thoughts and life he has as an adult who might possibly be similar to his own son. Even strongly defending Hank to his brother Crosby, who calls him a freak and thinks its weird and wrong to include him. Believe me, this happens more than you would think, even in adult life, where when we're just a little weird, we're excluded and left on the outside because of that weirdness. It isn't fair, but it happens all the time, and honestly we'd rather be alone and not social than deal with that mess. When Hank seems to make it difficult, he's just defending his comfort in what they were doing, and the idea that he shouldn't have to change "for fun" - believe me change isn't fun, especially changing rules because rules aren't supposed to change! However, that being said, if someone had said to him in the beginning that there would be a rule change at some point during the night, he may have been more prepared.
In addition, Hank takes what happens and misunderstands most of it, thinking that it was all his fault, and Adam did a great job of just calming it down and saying no man, it's not you to blame for everything and that it was okay to feel that way. Adam was great through that whole scene. Obviously, taking aspergers into consideration for who you are talking to, you automatically understand the limitations or feelings of a person, and you respond accordingly, unlike everyone else who was responding treating Hank like a normal person, who would purposely try to ruin the fun. In Adam's mind, it was entirely different, and it made him look like a very kind person and an ally that Hank can trust. But, too, this is Adam's kid's "future", hypothetically, so he feels a great connection to defending Hank because he feels as if he knows more now about where Hank is coming from in the light of aspergers, just as he knows his own son and where he is coming from through the light of aspergers.
In life we make excuses for people when they are rude, or having a hard time. We understand when they are feeling badly because of job issues, or marriage issues, or exhaustion, or illness. We are sensitive to them when they are going through depression or loss. We are kind and helpful to them when they are going through a major illness or injury or when they are hurting from something. People don't often take those same considerations for others when there is no apparent cause for their behavior.
We have to face the facts here: most adults with aspergers are undiagnosed, don't even realize they may be autistic and aren't looking for any diagnosis, and even some that are diagnosed aren't sharing that information with the entire world. When you encounter someone who is difficult, its highly likely that they are not just trying to be a jerk. However, in our frustration and anger, instead of trying to understand and help each other, we fly off the handle thinking we know the other person's intentions were negative and we have to respond in anger and such because we don't put up with that kind of treatment. When was the last time we ever stopped to consider that maybe the other person wasn't doing something on purpose, but had a legitimate reason or even misunderstanding for what they did or said?
That person who told you that your haircut made your face look f at; maybe they weren't trying to tell you how ugly you were (which is how that would easily be interpreted - lets be honest, mostly by women) but they were trying to be honest with you? Aspies are notoriously honest, and if you're fishing for compliments sometimes you have to be up front with that instead of wanting an honest answer. Don't ask for honesty if you can't handle it. And that's just one example of what kinds of things aspies might do.
I'm not saying all people who seem like jerks aren't really jerks, but honestly, I think we need to give people the benefit of the doubt sometimes, and think before we respond. We aren't responsible for what others do to us, but we are responsible for what we do to them.
Anyway, it may seem crazy how I got to the end from where I began, but I really love how the character of Adam is playing this story and I hope to see much more of this.